Every home on HGTV from the coastal finds on Beach Front Bargain Hunt to the tiny craftsman styles featured on Home Town seem to have one thing in common, and it’s not that they’re all using quartz countertops. It is the open floor plan that has come ubiquitous with HGTV’s brand of functional design. The average viewer would think that the open floor plan is a product straight from the heart of every woman. Hundreds of episodes of Property Brothers feature a mom explaining that she needs an open floor plan so she can have uninterrupted sight lines to her children while she works in the kitchen. The husband usually wants a multi-car garage or a home office away from the kids. Then there are the young couples that need the open floor plan to entertain their many, many guests that are perpetually having conversations with them while a meal is being cooked. The woman is doing the cooking because men only grill, obviously.
But it turns out that these overly designed maximalist open floor plans are not featured on HGTV for the pleasure of the many women watching - they’re just there to hold men’s attention. In an interview with NPR, Ronda Kaysen, a New York Times contributor, mentioned the exact reason why every house in the United Cities of HGTV features this floor plan:“The reason that they are so big on open concept is because it gets the male viewers. Like, guys like to watch sledgehammers and, like, taking out walls.” All this time, I thought my partner watched these shows because he liked shiplap.
Everything that I’ve ever believed about the necessity of sight lines is a lie. The upshot? This revelation about what men want to see on HGTV does leave room for a feminist home renovation show that is only about building walls in homes that have existing open floor concepts. Call it Walls Over Balls hosted by the Property Sisters. Problem solved.