The Chronicle


Real estate and renovation shows are hitting the nail on the head for viewers, writes Siobhan Duck


HOME has always been where the heart is. But thanks to pandemic lockdowns, home is now also where many classrooms, offices, gyms, cafes and restaurant­s are.

With so many Australian­s trapped inside our houses, having a well-functionin­g living space has never been more important, according to Love It Or List It Australia’s resident real estate guru Andrew Winter and master of interiors Neale Whitaker.

It has understand­ably led to a lot of people contemplat­ing moving house or getting around to doing all those odd jobs they’ve been putting off for so long.

“Everything revolves around the home now, and we’ve all spent so much time in them in recent months that we’ve become familiar with every little nook and cranny, and defect and fault,” Whitaker explains. This has led to what Whitaker describes as “The Bunnings phenomenon”.

“The reason why stores like Bunnings have been so absolutely jam-packed and teeming with people throughout the pandemic and lockdown is because people were using this as an opportunit­y to get all those niggly things done,” he says. “Full-scale renovation­s came to a halt for obvious reasons. But there was no stoppage on the small jobs like mending a squeaky doorframe or painting a few walls. It was just getting on to all those little things that have been on the to-do list forever. It’s been an absolute phenomenon.”

The pandemic has also affected this season of Love It Or List It, with strict Covid-safe protocols in place during filming, and border closures causing delays. Not that you’d know it as a viewer.

“During the season, the decision was made to just not dwell on Covid,” Winter says. “I was against that at first because I felt it was part of the story. But I’m so glad they stuck to their guns and ignored me, because I think people are fatigued by it all. I watch shows now where they’ve all got masks on and I’m just thinking, ‘Oh, stop it!’ I want to see real feelings on people’s faces.

“It was the best decision [not to address it], even though it was really challengin­g.

“So, you may see scenes where it looks like we are standing close together but that’s because our camera people are really clever, because we really would have been far apart.”

While they may have had to keep socially distanced this series, there is a close bond between the two co-hosts. The playful rivalry between them – the show revolves around Whitaker “making over” properties in the hopes a frustrated owner will stay put, while Winter tries to lure them away by showing them through new homes – is what audiences love.



 ?? Love It Or List It Australia. ?? DYNAMIC DUO: Andrew Winter, left, and Neale Whitaker help homeowners decide whether to sell or renovate their homes in
Love It Or List It Australia. DYNAMIC DUO: Andrew Winter, left, and Neale Whitaker help homeowners decide whether to sell or renovate their homes in

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