If you ever click past HGTV, you’ve likely seen them: identical twins Jonathan and Drew Scott, who refresh tired homes and past-their-prime properties, transforming the ugly and out-of-date into lively, livable spaces. They repaint stale rooms, take sledgehammers to walls that stand in their way and help families sell houses that no longer work and guide them to new spots that do. But with the premiere of their new series this week, the Canadian brothers who made People’s 2013 Sexiest Men Alive list are doing something they’ve never done before: They’re taking us home. And home is in Las Vegas.
Tell me about your new show, Property Brothers: At Home. Jonathan: The years and years we’ve spent doing other people’s houses, traveling for Property Brothers, Buying & Selling, Brother vs. Brother, we’re always helping other people’s dreams come true, but we never had a chance to do any work on our own place. So, we sold our individual homes here in Vegas and bought one family compound. This is where our folks come in for the holidays, we all get together and just spend quality time with each other. And the project, it was a massive undertaking, and people really get to see what our style is.
Obviously you guys are good partners and competitors on your various shows. Did working on your own home feel different? Drew: Very different. Jonathan and I, we see eye to eye on a lot of things. If it’s a flip property we know what adds value, where we can stretch a dollar. For our own home, though, we had very specific things that we wanted. For example, it’s a half-acre lot. Jonathan wanted to have the majority of it for his dogs to run around, and his dogs are a five-pound Yorkie and a seven-pound Chihuahua.
Jonathan: I think we had very different ideas about what we wanted, and we did butt heads. We made a rule right at the beginning that we would not stop the cameras for anything. So if we had arguments—if Drew had a diva moment, which happens often—we would not stop the cameras. So we captured a lot of the disagreements, but in the end, we decided to allocate certain areas of the home to each of us, so we were able to do whatever we wanted in those spaces.
When you guys disagree, how do you negotiate? Rock, paper, scissors? Drew: Jonathan doesn’t do rock, paper, scissors; he does hammer, chisel, saw. He picks up the power tools and scares me off.
You guys live in this home together. Who’s the better roommate? Jonathan: I definitely spend more time in the house. I go home a couple times a month, and I have friends and family who will stay there from time to time. But Drew only gets home for about two weeks over Christmas, that’s what makes him the best roommate: I never see him.
Drew: Jonathan has to admit I’m the best roommate as well because I’m a clean freak, and nothing is ever out of place.
When you were looking for a home in Vegas, what were you looking for? Drew: It had to have a stripper pole; that was the key thing. (laughs) Okay, maybe not. I just wanted to make sure I had lots of space between Jonathan and me, so that he could be in the far reaches of the west wing and I don’t have to see him.
Jonathan: The main thing was, it was for entertaining, so we wanted to have a nice big yard, wanted to have some outdoor space. And the outdoor spaces are my favorite to design, so we put in this beautiful, big pool, infinity edge, a 15-foot movie screen and a two-story waterslide.
What about any Vegas touches? Jonathan: [We made] a takeoff on a neon sign, and the company that actually made all the old neon signs that were on the old Strip and whatnot, [YESCO], they’re actually the company that made this for us. We did LED lights and gave it the illusion and look of an old neon sign. We actually went to the Neon Museum to look at a lot of their old signs, and that inspired us to how we wanted it to look.
Drew: We did “Lucky” because it’s Vegas and everyone feels a little bit lucky in Vegas, and then also because my dad’s nickname was Lucky.
I think in every home you find a space that you really love. What are your go-to spaces? Jonathan: For me, we’ve got these outdoor rocking chairs that overlook the pool and you can see the mountains, and I really like that space.
Drew: Our bedrooms are split a little bit, and I have a courtyard off of my bedroom. That’s one of my favorites, just sitting out there watching the sun go down, listening to a little music. The home is completely automated, so we can listen to music anywhere, we can watch TV anywhere. When I’m filming across the country, I can turn on the hot tub.
Do you guys ever mess with each other and turn stuff on remotely? Jonathan: Yeah. Drew slept on the couch for a week because his girlfriend was in Vegas and he remotely was messing with her by turning on TVs. You can also talk two ways, so he was talking and turning lights on and off.
Drew: It’s funny, though, we’re away so much, and our other brother, JD, he lives maybe 25 minutes from us and he comes over with friends to use the pool and the pool house and the slide and the basketball courts. We have a security system that sends us screen captures of anybody that comes to the house, so we know that he’s doing it, and he’s never asked permission.
I read that you have a medieval weapons collection. What’s that about? Jonathan: It’s our security system. (laughs) We’re Scottish so we would go over and visit our family in Scotland all the time growing up, and we started a sword collection when we were younger and we’ve spread it out from there. For the show, Property Brothers: At Home, we actually had a medieval weapons maker and armer in Vegas make an authentic suit of armor that would’ve been what our ancestors wore back in the day in Scotland.
Drew: In the show, Jonathan puts it on, and it’s pretty impressive to have a 6-foot-4 suit of armor.
Jonathan: It’s my permanent Halloween costume.
Drew: That’s Jonathan’s chastity suit.
You’ve worked on so many houses over the years. Is there a project that you’re the most proud of? Drew: For Property Brothers and Buying & Selling alone, we do 52 full-blown renovations a year. I think one of the things that really stands out to me is on Buying & Selling. Some of these families have tried to sell their home, and they’re in a space that’s way too small for the family. They need to get something bigger; they’re just bursting at the seams. So to be able to help these people who’ve tried selling and they can’t sell, to do a mild makeover and pick up the place and then sell it within a day or two for more than what they were trying to sell it for … Seeing the reactions on their faces … that means the most to me.
When you’re working on a renovation, what’s the most fun part of the process? The demolition always looks good for stress relief. Jonathan: It is a good stress reliever. Anytime we can salvage something—and unfortunately the show doesn’t focus on that so you don’t see a lot of it—but we donate a lot of the old cabinets to Habitat for Humanity or old doors and windows, things like that. But if there is something that’s built in place and there’s no value in it, destroying is the most fun thing in the world. Then my second favorite part is the reveal, when I actually finish the design and get the homeowners in for the first time to see it. Let’s just say I’m very good at making people cry.