Drew and Jonathan Scott are used to modernizing outdated houses, but on the latest “Property Brothers: Forever Home,” they face a tough question: What happens when a homeowner actually prefers an older, traditional look?
In the Season 6 episode “Vintage Meets Modern,” Drew and Jonathan meet homeowners Ashley and Red, parents of three who know their 1962 home in Calgary, Alberta, is due for an update. Still, Ashley loves classic styles and is an enthusiastic antiques collector.
The Scott brothers have $150,000 to help update (and clear out) some of Ashley’s antiques, expand their tiny kitchen, and modernize the overall living space without making it feel too modern.
“There’s a way to do traditional so it’s not dark and heavy and dated-looking,” Jonathan says. “It can be beautiful.”
Read on to find out how Drew and Jonathan prove you can teach an old decor style new tricks, and get plenty of tips you might be inspired to apply around your own place, too.
Create a balance of whites and wood tones
When Drew and Jonathan first see Ashley and Red’s living room, they’re shocked by how crowded the space is. The room is stuffed with furniture, musical instruments, and antiques. Plus, there’s a bulky fireplace that makes the already crowded room feel like it’s overflowing.
The Scott brothers decided to replace the dark, heavy fireplace with a simpler one with white subway tile going up to the ceiling. Still, Jonathan and Drew know that Ashley loves the classic look of wood tones, so they build wood shelves on either side. The white fireplace adds a light element to the feature wall, while the shelving adds plenty of storage for the antiques Ashley can’t part with.
“Their house was just so dark and cluttered. Instruments everywhere,” Drew says. “Now they’re going to have organization in the house. That would give me peace of mind.”
When the fireplace is done, Jonathan is proud to show off the feature.
“You still have a traditional element for your fireplace, but you have something that’s just so stunning to look at,” he says.
Refinish dark wood floors for a fresher look
Ashley and Red’s home still has the original hardwood floors, and while they like having hardwood, they’re not thrilled with the dark color. Drew and Jonathan decide to refinish the floors for $3,500, sanding them down to reveal the much lighter wood underneath.
“Ashley and Red really love their original hardwood floors, and they want to keep them, which I’m all for,” Jonathan says. “Anytime we can reclaim or reuse something, it’s a plus in my book.”
When the floors are sanded and sealed, they look nearly new. The knots in the wood add character, and the light wood brightens up the entire home.
Wallpaper can look contemporary or classic
Wallpaper is an excellent addition to almost any home renovation. Not only is it relatively inexpensive and quick to install, it also comes in different colors and styles—homeowners can almost certainly find a pattern that will match their needs.
When it comes to adding wallpaper to Ashley and Red’s home, Drew and Jonathan select a simple floral pattern with gold tones, which will complement Ashley’s most treasured antiques: a piano and a harp.
“You do have a lot of older pieces, and you’re showcasing different tones of wood,” Jonathan says. “If you were to put in something that felt too modern, it wouldn’t go.”
Wood cabinets can still look contemporary
Ashley tells the brothers that she hates the dark cabinets in her kitchen, but she still wants wood tones in the space.
“In the kitchen, absolutely, they want to go nice and white with wood tones,” Drew tells Jonathan during their design meeting. “They don’t want to have a kitchen without wood tones.”
Jonathan installs two-tone cabinets with white uppers, warm wood lowers. They also add open shelving to expand the space. With the built-ins in the living room, the refinished wood floors, and the cabinets, Jonathan knows this house has a lot of different wood tones, but they seem to work together.
“We have the right balance of wood tones throughout the house,” Jonathan says. “You don’t want to ever overpower it. You want to have just enough so it’s warm and inviting.”
Install imperfect tiles for a natural look
To finish this kitchen, Jonathan wants to install a white backsplash, which will keep the space feeling bright. To make this feature extra special, he decides to incorporate different patterns. The mix-and-match tiles cost only $1,200, but they give the kitchen a fun, unique look that Ashley and Red love.
“We randomized the textured pattern on the tile just so it’s a new take on a traditional look,” Jonathan says.
In the end, this kitchen is the perfect balance of warm colors and a fresh feel.