When Jennifer Reid and husband Chad Kulchyski won W Network's 2010 Expert Search competition, they had no idea what they were in for. Well, they knew the prize included a development deal with W Network for a new show, but they didn't realize how fast things would progress from there. Their new show, called Making House, premiered in June, chronicling the renovating adventures of the design-savvy couple (Jennifer is an interior decorator with Barlow Reid Design and Chad is a contractor).
Undertaking a huge reno and a 600-square-foot addition is pretty stressful, so imagine throwing four kids in there, plus a camera crew following the couple's every measurement, glitch, mistake, trip to The Home Depot along the way!
In the middle of it all, a team from House & Home made it out to their midtown Toronto home to photograph the space for our Makeovers special issue, on stands today, August 15th. Amidst filming, unpacking, and posing for portraits, Jennifer Reid found time to chat with me about the renovation, her family's new space, the H&H photo shoot, and what she learned from it all.
GM: What were your expectations before the photo shoot?
JR: I just wanted to make sure everything was perfect. You never know what people are going to think when they actually see the finished space. It was pretty nerve-racking, but I tried to not have any expectations at all.
GM: How did you prepare the house for the photo shoot?
JR: I just tried to make it more welcoming. I tidied the foyer, added plenty of fresh flowers, things like that.
GM: What did you want to come through in the photos and the magazine story?
JR: I really wanted readers to see that it's a family-friendly space where kids feel comfortable, but also a fun, modern space.
GM: What was the most stressful part of the photo shoot?
JR: I was actually worried that what I saw in the space wouldn't come through in the photos. But the final photos actually looked better than I expected — thanks to the wonders of professional lighting!
GM: What did you like most about the photo shoot?
JR: I loved showing Suzanne Dimma around the house and seeing her reactions to things she hadn't seen before, like the CaesarStone waterfall countertop, greyed red oak floors, and hand-graded backsplash — pictured above — which Suzanne featured in her June 2011 editor's letter.
GM: Filming for TV must be different than setting up for a magazine photo shoot. What have you learned along the way?
JR: I was surprised to learn the amount of time taken to set up for a photo shoot: the crew, the lighting, the accessories, the styling — it took a while!
GM: What's something you've learned from the whole reno/addition experience?
JR: No matter what your timeline is, expect it to take longer. No matter what your budget is, add 10% more for unexpected costs along the way.
GM: If you could go back and change something about the reno, what would it be?
JR: Maybe the kitchen cabinetry. I wish we had gone more modern. They're gorgeous white Shaker cabinets, but now that all the finishes are pulled together, I think an edgier choice would have worked better. The cabinets were the first thing we chose, so maybe it was too spontaneous. I would advise homeowners to set a clear vision of how they want the house to look before they begin. As they go along, they should follow those set design decisions to stay on track.