In the episode “Wishful Building,” the brothers meet Joanna and Sean and their two kids: Jaden, 9, and Ariana, 4. They live in Canada and have moved four times in the past nine years. Now, however, they plan to stay put, and Joanna is determined to see that their new home will be blinged out to the nth degree.
But the couple know that on their $860,000 budget, they can’t get all that fancy unless the Scotts find some genius ways to save money. Yet the brothers prevail as always—here’s how they (and you can) pull off high-end home decor on a low-end budget.
A long time on the market = opportunity
Some people think that when a house has been sitting on the market for a long time, it means there’s something wrong with it. But Drew sees it as an opportunity to strike a deal. The house this family wants is listed at $750,000, but since it hasn’t had an agreeable offer in several months, Drew encourages the family to go in at $700,000—and the seller takes the bait! This leaves them with a generous $160,000 renovation budget.
No more support for columns
Remember when faux Doric columns, both inside and outside the home, were the height of luxury? That was eons ago; now they just look plain awkward adorning this home. Drew assures the family that since the columns are purely ornamental, they can and should be removed with no trouble.
Ditch the uncool curtains
“This is the curtain equivalent of flood pants,” says Jonathan, alerting the family to a tall window with a curtain rod installed about three-quarters of the way up, which leaves the top of the window exposed. At one time, designers thought that was an interesting technique to let more light in above, while the curtains provided privacy below.
But now it just looks strange and has to go.
Try the new ‘hotel chic’ design style
When Jonathan takes Joanna shopping for tiles for the powder room, which is a space their many guests will definitely see, she is at first drawn to the shiny metallics—gold and bronze in elaborate patterns. But Jonathan steers her toward an elegant white tile with textured ripples.
“I’ve seen this in a lot of upscale hotels,” he tells her. She falls in love with it, and Jonathan realizes that this style can be described as “hotel chic.” It’s elegant and luxurious, but also warm and accommodating—and (the clincher) not too pricey.
Beware the bulkhead
If there’s a blocky beam protruding from the ceiling that looks a little awkward, chances are it’s there for a reason. Jonathan is careful ripping into the drywall that covers it, because he fears there might be something important inside, and he’s right. HVAC, plumbing, and electrical wiring are all tucked inside a bulkhead that runs across the top of a wall they’d planned to knock down to open up the floor plan.
Relocating the bulkhead and everything in it will cost them an extra $1,700. That’s steep, but this is her family’s forever home. Joanna gives Jonathan the green light, saying, “$1,700 divided by forever is like a penny a day.”
Do Jonathan and Drew deliver?
In the end, Jonathan spent only $157,000 on the renovation, coming in $3,000 under budget. Sean summarizes the family’s response in a very unusual way for a group that has been so vocal up to this point.
“I’m speechless,” he says for his family, who are overwhelmed by the success of the project.
It’s a great way to end a season, but does this mean we’ll have to live without the tips, tricks, and corny jokes from Jonathan and Drew indefinitely until the show returns for Season 13?
Nope, the bros will be back soon enough. On May 23, they kick off Season 6 of their spinoff series, “Brother vs. Brother: Jonathan vs. Drew.” For this, they’ll be competing with each other renovating affordable housing in the ultrapricey San Francisco Bay Area. Be sure to tune in for what could turn out to be the brothers’ toughest challenge yet!