Galey Alix of ‘Home in a Heartbeat’ Reveals the Shocking Reason Why Her Renovations Are So Darn Cheap

Galey Alix of “Home in a Heartbeat” is a refreshing departure from other HGTV shows in a variety of ways. For one, we admit we’re a bit tired of the designer-wife-contractor-hubby schtick—Alix does it all on her own. Two, she pulls off her renovations in just one weekend (although there’s a huge asterisk to that, which we’ll elaborate on in more detail below).

“I’m a DIY renovation expert who’s passionate about changing people’s lives by transforming their homes,” she says. “The catch is, I have to do it all on the weekends, because Monday through Friday I’m an executive at one of the largest investment firms on Wall Street.”

So how does she pull that off?

“My process is pretty crazy,” she admits. “The only thing the client decides on is the budget. Then I get their credit card, the keys to their house, and three days later, they’re surprised with the home of their dreams.”

Alix shows just what she’s made of in the episode “Served With Love,” when she helps a multi-restaurant owner Tasha in Miramar, FL.

“I bought this house for my boys and me,” Tasha explains. “I have waited my whole life for a house like this. But it’s so cold, it’s not comfortable. I want it to be my dream home. It’s just missing so much.”

It sure is. It’s almost completely empty, which is a really good place for Alix to start, since she won’t have to move anything or do any major construction.

Here’s how she turns this sterile shell of a house into a home, with plenty of moves that might inspire you to try dabbling in a little more DIY weekend projects around your own abode, too.

Don’t fall victim to analysis paralysis

Tasha has a large space, but little inspiration.
Tasha has a large space, but little inspiration.

(HGTV)

The fact that almost the entire house is still empty after weeks of ownership tells Alix that Tasha is overwhelmed by the prospect of making the wrong choices.

“Tasha might have the worst case of analysis paralysis I’ve ever seen,” says Alix. “Because she’s literally choosing to live with no furniture, as opposed to making decisions and possibly getting them wrong.”

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Watch: New HGTV Star Galey Alix Opens Up About Heartbreak and the Restorative Joy of Speedy Home Renovations

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Tasha already tried to furnish the place once, buying many pieces and having them delivered, but she hated them so much she sent them all back.

But there’s hope.

“The great news is that this space has so much potential,” says Alix. She advises people who are stuck getting help from someone they trust. In Tasha’s case, it’s Alix.

The foyer sets the vibe

Foyer, before
Foyer, before

(HGTV)

As Tasha shows her home to Alix for the first time, she notes the problems start as soon as they step through the front door.

“Basically this is the foyer, and I feel like this is the opening statement,” said Tasha. “Because when you come in, it sets the tone.”

“Exactly,” exclaimed Alix. “You’re speaking my language.”

“This space—it just feels unwelcoming,” Tasha continues.

Alix adds textured wallpaper to the ceiling, warms up the walls with some wood accents, and leaves the walls white, making it look warm but not too small or busy.

Foyer, after
Foyer, after

(HGTV)

The secret to cutting renovation costs

Doing it yourself saves time and money.
Doing it yourself saves time and money.

(HGTV)

Most home renovation budgets these days are in the six figures, but Alix estimates she’ll be able to warm up the living room, dining area, foyer, and kitchen for only $60,000!

The truth behind why these makeovers are so darn cheap has a lot to do with timing: By installing everything in one weekend, she saves tens of thousands of dollars in labor costs. It also helps that she pitches in with a lot of the heavy lifting and labor herself.

Prepping ahead of time is key

Do all the prep you can before you enter the house.
Do all the prep you can before you enter the house.

(HGTV)

But come on, now: You didn’t really think the entire project was going to take only three days, start to finish, did you?

“It’s going to take us five weeks to prepare for Tasha’s install weekend,” Alix reveals. “During that time, Jay [her trusted carpenter] will build the frame for the fireplace in the bedroom and the custom built-ins for the living room.”

Meanwhile, Alix and her assistant will do all the shopping for materials. They’ll all be right there on the doorstep, or in the garage, when Alix and her crew arrive to do the installation work.

Prefab fireplaces are fast and easy to install

Pre-fab bedroom fireplaces
Pre-fab bedroom fireplaces

(HGTV)

Did you even know there was such a thing as a prefab fireplace?

It arrives—firebox, surround, mantle, and all—delivered in a box. And while the pieces are extremely heavy, they can be easily assembled at any hour of the day or night, which Alix’s team does at least until 3 am Yes, she sleeps on the project in order to finish it.

And instead of worrying about hooking it up to an electricity line, Alix just arranges some chunky candles in the fireplace box. A wood or stone arrangement would also work.

How does Galey Alix’s latest renovation turn out?

Tasha keeps Alix’s team on its toes when she calls the night before her home is supposed to be finished, completely freaking out. It’s totally out of character for her to give up so much control and let someone else be in charge of her home.

Alix smoothly and patiently explains that Tasha is going to love it, and she’s not wrong. Tasha is blown away when she sees what Alix and her crew have accomplished.

New kitchen and dining area
New kitchen and dining area

(HGTV)

“This is amazing! I love it! I feel like I’m in a hotel,” Tasha exclaims. “It’s calming, it’s very welcoming. The vibes and the energy have changed. Before when I used to walk into this space, it just used to feel like a pit stop. Now it feels complete. “