Words by Kristy Elik

If you haven’t heard of the Property Brothers, you might be living under a rock—but not to worry. With their savvy negotiating skills and renovation expertise, you can leave it up to these twin dynamos to transform your rock into a slice of heaven!

Spirit of the City caught up with Jonathan and Drew Scott, a.k.a. the Property Brothers, for a chat about their rise to fame, how to properly strategize when buying a home, and the hottest real estate market in GTA history.

Kristy Elik: First of all, huge kudos for your success. The Property Brothers are everywhere! How are you dealing with celebrity status? Is this how you envisioned your empire would unfold?

Property Brothers: We’ve been fortunate to connect with fans from all over the world and to educate viewers in an entertaining way. We always love when fans come up to us to say that we’ve inspired them to go after their dream home. It’s very humbling and we’re lucky to share our passions with everyone.

KE: In your experience, what are the most important home elements to renovate other than the obvious kitchens and bathrooms? What wish-list items will be worth their price and more?

PB: Any improvement that makes a home more livable can be worth doing—just don’t spend more than the reno will add to your property value. Removing a wall to create a more attractive flow of space and light can be well worth the structural strengthening it may require. An attic or basement space with good dimensions and access can become a bonus room that could serve as a playroom, studio or home theatre. And you can’t go wrong maximizing closet and storage space with well-designed shelving and other organizers.

Almost anything that makes your house look better on the outside—restored trim, fresh paint, additional landscaping—is worth it. Installing a handsome new front door is one of the single most cost-effective improvements you can make. Take advantage of the outdoor living trend by adding or improving a deck or patio, enhancing it with outdoor lighting, latticework walls, and built-in storage that can double as benches or a buffet for dining al fresco. Who doesn’t love a great backyard barbecue?

KE: What constitutes a house with “good bones”? What qualities are found in the diamond-in-the-rough you’re always looking for on your show?

PB: This is partly a matter of taste, but we favour well-built homes with strong foundations and structures, plus ample rooms, plentiful windows and a feeling of spaciousness. Many houses have unrealized potential. We always consider how the floor plan could be improved for better flow. A house that feels dark and cramped can be transformed by removing interior walls and installing new windows and skylights. Often cosmetic changes, such as upgrading outdated flooring, counters, tile, fixtures and other elements, can make a home shine.

KE: Say you have a vision for your perfect reno. What’s the best way to communicate it to your contractor/designer?

PB: It’s a show-and-tell process. Showing your contractor/designer images of elements you like from other projects will help them understand your needs and style. In the past, these images came from magazines and books; those are still fine sources, but now you can also assemble an online portfolio of inspiring designs at websites such as Pinterest and Houzz.

KE: What’s next for the Property Brothers?

PB: Tune in for more creative transformations as we turn fixer-uppers into dream homes! We’ve also been busy developing several other television projects, our new furniture line and some other exciting things that you’ll just have to keep an eye out for!

Kristy Elik is an award-winning freelance writer and editor whose passions for authenticity and laughter drive her every day. She is thrilled to interview leading home and design professionals