Couple vying for ultimate prize

West Van man and partner starring in W Network's Game of Homes

A North Shore native and his partner are among the competitors on an extreme new home renovation show where to the victors go the ultimate spoils, in this case a home and property in Canada's priciest housing market.

Premiering March 17, on W Network, Game of Homes is an eight-part series which sees four pairs of contestants putting their design and carpentry skills to the test on four Vancouver tear downs. Each duo is tasked with designing and carrying out an extensive overhaul of a home, which will be judged by critics. Competitors include former West Vancouver resident Sean Duncan and his partner Charlotte Fenton, neither of whom expected to be picked when the show was seeking candidates last summer.

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"I didn't think we were going to get on the show but then we ended up on it. Basically the auditions were July 10 and we saw the ad on July 9," said Duncan, who grew up near Whytecliff Park though now calls Vancouver home.

Although renovation materials were paid for by the show, Duncan said the time frames were very tight, with some teams staying up all night just to meet the strict completion deadlines. Each team was given the assistance of one contractor who was not allowed to give any advice.

"You were given 24 hours to do a master bedroom or 72 hours to do a kitchen. The time constraints were obviously the biggest challenge for sure. We were up until 4:30 in the morning a couple times," he said.

Seven of the show's hourlong episodes feature teams working on one specific area of their house, such as the kitchen, master bedroom or exterior. Each room is then assessed at the end of that episode by judges Jeremy MacPherson of History Network's The Re-Inventors and HGTV's Cheryl Torrenueva. Guest judges will also be featured and the public will be able to cast a vote for their favourite home during the show's finale.

The four homes were uprooted from their original foundations and placed side by side near the False Creek waterfront for the program's filming, which took place last fall. The eighth and final episode, which has yet to be filmed, will announce the winners.

For Fenton, who has a background in interior design, keeping her partner in the loop of what her design visions were wasn't always easy, although she's pleased with how everything turned out.

"I think sometimes it was hard for Sean to trust that it was going to turn out, but he definitely did always come through. He just wouldn't necessarily be able to visualize the end results," she said. "But in the end it's just crazy how it all comes together. The whole process brought us even closer, which was awesome."

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