Several Texas homeowners are reeling after being portrayed on HGTV’s new show Renovation Impossible as happy customers whose homes have undergone amazing transformations, though they say the truth is that their homes were left in varying states of disarray: damaged, unfinished and in some cases, dangerously unsafe.
Homeowner Ron Onyon describes his family’s appearance on ‘Renovation Impossible’
According to press materials, HGTV’s “Renovation Impossible,” which premiered Sept. 8, 2022, follows Dallas home builder Russell J. Holmes — best known for his previous roles in Discovery’s Fast N Loud and Garage Rehab — as he families helps. deadlocked renovation projects are “getting back on track with sophisticated, cost-intensive solutions”.
When Ron Onyon and his wife applied online and were chosen to appear on the show, they were excited about the fresh start for their already difficult renovation project at the lake house they bought in Arlington, Texas. Onyon told Heavy that a tough experience with a sloppy contractor made them dizzy, but they figured they couldn’t go wrong by appearing on an HGTV show with experts on camera to make the most of the $75,000 , which left them in their renovation budget. The result, he said, was a project that went well over budget with damage to his home, which he is still trying to repair.
“It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “We loved watching HGTV and thought we managed to get on one of those shows.”
HGTV shows are typically developed, filmed, and edited by independent TV production companies for the network. Renovation Impossible is produced by Pilgrim Media Group, a subsidiary of Lionsgate. Other TV series include Ghost Hunters on Discovery+, My Big Fat Fabulous Life on TLC, and the auto-focused shows Holmes has previously appeared in.
The Onyons appeared on the seventh episode of “Renovation Impossible” in a show titled “Lackluster Lakehouse.” At the beginning of the episode, Holmes says, “I’ve known this couple for a long time, a really sweet family” and explains that they called him to fix their dream home.
However, Onyon told Heavy that they never spoke to or met Holmes prior to the first day of shooting. And though the show claims renovations happen in 10 short days, Onyon said theirs — including a kitchen makeover, a modernized master bathroom and an updated living room — took months. But the TV storyline is the least of Onyon’s worries.
During the big reveal at the end of their episode, the crew filmed the couple’s excited reactions when they first saw the rooms, stunned by unexpected features including an electric fireplace next to their bathtub and a wall of glass doors offering lake views from their living room . In all the excitement and with cameras rolling, Onyon told Heavy things were looking good at first glance.
It was only after the cameras turned off that the Onyons noticed flaws at every turn, he said, from buckled countertops to sloppy tile installation to warped wood. There were also serious security risks, such as B. Shower jets that shot water directly into the electric fireplace. And they later found that the sliding glass door in their kitchen wasn’t bolted to the outside wall, he said, and was held in place only precariously by the paneling. Fearing the heavy glass door might fall on someone, he said he paid more money to have it repaired immediately.
According to Onyon, much of the construction was actually managed by a local contractor named Junior Sanchez, who was hired by the Pilgrim Media Group to carry out projects across several episodes and was portrayed on the show as one of Holmes’ construction friends. Onyon said “they shone[over]the great work he did in the other episodes,” so he trusted that he was good and even hired Sanchez during filming to do other house updates that did the “Renovation Impossible” show would not address.
But when Onyon asked Sanchez to come back to fix the mistakes made during the show, he was told it would cost thousands more. The family paid for some repairs just to make the home safer, but most of the original flaws remain. Onyon also went back and forth with Pilgrim, trying to get her to do things right.
“The show, the host and the contractors have known about my issues since the revelation,” he told Heavy.
Onyon has hired a lawyer and has also taken to social media in recent weeks to share his experience. His TikTok account is now full of videos of renovation mistakes made during his family’s episode of “Renovation Impossible.” The videos, including one that shows the subject of sliding glass doors and another shows all problems with the shower have already attracted over 10 million views.
More homeowners featured in Renovation Impossible have reached out
Heavy has heard from two other homeowners who appeared on Renovation Impossible and were inspired by Onyon’s TikTok videos to share their own experiences on the show. Both asked to remain anonymous for legal reasons, but said they still pay for repairs and replacements for renovations that are damaged, improperly installed, or cheaply made.
One homeowner told Heavy that working with Holmes was difficult and nerve-wracking, saying his mood and personality would change drastically when the cameras were shut down and that every item he and his crew created for their home ” was a useless prop and wouldn’t stand up to reality – lifetime use.”
“At no point has Russell aimed to provide stylish and functional home design that meets the needs of our families,” homeowner Heavy said via email. “We were just throwaways for his career. He would have been perfectly fine destroying our house for a 3-5 minute shot.”
“The producers were very good at making you believe they care and protecting you from Russell’s illusion of size,” the homeowner continued. “But in reality they were much worse in hindsight. When the show was over, we were deeply scared because we knew they would hurt families in expensive ways.”
Both unnamed homeowners who have come forward said they have suffered financially from the experience of having to replace or repair much of what was done to their homes and hope sharing their stories will inspire others to do so to think twice before attending a home renovation show.
Onyon said there were parts of filming that his family enjoyed, including getting to know some crew members, but that they never imagined the end result.
“At the end of the day we’re very angry, we feel taken advantage of,” he said. “If all shows are like this, then either more people need to be made aware so they can avoid going on them, or fix the process so they get a good show and families get a good product. It is not difficult to achieve a win-win situation for everyone. Be realistic about what you can do. Then all it takes is a little care and integrity.”
HGTV, Lionsgate and Holmes did not respond to Heavy’s requests for comment. However, on November 6, Holmes addressed public complaints about his show an Instagram post.
“As for the haters who post about things, they only know one side of… Karma is a bitch,” he wrote.
Multi-millionaire businessman Marcus Lemonis, whose recent HGTV series The Renovator inexplicably disappeared from the web after just two airings, commented on the post.
“Hold on to me brother…I’ve got you,” he wrote, to which Holmes replied, “would like to chat.”
https://heavy.com/entertainment/hgtv/exclusive-renovation-impossible-homeowners/ EXCLUSIVE: Homeowners claim HGTV show ripped them off