Homes - Renovating

How to: Get on a home makeover show

Find out how to win the home makeover lottery!

Every night on TV, families just like yours get rooms in their homes decorated by top design professionals, often for free. Chances are, you've seen these shows and wondered, why not me? Sue Skinner of SMS Concepts -- the Toronto agency that casts families for shows like Colour Confidential and My Parents' House -- gives STYLE AT HOME the inside scoop on winning the home-makeover lottery.

1 Target a show
“Visit the websites,” says Sue Skinner of SMS concepts. HGTV, W Network, Life Network and Prime are key. “Look in the Homes section of the papers, the commuter papers and your community paper for ads.” And watch the show. “It's not just about the before and after,” Sue says. “It's about the family. Who are they? Why are they in this mess?”

2 Sell yourself
The application is critical. “Really tell us the story. Be forthcoming, frank and articulate. Make us laugh. Grab our attention,” says Sue. “There should be tension -- not Jerry Springer tension, but a conflict of some sort. He's conservative, she wants bright pink; that kind of thing.”

3 Take great photos
Most applications require photos so the designers can see the space. Take wide shots -- north, south, east and west (so you get a picture of every wall in the room). “Pictures should be in colour and taken with the lights on,” says Sue. And taking a minute to tidy things up isn't a bad idea, either. “The before shot can look tired and outdated; that's kind of the point,” she says. “But if the room is so cluttered you can't see the floor or the couch, forget it.”

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