Canada's Condominium Magazine

Your chance to be on TV and get a professional home reno for less

Here’s something you don’t hear every day: you could be on television. If you are a homeowner in the GTA with a renovation project you are desperate to do, you could be the person HGTV (Home and Garden Television) is looking for to appear in one of two new shows. The Corus Entertainment specialty channel has created the two shows for next spring’s season and is currently casting and filming them around the GTA. One is called Save My Reno, the other Backyard Builds.

Save My Reno sounds like a great idea. HGTV calls it an “upbeat” new series, hosted by former CFL player and builder on another HGTV show, Home to Win, Sebastian Clovis. He is teamed with “budget-savvy DIY designer” Sabrina Smelko. The idea is that this “energetic and imaginative pair” will come in and rescue cash-strapped homeowners who want a great reno but can’t afford what the renovators have already quoted. They toss out the overpriced quotes and “make dreams come true” with a slashed budget (it has to be at least $20,000) and “spectacular” renovations. Sabrina specializes in finding restored pieces of furniture at great prices, the release says, while Sebastian is the master of smart spends for “breakout builds and custom surprises.”

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Sebastian Clovis, co-host of Save My Reno.

If you have a “long overdue” home renovation project that’s in desperate need of professional help but beyond your budget, this is how the casting call describes who they are looking for.

To be eligible you must:

  • Own your home
  • Live in the Greater Toronto Area
  • Desperately need to renovate
  • Have a minimum of $20,000 to contribute towards the renovation
  • Be interested in taking on DIY projects
  • Be interested in salvaged and upcycled materials
  • Be available to appear on-camera for 4 shoot days over roughly 1 month (shoot days during the week)
  • Be outgoing and enthusiastic about being on TV

The point about taking on DIY projects is apparently an important one. The producers say that the way Sebastian and Sabrina save money is by putting homeowners to work and by hunting for salvaged materials for the reno. It sounds like the homeowner has to be highly motivated and involved. But that’s what will make it entertaining for viewers, don’t you know?

It would be great to see some condo owners come forward and challenge this team. There must be plenty of them out there who qualify?

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The other show is about backyards, and it sounds like a lot of fun too. Backyard Builds has contractor and designer Brian McCourt and design expert Sarah Keenleyside as hosts. They will work with homeowners to “maximize their backyard potential” and create tailored, one-of-a-kind structures, like a yoga studio or tiki bar or “al fresco dining area with a kitchen” or “killer man cave.”

The requirements for the homeowners they are looking for are more or less the same as for Save My Reno though they do specify that people must not have been on a reality show before, nor be a member of ACTRA. The homeowner must be prepared to spend at least $20,000. And you must be “fun and outgoing.”

Condo owners with backyards, why not give it a shot?

Get more info about both shows here.

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