HGTV shows help buyers, DIYers

The Baltimore Sun

HGTV is the Sears of home-decorating and entertaining channels: safe, reliable, something for everyone.

While Bravo's home shows go for the urban hipster and TLC's decor programs are skewed toward women, HGTV puts out an extensive lineup of shows squarely aimed at the masses, with common-sense tips for home-buying, renovating, organizing and decorating.

There's not too much drama, nothing too over-the-top.

This season, there are more shows geared toward entry-level homebuyers and hard-core DIYers, and more with edgier concepts and bolder personalities.

Deserving Design

Premieres --9 tonight; regular time will be 8 p.m. Wednesdays

Host --Vern Yip, the affable designer from TLC's Trading Spaces and a judge on HGTV's reality competition show Design Star.

Show outline --Yip and his assistants make over two rooms in the home of a family who has endured difficult circumstances. One room-redo the family knows about; the other is a surprise.

What we thought --Deserving Design offers useful design ideas; tips and themes are applicable for the masses and not necessarily specific to the family.

Grade --A-

Property Virgins

Premieres --10 tonight

Host --Sandra Rinomato, billed as "part Realtor, part therapist, friend and financial adviser."

Show outline --The show promises to teach first-time homebuyers "the difference between their wish list and their budget." Rinomato takes prospective homebuyers on tours of three houses; at the end they choose one. This series was produced in Canada and has aired there, but the episodes are new to the United States.

What we thought --If you're a real newbie, this might be useful. And Rinomato has better advice, and a stronger on-camera personality, than House Hunters host Suzanne Whang.

Grade --C

Fun Shui

Premieres --8:30 p.m. Friday

Host --Consultant Stephanie McWilliams, billed as an expert in the art of feng shui.

Show outline --Host McWilliams sweeps through a family's home, helping them declutter and find new uses for rooms and furniture. To do this, she applies the Chinese art of feng shui, which dictates ways of arranging furniture and space to achieve harmony in your life.

What we thought --Once you look beyond some of the New-Agey aspects of McWilliams' "fun shui" principles, she actually has some solid advice and decent design sense.

Grade --B


These shows make their debuts next month and were not available for preview, but here's a sneak peek:

Carter Can

-- Premieres Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. with host Carter Oosterhouse, who was the carpenter on TLC's Trading Spaces. The show will tackle projects that homeowners have given up pursuing because they're supposedly too hard or too expensive. There will be a "green" angle, with products that are environment-friendly.

Hammer Heads

-- Premieres Oct 6 at 9 a.m. with host Steve Hanneman -- formerly the carpenter on HGTV's Designed to Sell. When homeowners give up on a project because they didn't have the time, money or skills to finish it, the team steps in, finishing a major project in one weekend.

Rip + Renew

-- Premieres Oct. 7 at 9:30 a.m. with host and builder James Lunday, an Australian who's also a former carpenter from Trading Spaces, and interior designer Michelle Carano. The team gives boring rooms an extreme makeover, even if it means ripping out ceilings or walls .

Design Star

-- No, this reality show is not new, but they are looking for new contestants now that this season's star, Kim Myles, has been chosen. For an application, rules and more information, go to Applications must be postmarked no later than Oct. 31.

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