Design Line

Advice & Expert Information from Local Design Pros

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 / 9:51 AM

KMOV's "Real Life Renovations"

If you have ever lived through a renovation, you'll recognize the pain Kristin Gulley suffered when she rehabbed her own house.

Newly divorced, Ms. Gulley bought a ranch in Ladue—close to her ex-husband and in the same school district. The house needed everything.  She called Jenny Rausch of Karr Bick Kitchen + Bath to plan the kitchen and baths and in turn, Ms. Rausch called Dianne Casey, a producer at KMOV, to see if the station wanted to track the progress. The project began just this June and was completed in August.

The result is an hour-long special titled "Real Life Renovations" and airing on KMOV (the local CBS station) September 7 at 8 p.m. "When you watch HGTV, they make everything look so easy and they tie it up in a bow," Ms. Casey says. "It looks like there weren't a lot of problems. We thought we would go and show the nitty-gritty of what really happens in a renovation that would make a really good show."

The house was definitely in need of some serious tender loving care. Note the cracked sidewalk, dead plants, and less-than-fresh exterior.

"We had no idea how crazy this renovation was. We thought there would be a little bit of drama but we didn't realize there would be this much drama," Ms. Casey says. "Every single room needed something."

A budget of $100,000 may sound hefty but when everything has to be done—including replacing every window and every door, it isn't. Ultimately, it didn't cover it all. "She is living with some of the problems," Ms. Casey says. "She really had to stay on budget. She was coming from a life where money was no object. Now all of a sudden, money is so important."

The first contractor was a friend. That didn't work out and he had to be replaced. The second contractor was fired. The third up, Monte Herring of Herring Design and Development, was the charm but by that time, mistakes made by the previous contractors could not be repaired. For example, Ms. Casey explains, in one room, the ceiling is sagging and it should have been torn out and replaced before the walls were newly dry-walled. The price was too steep to start over with the room. Here is a shot of the work in progress.

Ms. Rausch designed the kitchen and bath. Here is the kitchen before. You'll need to tune in to see the after.

The interior design was handled by Vicki Dreste of Victoria Dreste Designs. Here is the dining room, before she worked her magic.

And here is the family room, after Ms. Dreste. 

"I came in to help Kristin pull her home together," Ms. Dreste says. "She had had a renovation. We added window treatments in the family room. She already had some furniture and she had established a color palette of dark, rich brown. I added some accent furniture [note the floor lamp and chair below]. I also put a sisal rug in a caramel color in the room to help lighten it up a bit and define the seating area." Moving on to the look of the overall house, she described it as "rich, warm and opulent."

"We just shot the end of the show," Ms. Casey says. "Everything has come back around and it's a happy ending."

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