*Disclaimer: There is absolutely no geographical, biological, botanical, or zoological fact in this post. This is also not endorsed by or reflecting views of anyone on HGTV or the Love it or List it team – the entire thing is made up by yours truly.

You know the premise of the show – Couple/family has “outgrown” their current house, except one of them wants to stay (the memories!! My grandma’s quilts were made here!!), while the other one is Googling “how to burn the house down and make it look like an accident so this woman will agree to move”. Obviously, something has to be done to resolve this conflict, before the authorities show up to investigate this arson “research”.

In comes the LIOLI team – David the realtor (to find them a new house), who we will call DaRe in the spirit of brevity, and Hilary the designer (to fix the current one) – let’s call her HiDe. They meet with the couple for this episode.

Wife: Alexi (Al). Artist by day, Mother Earth Worshipper by night.
Husband: Yanni (Ya). Wood scholar. Makes furniture and donates it to orphanages.
Children: Twins, boy and girl, named Taylor and Rolyat. Age: 6


Meeting goes as follows:

DaRe: So, what do you need me to find for you?

Al: In order for me to want to leave, I need at least 6 bedrooms with as many bathrooms on a second floor, open concept floor plan so basically one huge space on first floor because we love to entertain, and a dance studio. It is of great importance for me to have a place in the woods where I can have an altar for the Goddess, and plenty of outdoors space because we foster animals in distress: Dogs, cats, the occasional alligator, and we currently have a pregnant bat who became cave-less due to her not knowing who’s the father, so she’s now expelled from her family bat cave, therefore a nearby small cave (say a 50-bat capacity), and a medium size lagoon would be perfect. We would also need an inside mini-pond for the swans/ducks, because Manfred (the alligator) keeps eating them if they swim in the outside lagoon. Oh, and it should be in the same neighborhood – there’s hardly any bear maulings around here. Our budget is $1.2M.

DaRe: Doable. I’m curious though, who do you entertain? Grizzly bears? Elk? Visiting wildlife flown in from Canada? What do you mean neighborhood? This is deep Montana, they don’t neighborhood here! Also, would you please advise where you obtained an alligator? Did you smuggle him from the Everglades? I believe this is unheard of in this area, surprised that the Homeowners Association even let you keep him. And please note that normal people call the “inside mini-pond” a “pool”. But I’ll find it if it kills me and you’re going to list this house! (which it might [kill me] in this God-forsaken nowhere in the middle of the mountains place *mumbles to himself).

HiDe: And what do you need me to fix so you can stay in your house?

Ya: Well, thank you for asking Hilary. We are in need of changing the front door’s direction, because of Feng Shui energy flow. We would like to have the front be in the back and vice versa. It is imperative that the front door faces West – which brings me to the color: it should be some earthy color, maybe muted gray-brownish, like a wolf-color. Marilyn (the bat) needs a cave built by January when the baby is due. The current lagoon needs to be relocated, at least partly; we should want a tributary inside the house, for the house swans. Open up the kitchen area so we can keep an eye on the twins when we’re cooking, as it gets hard to tell them apart when they leave our sight for a while and exchange clothes. I also need a place to have my workshop – as you know I make furniture, and need to be in total solitude while I create. Our budget for this is $98, not a penny more.

HiDe: That is a ridiculous budget and you know it. You just want to deprive Al of her spiritual center. But no worries, I’ll figure it out and when I’m done, you’ll love it – however you may need to make some sacrifices. For example, has it occurred to you that you can tell the twins apart by having them go naked? I mean they are different genders for crying out loud, not to mention 6 years old and they’re already fooling you (*shakes head). As to your workshop, how about where the wood lives?? Like outside?? There is not a soul for hundreds of miles here, you’ll be more alone than in the house with this crowded family and by the way, was that an armadillo just passing by?Armadillo

Al/Ya: (excitedly) – Oh she’s back??!!! That’s Hester, yes she’s an armadillo. We suspect her coming here, as we experienced with Manfred (because you did point out, David, that he’s not local), is due to climate change – they are not supposed to be so up North, but we found her a few months back. We thought she’d died in the last blizzard, as we hadn’t seen her in a while. We’d like to decorate a cactus-themed room for her, to make her feel at home, maybe throw in some desert sand.

HiDe: Well that’s going to cost you, you understand? Already making miracles happen with this pitiful budget. That may cut into the lagoon project so possibly we’ll have to make do with an artificial one instead of a tributary. Just being transparent here.

[WE SKIP TO END OF EPISODE DUE TO: a) David not finding a house even in neighboring states, so he quits, and b) Hilary “making it happen” for Alexi and Yanni and their interminable family with nothing short of magic]

*HiDe explains the newly renovated house:

So you see here your front door. I have relocated the road to the back, and have coated the (ex-back, now front) door with copper stains from melted old pots I got for a song in an antiques site.

Hester has her room now out of what was the front door steps. I have enclosed the area and added finely minced wood chips (she won’t know the difference from that to sand, I guarantee it), plus added a few cacti I had shipped over. Please note that the cacti need to be permanently encased in glass as the temperatures here are too harsh and, despite their thorny reputation, they are quite delicate once out of their comfort zone (which is roughly 120 degrees). Alternatively, you can set the wood chips on fire regularly and that may be sufficient, provided you cover the plants with burlap for frost protection.

Marilyn will be quite comfortable in the bat nursery I have provided here on the side of the house, in a lean-to cave-like enclosure made out of hard plastic mimicking rocks. There is a fountain-like stagnant water basin in the cave, to provide the necessary sustenance mosquitoes and the like – after all, she needs to eat for two! Please use the provided torch hanging to the side of the cave to melt the water at regular intervals and release the larvae. There is also a sack of ripe fruit – do not remove even if it begins to smell! That is a main source of nutrients for the bat family.bats-in-blankets

Lastly, my most impactful gift to you: I had my contractor install a funnel-like contraption on your barn’s roof going in to where I have made a huge hole on the floor. The beauty of this funnel is that it is THERMAL! Yes! It will act as an automatic snow melting device and re-direct all that melted snow – of which you will have no shortage of in this frozen tundra – to the hole (we had it roughly cleaned up but rather rustic and natural-looking, because seriously, do swans need fiberglass?). By doing this, we have had to relocate the horses to your new open concept kitchen area – you do recall that I mentioned having to make some sacrifices? But I believe they are very comfy! And you still have a space for entertaining, because I got rid of the outside wall and have now installed a garage-like door that simply rolls up to the ceiling so you have the entire outdoors as your living room!

Many thanks for the opportunity to work with you. I hope you’ll be very happy. And congratulations on the new addition to your family – I thought I saw a moose? He’ll be happy with the horses, I’d say. Enjoy your new house!! cartoon-moose-9