Hubby’s default TV channel is HGTV. When he turns on the TV, he always starts with HGTV, the home improvement/real estate channel. He especially likes “House Hunters International” for its bit of travelogue and “The Property Brothers” for its demolition and renovation projects.
The network also features a bathroom show called “Bath Crashers,” in which a crew transforms ugly old bathrooms into upscale spas outfitted with champagne and pate, bathrooms in which the owners can pretend they’re on vacation in a quaint skiing village in the Alps instead of taking a rushed shower in their humble Toledo home, getting ready to go to the office for another long day of mind-numbing American office work.
HGTV’s shows are entertaining, educational, and clean. Although I am occasionally annoyed that Hubby wants to watch HGTV, at least he’s not into porn or (ugh) ESPN’s Sports Center. My problem with HGTV is that all its shows shamelessly promote the idea that a house is not a home unless its design and furnishings conform to the standards of the people who run the network and who (must) get giant kickbacks from Home Depot and Lowe’s.
In other words, HGTV features homes with supposed top-of-the-line items that a modern homeowner reputedly cannot live without (these are called “must haves” in HGTV language), namely the following:
- Granite Countertops in the Kitchen
- 4 Bathroooms (typical number of home occupants: 2)
- A Master Bedroom, defined as a huge bedroom with room for a king-sized bed, adjoined with an oversized bathroom. Bathroom cannot be across the hall, or there’s no way of identifying the Master Bedroom. (How many times have you seen a house hunter walk into a bedroom only to disdainfully whine, “Is this the Master?”)
- Two Sinks in the Master Bathroom (Sharing a sink is so 20th century. Two sinks are foolishly referred to as a “double sink” rather than as “two sinks.”)
- Gas Range (for god’s sake, not electric) in the Kitchen
- Stainless Steel Kitchen Appliances
- Hardwood Floors Throughout (carpet is a design disaster)
- A DEEEEEP tub in the bathroom
- An “Open Concept” layout (which means that the home seems to have many areas in one big open space, so we can all see what everyone else in the house is doing at all times)
- Several areas for “entertaining” (which means “having friends over to talk and laugh”)
- An “office” for each adult in the home, defined as the room in which we put our computer, even if we don’t work at home or even spend any time in that room. One must have an office.
How much happier would you be if your home had all the things on the list above?
Actually, I don’t think they’d affect my life at all. I have a fridge that preserves my food. I have a little desk for my computer. I have an electric oven and range that work great, and they’re easy to clean. My linoleum floor in the kitchen is sort of a boring tan, but I can wear my shoes on it, and if Hubby doesn’t take off his snowy boots for a few steps, the linoleum doesn’t soak up the water and I can wipe it up later.
We have a white refrigerator that’s at least 10 years old. It keeps my food cold, and its surface doesn’t show every fingerprint like a stainless steel fridge does.
My Corian countertops are actually very pretty. They wash up great with soap and water, and they don’t stain like granite. No one has ever walked into my kitchen and exclaimed, “oh yuck, your countertops need upgrading” (the word they use on HGTV to mean, “throw this away and buy something new and expensive”).
I have separate rooms in my house, not an “open concept” layout. I love my separate rooms! Leave the walls up! If I need to know where Hubby or the cats are, I’ll find them. Till then, give me just a bit of alone time, won’t you? I don’t need to be in other people’s presence every minute of the day. I like to be alone. I wish I were alone more often.
My most mortal of sins . . . we have plush carpet in our living room, and I love it. I picked it out myself, mostly for its color and the fact that it feels soft and comforting under my cold feet in the wintertime. I grew up with oak floors. My feet were cold from the day I came home from the hospital, till I left for college 18 years later. Give me carpet anyday, anywhere.
Hubby and I are spoiled to live in a house with two bathrooms, so we don’t need two sinks in the bathroom. I have an entire bathroom to myself. Neither bathroom is directly connected to our bedroom, so I guess it doesn’t qualify as the coveted Master Bedroom, but when I get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, I don’t wake up fully enough to complain about it anyway.
I do have a little room with a desk for my computer, but often I sit on a chair with my laptop instead. And don’t most people just check their email, etc. with their phones now while driving, working, walking through the grocery store, running on the treadmill, during dinner, before bed, right away in the morning, and every other minute of the day? Why do people want a home with an “office” so much? Come on. Maybe they just think they’ll feel more important. Or maybe HGTV has just brainwashed us all to think our homes Must Have An Office.
You can keep your “must haves.” I’ll keep my own livable home and enjoy something besides gazing at a hardwood floor or granite countertop that doesn’t change my life anyway.