Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Original Back Door of The Country Victorian

I've/we've been working to finish The Country Victorian since filming wrapped in the spring of 2015.  It makes the most sense to do everything right the first time.  However, there are situations when that's not possible and in those circumstances you have to be up for the extra time, expense, and effort to go back to fix and finish things as necessary or required. 

On one hand, it really stinks because I just prefer to address all the issues in my normal sequence that comes with rehabbing an extremely run-down home.  However, getting to do one of my projects for TV is such a special opportunity, so much fun in a different way, I've been willing to set some things aside  to experience the adventure of renovating a Pig's Ear on television.

The original back door is a good example of how things were different from the start for the TV House.  We filmed the test reel in early Nov. 2013, before I actually owned the property.  This took a day and a half for a three minute clip (similar to a short movie trailer).  In December, the network producer from HGTV/DIY called me with the exciting news that our renovation would be a four episode series and that'd we'd start filming in January!  From there our four episode series grew to six!   ...before it just about got scrapped completely.  :( 

From almost nothing, we were simply thankful to be given the green light for the pilot and decided that the most practical thing to do on this episode was an exterior makeover.  The pilot was filmed in March and took two weeks.  We finished filming with a strong mixture of expectations and confident assurances for us resuming the filming/renovations in May or June.  April, May, June, and July came and went as I tried to keep busy renovating the detached garage.  Near the end of the summer with school about to start, I needed to stop waiting and get to work, but my communication with both the network or the production company was sparse.  This concerned me and made me feel I was wasting time waiting.  In addition, I'd been contacted by another network through a completely different production company in the spring so I'd been mulling that over as I waited.

After the kids went back to school in August, I was excited to get started with the demolition phase and relieved to be making progress.  Then DIY called with an air date for American Rehab Charleston and I was pleased, most notably because I was aware that a lot of my friends and family were skeptical of me actually being filmed for a television show  (... and who wouldn't be?)  There is a difference between excitement and simple relief.  From December to August I was equally aware that my optimistic enthusiasm about future TV work had cooled considerably.  I took news of the air date for what it was and just kept working on the house.  Then ARC rated well enough for the pick-up of the remaining five episodes and my producer at the network asked me to stop my demo work.  This was mid fall and we then started to plan for how we'd move forward with a third of the house gutted, not just to the studs, but to the dirt below the crawl space.  This get's me to the original back door, since during this time, I put it back up in the hallway where it had hung for over a hundred years.

I'm telling all of this history to explain how this back door story got overlooked for the filming.  In so many ways this twelve month process was overly nutty; from four episodes to six, to maybe nothing, then down to one, waiting, no communication, with interest from another network mixed in, I took the door down and put it back up several times so the producers could tell our renovation story in a way that would made sense to a viewer in three hours of television.  This served as good prep for filming the show because there's some inefficient use of time for the sake of TV and doing  the same things repeatedly is hardly efficient or practical, but when it turns out good for television, it feels worthwhile. 

My houses are bad and require so much work.  My approach makes them economically practical, but renovating them for a television show forces a lot of that practicality to be thrown out the window.  It's very expensive.  After three cumulative months of filming there was no money left to finish the back of the house, which included a bedroom, the hall bath, the mudroom, laundry, and a couple closets.  So after filming I started to finish the house, working my way out the back door as I progressed.  The door to the LR was one of the last things, but I had filmed my thoughts and plans somewhere in the middle of the chaos when my wife Diann and I were there with the kiddos. 


The Country Victorian
aka The TV House
Related Posts:

The pictures I took along the way help tell the rest of the story.

Ready for a new color.

View of the Mudroom/Laundry Room Door.

This is where the old door used to be.

This old wooden back door was too great to not incorporate in the rehab.  I'm really proud of how it got included into the renovation and to make this door even better it has crystal knobs that still function beautifully.  It's a cool part of the oldest part of the house, it's another way to allow more natural light into the mudroom, and you can check on the status of the laundry without opening the door.  I really enjoy the challenge of figuring how to wisely reuse something into the rehab and people seem to appreciate this effort.  Plus, it just feels right to me to do things like this.

The work on the Country Victorian is still ongoing.  Stay tuned.

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