I’m cranky tonight and flipping around the television. And y’know what I’m tired of? Home makeover, home buying, and house flipping shows. You know the ones. You can’t escape them. There are on that block of channels that used to show documentaries about history, travel, or gizmos. Now it’s all about redoing, buying, flipping, or “modernizing” your home.

The amount of vanity in home shows is staggering. It drives me to distraction. I understand them and know where they are coming from. For a lot of people redoing their home is the only means of expression they have. It’s a creative outlet. They don’t paint, write, play music, or make pottery. Making over their home gives them something to do and something to care about. And pretty things generally make people feel better. That’s basic humanity.

Redoing your home is also a completely socially acceptable way to spend your money and time. Tell somebody you’re spending ten grand on a new guitar and a year of your spare time playing it and there is a good chance they’ll think you are crazy. Tell them you’re spending the same money and time on a kitchen and they won’t bat an eye. That’s what people are supposed to do.

It’s also socially accepted because any money you spend on your home is allegedly an “investment”. We use that word a little loosely these days but any work on a home is supposed to increase its market value. Of course I would venture a guess that a nice looking house that is in good shape will sell easier that a falling down crappy looking house. Yet as the real estate market has shown us this past year there are forces at work much more powerful that whether someone has redone their kitchen or not. The real value of a home is that it gives you a place to live. Still it’s usually the one thing that an average person might own that can make him some real money if he’s lucky.

Then again even with all of the work being done on these television homes the old rule of “Location, location, location” still applies to real estate. You can’t escape it with all the recessed lighting in the world. An old crappy falling down building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan will always be worth more than any of our houses no matter how many shiny new faucets we put in.

This whole trend started with “This Old House” back in the 1990s but I don’t mind that show. It is pretty cool. They are trying to teach things. I like that. They take houses that are falling apart and restore them. It’s not about vanity and it’s not about taste. “This Old House” deals with many different styles and tastes. They make decisions about what works and what doesn’t but they don’t poo poo something just because it’s currently out of fashion.

That’s what disturbs me most about all of these home flipping, redoing, buying shows too. They are all about taste yet they don’t acknowledge that. It’s annoying to watch vain people talk as if their taste was the be all end all of style. They don’t even tip their hat to the fact that tastes and trends come and go. Everybody on these shows walks into some house and decries it’s style as if the person coming ten years after them won’t decry their style. I don’t care if you think the accent pillows are outdated you annoying person.

And granite countertops don’t even get me started. They are the wood paneling of our time. Everybody wants granite countertops. I love that one of the reasons always given is that they “last forever”. That especially makes me laugh as I’ve heard every type of counter top sold as “lasting forever” since I was a kid. The granite counter tops will last just as long as the others. Until the next owner in 2023 walks in and says “Granite counter tops! Ughh… how ugly. We have got to replace those”.