Behind The Scenes On Rate My Space

So last night we thoroughly enjoyed our fifteen minues (well, more like 15 seconds) of fame on HGTV’s Rate My Space (after enduring thirty minutes of nail biting nerves leading up to the big event). Did you catch it? What’d you think? Sherry and I are mainly relieved that we were reasonably coherent (we were, right?) and didn’t look all that weird (although Sherry swears that her voice was crazy the whole time). Oh and thanks so much to those of you who’ve already dropped us a line about catching the show. We’re so glad you guys were able to tune in!

But enough chit chat. On to the behind the scenes scoop about how it all went down (with some high-tech screen shots- i.e. photos of our paused TV screen to help tell the story).


Before this experience, we had always taken the show’s premise that homeowners hand-picked their three inspiration rooms with a grain of salt (figuring producers or the designer really offered the makeover recipients a few prescreened rooms to choose from). Not true! C.V. and Noel, the super-friendly homeowners in our episode, actually had their pick of the whole universe. So once C.V. and Noel chose our bedroom as one of their favorites, the (extremely friendly) producers contacted us to let us know and requested a video tour of our room and a little video interview (this is probably where people get screened to ensure that they’re not babbling weirdos- unbelievably we got through!). Once we learned that our room and our interview passed the screening test, a crew was suddenly scheduled to fly out to Richmond just two short weeks later. Needless to say we pinched ourselves (and cleaned) for 14 days straight.


We say “crew” generously, as it was actually a one man show. They’ve got one guy (Dan, also totally nice- we’re even Facebook friends now) who shoots all the inspiration rooms for the show, no matter where they are (he had just returned from a shoot in Hawaii, so Richmond must’ve been a bit less exotic by comparison). You can see him below filming some B-roll of Sherry doing bedroom-y things like contemplating her wardrobe. This footage ended up on the cutting room floor along with a lots of other bedroom scenarios: us reading on the bed, Burger attacking the camera, me blogging in the chair, Sherry admiring her shoe collection, a lengthy interview, etc. Dan was actually here filming for about 6 hours, so clearly a lot had to be whittled down to squeeze us into the 90 seconds-ish time slot that we had on the show.  Lucky for me they cut out the spot where I accidentally called Angelo  “Anthony.” I blanked under pressure, sorry Angelo (he’s also our Facebook friend so I hope I’m forgiven).


Our conversation with homeowner C.V. and designer Angelo Surmelis was probably the highlight of our filming experience. And it was actually the very first thing we filmed, a mere 15 minutes after Dan arrived.  It all happened just as you saw it, no funny editing or camera tricks. They were really mid-makeover when we spoke and C.V. was all giddy with excitement (btw, how good was she on camera? Sherry and I were so impressed by her effortless delivery). Using the crew’s laptops we were connected via Skype and had a 15-ish-minute conversation about lots of things: where her husband was, what other inspiration rooms they were using, Angelo’s vision for the room, and why we put up the curtains on either side of the bed (they didn’t realize there was storage back there and Angelo actually really liked that detail). And although only our ramblings about paint color and spa-like fabrics and textures made the cut, we’re just thankful we appeared to have strung together full sentences with nouns and verbs in the right place.


We probably annoyed Dan with lots of questions about how they cobble the show together (inquiring minds want to know!), but a few of our favorite tidbits were about what it’s like to be the makeover recipient.  For now, they only pick homeowners in California so that they can keep production local to their HQ. Interesting, right? We also learned that the production company pays for all of the makeover costs. But that doesn’t mean C.V. scored her $12,000 makeover totally free- apparently the homeowner still has to pay taxes on the improvements. Still a pretty good deal though, eh?

So that’s the scoop on our little peek behind the Rate My Space curtain. It was a great experience and we’re totally happy with the result. Other than my wife declaring that she wants a voice transplant we couldn’t be more excited about our 15 seconds of fame.

So click here to check out a clip of the episode. We’d love to know what you guys think of the final makeover. Wasn’t that room’s spacious layout amazing? Go ahead, rate that space. And feel free to ask any and all behind the scenes questions that we may have forgotten to cover in our HGTV afterglow.


  1. Jessica says

    My husband and I watched you guys last night and thought you did great!!!! Your bedroom is so beautiful and you did awesome on camera too.

  2. Abby says

    I watched the show last night and thought it was great! Since I’m home decor challenged and a fashion addict, I have to ask where Sherry got her top? I am in love! Thanks!

  3. says

    I watched y’all last night too, and thought you did wonderfully! I told my husband, “I read their blog!” like I *knew* someone who had been on TV.

    I do have one question about the design of the space I was hoping you could shed some light on. I noticed one side of the bed (on my left side as I watched) had the pillows standing up and all of the throw pillos in front of them, and there were three framed prints hung to that side as well. It made the bed look a bit “funny,” like two people made up each side differently. Maybe its just me wanting balance, but I just didn’t understand the design reason for doing that.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Thanks guys! Shucks, we’re blushing all over again. It was super fun to have a little virtual viewing party with ya!

      As for my shirt, it’s a $12 Old Navy steal. Our dressing philosophy is pretty much the same as our decorating mantra: cheap can be chic! And of course we layer in some quality staples to round things out (I splurge on jeans but only get one or two pairs per year while John saves up for a nice Banana suit every few years). The funny thing about my blue shirt in the show is that it’s one of two things in my closet that aren’t black (nearly a decade in NYC will suck the color right out of your wardrobe). I actually had to ask John to take me to Old Navy once the producers mentioned that black was a no-no on camera (along with anything white or patterned) due to a complete lack of on-screen options. And now that I’ve seen myself in something other than black I have to say I’m warming up to the idea of adding more colors to my closet in the coming months. On a strict budget of course!

      Oh and as for MC’s pillow question, as far as we can tell Angelo was going for a subtly asymmetrical effect (also evidenced by his off-center frame placement on the wall behind the bed). Although it’s definitely not the traditional balanced pillow look, I think he probably does so many shows that he tries to bring new ideas and aesthetics to the table to keep things feeling fresh (and to avoid autopilot design) so of course we loved seeing something so unexpected when it came to pillow placement. It’s definitely not for everyone but it’s fun to see a variation to the norm none the less!


  4. says

    You guys did great! I must admit that I noticed a pitchy ‘bye’ in there but I just chocked it up to nerves. Overall it was a total hit…and your inspiration room was definitely the best of the three.

    Sherry, dontcha worry about the crazy voice – I think we can all agree that if we were on national television, our voice would crack, pop & lock more than you see on So You Think You Can Dance.

    XO – Your VBFF who totally giggled for joy for your new title – “TV star”

  5. says

    You two were great last night! The final result was nice, but a little dark for my taste. I love your bedroom. I hope someone else picks another room in your home, so we can see you both again!

  6. says

    I tivoed it and watched it last night! You guys did great! At first I was SO dissapointed because I thought they were only going to include that first clip of you guys on your bed with puppy… i was like NO WAY uncool. Then later I thought it was super cute – you guys looked and sounded comfortable, warm and friendly – and your room looked FAB! So fun to see you guys on screen – me, my mom and my sister LOVE your blog. They missed the show but are in town next week so I saved it for them. :) Congrats again on such a fun, cool opportunity!

  7. says

    We watched last night and I think you guys were like old pros! I would have stuttered through the whole thing probably…haha. I really liked the final result, but wasn’t too keen on the 3 pics above their bed that were heading to the left..I like symmetry and balance…call me old fashioned.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Liz,

      Greetings from across the pond! Here’s the show’s premise: a designer makes over one lucky homeowner’s room (in this case a bedroom)… but first the homeowner gets to go online to a site called and pick three “inspiration rooms” for the designer to draw from to create the ultimate transformation. And since anyone can upload images of their home to this site (we did a while back in hopes that people would find our blog), ours were in the pot… and our bedroom was selected by the homeowner as one of the three “inspiration rooms” for the designer!

      Then we got to be interviewed on camera for a bit, and they took some footage of our bedroom to cobble a little tiny segment about our space into the half hour show which is mainly dedicated to the homeowner’s makeover. Fun for the whole family.

      We should actually have a video link of the whole show to share any day now, so stay tuned!


  8. Jamie says

    OMG I’ve been in that room!

    I wish I had been checking the blog so I could have known this was coming. Make sure I know about the re-airs and online version, I want to watch!

  9. Molly says

    Did you rehearse what you were going to say ahead of time or did you just talk and let them use what they needed?? I would have just starred blank at the camera like a wacko!! Guess I wouldn’t have made the screening cut. he!! And did they do hair/makeup or leave it up to you guys? You look fabulous, just curious how you knew (if they didnt’ do it for you) what would be camera appropriate?

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Molly,

      The great thing about the whole process was that it wasn’t overwhelming at all, which I think was achieved by not psyching us out with too much info ahead of time. Other than mentioning that we shouldn’t wear black, white or patterned clothing, we were on our own. John was make-up free and I just did mine as usual (nothing extra heavy for the lights because I was doing my best to avoid a Tammy Faye moment).

      And as for rehearsing any lines, that was also blissfully non-nerve-inducing (well, less-nerve-inducing-than-it-could-have-been is probably more like it since nerves would explain why my voice decided to go up, oh, an octave or two).

      The super personable camera guy just said “let’s have a conversation with Angelo and C.V.” so we Skyped them and immediately started talking about what stage her room was in (just got painted) and where her hubby was (our launching missiles or something). Then Angelo gradually started asking room related things and we answered him and before we knew it we were done with the whole video conference thing.

      The whole thing was totally insane but super fun at the same time. Thanks everyone for sharing our enthusiasm!


  10. Christy says

    I watched it too! Fortunately or unfortunately, my little guy was up sick so I was up at 10p to watch the show. You all did great!

    Sherry, I thought your voice was fine. It was actually just as I expected you to sound. John on the other hand had a deeper voice than I expected. All three of you (including the Burg) did great. It was fun to watch.

  11. cheep3r5 says

    Y’all were wonderful!! Your exuberance, charm, passion and sense of fum that comes through this website really showed through in your short segment. I would watch a show on HGTV with you two hosting. =) Seeing your bedroom “live” was a real treat. Behind the scenes photos were also cool.

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