Justine and Rev Run pose near the controversial accent wall in their new bedroom. Image via HGTV.com
Photo via Run Dmc
Is a home remodel ever really done? Not if you’re Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons, who returned January 3 for the second season of “Rev Run’s Renovation” (10 p.m., DIY Network). The first go-round found Rev—a founding member of seminal hip hop group Run-DMC and practicing minister—his wife, Justine, and their three children tackling a room-by-room redo of their 9,000-square-foot abode in Saddle River, N.J. This time, they’re focusing on remaking the outdoor areas and basement (think: bowling alley).
What can you learn from Rev’s reno before diving into your own? Here, the key takeaways:
In every episode, there’s a moment when trusty contractor Joe Bordonaro (who appears to be the most patient man alive) announces that he has some bad news. Whether it’s the discovery of a previously hidden steel beam (“There’s a stripper pole in the middle of the kitchen!” Justine despairs) or a pesky air duct that blocks plans to raise the roof (literally), unforeseen roadblocks regularly crop up. And that translates to more time and more money. So, as much as you can, expect the unexpected. As Rev puts it (in rhyme, of course): “Tables turn, you live and learn.” As Run-DMC put it: "It’s tricky."
Know Your Zoning Laws
Yes, laws apply to everyone, even if you’re in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Thus, after much planning, Rev’s dream of a giant indoor pool is shot down by the local zoning board, which rejects his proposal to extend a back room. (Told of the zoning snafu, Rev protests, “I’m in my zone!”) Learn from his mistake: Acquaint yourself with your town’s zoning laws well before you start sketching out plans or picking out pool tiles.
Diggy’s new closet was designed to keep him at home forever. Image via DIY Network
Keep Expectations Realistic
There are some problems that even the best renovation can’t solve. Justine hopes that redoing the bedroom of son Daniel (“Diggy”) will convince the 18-year-old to live at home “until he gets married.” Unfortunately, despite a snazzy new closet—complete with Versace cabinet knobs—Diggy will still likely leave the nest, leaving the extravagant new suite empty. And other dream amenities just aren’t practical because of the cost (contractor Joe talks Justine out of installing an extravagant fireplace). Discuss your hopes with your contractor, but keep end goals realistic to avoid disappointment or money woes.
DIY Where You Can
Though the major work is (and should be) done by the pros, smaller projects can present opportunities to save money by wielding the hammer yourself. In Rev’s case, the whole family (minus Rev) takes part in dismantling the home’s rotted-out wooden porch after donning hard hats.
Rev dubs himself the “foreman” of the project. Screenshot via globalgrind.com
Embrace Your Strengths
“Let me keep it real,” Rev has admitted of the house remodel. “I’ve done nothing.” It’s true. Unlike his fellow DIY Network star Vanilla Ice—who is somewhere building homes with the Amish right now—Rev doesn’t seem to actually own any tools. While Justine plots the look of each room and enjoys getting her hands dirty (gamely climbing aboard an excavator or hanging tile), Rev mainly tracks the budget. Occasionally, he swoops in to offer a design opinion (He initially rejects Justine’s idea of painting a single bedroom wall chocolate brown because “All accent walls scare me”) but mostly helps by staying out of her way. So recognize your talents. It’s OK to hand over the creative reins to a partner, for example, if you’d rather oversee the financials. In every renovation, someone has to be the Rev Run and someone has to be the Vanilla Ice.