Barbie banished in favour of a more balanced approach

Patti and Ernie — two fine Canadian citizens. He, a firefighter and the kind of man that makes this country proud. A loyal husband, a devoted Torontonian and someone who constantly puts other peoples lives before his own. And Patti? An energetic delight, a fantastic wife to her hard-working hubby and a devoted Mum to three wonderful sons. But hey — compliments taken care of … they had SERIOUSLY shocking taste!

When we saw their gaffe for the first time we actually thought we’d walked into the place where wayward dolls come to die. Fat ones, thin ones, scruffy ones and dolls dressed up as disco queens littered every shelf. Elegant dolls, flirty dolls and tarty dolls that looked like they knew how to, ahem, party. Mattel would be either proud of, or horrified by, the scene we discovered. Barbies leered from every surface with a thousand wide eyes watching our every move.

It was Ernie, however, who we felt really sorry for. Poor soul was living in a girls’ world hell inhabited by dusty plastic chicks. His fondness for sport, beer and other macho pursuits was being suffocated by gaudy dresses and more nylon hair than you could shake a stick at.


Yup, the house was traumatic. A sea of pink lace cushions and frothy feminine accessories, we simply had to put it right. We immediately planned a “look” that would appeal to BOTH halves of our adorable couple. At the same time, however, our design had to be relevant to the couples’ three boys. God, we had our work cut out.

But we have a confession. We ADDED green shag carpet and panelled walls with the same fake timber that we generally beg people to remove! Of course, in the right context, even wrongs can look right. Watch and see.

Even more unnerving is a bizarre paint fight that causes no end of fun. High on drama, our entire team — and Patti — dress up in white spacesuits and literally splatter each other with paint. It’s not your usual “design lesson” and we all end up looking like walking, talking Jackson Pollock’s Fabulous, if more than a little messy!

Patti and Ernie love the finished results and their home is TOTALLY transformed. We spend $70,000, but our lovely Canucks are worth every dime.

HGTV hosts Colin and Justin continue their mission of beautification with their Canadian design series Colin & Justin’s Home Heist, airing Tuesdays and Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on HGTV.

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