Marriage Under Construction

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Kate doesn’t want to live in Matt’s house anymore. This young couple isn’t on the verge of a breakup; Kate just wants them to buy a house together. Until now she has been living in a home that Matt bought and renovated himself… and it’s time they take the next step: a joint mortgage.

In this fourth season of MARRIAGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION, we’ll be there when this new young couple battles multiple bids to land their first home together. We’ll be there – hammer strike by hammer strike – as Matt takes on the majority of the construction himself in order to stretch their limited budget.

Episode 1 – Let’s Get Moving

Matt and Kate currently live in a house that belongs to Kate’s parents.  The only problem is:  her parents still live there.  Matt recently sold his house, which he renovated himself, and the couple have moved back in with Kate’s parents until they find a place they can call their own.  Matt is anxious to get out there and find one quick.  They meet with Dave, a real estate agent, who agrees to show them several properties.  The first and second show potential, but they don’t feel “the vibe.”    The third is a downtown rental property, which they won’t be able to move in for five months – and that means five more months at Kate’s parents.  The fourth has the “vibe” but lacks too many things from their wish-list.  The fifth is in the right location and requires just enough renovation that’s within their budget.   They decide on the final property and make a hesitant offer well over asking.  The sellers aren’t keen on their offer, so  they gamble and make a second offer even more out of their comfort zone.  The gamble pays off and the house is theirs!

Episode 2 – Spatastic

Excited new homeowners, Matt and Kate, are happy to move out of the in-laws and into their own downtown dream home.  Wanting to see their vision for house come to life, they meet with Alexandra, a designer, to jumpstart the renovation. While meeting with the designer to discuss their individual wish-lists, they soon find out that they have completely different styles – Matt likes “industrial” and Kate likes “romantic farmhouse.”  The big job for Alexandra will be to marry these two styles.  Her first challenge is tackling the bathroom.  In order to get the bathroom they want, they will have to expand the existing bathroom into the third bedroom.  His experience from renovating his last home means Matt will be the contractor for this house as well.  Kate lends a hand by building a tub-side table about out reclaimed material.  As Matt puts up a new wall to frame out the new laundry room, Alexandra takes Kate shopping for glamorous tiles.  If everything comes together, the couple will get the larger, spa-inspired bathroom they’ve always wanted.

Episode 3 – A Master That Rocks

With the bathroom renovation complete, Matt and Kate are sick and tired of living in the basement.  They decide to tackle the Master Bedroom next, so they can finally get a good night’s sleep – something they’re going to need to rely on once the rest of the exhaustive renovation begins.  But Matt might not sleep well if Kate get’s her way with the design, as their ideas of dream bedrooms are completely different.  Alexandra’s plan is to create a room that is both elegant and romantic, as well as one that is fit for a rock star.  Matt begins to demo the room, starting with the closet, which will now be turned into two his-and-hers closets and framing the fireplace niche.  Although Matt is not a fan, Kate and Alexandra begin to look at unique wallpaper designs that hopefully have just enough rock’n’roll in them to make Matt happy.  Kate helps Alexandra to turn a garage sale coffee table into an upholstered ottoman.  To accent the fireplace niche, Alexandra goes shopping for antique mirror.  With the room completed, Matt and Kate are blown away, especially Matt.

Episode 4 – Matt and Kate’s Playground

With most of the top floor already complete, it would make sense to complete the remaining room, right?  No so for Kate.  She wants to do the backyard, so she can soak in the last days of summer.  With Matt and Kate being an outdoorsy couple and the backyard a complete mess, there are a lot of things on their wish list; but with the budget they’ve allocated for the backyard, there are going to be some trade-offs in the design.  Designer Alexandra and Landscaper Kevin lay out what this couple can get on their limited budget.  Privacy is a big concern, so they will go with a willow fence in a cedar frame.   Alexandra and Kate visit a stone yard and find the stone that will be used for their sundeck.  Since Matt nearly broke his back removing the several tons out of the backyard, Kate does her part and helps plant all the shrubbery.  With the backyard renovation coming close to being complete, Matt and Kate take a much needed break and have a night out with friends.  After painting the back of the unsightly garage, Alexandra  brings in the finishing touches that will be make this revamped backyard a great place to either entertain friends or just relax in the sun.

Episode 5 – Kate’s Dream Room

Kate’s ready to get out of the basement and finally move upstairs.  Matt agrees and they meet with Alexandra to design a space that will serve as both Kate’s Dressing Room and a Guest Bedroom.  Alexandra will need to find perfectly-sized pieces to make every inch count – including a custom closet and daybed.  But with custom pieces comes custom prices, and they almost double the original budget – something Matt is not too happy about.  To offset the overage Alexandra comes up with some cost saving DIY projects for Kate, and gets her to reupholster one of her old chairs.  She also wrangles Matt, under heavy protest, to install the wallpaper.  With all the finishing touches in place, the couple are in awe of their new guest bedroom.  Matt is blown away with size of the custom closet, but fears it will make Kate want to fill it up even more – but at least they can finally move up and out of the basement.

Episode 6 – Weather To Do The Front

The summer is almost over and fall is on the horizon.  Before the weather turns ugly, Matt and Kate decide that the next space to tackle is the front yard.   With opinions differing on what the front porch should be, Matt and Kate need to make compromises and look to Alexandra to find cost effective solutions that appeal to both their styles.  They settle on an amazing set of bi-folding doors, which will be open in the summer and closed in the winter, a solid stone pathway and cedar steps that are as wide as the entire porch. They would love a fence to help keep the dogs away from their neighbours’ lawn, but settle on a border of plants that will give the same effect.  These savings will come in handy once they start pulling apart the year-old front porch and find that it has no header and must absorb the cost of a new support beam.  They may have bitten off more than they chew with this small plot of land, but everyone pushes through and creates an amazing new front yard and facade, with tons of curb appeal.

Episode 7 – No Longer A Crud Room

Now that the front yard and facade are complete, the next space Matt and Kate need to tackle is the mudroom.  With their new bi-folding doors installed into the front porch, the space is now an obvious eye-sore, taking away from the curb appeal.  This space was not in their original budget, but something needs to be done about it.  Matt and Kate pose an interesting challenge to Alexandra, to create a beautiful and functional space for next to nothing.  They decide that building bench seating themselves and painting out a store-bought coat closet will save them enough money to cover Matt’s sudden design request – an in-floor heating system.  Alexandra and Kate get a great deal while shopping for fabric, and then get to work building their own roller blinds and seat cushions.  For a room that had no budget to begin with, Matt and Kate were able to get everything on their wish list, and now have a fun and cozy space that beautifully compliments its fabulous outside counterpart.

Episode 8 – A New York Twin

For Matt and Kate, it’s time to tackle the main floor, which consists of a living room, a dining room, and a kitchen, all in an open format.  But what room to start first?  How about all of them?  Tired of the constant construction, they decide to do it all in one fell swoop, so they can be rid of the dust and dirt once and for all.  After a complete gut, they start to build the bones that will give structure and elegance to the main floor design.  Alexandra draws up plans that involve decorative mouldings throughout that will tie the living room and the dining room together, and get’s Matt to build a new wall that will help detract from the stairwell, making the space a little less open-concept.  After having him build a new decorative fireplace mantle, she discovers that she may not be able to give him the fireplace he’s been wanting all along.  In a bold move, she shrinks the kitchen to accommodate a dining room panty, and Matt goes shopping for flooring after coming up with a money saving idea on how to install the new hardwood.  In the end, Matt and Kate are left with a contemporary space that is warm and inviting, ready for what Alexandra has up her sleeve for each individual room.

Episode 9 – Kitchen Compromise

With the bones of the main floor complete, it’s time for Matt and Kate to get a working kitchen so they can finally say good-bye to “take-out.”  They soon find that their ideas of what a kitchen should be differ drastically:  she’s a little bit country and he’s a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.  With a dwindling budget, they need make some sacrifices to their wish lists.  To save money, they decide to divide the kitchen into half closed and half open shelving.  They opt to purchase “scratch and dent” appliances and go antique shopping for storage solutions, which will now accommodate a solid surface counter into the design.  To get exactly what they want, the decide of custom cabinetry over store bought.  For the choice of cabinet colour they will have to meet in the middle – she wants white and he wants something bold. Designer Alexandra has no easy task in melding their two styles, but rises to the occasion and, with a few tricks up her sleeve, gives them a country kitchen with a modern edge.

Episode 10 – All Reclaimed

With the kitchen now complete, Matt and Kate can finally make home-cooked meals.  But the problem is, where do they eat them?  The decide to tackle the dining room next.  With a large chunk of the budget eaten away by the kitchen, they have very little to get a fully furnished dining room.  Kate comes up with an inspired idea…dumpster diving at her parents’ house.  She and Alexandra find a dining room table and chairs, which Matt will have to repaint and Alexandra will reupholster.  They shop for fabric at a remnants store that they will sew into curtains themselves.   Alexandra designs a compact yet spacious storage solution in the pantry. By refreshing reclaimed furniture for the big items and some accessories, Matt and Kate are able to get a formal dining room with a casual undertone for next to nothing.

Episode 11 – All About the TV

The only room left to tackle on the main floor is the living room, and Matt is anxious to get it done so he can finally relax and watch a little bit of television.  Matt and Kate’s budget is getting very low. Matt & Kate decided to finish the living room and worry about the basement & garage at a later date. The stair railing design that Alexandra was planning on is too expensive, so she is forced to find an alternative that is still modern in its look.  Matt take on the task of designing and constructing their new computer desk.  Kate and Alexandra put together a gallery wall, filled with personal photographs, which adds to the warm, homey feeling they want for the space.  Alexandra takes Matt shopping for a fireplace, making one last effort to convince him that electric models have come a long way since the 70’s. With the living room complete, Matt and Kate can finally put their feet up and have a nice, construction-free evening.

Episode 12 – A Place to Chill

With the basement and garage still left to finish, Matt and Kate have come to the end of their renovation budget.  Not wanting to leave these spaces as they are, they decide to dip into their emergency fund.  Along with their designer, Alexandra, they must come up with some cost saving solutions.  They start with the basement.  Alexandra decides to work with the existing flooring by colour blocking to make the floor blend with certain elements.  They paint out the existing cabinets and apply an innovative backsplash over the existing tiles.  Even though it makes Matt a little nervous, Kate grabs the power-tools and helps install the featured slate wall.   Adding to his to-do list, Matt goes shopping for an engagement ring and pays a special visit to Kate’s father to ask him one very important question.  By making a few design concessions, using their existing furniture, and doing most of the work themselves, Matt and Kate were able to make a cozy, music inspired basement on a shoestring budget.

Episode 13 – Matt’s Man Den

Matt and Kate are in the home stretch, and with the garage left to complete they are anxious to be done with the renovating and start living their lives again.  Kate has given Matt full permission to do whatever he wants in the garage.  Alexandra is asked to design Matt’s Man Den without going over budget.  She creates a space with ample storage, parking, a moveable partition wall, a skylight that spreads natural light over Matt’s new work studio, and adds just the teeniest, tiniest bit of wallpaper to give it some extra colour.  It is now time for Matt and Kate to have their first party in their new house, so they invite all of their friends and make them all jealous by giving them the grand tour from top to bottom.  After months of hard work, Matt and Kate can finally relax in their new home and start their new life together…which will start once Matt asks Kate one simple question.