Envy and FOMO are a fact of life for fans of home reno shows. If we could just reach through that screen and snag ourselves a charming mansion to remodel! But it’s possible that no show has filled us with more envy than Your Home Made Perfect, which is back on screens with S2 on Fridays in July on BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174).

The show features rival interior designers and architects Laura Jane Clark and Robert Jamison sitting down with people who’re stuck on what to do to even start remodelling homes that just don’t work for them anymore. After talking to the homeowners, Laura and Robert come up with their own design solutions and a few months later, through the magic of television, they present their clients with full-on virtual reality walkthroughs of how their different designs would transform the property in question.

This is no herky-jerky animation – it’s a down-to-the-detail, perfectly-lit computer model that takes the owner from their present-day home into a possible future, as all the details shift before their eyes to reveal a final, coherent design.

It’s a breath-taking moment, and there’s not one muddy builder’s pathway through the house and garden to show for it yet. Goodbye uncertainty, hello possibility. All the vital reno decisions can be made in advance, paint colours can be tested, materials reconsidered, and prices checked before one phonecall order is even made.

Watch now on Catch Up

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I can see it now…

Four months after their first meeting with Laura and Robert, homeowners don the VR headsets to see visualisations of their new home design options, complete down with door knobs and paint textures, fully furnished and realistically lit – thanks to the visual effects team at Fluid Pictures.

Behind the scenes, to accommodate all the homeowners we’ll see this season, Fluid had just 3 months to create more than 50 photorealistic interior designs. They started by sending staff to the original houses chosen for renovation to take photos, make detailed measurements, and set up simple mesh grids. Dave Throssell of Fluid Pictures reveals that it was the easiest approach. “We considered laser scanning but that would have created large meshes, which would then have to be sliced apart so the individual elements could be animated,” he explains. The low-high tech mixture was the better option.

Fluid’s modellers then got to work re-creating the spaces on computer down to the tiniest detail, while the production team from Remarkable Television had some serious admin to take care of: “Our build team had to secure planning permission for more than 20 designs – we had to be prepared for any of them to be built,” reveals Remarkable Television executive producer Joff Wilson.

With the homeowners in the special greenscreen studio a few months later, the Visual Effects team could play an animated sequence showing their current house transforming into the new designs, right in front of their eyes. It’s a technique that makes choosing the correct redesign obvious and instinctive instead of filling clients with doubt.

At the end of the episode, we get to compare the computer animated model to the real thing, as we get a walkthrough – filmed after all the construction and decorating has taken place – of what the updated property looks like in real life.

If there’s one drawback to the process, it’s that once the homeowners have seen the perfect realisation of their dreams, it can be hard to let go. One couple went nearly (R630,473) over budget to include all the reno features they wouldn’t even have dared dream of before.


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A matter of taste

Of course, you can’t please everyone. Viewers in the UK have had wildly differing reactions to Laura and Robert’s proposed designs, leading them to take sides and treat Robert as the underdog whose design genius is being unappreciated in favour of Laura’s “bleh” designs. It led to a lively Twitter war, with one viewer reminding Robert fans, “Everyone saying Robert’s design never get chosen, don’t you remember the bungalow with a bath fitted into the bench seating?” The teasing message was accompanied by a suitably absurd image from the virtual walk-through.


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What about your home?

In reality, though, viewers could take tips from both designers – something that series host Angela Scanlon is keen to do. “They both have very different approaches, but one tip I’ve picked up is that so many people become quite obsessed with what the front of the house looks like when choosing their home. They fall in love with the beautiful pink front door, or the beautiful blue porch, and blind themselves to what you actually need inside. I’ve become much more aware that it’s what you do on the inside of your house that counts!” she says. “I think that this period of isolation will really make people understand how they can make the most of their homes. Light, for example, is something that we hear architects and designers talk about all the time, but sometimes you don’t notice how that perfect glimmer of light moves through your home until you spend a long time inside it.”


Watch Your Home Made Perfect S2 on Fridays on BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174) at 20:00 or on Catch Up

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