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A Renovation Reality

I love watching a show called Renovation Realities on DIY Network.  It usually shows a couple who want to remodel their house on their own to save a few bucks and it usually ends in a half done job.  I’m not sure if I like it because I do a pretty good job at finishing my projects at home or because it’s just a train wreck when they make mistakes like not knowing how to use a saw or not measuring the cabinets properly.


One guy was in the lower floor of a duplex and wanted to remodel his kitchen.  He had wanted to for a long time.  The kitchen was working OK, but the appliances weren’t laid out in the most efficient manner and a lot needed to be updated.

For years he had been told by the homeowner’s association that remodeling the kitchen the way he wanted wouldn’t work.  One day he got a chance to remodel it and put his plan into action.

Bright and early one morning he was ready to start demolition.  Little bits went well, adjusting certain things to get ready for the big remodel.

The cabinet makers came by to measure exactly what he needed.  The flooring rep was in constant contact about his needs, even the folks that make the appliances were on site to help in any way they could.

Then the demo started.

And stopped as soon as the first hammer hit the wall where the stove was to go.

Behind the drywall was brick.  It didn’t show on the plans, but there it was.  A wall.  A thick one.  Initially he blamed the homeowner’s association, but he slowly realized it wasn’t them who put the wall there, but the folks that built the house in the first place.  Curious to learn more he listened carefully to the HOA describe why the wall was there and shook his head.  The wall was built so that the two units could share supplies easily in case of a disaster.  It seemed easy enough to just close it off, put in some beams and keep going, but then he looked around the brick structure and noticed that all the eletcrical, gas and HVAC conduits came into the duplex through the bricks and taking it down would mean completely restructuring both units, something the upstairs neighbors would never consider.


So he sat down in the kitchen, single hole in the wall, and all the appliance and flooring folks asking when he plans to have the new kitchen ready.

He refers all their calls to the HOA now, even though they’ve been through this with the HOA numerous times.  The kitchen is still working, they don’t love it, but they were able to make a few adjustments and that will have to do for now.


He just wished the units were completely split.


Neat show.

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One Comment

  1. Joseph Schmoe January 12, 2012 7:11 am

    I like this show as it shows the potential problems with remodeling projects. So many show show a major project being completed within a week, for very little money and no problems. Not very real, especially for a “reality” show.

    it is refreshing to see others experience the living hell that a remodeling project can be.

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