Love them or hate them, it’s almost inevitable that a home improvement TV show (or even a marathon of them) have made it to your viewing lineup. In under an hour, a drab home gets new life thanks to a kitchen overhaul, home addition, or bathroom makeover. Such amazing transformations make it all look so simple using striking before and after footage, while the producers amplify scenes of tedium, mess, and stress to create chaos and drama.

If your home were the star, you’d see that behind-the-scenes reality tv is more myth than documentary. Where television show formulas often include homeowner challenges in the form of surprises and setbacks, the blown budgets and tight timelines gone awry are still neatly resolved by the end of the hour. Details like architect drawings, permits, and building inspections are omitted for time, despite their critical importance. Instead homeowners opt for pricey upgrades or add-on new projects altogether, taking hits to their budget to do so. When a type of leaky pipe or other unknown costs arise, the budget balloons.

The truth behind reality tv remodeling shows are that remodels are complex projects that require planning and coordination. New kitchens and baths cannot be completed in one day or even one week. Getting everything you want for the price you really want to pay is more an exercise in compromise and return on investment than in craving the latest trend or style upgrades. Securing materials, coordinating municipal requirements with trades, and installer schedules can add weeks or even months to what on TV looks to be accomplished during commercial breaks.

While using a magic wand or taking a turn in reality TV-land are both too good to be true, for real life home renovations using a design-build firm like Blackline makes renovations simpler and less stressful. Our process begins with a project meeting then follows a proven system that allows us to guide you seamlessly through the renovation process from budgeting to concept design and estimate to construction. With Blackline, you know what to expect every step of the way. And while real life renovations do run longer than your favorite reality tv show marathon, the results can transform your home and the way you live in it.