In the Season 4 episode “John C. Reilly’s Funky Cabin Makeover,” actor John C. Reilly asks the brothers to help him renovate his friend Johnny‘s backyard cabin in Altadena, CA. Yet when Jonathan and Drew first see the 1920s structure, they find it is dirty, has a saggy roof, and is barely up to snuff just as a storage space.
Still, Reilly is determined to turn this cabin into a cool hangout spot. Read on to see how the property brothers deliver, with tons of lessons on turning any spot into the ultimate entertainment space.
Log veneer might be better than the real thing
This cabin might look like it’s made from logs, but the exterior is actually log veneer. Reilly points out that the log veneer might be better in some ways than the real thing.
“I have worked with log veneers before,” Reilly says. “Actually, they last a lot longer, they’re much easier to weatherproof, and they still look like logs.”
So Drew, Jonathan, and Reilly keep whatever pieces of veneer they can and replace the pieces that show the most wear and tear.
Once the veneer is fixed, the brothers make the new and old wood look cohesive by adding a coat of dark gray paint, which matches Johnny’s main house.
“We really love the color Johnny chose for his main house. It brings a lot of sophistication to a log cabin,” Drew says. “So we thought: Match the two buildings. That would bring a lot of nice cohesion to the property.”
Watch: Old Is Gold: The Hosts of HGTV’s New ‘Renovation Goldmine’ Share Their Secrets for Home Makeovers on a Budget
Refinish concrete floors for a polished look
Inside, this cabin undergoes a lot of changes, including log veneer on the interior (so the space matches the exterior), new paint, and furniture. Still, when it comes to the flooring, Reilly and the brothers know Johnny wouldn’t want to see a big change.
“Johnny really likes the cabin’s original concrete floor, so we want to make sure we keep that authenticity but restore it for a smooth, durable finish,” Jonathan says.
They resurface the concrete, smoothing over cracks and making it look like a new slab. When the concrete is dry, the floor looks fresh and clean, proving that a simple concrete floor can work perfectly for a detached bonus space such as this.
Broken tile can create a unique detail
Drew and Jonathan are always able to pick out elegant finishes, but Reilly knows his friend wouldn’t want this space to be too perfect. In fact, he mentions finding collections of broken tile around Johnny’s junkyard and hopes to incorporate some of it in the design.
Right away, Jonathan approves of the materials: “I actually like that idea; that would actually tie into his whole space more.”
He uses some broken black tile on the new bar peninsula, making the pieces into a fun mosaic.
With dark cabinets and open shelves, the bar turns out beautiful. But perhaps the best part is the tile on the peninsula. The design adds a touch of imperfect charm to the space and gives the bar an extra-special story.
Ceiling beams make a space look contemporary
Before renovation starts, this cabin’s roof is sagging, so the brothers know they’ll need to add some beams to keep this structure standing.
While structural fixes can be expensive, this ceiling ends up being a great design opportunity. Jonathan and Drew’s team adds black beams that give the space a clean, updated look. While the log veneer and vintage bar have a more eclectic style, these new beams add a touch of sleekness to make this space look updated.
Handmade tile adds character
To top off this sweet new hangout area, Drew and Jonathan add a bathroom, which will be perfect for any guests Johnny has when entertaining in the cabin. After all, Jonathan points out that it can be inconvenient to ask guests to go to the main house to use the restroom.
The HGTV stars create a simple but elegant powder room, complete with a wall of handmade black and white tile. While this tile is brand-new, the handmade imperfections give it character.
“The goal for me is to have something that feels authentic,” Jonathan says. “It looks like it could be original.”