“She’s a social worker. He’s a stay-at-home dad…”

“Together they will tackle the renovation of this $6 million, 25,000 square foot Spanish finca and olive grove on the magical island of Ibiza!”

Seriously? “The Week” just did a takedown of home reality shows, specifically the very popular House Hunters International. I like this show a lot but mainly for the same reason that I enjoy spending hours watching drivers view videos of trains in the Austrian Alps, Lisbon trams and Itchy Boots. I love offbeat POV videos with international scenery.

I’m not new to the house renovation grind. I’m also a fairly well-traveled person. But no way would I take on projects like some that these shows portray.  That’s okay because I know that these shows are theater and about as truthful as a Trump denial. See my “Wow, I Always Wanted To Renovate An Old House!” page here.

Thanks to this blog in fact, I’ve been interviewed to be on reality home shows, although not House Hunters. I responded half-heartedly to all of them. One of them was looking for a series host who rode a motorcycle to client projects with his dog in a sidecar. I had a motorcycle and a big Newfoundland who loved car rides. Another wanted me to pretend that I’d just bought my house. They wanted me to remove months of work that I had put into a room only to put it all back again for the cameras in three days. The third show took one glance at me and said that they were looking for someone in his early thirties, about 170 pounds, with a full beard.  I responded, “How about holding a SAG open call or just focus your search in Hipsterville (Williamsburg), Brooklyn? You don’t need someone who actually knows how to do any of this stuff, you know.” Surprisingly, they didn’t know that they could just hire on off-screen GC as a consultant and talent fluffer.

This Old House also contacted me about doing an episode. It would focus on building out my basement shop. Perfect! Now that one I was very excited about for two reasons but mostly because it would be hosted by Norm Abrams who is one of my heroes. But they rejected me after their location scout saw my street. It was too narrow and congested for their film vehicles. Also my shop was already too far along for them to do much more than grunt work like hang a drywall ceiling and add a railing to the stairs. BTW, that still hasn’t been done.

Slate also did a great expose on these home shows. So did the NY Post.




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Welcome to Brooklyn Row House

This blog is about the challenges of renovating an old (1903) Brooklyn, New York row house.

My last major renovation project was the master bedroom, most of which is about finish carpentry. You’ll find other completed home improvement projects in the Projects submenu at the top of this page.

I’m not a professional builder and don’t pretend to be. I’m just an experienced amateur raised in a family of committed DIYers. I try to closely follow local and national building codes but don’t mistake anything on this site to be professional or even accurate advice! Your mileage may and definitely will vary.

This is the third iteration of BrooklynRowHouse.com, from scratch-built to Drupal and now Wordpress. I hope you enjoy your time here.