A few minutes into an episode of “Dream Home Makeover,” a home improvement series that premieres on Netflix October 16, a worried homeowner annoys a small flaw in the family room fireplace, an asymmetry the woman calls “pretty dramatic "describes. ”
If you've watched enough home improvement television, you know this scene is meant to roll your eyes. But Shea McGee, the show's cheeky co-star and the creative force behind Salt Lake City design firm Studio McGee, gleefully downplays the topic and promises the couple that the half-inch flaw will fade into the background once theirs large 7,900 square feet. Walking home is complete.
Her down-to-earth approach soothes her clients' nerves, but it also introduces a needle for Netflix, which decided that salvage-bound Americans need a fleeting series of shows right now on how to make the homes we can't escape look prettier . In recent months, the network has rolled out a handful of new home improvement shows for audiences looking for ways to upgrade their spaces but also ambivalent about celebrating other people's happiness.
Over the summer, Netflix aired Million Dollar Beach House, a series that followed a team of high-end real estate agents in the Hamptons as they tried to sell mansions to millionaires. But what was conceived as an East Coast alternative to Selling Sunset, the popular, cheeky series about brokers in Los Angeles, was a flop. The show lacked the botox and catty drama that made Selling Sunset a delicious hate watch. Instead, the show was impaled on social media by viewers outraged that the only black broker on the show endured a string of racist microaggressions as Americans focused on racial justice. Netflix has not announced a second season for the show.
In September, Netflix aired "Get Organized with the Home Edit," a bubbly sequel to "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo," which was a huge hit when it aired in 2019. The new show with the organizational duo Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin has a celebrity in every episode. Sure, we could all use a little inspiration to color code our bookcases. But at a time when millions of American homeowners indulge in mortgages, it can be difficult to relate to Reese Witherspoon's struggles to move an entirely empty walk-in closet to a private showroom for her red carpet and movie clothes. Want to transform memorabilia.
How can “Dream Home Makeover” get viewers to see a 7,900-square-foot wonder as a source of inspiration rather than blind rage? You have to love the messenger. With Mrs. McGee as the best friend next door and her husband Syd McGee as her lovable pal, the show relies heavily on the Studio McGee brand: light and contemporary, with a finished product that's as accessible as it's Instagrammable.
"I want to create a ray of hope in people's days," said Ms. McGee, 35, during a phone interview with her and Mr. McGee, 36, of the couple's Utah home. "There's a lot going on right now and I hope people can find a source of happiness."
With the feeling of wanting to read the room, the show blends in with assignable projects, such as the renovation of a basement home theater in a small house. As part of the $ 30,000 one-room renovation, Ms. McGee is building a storage system for the DVD mount stacked on the floor. Another client is so overwhelmed by the way Ms. McGee is transforming her humble family room that she tearfully rushes across the room awkwardly to kiss the designer.
"Dream Home Makeover" is the final step in a meteoric rise for the McGees, who founded Studio McGee five years ago after Ms. McGee, who was in public at the time, posted the design of her own Los Angeles home on Instagram would have. She gathered such a large fan base that she decided to turn a hobby into a profession. (Ms. McGee has a degree in communications, not interior design.) Mr. McGee is the executive director of her growing business. The couple now have an online home decor store, McGee and Co., a line of goods with Target, and a book called Make Life Beautiful, due out October 27th. The second season of "Dream Home Makeover" will be released in 2021.
To start their business, the couple moved from Los Angeles to Utah five years ago and sold their home and most of their belongings. Studio McGee now designs homes in Utah and across the country, dealing in a number of styles, including a Tudor in Denver, a mid-century modern rehab in the Los Angeles hills, and a modern home in Rye, NY. One-room projects on a modest budget.
With 1.3 million followers on Instagram and 235,000 on YouTube, Studio McGee is the latest social media darling to land a television series. "The Home Edit" with 4 million Instagram followers was already an important influencing factor when his show was broadcast. And Ben and Erin Napier, a design and engineering duo, were picked from Instagram to start "Home Town," an HGTV home improvement show that announced its fifth season in May. In this model of reality TV, fame (and audience) precedes the show.
"Shea could understand what it took to make her audience respond and grow," Mr. McGee told me. “She was an early Instagram adapter. We'd keep talking about what to do. What do we need to change? Can we test, test, test the images? What is engagement? What is not That really made people react to them. "
In six 30-minute episodes, "Dream Home Makeover" also records the McGees' personal and professional lives in an optimistic tone that feels like an extension of their YouTube videos: short, polished clips that often focus on the building and the Design by concentrate their 5,000 square meter single family home, which they completed a year ago.
Her social media brand also stays up to date, with photos of a family dressed as impeccably as the houses are staged. The casual banter between the couple – many knowing sighs from Ms. McGee, many stupid jokes from Mr. McGee – builds on the picture.
The couple's two daughters, Wren (now 7) and Ivy (now 4), appear regularly on "Dream Home Makeover" and fill in a picture of the young working family juggling customer meetings and trips to the office to mingle with members meet their 90 employees. The narrative almost screams, “See? They are just like you! It's not all glamor! "One episode the McGees have a picnic on the kitchen floor of their unfinished house, sample toddler snacks one minute, and talk about the colors of the kitchen islands the next.
While Ms. McGee is putting the finishing touches to the family home and worrying about how books and knickknacks are stacked on the built-in shelves, she shares decorating tips, how to layer colors, textures, and fabrics.
"The point is to just make it look and feel good," she tells the viewer. And for a fleeting moment, you have confidence that you, too, can design a home with a sofa that's so pretty and cozy that you can stretch out on it long enough to forget about the rest of your life.
Sign up here for weekly email updates on residential property news. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.