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2017-01-13 13:33:36

Home improvement shows make big promises that deliver fabulously on screen and, in one Beijinger’s case, disintegrate soon afterward. 

Kang Da featured in an episode of Shanghai-based Dragon TV’s “Dream of Decoration” show that aired Nov. 8. The show portrayed him as a filial son who wished for a better home for his mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

“I trusted my house to the show and handed it over to them in July,” Kang posted Tuesday on Tianya, a Chinese online community. The episode ended happily, with Kang returning home with his wheelchair-bound mother.

The TV program emphasized that Kang’s house was too cold for his elderly mother — one of the problems to be fashionably tackled by talented designers.

An interior view of Kang Da’s house after the renovation. @mengxianggaizaojia from Weibo

An interior view of Kang Da’s house after the renovation. @mengxianggaizaojia from Weibo

“The family reminds me of my parents, who will get old one day,” Liu Haowei, the designer assigned to Kang’s house, said during the show. “I will create a better environment for his mother and a future for this special family.” However, Liu almost quit the show because his redecoration plans violated building codes and drew criticism from neighbors.

Now, cracking cabinets, bulging floors, and poor insulation haunt Kang. The faux-glam finish just adds insult to injury. According to his Tianya post, “The house is like a huge photo studio; everything is just decoration.”

“Dream of Decoration” just finished its third season and enjoys high viewer numbers. Many reacted to Kang’s post with disbelief that a TV show of this caliber would deliver such shoddy work. “I had a really good impression of the program; now, it seems it’s just so-so,” wrote one user on microblog platform Weibo.

Left: The floor of Kang Da’s house after the renovation. Right: The ceiling of Kang Da’s house after the renovation. @tianyashequ from Weibo

Left: The floor of Kang Da’s house after the renovation. Right: The ceiling of Kang Da’s house after the renovation. @tianyashequ from Weibo

Tian Ye, a Beijing-based designer who offered to help Kang after reading his post, told Sixth Tone that the roof is not insulated and the house is still too cold for Kang’s mother, who was diagnosed with lung cancer during the shooting of the episode.

“The show proposed installing [insulation] boards,” Tian told Sixth Tone. “But no one is currently working on the site.”

Kang said he can’t afford to have the house redecorated again. He paid a 300,000-yuan ($43,000) fee to Dragon TV to remodel the house the first time. Though the company returned his money when he complained about the quality of the job.

Electrical wires are left exposed on the ceiling after the renovation. @tianyashequ from Weibo

Electrical wires are left exposed on the ceiling after the renovation. @tianyashequ from Weibo

The show’s Weibo account responded on Thursday, admitting to the redecoration flaws and pointing out efforts the show has already made to take responsibility, including promises to repair the damage.

“Until now, all expenses, including redoing the work, have been covered by our show,” the response said. Attached to the post were screenshots of five bank transfers that totaled 572,800 yuan, dating from July to November.

Kang filed a request on Wednesday evening to withdraw his post from Tianya’s forum. By Friday, it had been removed. Kang did not respond to a request for comment by Sixth Tone.

Tian told Sixth Tone that he had talked to Kang, who said he chose to settle with the program. “[He] is still not satisfied with the current structure of the house,” Tian said, “but he does not want to intensify the conflict with the show.”

(Header image: A man stands in Kang Da’s house during the home renovation. @mengxianggaizaojia from Weibo)