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Ottawa couple take on All for Nothing?

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My reality TV show experience

When Ottawa couple Eric and Angie Muis decided to renovate their home for resale, they quickly came across an advertisement for reality TV show, All for Nothing? They decided to take on the renovation challenge with team of camera men surrounding them, but they didn’t really know what they were in for. All for Nothing? Is a contest between two households to renovate to increase the value of their home. The home that increases the most wins a free listing with Ottawa’s Paul Rushforth.

We chat to Angie and Eric to see what she says about the experience and what he says.

Why did you decide to apply for All or Nothing?

Angie: We love a good competition! It looked like a really fun contest and the renovations were already on our to-do list anyway. (We would have been really happy to win the prize of a free listing too!) 

Eric: Angie had noticed in one of the local papers that they were looking for people for a home reno show, and the prize being that they would sell our home for free. We had talked about moving several times and this seemed as good as of time as any to jump in.

Were you prepared for the experience?

Angie: I had thought we were! It all looked so easy in the planning phase. When the cameras started rolling, it turned out that there was a much less time than we'd anticipated due to filming schedules and, as is par for the course with renos, there was a little more work than we'd expected too. In the end, we didn't quite finish and that really came down to our plans being a little too ambitious for the time we were given.

Eric: Partially, I wasn't quite sure the extent of the work that they would have us do, I knew the bathroom was going to be on the list, however I did not expect having to build a deck, and finish half a basement as well. We were somewhat pioneers on the show, I think we were episode six, or so, and as I recall, the show hadn't been on the air at that time so we really didn't know what the volume of work that was going to be needed on our end.

How would you describe the experience of being on the show?

Angie: We didn't really know what to expect, but it ended up being loads of fun. What you don't get to see on camera is how great the crew is - they are really, really amazing. It was a pleasure having them into our home and we had a great time filming.

Eric: I found it was very interesting, it also shattered many perceptions I had on reality TV. I recall at one time joking with Angie that they were having me carry the same piece of garbage to the curb three times, the funny thing was that I had my mic on, and the camera man at the curb yelled out "at least its not heavy!" All in all I would say it was a lot of fun, the crew was very nice and never got in the way, I often felt like a bad host for not having food or drinks ready for them, and even when I did they would often say no thanks. One thing that does stick out in my mind was the last day. We had a horrible night and I was exhausted, with too many late nights and early mornings. Our living room became a dump. It had all the tools and left over supplies all stock piled there which was just a disaster. In the end a few of the crew members took up our cause and pitched in to help clear things, which was amazing and totally unexpected. The living room wasn't a part of what we had to do, however it just killed the front entrance which would have been the first impression of things.

What was the best part?

Angie: From a practical standpoint, it was the advice we got from Paul Rushforth. He's extremely knowledgeable, so I found that even just chatting during breaks in filming, he taught me a lot about the local real estate market and how to get the most from it. 

From a personal standpoint, it's nice to have a little chapter of our lives documented.

Eric: Hands down working with the camera crew. They were super nice and lots of fun to talk to, and we quickly became friends with them.

And the worst?

Angie: All for Nothing? hadn't taken to air until after we were finished filming and, not really knowing what to expect on the show, I started to worry about how we might appear on camera. Would the final cut make us look awful? What if we actually/are/ awful? I got so nervous! 

Eric: This is a toss-up. The short term pain was probably the last night, I was way too tired to be doing plumbing and even clean-up for that matter. It started with me emptying the air tank from the compressor that we used for the brad nailer. When I emptied it, the tank was still pretty new and I was warned that it will shoot out some oil, which it did, right onto the new carpet in the basement. After that I was pretty disheartened. However, I still needed to finish the sink plumbing upstairs. I accidentally knocked over the PVC cleaner under the new sink right in the new vanity, and that stuff strips paint and stain very efficiently. So, the new vanity was a mess. Both things were easy fixes, baby wipes take out oil surprisingly well and a quick patch up of the stain fixed things, however neither were on time for the show.

The bigger was me stealing help from Angie on several occasions, and not helping when I promised to. Early in the renovation I said I'd help her with the basement, however as the work went on I ended up taking help from her for the bathroom. This lead to larger issues with the basement not getting done as well as it could have, given another chance I would have helped Angie as I am sure she would have then been able to help with the bathroom.

Did the show inspire you do more renovations?

Angie: We'd done many renovations to the house before the show and after finishing up the projects that we filmed we were pretty much reno-d out.  Having the big jobs done put us in a great position to get staging though and it definitely inspired us to have some fun dressing up the new spaces.

Eric: The show was more of a driving force, we were doing renovations regardless. However, given a two week time line we got much more done in that time than we would have otherwise.

Would you do it again?

Angie: Absolutely. We are really happy in our new home but, if we were to consider selling, it's a great way to have some fun getting market ready.

Eric: Certainly, we are usually doing renovations anyway, especially on our new house. As to whether or not someone actually wants to watch me drain another toilet...well.

By Sarah Hoy, Images provided by Mountain Road Productions 

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