Renovation School

Renovation School (Школа ремонта) is a Russian home-improvement show—the Russian version of HGTV, basically. It’s been airing since 2003, with hour-long episodes.

The host and foreman is San Sanych, who is actually actor Aleksandr Grishaev (Александр Гришаев). He is aided by actors Sergey Shubenkov (Сергей Шубенков) and Yulia Yegorova (Юлия Егорова). The show draws on an extensive roster of architects, designers, and decorators to do the actual work. Many of these are affiliated with IKEA Russia.

The conceit of the show is that the show’s professional architects, designers, and decorators are given a week (72 working hours) to overhaul a living space of some sort, usually a Moscow apartment. According to the show’s website, “The main thing [in a renovation] is a fresh perspective, a drop of enthusiasm, and … the advice of our builders and designers.” The show is aimed at showing renovations that regular people could reproduce on their own—and they claim that, indeed, many people do undertake their own renovations with the lessons learned from the show—so the renovations are usually cosmetic rather than structural.

To apply for the show, it’s necessary only to live in or near Moscow and to “show that you and the members of your family are interesting, talented people who will help our builders and delight our viewers. The participants in the program do have to help the builders—help, and learn, and tell entertaining family stories…” No prior experience is necessary: “We [the producers] are prepared for the fact that the participants will make many mistakes, ruin some building materials and even break some instruments, but we promise not to pay any attention to that.” It’s a show with a sense of humor, apparently, which is to some extent reflected in the broadcasts.


Host: Aleksandr Grishaev (Александр Гришаев)
Production company: Kinocompany “Versiya” (Кинокомпания Версия)
TV channel: TNT, Pyatnitsa! (ТНТ, Пятница!)


The show’s official site.

A recent episode of the show:

Julie is currently studying Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk (and before that, Bishkek) with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.