Why We Can’t Get Enough of Home Improvement Shows and Celebrities

HGTV and DIY Network stars Jeff Devlin and Chip Wade share the fascination with home improvement media

It’s 8:00 p.m. on a Wednesday night and your fingers punch in the channel numbers for DIY Network. You’ve been anxiously anticipating how Jeff Devlin, on the show “Stone House Revival,” is going to creatively age a wood beam for a porch on a 19th-century farmhouse. While you may not have a blow torch or an angle grinder to recreate the exact look, you were inspired by Devlin to antique stain the side table in your den using vinegar and steel wool. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.

Source of Inspiration

Millions tune in to HGTV and DIY Network on a daily basis to watch the likes of Devlin, Chip and Joanna Gaines, Drew and Jonathan Scott. According to Devlin, people avidly tune in to get inspired.

“Viewers are not going to learn step-by-step instructions on what we do when they watch the show. It starts with inspiration and goes from there.”

Chip Wade, host, designer and executive producer of the show Elbow Room on DIY Network, and a structural engineer and carpenter by trade, echoes Devlin’s comments.

“There is definitely a fascination for people to watch the story of people who do this for a living. It is fun to see the story of real people doing big transformations and envision yourself doing the same thing.”

The great thing for DIYers today is that they can take their inspiration and do something with it. With the help of step-by-step instructions on content hubs like YouTube, they can find a video to do almost anything related to home renovation and design. It wasn’t so easy for Devlin when he was learning.

“When I was learning I bought a book or grabbed a VHS and taught myself. I learned through trial and error. Today, there are millions of videos on how to install trim. You can learn from all types of people. You couple that content with relatable people on your favorite HGTV or DIY Network show and you have success.”

Authenticity Speaks Volume

While home improvement celebrities come and go, the ones that transcend the home improvement sphere into the pop culture conversation tend to have a relatable and authentic story. It’s been hard recently to not pass a newsstand or pop culture focused digital publication without seeing or reading something about Chip and Joanna Gaines and the end of their popular show, Fixer Upper, on HGTV after 5 seasons.

“Chip and Joanna are going to leave a dent when Fixer Upper ends (on April 3). They are successful because they are relatable and real people,” said Devlin.

For successful personalities like Devlin and Wade, they aim to approach their craft as if the cameras aren’t rolling.

“I try to do everything with the litmus test of success being not what the average homeowner thinks about it (most homeowners like most everything), but more what other professionals are compelled by,” said Wade.

“The conversations that I have with Ed (Jakubowicz on “Stone House Revival”) are real. They are glimpses of reality. (Viewers) want to see you. They want to see you make mistakes. This is the first show I am able to mistakes on. It shows people I’m not perfect, but that I can problem solve and act with integrity and credibility to recover,” said Devlin.

Engaging with Viewers Keeps Them Coming Back

As with most media personalities, HGTV and DIY Network celebrities have thousands, if not millions, of avid social media followers and plenty of fans that reach out to them via email. While some celebrities do the basics – post pictures and videos – to provide their fans with additional content the fans can engage with, Devlin and Wade do what they can to take it a step further with people looking for real, practical advice.

“I always try to be available but also try to have a healthy view of what media, social media and real content is. There is no doubt a difference between folks that have real needs and those that just like to chat,” said Wade.

“I’ll spend 2 ½ hours on a plane and respond to emails from people with real questions to help them with a project I helped inspire,” said Devlin.