Be on HGTV in Three Easy Steps

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Also known as: our 23 minutes of fame.

Back in those innocent days before I knew what an NG tube is, my husband and I were on an episode of HGTV’s home improvement show Rip + Renew.  It was a half-hour long show that ran for three seasons, starring James Lunday (carpenter) and Michelle Carrano (interior designer).  I get lots of questions about our experience, the most popular being “how did you got on the show?” and “did it cost you anything?”  With that in mind, here’s a rundown of our brush with semi-fame, and all about our experience filming an episode of a television show while also being 8 months pregnant. 

Note to self: appearing that large on t.v. was perhaps not the best way to boost my self-esteem.  Even if I did have a good excuse.

So, how DID you get to be on HGTV?

One chilly winter night I was browsing nursery ideas on the HGTV website when I spotted the “Be on HGTV!” link.  Curiosity got the best of me and before I knew it I was filling out an application for a show filming in our area.  I hated my living room and hoped it would be enough of a draw that they’d want to take a look.  I mean, who could resist that dark brick and terrible floorplan?

Amazingly, I got a call the next day.  I thought it might be a joke, but I hadn’t told any of my friends that I’d applied so I realized it had to be legit.  A week later a producer was scouting out our house.  The bad news?  They didn’t want to touch our living room.  The good news?  They noticed our blank canvas of a sunroom and thought our story (I was very pregnant and planning to work from home) plus the empty room would make a great show.   After a little bit of discussion, we decided to go for it.  Two weeks after I applied we signed the contract to be on the show!

Why did they choose the sunroom?

Here’s what the room looked like before:

Wait, let’s back up a minute.  Here’s the BEFORE the BEFORE, when we bought the house:

So our all-white room (our attempt at trying to brighten the adjacent living room by keeping it light in the sunroom) was actually an improvement.  The problem was it didn’t have any function.  No comfy seating, so workspace, and although the white paint and carpet made it look big it also made it appear endless– there was no definition of space whatsoever.  Oh, and did I mention our leaking skylights?  We had the skylights replace professionally, but the water damage on the ceiling was still there.

Okay, so did it cost anything?

The short answer: yes.  We paid a little bit for materials.  We knew we’d increase our home’s value for turning unused space into usable space, PLUS we doubled the investment by not having to pay a cent for labor.  Add in the advice of an expert carpenter and home designer, and the price we paid was pennies on the dollar for our return.

lights, camera, action!  Filming the HGTV show
How to get on HGTV in 5 easy steps

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