Drew and Jonathan Scott share secrets to great home renovations, lessons they've learned, and the causes they care about.
When Property Brothers stars Drew and Jonathan Scott first entered the real estate business (at just 18 years-old mind you) they didn’t expect to be starring in one of HGTV’s most popular renovation shows. Of course, they probably don’t mind being the hosts of one of the best home improvement shows on TV, mostly because it allows them to do what they love: help people find their dream homes.
The Scott Brothers may have gained fame through real estate and reality television, but their real passion is giving back – and giving us more items to add to our renovation wish lists. With a memoir titled It Takes Two: Our Story, due September 5th and a book tour -- The Scott Brothers' House Party -- planned, Drew and Jonathan are sharing their love of design and their hard-earned success story with more people than ever.
In 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wasn’t a good candidate for chemo. I took tamoxifen instead and gave my trouble to God—just as Dr. Peale suggested in his book, "Thought Conditioners". Since then I’ve remained cancer free. -Guideposts Magazine reader
Guideposts.org spoke with the brothers about the lessons they’ve learned on their show, renovations gone wrong, their passion for charity, and what they’d need in their own dream home.
GUIDEPOSTS: What’s the most important thing to remember when renovating a house?
DREW AND JONATHAN SCOTT: Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Add ins can kill your budget fast. Always expect a surprise cost to pop up and calculate in a contingency.
GUIDEPOSTS: What are some lessons you’ve learned (about each other and about life) from doing the show on HGTV?
DS: I've learned that I could probably never spend as much time with anyone else, as I do with Jonathan, and enjoy it more. We laugh every day just like when we were kids!
JS: Renovating over 50 homes a year definitely keeps you on the pulse of what homeowners like. Filming Brother vs Brother reminds me that Drew is a formidable opponent. Just because he wears suits more often than me doesn't mean he can't maneuver a construction site with the best of us!
GUIDEPOSTS: Have you ever had a renovation go wrong? If so, did you learn something from it?
DS/JS: Probably the biggest mistake for us was when we first got into real estate in the '90s. We wanted to have the nicest house on the block and spent more than we would get out of the house. It was then that we realized every neighborhood has a cap for what buyers are willing to spend.
GUIDEPOSTS: How do you guys use your talents – in renovating and other areas – to give back? Is that something that’s important to you?
DS/JS: This is one of the most important things for us. Our shows air in over 150 countries which gives us a global voice to bring awareness to causes we are passionate about. We've traveled to India raising awareness about concerns with slavery and trafficking. We've raised millions for building schools in Haiti. We've even spent time with under privileged youth in Washington encouraging them to read and to get active with Michelle Obama's Let's Read, Let's Move campaign. Our theory is that we are all put on this earth to help one another and even the smallest of voices can make a drastic difference in someone else's life.
GUIDEPOSTS: What’s the most important room in a house, a room you like to focus on when renovating and why?
DS/JS: The same way that all homeowners are different, the most important room in people’s homes are different depending on their lifestyle. I'd say the kitchen is number one for most homeowners as it's the heart of the home for families; however a lot of people are now looking for specialty rooms. Theater room, game area, basically somewhere they can hang out with family, instead of spending money away from home.
GUIDEPOSTS: What’s the one thing you’d want/need in a dream home?
DS: I’d love a decked out home gym. My schedule is so crazy that sometimes I can't hit the gym until the late evening. Having this ability at home would be great.
JS: It would be having a castle! I'm Scottish and love the idea of refurbishing an old ruin to be my ultimate dream home.
GUIDEPOSTS: On your show, you ask couples to take a risk in buying these older homes and trusting you guys to make them something special. What’s a risk you’ve taken in your own lives? Did it pay off?
DS/JS: A large risk was trying to make it in the real estate game at 18 years old. However, we never jump blindly into something. If someone says something can't be done, we'll find five ways to do it. As for it paying off...we'll leave you to be the judges of that.