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Trading Spaces - The Lady Who Cried

2002-01-30 1:11 p.m.

A friend sent this from the TS bulletin board.

"Subject: 137th Homeowner's Story

Topic: Show Specs

Author: kkatz

Date: 01/24/2002 14:37:04

I found this on another disscussion board. It gives the homeowner's side of what happened with the Seattle episode. (Maybe some of you other posters will consider that there are two sides to every story before you post such mean comments again):

Reality TV -- ;Life Unscripted, It's not;

As one of the HO's from episode 21, I'd like to share some of our "backstory; with you. As my title indicates, 95% of what you see is scripted. The crew arrives with plans in hand, and directs every sequence of film shot. You aren't seen on film without being told what they expect you to do and say, even where to stand, and how to open up to the camera.

After reading your comments, the first myth I'd like to dispel is the reveal. Charlie, Laureen, John and I have been friends for over seven years, neighbors for three. We take our children on family vacations, share holidays, make trips to Reno once or twice a year, we've even cruised together. In NO way could anything done on the show affect our relationship. Charlie and Laureen are our closest friends, and we dearly love their entire family. In fact, we all watched our episode air last night, and laughed out loud with all of you.

I was, indeed, upset during our reveal. Many factors played into this, and lest you all think I'm whiny, as well as weepy, I'll try to briefly share them. One, our living room was not the room which we intended for the makeover. We had originally requested that our family room be used, but due to logistical filming issues the room was considered too large by the location scout. WE then suggested our bedroom, HE selected our living room. Not wanting to disappoint Charlie and Laureen, we agreed to go forward as long as the fireplace remained untouched. Please understand that we do not think our fireplace is the most wonderful thing in the world--we actually had plans to change it ourselves. However, we had just watched the beaded fireplace episode and were more than a little concerned about the quality of the work done on the show [more on that later].

Two, there is a written contract that must be signed prior to appearing on the show. Item 6 warns the homeowner to remove any objects from the room which are not to be touched, and allows you to list immovable items which are to remain unchanged. We listed the fireplace insert and brick. Further, during the filming of the episode, I was repeatedly told by various members of the crew that everything in the contract was honored.

Three, you are requested to turn off the phones (ringers) in your home so that filming is not interrupted, and are not allowed to have cell phones on your person. The night before shooting began, my Grandmother suffered a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. While the producers allowed me to have a cell phone, it was kept with the seamster (tailor) in Sewing World (their name for where all the actual sewing takes place). I went into the reveal believing I would need to finish filming and immediately leave to pick up my daughter and Laureen's son from my mother, who had been taking care of them, in order for her to be with my Grandmother as she was transported to another medical facility.

Finally, you all need to know what you see on TV is not always exactly the way things happen... in other words, seeing is not believing! Editing can do, and did, some pretty amazing things. Entire sentences, words, and yes, tears, can be removed, replaced, and/or reformatted.

Now on to that professional; work some of you mention. At any given time, two to four production assistants are working with the homeowners on the room. These are not professional painters, maskers, upholsterers, etc. The quality of the work varies dramatically, and is certainly not a concern for the producers unless it can be discerned by the camera. Trust me, the camera is quite forgiving in this area. Our fireplace facade was not as easily removed as you may think. Not only was it nailed into place after tipping over and hitting the producer's head, it was caulked both at the ceiling and onto my carpeting. I now have sculptured carpet where it had to be cut out when removed (Thank goodness I planned on buying new!). My ceiling also has permanent damage and will need to be re-textured. What really concerns me is that upon removal of the piece --which had to be done to allow us access to the emergency gas shut off valve and fireplace controls which were enclosed within it!!-- we found bare wires from the lighting fixtures, and so much sawdust trapped from drilling the holes for the wiring, that it had begun to combust from the heat of the fireplace being on during the filming of the reveal and after shots! We have photos of actual charred wood chips!

For all of you who seem to be very thorough viewers, I can't believe you missed that the plans Doug showed Ty for his sudden inspiration of a fireplace surround instead of paint were dated 11/15 (That's two weeks prior to filming!). Also, that the title of the room had been erased from the plans. It was called "Phukett Nantucket", which for phonetic readers is a long way from "Denim Deluxe".

All in all, it was a wonderful experience working with Frank. He is exactly what you see on TV, a wonderfully funny, generous and immensely talented man. John and I were privileged to work with him. From our camera man, Mark, and sound guy, Eric; both purveyors of arcane TV trivia, to production guys, Ron and Gary, John's new homies, all were terrific. They made us laugh and enjoy ourselves even as we were chagrined by our lack of acting ability. We got so close to one of the locally hired production ssistants, "Cousin Jean" as we affectionately call her, that even she cried. She left the shoot with my "Trading Spaces" shirt as a gift for all her help throughout the shoot.

Well, that's a long story for a little behind the scenes info. Hope you all enjoyed it. By the way, we love the living room now. Charlie and Laureen helped me paint over the brown with the same red as was used in their house. We took out the furniture and replaced it with some in a green and cream check, and repainted the coffee table. My father helped me repair and replace some of the wainscoting which was not properly measured, and to install new baseboard and ceiling moulding.

To top it all off , we have an original painting from Frank on the fireplace mantle. Thanks again!!! "

October 11, 2006 - 2006-10-11
Back from Vacation - 2006-07-18
July 3, 2006 - 2006-07-04
Parenting is Hard - 2006-06-30
Update June 23, 2006 - 2006-06-23