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Remember when home renovation was the contractor’s equivalent of a root canal? Most people do, and for most part remodeling a kitchen or a bath or God forbid, an entire house is still a full body root canal.
HGTV offers a refuge in the storm for those who have tread that nightmarish path to new appliances, open and light-filled interior spaces and shiny new fixtures. This time, though, the path is tasteful and impeccably landscaped and very well-lit, fully illuminated by the hunks of Wednesday night on HGTV.
Sit back with a beverage of your choice and watch with envy and delight. Watch contractors who have been blessed with chiseled good looks and use chisels.
The best thing about these programs is how utterly inclusive they are. It’s not about straight people and it’s not about gay people. It’s just about couples who happen to be straight or gay, doing things that most people do when it comes to their homes. However there is another great equalizer for gay men, straight women and the “bi-curious.”
All of the boys on Wednesday night are pretty danged hot, almost to the point of gay stereotypes. They’re the Village People of home improvement.
First up is “Property Brothers.” Canadian real life brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott guide homeowner’s through the arduous undertaking of buying and renovating “fixer-uppers.”
With offices in Vancouver and Calgary, the real estate and the homeowners hail from the land Up North. Drew is a Realtor and Jonathan is a licensed contractor. Together these are the guys you would totally want on your side, that is if the possibility of “flipping” a house for profit ever enters the vocabulary of the lower 48 states again.
“Property Brothers” is the best spin on what is often one of the most stressful situations people ever face: a major real estate purchase and a major renovation. Amateurs round the world have stuck a foot in those shark-infested waters, myself included, only to pull back a bloody nub.
Buying a house and renovating that house with an eye toward turning a profit is not for the feint of heart. More often than not, profit is lost in the glare of cost overruns. Often naïve and unsuspecting couples plummet from dreams to reality to disappointment to divorce court. However, an honest and knowledgeable realtor + a skilled, experienced contractor = a happy ending, and “Property Brothers” is all about happy endings.
Next in line is “Income Property.” Scott McGillivray (pictured top left) is a contractor who specializes in adding rental units to existing homes, thus affording the homeowner with additional rental income.
Think about it: this strapping, well-groomed contractor shows up at your doorstep. He’s full of amazingly creative options for turning that nasty basement or dilapidated garage into a stunningly tasteful unit, and he does so in a matter of weeks. Suddenly, your mortgage is covered by rental income.
OK, now I’m getting resentful. How do I get on that list?
It’s time for a refill. Back from the kitchen, and you’re just in time for “Kitchen Cousins.”
This time, I’m not even going to pretend it’s about the amazing things these two guys can do with a crummy old kitchen. Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri are quite simply a distraction from the job. They could put appliqué butterflies on a pea green wall and it would be fabulous. You can hardly see the appliances and the astonishing backsplashes in the glare of impossible straight white teeth and perfect two-day beard growth.
In all fairness, it’s not their fault. They can only blame their parents for the flawless genes that compete with their work.
Seriously, the “Kitchen Cousins” produce serious good results. Kitchens are virtually unrecognizable when these two are finished. Inevitably the homeowner returns, gasps, weeps, picks up a frying pan and commences cooking. And this is the husband who didn’t even know where the kitchen was before the renovation began!
For anyone who loves their home and anyone who dreams of the potential locked inside those walls, all of these programs are worth watching. With the eye candy factor aside, there is a lot of useful information and the inspiration to pick up a hammer and just do it.
Or not …
Sometimes it’s just fun to watch. And like your father’s Buick, this ain’t your father’s plumber butt, that is if one is lucky enough to glimpse one of the boys under the sink, tightening a fitting.
HGTV sure knows how to attract an audience, and keep it.
Wednesdays on HGTV
“Property Brothers” at 8 pm
“Income Property” at 9 pm
“Kitchen Cousins” at 9:30 pm
Kurt Niece is a freelance journalist from Tucson, Ariz., and author of "The Breath of Rapture." He writes about television for SDGLN. He is also an artist who sells his work on his website.