I’ve developed quite a passion for real estate shows because they deal with the everyday life of everyday people. Celebrities don’t appeal to me at all. I couldn’t care less what they wear or whom they snog and what their babies look like.
I am interested in learning about ordinary life and that’s what I enjoy about real estate shows like “Relocation Relocation”, for example. Since architecture and design have always been a passion for me, I like to watch programmes where homes are redesigned, really redesigned, not the ones where they make-over some home in 60 minutes. Why all the rush when you know it has taken more than 60 minutes just to set up the programme alone. And why do those quickie people think that painting over ugly wallpaper is going to last?
I am keen to learn about decorating and shows like “The Designer Guys” or “Design Rivals” are great for that.
So what have I learned from these shows?
Well, the first thing you notice when you watch shows made in Britain is that their average homes are small and ugly. What they call spacious is more like a little cell in America. British homes have too few bathrooms. I will not make a joke about British personal hygiene. Four bedrooms and only one bathroom! Come on….
Why do they have the single bathroom downstairs when their bedrooms are upstairs?
And why does “a house with character” mean that there is the ubiquitous beam in the ceiling which is guaranteed to render any man of average height unconscious every time he forgets to duck?
To sum it up, unless one is prepared to pay several million pounds for a house, the typical British home is poky, has rickety stairs all over the place, too few bathrooms and usually nowhere to park.
How does the British home differ from that of ones on the American real estate shows? First of all, in the U.S there is space, room to move, room to put furniture, room to exhale.
American kitchens by comparison, are user-friendly. Appliances are modern. Cabinetry is usually plentiful with loads of bench space. If the home has three bedrooms there are usually at least two bathrooms with one loo downstairs and the bathrooms next to the bedrooms upstairs. Sounds sensible to me. No falling down the stairs to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. As for the ceilings, there’s none of this low ceiling jazz made worse by beams that are several hundred years old and deadly to the average human.
So how do Australian homes rate by comparison? I would place them in between British homes and American homes. Our kitchens are usually not as well-equipped as the average American home. Of course, we have the elegant kitchens also in the lavish homes, but I’m referring to the average home.
We also have many bathrooms. It’s no secret that Aussies like to bathe at least once per day. One could attribute that custom to our climate, but actually, the Swedes live in a cold climate and they too love their bathing. I think that the excuse about climate no longer applies. We wash ourselves often even though our country has much less water than the U.K.
When I watch these shows I learn so much about the people and what they value. I also believe that homes of the future will change quite a bit as cities become full of smaller homes that are closer to work and amusements. Petrol prices and the high cost of real estate will cause society to adapt.
Perhaps one day, those tiny British homes of today will be remembered as being huge. As for the U.S homes, they will have to follow the example of the car industry. Americans found it hard to give up their large cars but now realise that they too have to adapt to changing conditions.
We are already doing this in Australia and our homes are becoming gradually smaller as costs go up and large families dwindle. It’s a wise move since human survival depends on adapting to new conditions. We have always managed to do this and, no doubt, will continue to do so effectively.
As I said I learn a lot from these real estate shows and am always fascinated by the reasons for changes in the way we live.