home renovation

159 - 5-Minute English: Home Renovation

Words that are bolded in red are suggested vocabulary words for this episode.


 Hi everybody! My name is Shana and this is the American English Podcast. My goal here is to teach you the English spoken in the United States. Through common expressions, pronunciation tips, and interesting cultural snippets or stories, I hope to keep this fun, useful and interesting. Let’s do it!


Last month, my family and I moved into a new home, and in English, it’s what we’d call a fixer upper. It’s a home that needs updates, it needs renovation. It needs to be remodeled in various ways. Now, we are in the process of fixing our house up, and today you’ll hear a true story about the process.

In this 5-minute English episode, you’ll learn how to talk about home renovations and repairs in English. This is a topic-specific lesson, so it’s jam-packed with vocabulary you will need if this topic arises in conversation. I like to call this method: fluency, one topic at a time. Because as humans, I believe, that it’s possible to be 100% confident and fluent in some topics and very weak in others.

Despite Lucas’s very high level in English, he was often at a loss for words when talking about fixing our house. Actually, he was at a loss for words up until recently when we had to go over everything. For example, he said, we need a plan of the house showing each room. To which I responded, oh yeah, we do. We can probably find a blueprint online. A blueprint.

A blueprint is a physical guide or map showing the location of each room in a house. It’s the layout of a house in a visual form. A blueprint is essential for construction projects because it allows everyone involved to visually understand where things should be.

So this lesson is filled with words like blueprint; words that are needed to discuss this topic. So I hope you enjoy this lesson, it’s an advanced one.

If you sign up to premium content or just the 5-minute English courses, you will receive an image sheet with pictures of all of the key vocabulary discussed. You’ll see a video with those images and shadowing exercises to work on your pronunciation, as well as many exercises and quizzes to help you retain the words you hear. You also have an annotated transcript! Believe me, as a language learner myself, this is incredibly helpful for understanding a text. You’ll find the links for all of those things in the episode notes, so check that out.

Without any further ado, let’s begin. In the United States.

There are so many shows, especially on HGTV, about home renovations. To renovate means to make new, or to refresh in a way. Oftentimes on these shows, the host will buy a fixer upper, a home that is in need of a renovation.

Usually it’s purchased at a low price. Then, the host will flip the home with the help of a contractor, interior designer, and possibly an engineer and architect. They will flip the home. To flip also means to renovate a home, but then turn around and sell it for a profit, or at a profit.


That’s it for the free part of this transcript. For the vocabulary, definitions, quiz, full transcript and more, be sure to sign up to Season 4. 

Mentioned in this episode: 

– Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines