While many of us have seen the widely popular HGTV series Love It or List It , few may realize that the show is produced right here in the Triangle. Hosts David Visentin, known for his expertise in the housing market, and Hilary Farr, known for pulling off stunning home renovations, tell us what they love about the Triangle and why it’s the perfect location to film the show. The Toronto natives also share the inside scoop on home-design trends they’re seeing in the area as well as what they love about the South.
WHAT MAKES THE TRIANGLE A GOOD LOCATION TO PRODUCE THE SHOW?
David: There are so many great areas in the Triangle for real estate. A wide variety of housing and a booming economy have a lot of people flocking to the area, and they also have the finances to pull off the large and small renovations on the show. It is also a real-estate market that most people can relate to, pricewise, which I think can be important when you are trying to attract a large audience.
Hilary: I like the diversity in both homeowners and locations. We have sophisticated mid-twentieth century homes along with typical newly built homes in subdivisions, as well as huge, grand houses, all within forty minutes of each other. There is rural, semi-rural, and downtown. That's fun for design and encourages imaginative solutions to whatever shortcomings are in the homes.
WHAT TRENDS IN HOME DESIGN AND DECOR ARE YOU SEEING IN THE AREA?
David: People really want a connection with the outdoors that almost feels like an extension of the house. They want really great screened-in porches with a seating area for entertaining and maybe a fireplace and a spot for a TV. Also, people have always enjoyed a great place to watch a movie, so I see people making an effort to spend a little extra money to create their own “going to the movies” experience at home.
Hilary: In the five years I've been here, I've seen the Sophisticated Urbane trend become more and more prevalent. Kitchens have become sleeker and part of the main entertaining space, with open-concept still the favored layout. Lifestyles are changing, and the level of interest and knowledge of trends is driving a different design aesthetic than the country, farmhouse, Southern-style homes. We are doing a lot of cool, neutral colors. Gray tones remain on trend, but we are moving toward warmer metals and softer colors inspired by nature.
WHEN SEARCHING FOR A NEW HOME, WHAT HOME FEATURES ARE BUYERS LOOKING FOR THESE DAYS?
David: Almost everyone now asks for an in-home office and a lot of couples want two. They will share a bedroom, but their office . . . not if they don’t have to! They want privacy and quiet. With a pandemic and a lot of people working from home, I see that trend only growing, even after the pandemic is over. It might be the new norm to just work from home.
Hilary: It’s not really my department, but, oddly, more space isn't always the driving force to making that decision. I think neighborhoods that work with lifestyle, such as walkability, is more important than ever.
TELL US ABOUT ONE OF YOUR FAVORITE TRIANGLE RENOVATIONS.
David: Hilary has done so many! I love ultra-modern, and Hilary did a midcentury house close to downtown. It was a house that we both loved and one I would have lived in before the renovation. But afterward? Stunning. It had polished concrete floors that were beautiful.
Hilary: I loved the midcentury home in Durham for Tommy and Bert.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT HOSTING LOVE IT OR LIST IT?
David: I love that it combines the two things I love most (other than family, of course), which are television and real estate, which I still do back home in Canada when I am not filming. And I love working with Hilary. We have a blast. Meeting all kinds of great people. Every week we’re meeting new homeowners. I love traveling. I love to fly!
Hilary: I have to pinch myself to remember I'm being paid to have so much fun and do what I love. I get to meet such a diverse group of homeowners, all of whom are interesting with great stories and open hearts. The Southern hospitality and hilarious sense
of humor—love! And there's the camaraderie with David. After twelve years, we still enjoy being competitive, and getting each other's dander up never gets old.