Todd Talbot wants to go on the record with a pitch for a new series starring he and Jillian Harris for W Network. He even leans in close so my iPhone records it loud and clear.
“I think there is a better show out there with the stuff that hasn’t aired,” he says with a mischievous smile. “We have been gunning for it. For the record, whoever is listening, we’re game!”
In the meantime, the duo will stick with the formula that has made them household names with the W Network crowd, Love It Or List It Vancouver, returning tonight with a new season. Once again, Harris and Talbot descend on Vancouver homeowners who are looking for a major change. Will they heed Harris’ advice and renovate their family home or will they side with Talbot and sell the joint and find a new abode? While the structure of Love It Or List It Vancouver hasn’t changed, Harris says the flavour and tone certainly has.
“Now that we kind of have a grasp on things this is more organic and the camera style is looser. I think people are going to be able to relate to it even more,” she says. “The first two seasons we were trying to figure out the formula.”
“I’ve been having to deal with you,” Talbot counters to his co-star. “It’s taken me a year to do that!” The snappy back and forth between the feisty Harris and acerbic Talbot is entertaining as heck, and serves as a balance to the stresses of watching homeowners agonize over staying put or moving somewhere new. Those stresses are shared by interior designer Harris and real estate agent Talbot, who must struggle within the confines of limited renovation budgets (she) or an exploding housing market driving more and more Vancouverites to the suburbs (he).
“It has gotten ridiculously expensive to live in Vancouver,” Talbot admits. “You almost become numb to the pricing. You don’t even bat an eye at a million dollars. The biggest challenge is faced by those families with young kids who are moving out of their condo and into a detached house because those homes have skyrocketed in price. They want to move out of the densified downtown and into a family neighbourhood and the cost barrier there is ridiculously high.”
The solution? Income suites in homes and laneway housing, the former of which aren’t always legal and the latter a mini-house built where a garage used to be on a century-home’s property. Or people are staying put and renovating. Enter Harris, who has her own challenges to face.
“I think a lot of people come on the show because they want to renovate,” she says. “But there is only so much that I can do with their limited existing space, so they move.”
“My biggest challenge this season are the fricking character homes,” she continues. “The homeowners want to have them renovated and sometimes it’s just cheaper to knock them down and start over again. We have so many off-camera conversations with the homeowners to tell them that, and they don’t care. They want us to renovate.”
Sounds like just the sort of stuff we’d love to see on the proposed show Talbot is hoping for.
Love It Or List It Vancouver returns Monday at 10 p.m. ET on W Network.