Sunday, January 25, 2009

Oh--There's an English House. Not.

Occasionally, I am irked by HGTV and their approach to "helping" homeowners. Recently there have been a few critics who hold the cable channel at least partially responsible for the current housing bust--after years of promoting the notion that "you must have a bigger, better house," and parading hundreds of young, modest income couples onto TV, "home-hunting" for houses that were probably well beyond their means.

In today's episode of Curb Appeal, "Importing British Style" a couple seek to make their love of England evident in their 1960's home. It sounds like they would like something English and perhaps a little Victorian, but what the "designer" gives them is a mediocre colonial update, with some "English style" plantings and some Victorian garden furniture on the porch. While they did manage to get a very nice Edwardian-style front door with stained glass, the car port (seen at right in the photo) is an abomination. The designer--who clearly doesn't understand anything about real English style--convinces them that the new house is inspired by "English Country." You be the judge.

The couple seems happy enough at the conclusion of the show. But the result is as if all they needed was a front porch to sit on so they could enjoy tea and crumpets to convince themselves that their home had an English flair. The existing house even had a second story that appeared to be jettied out over the first--a perfect candidate for a Tudor makeover. Some well-conceived half-timbering and an appropriate porch would have given this couple what they were really after, and probably for a little less than they spent to get this poor result. If people want a fantasy, why not give it to them?

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