Exclusive clip: “Love It or List It Vacation Homes”

Ahead of the premiere of W Network's Love It or List It Vacation Homes (pictured), realscreen speaks with Big Coat Productions and Corus Entertainment about the latest addition to the hit franchise.
May 6, 2016

Love It or List It is going on holiday in the latest addition to the hit franchise.

Premiering on Corus Entertainment-owned W Network on Monday (May 9), Love It or List It Vacation Homes hits the road with realtor Elisa Goldhawke (pictured, left) and designer Dan Vickery (right) to showcase unique vacation properties across Canada.

Produced by Big Coat Productions – the Toronto-headquartered outfit that created the format and produces Love It or List It and Love It or List It Vancouver - in association with W Network, the new series focuses on homes in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. And much like its predecessors, Vacation Homes finds its hosts facing off to convince vacation homeowners to either stay in their renovated property, or find a new getaway.

Maria Armstrong, an executive producer with Big Coat, says the new series will still feel familiar to the franchise’s loyal following.

“It’s the same, but it’s so different,” she says, adding that the dilemma of sticking with a property or finding a new one doesn’t only apply to people’s regular homes.

big coat productions' maria armstrong

Big Coat Productions’ Maria Armstrong

“It’s exclusive to where you go,” she reasons. “A lot of people get these vacation homes and then they go, ‘Wow, it’s a lot of work and I don’t really want that.’ Or their environment has changed: they bought it as a couple and then they got children, or the children have gotten older. It’s exactly the same thing, they’re just in this beautiful location.”

The 13 x 60-minute series – first announced in August – started shooting last May and finished this past January. The schedule allowed the team to encompass as many seasons in Canada as possible. Discussing the relationship between Goldhawke and Vickery, Armstrong says the pair gets on “like a house on fire.”

As for why the new series looked within Canadian borders, John MacDonald - senior VP of women and lifestyle content for Corus Entertainment – says that a vacation home doesn’t need to be overseas: it just needs to serve as an escape.

“The idea of a vacation home is, at its core, a place that’s simply ‘away’ from the day-to-day living we all experience,” he told realscreen over email. “And as anyone who has made the sprint to beat the crowds on a Friday afternoon in the summer knows, the shortest distance you can make that drive, the more time you have to enjoy your vacation home.”

That’s not to say, though, that the show isn’t open to international destinations.

“Canada has countless destinations that fit this bill and while we don’t expect the focus for this series to be exclusively on Canada, we can’t think of a better place to start,” he notes.

Overall, the format has enjoyed great success overseas. Love It or List It UK - titled Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List It for UK pubcaster Channel 4 – is now in its second season, and Beyond Distribution has optioned the format rights to FremantleMedia in Belgium, Elk Productions in Sweden and Mastiff Entertainment in Norway.

Considering the show’s international success, MacDonald says Love It has the right mix of house tours, dynamic hosts and the drama inherent to any major reno project.

The exec opines that the home reno space has endured for so long within a volatile unscripted landscape because of the aspirational qualities associated with shows in the genre.

“The dream of owning a home is something most of us share, but as most homeowners know, as life changes with the arrival of children and other significant events, the home we bought rarely remains the home we need or prefer.

“Shows like Love It or List It provide inspiration for viewers, whether they’re homeowners or not, to imagine the world of the possible. And for those in the middle of a reno, I suppose there is always some comfort in knowing that it’s not only your reno that runs into unexpected and unplanned surprises and challenges along the way.”

  • Love It or List It Vacation Homes premieres on W Network on Monday (May 9) at 10 p.m. EST/PST
  • Check out an exclusive clip below, filmed in Muskoka, Ontario.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.