Don’t wipe your feet on my cow rug

I have a dark secret to confess, friends.

I am addicted to home decorating shows. Seriously, if my TV is on, it’s tuned to HGTV and other channels of its ilk.

I feel like I am BFFs with Chip and Joanna Gaines, and Dave and Kortney Wilson, and Drew and Scott, the Property Brothers.

Vanilla Ice and I are still getting to know each other. Yes, former rapper Vanilla Ice has a home makeover show, and no surprise, his design style is a little, shall we say.. blingy.

Anyhoo, I am learning a great deal from my friends on these shows.

First, if you walk into someone’s kitchen and all the appliances are not stainless steel, you must turn up your nose and sniff that “the appliances could use some updating”. Doesn’t matter if they are relatively new — which for a fridge would be anything made post 2000 — if they are white, or black, or God-forbid, avocado, they need updating.

Secondly, take another look around the kitchen. Are the countertops granite? Or at the very least, quartz? No? Just laminate? Oh dear.

Your bathroom has just the one sink? How do you manage?

Also, I have apparently been displaying my books wrong, for lo, these many years.

Yes, according to the designers, hard-cover books are now displayed spine-to-the-wall. I know! Crazy!

But there they are in these newly designed homes — row upon row of books on a shelf, all with pages facing out. I mean I guess it looks interesting, but it reduces a book to merely a design element. I’m imagining wanting to read a few passages from a beloved leather bound book, perhaps Don Quixote, on the weekend. You walk to the shelf and pull the first book out. Nope. Not Don. Next one. No Don. Do you carefully put it back, or do you toss it aside and keep searching?

This is a design idea that could lead to anarchy. Or a lot of not-reading.

I don’t know which designer began this craze but once I saw it the first time, it began popping up on all the shows.

Much like the cow rug. You’ve seen these — cow patterned, throw rugs in the shape of well, what a cow skin would look like if you peeled it off the animal. I’m sure these are synthetic but just the idea gives one pause.

Also the ‘farmhouse sink’. Everyone has to have one, whether you live country or city. It must be big enough to wash off a side of beef — perhaps after you’ve peeled off its skin for a rug — and deep enough to drown in.

A bed must have a minimum of 26 pillows, all artfully arranged, with different colours and textures. And if you put a tray with a vase of flowers on the bed, so much the better. Because what better, safer place for a vase of flowers than a bed?

Another designer has a thing for swings and is constantly installing them in people’s living rooms. That one doesn’t seem to be getting much traction though.

Yet despite some of these weird design choices, I just can’t get enough of the flipping shows and the find-me-a-waterfront-home shows.

I live vicariously through these house hunters as they wrinkle their noses in dismay at the many upgrades needed before their homes are up to snuff. I envy them as they choose between one gorgeous home or another, or view the results of the makeover.

And I gasp in awe as they tell the realtor, “Our budget is $1.2 million and that’s final”. The realtor then makes a sad face and says with a budget that tight, they may have to make some compromises.

But it always works out in the end, and the homeowners have their stainless appliances, backward facing books, cow rugs everywhere, a deep and cavernous sink, mounds of pillows and maybe even a swing in their living room.

It’s magic, I tell you.