“Property Brothers” stars Jonathan and Drew Scott are used to stretching small home-buying budgets, but their latest clients truly put them to the test.
In “Homesick Cure,” the latest episode of their show, Nathan and Natalie have just moved to Calgary, Canada, from Natalie’s small home town about four hours away. The couple want something close to the city, where Nathan has a new job.
The problem? Their all-in budget of $635,000 is fairly limiting.
They have a baby girl, and are looking at homes in the 1,000- to 1,100-square-foot range, and their efforts are complicated by Nathan’s desire for a “fixer” while Natalie’s for something more turnkey.
“Just leave that to Jonathan,” says Drew.
Here’s how the Scott brothers pull it off—and the lessons we learned that could apply to your own abodes, too.
Cork floor works sometimes, and sometimes not
During their home shopping spree, Nathan and Natalie step into one house with cork flooring in the living room and are unimpressed by what’s underfoot, Drew reveals that cork floors are great in the basement, because they absorb sound and are warm, easy for kids to play on, and easier to clean than carpeting. But in the living room? They’re just a little too casual for most people’s taste. He would have them replaced with wood.
For a quick discount, offer to drop contingencies if you can
In the end, they fall in love with a 1,110-square-foot home with two bedrooms on the main floor, and a finished basement with a full bath. Since their budget is tight, Drew helps Nathan and Natalie triumph over other bidders on the home—while still getting it for $10,000 below asking price—by dropping a few contingencies. While this strategy can be risky, it can also land you a deal. They get the house for $520,000, leaving Jonathan a decent renovation budget.
A bench can add seating without hogging space
None of the rooms in this house is expansive, and even after Jonathan removes several walls, the space is limited. His solution for fitting as many people as possible into a small dining area? Bench seating along one wall. With cushions, it’s comfy, and it actually looks chic, yet homey.
Windows are a good thing, regardless of where they are
The kitchen sink is positioned against a wall, where there’s a long, low, rectangular window. Some people would have closed off the window or changed its shape or position, but that would have been expensive. Jonathan opts to use the window as a clear backsplash, which looks great. They still get the natural light, and above it he puts open shelving, for necessary additional storage.
How to pick the right refrigerator
When Jonathan takes Nathan and Natalie appliance shopping, Natalie gets distracted by fancy, glass-front refrigerators with all the bells and whistles, but it’s apparent that that’s a bit of overkill in their lovely but small kitchen.
“The fridge is the biggest appliance you have, so you really want to make sure that not only aesthetically, but functionally, it has what you need,” Jonathan says.
They select a nice, stainless-steel model that easily fits into the space Jonathan has created for it.
Microwaves can go under the counter, too
When you think of placing a microwave in a kitchen, the obvious choice is at eye level, so you don’t have to bend down to see the controls. But when you have limited storage space, there are other options. Jonathan shows the couple a very cool model that goes under the counter, has a pop-up control panel, and opens like a drawer from the top, rather than straight out, so you can drop your food right in. Genius!
The advantages of a visible support beam
Everyone knows by now that if you eliminate walls for an open floor pan, you’re going to need to add a hefty support beam overhead. Most people prefer the support beam be recessed into the ceiling. There’s not enough overhead space to hide the beam in this instance, but that’s no problem! The dropped support beam actually helps “define the open space” between the kitchen and the dining area, according to Jonathan.
Do the ‘Property Brothers’ stars deliver?
When the project is finished, Jonathan observes, “We didn’t need to add windows to add all this light— it was just taking down walls and keeping the color palette bright.”
Light wood on the floors and on the built-in cabinets in the living room keep the interior light and airy, rather than overwhelming it.
“It’s all about balance and symmetry,” says Drew.
In the end, Nathan and Natalie have a lovely, comfortable home of their own, where family will want to come visit and Natalie won’t be so homesick.
Nathan and Natalie are thrilled—and the Scotts leave yet another couple happy.