Behind-the-scenes with the property brothers in Wilton
Photographs by Rana Faure
People were jealous of me. Really jealous. Not for anything I’ve accomplished, mind you, but because I got to interview Jonathan and Drew Scott, aka the Property Brothers, up close and personal. Katie Nugent, of Marion Filley’s Team Advantage realty team, asked if I’d ever heard of the Property Brothers, referring to the twin brothers who host the popular HGTV home-renovation series. “Heard of them?” I stammered, “I’m a rabid fan.” Nugent shared that the Scott brothers were coming to Wilton to renovate a house for the show and wondered if I would be interested in profiling them? Umm, “Yes!” I said with alacrity.
Flash forward a few months, to “Reveal Day,” TV parlance for when excited homeowners get to see their fixer-upper transformed into a super-stylish abode. I’m sitting inside the newly renovated Downe Lane house of Carlie Tardino and Drummond Smith, staring into the eyes of my real-estate, renovation, and design idols.
Q / Do you tailor your designs to the region?
Jonathan: To a certain degree, yes. However, overall trends tend to be the same across the board. Programs like ours––that air in over 140 countries and territories—help to showcase these trends.
Q / Design impression of Wilton?
Drew: So far, so great. Wilton has a wonderful, small-town charm and a variety of architecture spanning over 200 years that will make for a great episode.
Q / What do you look for when scouting a fixer-upper?
Jonathan: As most of our families on “Property Brothers” have limited budgets, we look for homes where the footprint is good and the majority of the structure is sound, so that we can focus the budgets on minor architectural changes and major esthetics.
Q / You were both competitive bagpipers. Do you play now?
Jonathan: We competed as children but haven’t played for years since our bagpipes were stolen in the early 2000s. In recent years, the daughter of one of our homeowners played pipes and allowed Drew to play them. I recently purchased a new set and plan to pick them back up this year.
Q / Tell us three things that most viewers don’t know about each of you.
Drew: I’m uber-healthy and hit the gym almost every day; I’m taking ping-pong lessons, and I used to have a 42-inch vertical when I played basketball in college.
Jonathan: I’m writing a documentary about present-day social issues; I’m a hopeless romantic and love a good Rom Com; my biggest passion since age seven has been performing magic onstage.
Q / What’s the strangest thing that has happened while shooting a show?
Drew: We’ve had a million odd encounters, from hidden safes to sleeping squatters. In Atlanta, we were filming for “Buying & Selling” and during an intense moment all of a sudden a guy on a bicycle went right through the scene, so we had to stop. Turned out to be Usher. All the women on the crew started fan-girling and it was a good 20 minutes before we could roll again.
Jonathan: On location for one big old house we were renovating, we were talking with a neighbor who told us the home was haunted. We didn’t think much of it until we started to experience lights randomly turning on and off, footsteps upstairs, and even whispering when I was alone in the house. Eerie stuff that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
Q / What’s your philosophy of life?
Jonathan: “Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made me smile.” I thank Miss Hepburn for that.
Drew: Continuous effort is the key to unlocking your true potential.
Q / Any plans to develop feature films or fictional programming in addition to the shows you already produce?
Jonathan: Our careers in TV and film started way back when we’d make short films. It’s always been a passion. Drew and I acted in many films and TV shows––including one of Ryan Gosling’s first series, “Breaker High.” At some point we look forward to producing some fiction again.
Q / Best part of success?
Drew: It gives us a platform to make positive change in the world. From inspiring people with our shows to our charitable efforts with many great organizations like World Vision and St. Baldrick’s, it’s humbling to see the profound impact we can have.