Behind the Scenes at HGTV New House New LifePosted by Darren Drevik on May 8, 2014 in Letters from Vermont | 5 comments
“It is as hard to see oneself as to look backwards without turning around.”
- Henry David Thoreau
That went well.
Lynne and I were ecstatic over last night’s episode of HGTV “New House, New Life.” Granted we were overly self-critical (“I looked old,” “I looked overweight,” “Why did I say that?” “When is Darren going to let Lynne talk?”) but the real star of the show, the Phineas Swann Bed and Breakfast Inn, looked stunning, and we couldn’t have been happier.
For those who missed the sneak peek, there’s two more chances to watch the episode in advance before it airs on HGTV in June. You can watch it on the Great American Country cable channel (DirectTV channel 326, DishTV channel 167, Montgomery Comcast channel 149, elsewhere check your cable lineup) next Wednesday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. or on May 21 at 8 p.m.
For those who’d like a little behind-the-scenes on the filming of the episode, we thought we’d share some things to make your viewing more enjoyable. Here’s some of the questions we were asked this week, and some juicy answers:
How’d they pick you? We had a friend who shall go nameless see a press release about the show’s producers looking for people “who were chucking their big-city lives and chasing their dream.” Our friend simply said, “this is so you” and so we contacted the producers.
When was the episode filmed? The camera crew filmed us last fall, both in New York City for a week, and also in Montgomery at the Phineas for a week. They managed to time their visit to Vermont at the peak of leaf season, so they got some great footage.
Did you really look at two other inns before buying the Phineas? We looked at over one hundred inns on the internet, and at least two dozen in person before setting on the Phinnie. If they’d filmed every visit of every inn, it would have been a longer miniseries than Roots.
The previous owners didn’t let you test-drive the inn for a week, did they? Oh yes they did. We inn-sat for Jay & John, and as we said in the episode, it was a great way for us to make sure we were really ready for the challenges.
In New York, where did your beagles visit? Was it a doggie day care? Yes. The show filmed a ton of footage at a wonderful place we used to use called Camp Canine. We were sad a lot of it ended up on the cutting room floor, especially since these people were always so nice. In fact, on the day we left for Vermont, they threw a going-away party (complete with favors and doggie hats) for Marshall and Magnolia.
Did anything else get cut out? They showed footage of us picking apples and walking through Ogla’s wonderful place at Raven Ridge Farm, but left out was a great demo by her husband that explained for viewers the different grades of maple syrup. Also cut out for time was a meeting where you got to meet our wonderful staff. They filmed more than 400 hours of footage for just 22 minutes of TV.
Where was the chipmunk I saw in the opening scenes? That’s Simon, one of the two chipmunks (along with girlfriend Simone) who live here at the Phineas. They’re so tame you can get within two feet of them.
Jay mentioned he had 18,000 dog figurines at the inn. Did you keep all of them? No, Jay kept most of them, but was nice enough to leave us just enough to properly furnish the Phineas common rooms without making it so cluttered that you’re afraid of knocking things over.
Who did Lynne work for in New York? They didn’t mention it in the show. Lynne worked for 20 years for Colgate-Palmolive Co., both in Atlanta and at their headquarters in Manhattan.
How did they get those great aerial shots of Montgomery Center and the Phineas Swann? HGTV New House New Life actually used a drone helicopter with a GoPro camera attached. They flew the thing up and down around the front and back of the house, along the Trout River, and up and down Main Street on the day they filmed.
Anything they got wrong? Did they misrepresent anything? We’re impressed they did such a good job documenting our search and our purchase of the Phineas Swann. And how happy we are. There were a few minor mixups in editing, including placing the nearby Snowshoe Lodge way down in Waitsfield, and saying we lived on the Upper East Side when it was really the Upper West Side. But other than those minor glitches, they got everything pretty much right.
I missed it. Will it be on again? As mentioned, it replays next Wednesday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. and May 21 at 8 p.m. on the Great American Country channel. And its HGTV debut is still planned for some time in June.