We get a lot of letters at H&H, but none so passionate as those from our TV fans. One of the country's longest running and most respected design and decorating shows has been in reruns for the past few years, but that doesn't seem to have stopped our viewers from burning a candle. "When will you have new shows?" wrote Leslie Minier. "Please advise, as this is my favourite design show." Lise Goyer virtually begged us to tape some fresh episodes. "I am watching the show almost every day, so I've seen every show at least three times!"
Well I've got great news for Lise, Leslie and everyone else who's watched the old shows so much they can lip-synch the dialogue. Tonight at 9pm you can watch the premiere of H&H Online TV! Check out magnificent home tours with Lynda Reeves and Suzanne Dimma. And watch some of your other favourite bloggers: get design advice from Cameron MacNeil, watch Claire Tansey demonstrate recipes for entertaining, steal Michael Penney's DIY projects and more. We'll unveil a shiny new episode each week in our Online TV section. (That's Jason behind the lens in these shots: he's our chief cameraman and editor.)
I'm already loving the promise of a web-based show. Though we have a decent-sized television and a new BluRay player at home, we're old-school when it comes to frills: basic cable, no PVR and I still don't know how to program the VCR. But with web TV, it doesn't matter. I can tune in anytime, not when some network tells me to. I can catch up on back episodes if I miss a week. Or I can replay a segment as many times as I want.
So here's how web TV works. Each show lasts about 12 minutes and consists of 3 segments (topics include DIY, Home Tours, Ask A Designer, Food, etc.). We'll release one episode (that's 3 segments) each week, which you can watch whenever it's handy for you (tell your boss you're busy boosting your property value!). Here's where it gets very cool — and light years better than conventional TV. After a week, that show will be archived on our site so you can browse all of the segments to zero in on your favourite topics or hosts. That means you can create your own personal viewing package: maybe start with a Home Tour, then watch a Food segment, then rock out on DIY for 3 more segments. Or skip all the food and only watch Home Tours. Or... I think you get the idea. With web TV, you never have to fight for the remote.
Doing a show without a network meant we, uh, had nowhere to shoot. So in true DIY fashion, we created our own set.
This is the area sandwiched between our merchandise and art departments and the staff kitchen. (Wave if you see a bleary-eyed editor making a chai tea — that's me at around 3pm!)
Here's Joel working his styling magic to create a pretty vignette with objects found around the office.
Not everything looks so pretty: our table was looking too low on camera so we improvised and propped it up on old paint cans.
That's Cameron working on a lamps segment with Isabella and Sheri, our producer and director.
Here's Sheri again working on the debut DIY segment. I don't want to give too much away, but this project is dead easy, super-cheap and the finished product is both practical and charming.
Hello Michael Penney, online purveyor of affordable style ideas and the show's DIY guy. Michael is wonderfully obsessed with decorating. Within two days of starting at H&H as an intern once upon a time, his little office looked more polished than my house!
That's it for behind-the-scenes photos, but I just want to make sure we're all clear on one thing. The new online show will be fabulous: packed with beautiful homes and stylish ideas. But whatever you do, don't sit down to watch it on Global or HGTV or any other network. The only place you can get it is ONLINE (sorry, didn't mean to shout!) at houseandhome.com/tv.
If you have any questions about Online TV, please leave me a comment. And be sure to let us know what you think of the new online show!
P.S. Renovation and DIY fans are in for a bonus treat: we've started a new Renovator's Notebook blog. Staffer Catherine MacIntosh is remodeling her new house and will share inspiration, ideas and lessons learned along the way. Check our her first post on the demolition and follow her every second Wednesday to get your reno fix — without all that nasty dust.