A Netflix Q&A with Shea McGee
You’ve seen the Instagram Stories sharing behind-the-scenes clips of Syd and Shea filming our Netflix show…
but we wanted to get an even closer look at what it takes to make Dream Home Makeover. If we’ve learned anything the last two years, it’s that nothing goes according to plan. Between filming deadlines and items stuck on containers, every single project had a problem to be solved! We asked Shea a few questions about filming and all it entails—from design challenges to favorite moments. Keep on reading to hear what she had to say!
"We’ve been blessed to experience so many fun things with our kids and have them captured on camera – something we’ll be able to cherish forever."
What does a typical day of filming look like?
A typical day of filming looks like Syd and I waking up around 5 to workout, and then Marisa (makeup) and Laura (hair) arrive at our home around 7 am to help me look presentable. I sit at the corner of our kitchen island while Syd makes the girls breakfast and we all get some time together before work and school begin. Syd and I then head to the filming location for the day inevitably 20 minutes past our call-time. We get mic’d and prepped on talking points, then we wait around and answer emails on our phones while the crew gets cameras, lighting, etc. figured out. TV has been eye-opening because it requires a lot of waiting around and as two people who run a business and thrive on efficiency…it’s, well, an exercise in patience for us, ha.
What you may not realize is that we film everything on location twice. Yes, you read that right…twice. For example, we’ll do a full reveal with the two camera operators doing closeups of our faces. Then we break and do what they call a “wide pass” which uses lenses that capture the bigger picture.
The interview days are a bit different because we wear the same outfits over and over while production asks us the same questions over and over in slightly different ways to work with how they decide to edit the storyline. We sit on the sofa from 9-5 with a quick lunch break and hide multiple beverages right below the camera’s line of sight (caffeine, hydration, more caffeine)!
What is it like filming with your family?
Filming with our family is really fun and also exhausting. Syd and I work with the producers to brainstorm activities that are authentic to our life and also fun for the kids so it doesn’t feel as much like work. We’ve been blessed to experience so many fun things with our kids and have them captured on camera – something we’ll be able to cherish forever. When the season begins it takes us all a bit to settle in, but our kids are really great at just being themselves and ignoring the cameras. I think it is more stressful for Syd and I because we want things to go smoothly and kids will be kids. I also have to tell myself that there is beauty to be found in chaos and I know others can relate to the juggle with family, life, and work. That said, an arsenal of snacks are an absolute must. Having a new baby and filming just a few short weeks after giving birth was a new challenge this season but we just had to speak up when we needed a break!
Is it challenging working on multiple projects in such a short window of time?
We’re used to juggling multiple projects at a time, but for the show we cast the one room transformations, so those projects are added on top of our normal workload and things get wild! We also have tight turnarounds to keep on schedule and have to be very nimble as problems arise.
What are you most excited about this season?
I’m really excited about the different types of projects we’re showing – everything from a basement makeover, to a beachy kitchen, and a large custom home project we worked on for several years prior to filming.
What does traveling for the projects look like?
We kept the projects out of state in the West, so the flights would be quick and we could do day trips to check on the progress and film at the same time. Our firm has always worked on out-of-state homes, so the process is similar and requires close communication with the contractors.
What are a few design tips that people can take from this season as a whole?
Oh there are so many! I’m really excited to dive deeper into each webisode later on the blog! Don’t be afraid to go dark on all walls, trim, and ceiling to create a mood. Andrea and Bobby’s theatre room and Liz and Neil’s wine room are great examples of this.
Even if you’re not working with tall ceilings, ceiling treatments are one of the best ways to enhance the bones of a plain space. We incorporated beams and tongue and groove details in many of our projects this season.
Space planning your furniture is just as important as the room itself! You’ll see in quite a few of our projects that the clients were stuck on what to do in their open concept spaces, so they left them quite bare. We grouped furniture to give intention to different areas of the rooms and make the end result feel more intentional and inviting.
What do you hope viewers will take away from this season? What advice would you give to people who want to begin their own dream home makeover?
I hope viewers will walk away from this season with the cheeriness from watching a feel-good show and takeaways that can be applied to their own homes. My advice would be that homes evolve and you don’t have to scrap everything and tear down walls to have a space you love. Paint and a styling refresh can go a long way to making a house feel more like home.