Illustration: Aimee Van Drimmelen
In Conversation With Drew and Jonathan Scott, TV’s Property Brothers
Reader’s Digest Canada: Property Brothers premiered in 2011, and since then, renovation TV has exploded. Why is the genre so popular?
Jonathan Scott: Everybody lives somewhere and everybody loves talking about real estate. Nowadays, with the rise of the DIY movement, renovations certainly feel more attainable; you may not always need $100,000 to do one. Also, when you look at what’s on TV right now, especially with the current political landscape, it’s very distressing. There was an article that came out around Christmas last year that said HGTV was saving the world because it’s the one place where parents can turn for safe programming. We even recently had a five-year-old walk up to us on the street and shout “Mom! Mom! It’s the Property Brothers!”
Drew Scott: It blows my mind that kids would be into renovation TV, but I love that a whole family can watch our shows together.
Reader’s Digest Canada: Your new show is Property Brothers at Home: Drew’s Honeymoon House. Does that mean you’re no longer living together?
Jonathan Scott: I decided it was time to have my own place in Vegas, so I kicked Drew and his fiancee, Linda [Phan], out.
Drew Scott: Ha! Linda and I both wanted to live in Los Angeles and spent a long time looking. We were specifically searching for something that needed a full-scale renovation and finally found an old house in Hancock Park that was built in 1921. Linda went to school fro architectural design, so we’re planning it together. And Jonathan’s here to help, too.
Jonathan Scott: Drew has added so many elements to the renovation but he hasn’t given me any more time to complete it!
Reader’s Digest Canada: Drew, you proposed to Linda late last year. How did you do it?
Drew Scott: It was six months in the making. I designed a cake inspired by Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go—one of Linda’s favourite books—designed the ring and went into the studio to record “Marry Me” by Train. I took her out for dinner, and when we ordered dessert, the song played on the radio and out came the cake, with a character on top holding the ring. Linda saw it and she said, “That’s amazing, but I ordered carrot cake.” When she turned around I was down on one knee.
Reader’s Digest Canada: Here I thought Jonathan was supposed to be the romantic twin.
Drew Scott: Jonathan is a huge romantic, but really, we both are.
Reader’s Digest Canada: Relationships have often played a role in your show, as you regularly work with couples trying to combine their design tastes.
Jonathan Scott: Yes, and sometimes I feel like we’re more therapists than we are a contractor and a real estate agent. My advice to couples is to share as many ideas as possible, clip out pictures and find images online. Then look for consistencies.
Reader’s Digest Canada: Speaking of taste, the Canadiana look is very “in” these days. Have you been inspired by it?
Drew Scott: We’re not putting maple syrup and Canadian flags in our work, but we do include a lot of rustic features. When we renovated our parents’ place, just outside of Calgary, we did a Rundle rock fireplace that was just like the one we had in our home growing up.
Jonathan Scott: And I wear my Canadian tuxedo—head to toe denim—while I work.
Reader’s Digest Canada: In addition to the new show, you also co-authored a memoir that came out earlier this year called It Takes Two: Our Story. What made you want to share?
Drew Scott: Our fans are always asking us questions about our lives and our backstory, so we wanted to answer them.
Jonathan Scott: We agreed that if we were going to write a memoir, the most important thing would be to not omit anything. It talks about my divorce and my bankruptcy when I was younger. We weren’t born with a silver spoon, and it wasn’t always an easy path, but we have been fortunate to always be surrounded by amazing people.
Reader’s Digest Canada: What do you miss the most about living together?
Drew Scott: Whenever I would be home, we would get to hang out and chat like when were kids. I miss that.
Jonathan Scott: We still see each other all the time, though. And I’ve secretly created a guest suite at Drew’s place so I can stay there. I’m not even giving him a copy of the key.
Catch Property Brothers at Home: Drew’s Honeymoon House on HGTV Canada.
Can’t get enough of HGTV’s home improvement experts? Check out Bryan Baeumler’s Kitchen Reno Commandments!