Vanessa put down her paintbrush and surveyed the hive of industry around her. In the bedroom two other people were painting the walls various shades of pink, and a third was rapidly pasting up lengths of floral wallpaper. Someone else was putting together an elaborate headboard for the new bed which was outside in the hall, leaning up against the wall.
Vanessa went downstairs. The open plan sitting room and dining room had at least ten people hard at work. Beyond the dining room another team was adding pink touches to the boring kitchen. A bright light indicated that the TV crew were filming in there at present. Vanessa sighed happily. Everything was going according to plan.
She had contacted the television channel which made 60 Minute Makeover with a sob story about her friend Hannah having little money and no time to decorate her home due to a punishing work schedule. Hannah was at present in Oxfordshire on a work-related visit which had lasted for several days. She would be back later today, at which time the TV crew would engineer the reveal of the design team’s handiwork.
Vanessa glanced around the sitting and dining rooms, which were a vision in brown. A feature wall of striped wallpaper in the sitting room, and a brown floral pattern in the dining room. Luckily Vanessa knew Hannah’s taste well, as they had been friends for years.
“There you are, Vanessa,” crowed the designer in her shrill voice. “Ooh, it’s all going so well, isn’t it!”
The bright light was wheeled in and the cameraman zoomed in close on the conversation between Vanessa and the designer.
“Yes, it’s just brilliant,” beamed Vanessa. “Hannah will be utterly astounded.”
They had to get out of the way while the workers hurriedly assembled the bookcase which was to form a barrier between the two rooms. Then for the final touches: curtains tweaked into place, rugs, throws and vases of flowers appearing as if from nowhere. Then the classic countdown from ten to one with the instruction to stop working.
The designer hurriedly beckoned for her hair and lipstick to be retouched, then turned to the camera.
“Faaabulous! Well done everyone, we got it all done!” she gushed.
“We got it all done, she just ponced about a bit,” whispered one worker to another out of earshot of the TV camera.
The TV crew consulted their watches. Hannah was due sometime in the next half hour, so they sent a couple of runners up to the main road to look out for her car.
Shortly after a cry of ‘she’s coming’ went up. All the workers, plus the designer and Vanessa, assembled outside Hannah’s house as her car drew to a halt.
“What’s going on?” she called, casting a puzzled glance at the skip full of her possessions.
“We’re from 60 Minute Makeover. Your friend Vanessa got us in to do a makeover on your home.”
“But there was nothing wrong with my home,” gasped Hannah. “I’ve not long since finished decorating downstairs.”
“And now it’s all lovely dark browns and bold patterns, darling,” said Vanessa.
Hannah’s face fell as she surveyed the sitting and dining rooms. “Where are my lovely cream lamps?” she whispered as she caught sight of their brown replacements.
She went very quiet and her face grew pale when they entered the kitchen. “What’s wrong, Hannah? Don’t you like it?” asked the designer.
A tear trickled down Hannah’s cheek.
“That’s what you get for going on holiday with my husband,” said Vanessa waspishly.
That, needless to say, was one episode of 60 Minute Makeover that didn’t make it to air.
By Karenne Griffin
Last Modified on: 05-11-2015