House voyeurism in the age of austerity in the FT

The Financial Times has a little piece on how British reality TV has changed in response to the downtown.

I honestly do not know how people watch the Home Channel. I admit that I have loved This Old House for years, the original, back-in-the-day program because I like old houses and the program actually told you a lot about them, the history of the design movement the house reflected, and good methods for renovation. We all knew that the people renovating the three-story Georgetown townhouses and the Manhattan brownstones were rich, yuppy millionaires, and we secretly hated them, but we got to see inside a process and a house we were never going to get to see either as laborers or as guests. Oh, and Norm Abrams is about as cute as they come in real life.

However, the home “interior” shows, which are all decorating rather than design, are super barf-worthy. The ‘design’ always boil down to the same principle: eliminate anything that might look like people actually live there (books! toys! all clutter!) then make it look like some sterile environment from a magazine, then we’re supposed to clap and pay more for the vision that confronts us.

All these makeovers always end up making places look like therapists’ waiting rooms.

My loft is full of books and dogs and cats and people and confusion, by contrast.

The new movement, according to the FT, is based on watching people lose their homes and possession. I don’t find this any more entertaining than listening to decorators cattily criticize somebody’s wallpaper choice.