HGTV is a Lie (But I Still Love It)

As a millennial, my generation is not known for having much patience. In fact, we tend to want what we want right now. Retailers have figured this out with perks like one day shipping, instant access, and movies/TV on demand, but no one gets it quite like the television producers on channels like HGTV and DIY. On these channels, you can watch an entire house get renovated in one hour (and still have time for commercials.)

Of course, this is a lie.

As much as part of us wants to believe how easy it is to renovate a terrible 70’s bathroom or add a beautiful outside space complete with flowers and an herb garden at the height of bloom – we all know that these amazing makeovers take days, weeks, and sometimes even months to pull off. More importantly, these renovations take hard work and patience. (Remember that little trait that we millennials don’t have a lot of?)

While I love watching these home renovation shows (on Netflix because who has cable anymore?) it’s also somewhat disappointing when I start a renovation project on my 1900’s farmhouse and it doesn’t magically get done in an hour. Where are my Property Brothers or Chip and Julia Gaines to banter wittily while they help us with our Fixer Upper? I have an old house, so where are Roger and Tom from This Old House to make the landscape beautiful and ensure the foundation is sound? Where is the big reveal of my new kitchen, bathroom, living room, or outdoor space after the commercial break?

It is somewhat disappointing to realize I have to pick one project, make all the decorating decisions, and then work hard to get that magazine-ready outcome. And even more disheartening to realize that we won’t get every project completed in one day to reveal a modernized farmhouse.

Though I’ll continue to watch renovation shows for inspiration, I’ll try to remember that their timelines are not realistic. That behind every commercial and camera cut-a-away, there are days and weeks of backbreaking work going into that renovation. This Millenial/Generation X’er will have to dig deep and find patience. I’ll need to learn to bite off just a little at a time with each project instead of starting four projects at once and getting overwhelmed. If my husband and I do that, then someday we will stop and realize that we’ve reached our big reveal and that the house is finished.



Jennifer Jelliff-Russell

About Jennifer Jelliff-Russell

Jennifer is an employment specialist and writer with novels in women’s fiction and science fiction. She and her husband, Jason, decided to move from Tennessee to Maine and homestead using the most environmentally sound farming practices possible such as organic farming and permaculture. At the same time, they will also be slowly renovating their 1900s Maine farmhouse in order to make it more self-sufficient with the eventual goal of going off grid. Let the homesteading (mis)adventures begin!