TORONTO — Whether it's a volatile real estate market that makes selling tough, or an attic full of memories that seem impossible to move, real-estate transformation twins Drew and Jonathan Scott are on a mission to help homeowners love the house they're with.
With "Property Brothers: Forever Home," airing Wednesdays on HGTV Canada, the Canadian renovation gurus help remodel clients' houses around the United States and Canada — including their own brother's — into spaces they'll love for years to come.
The identical dimpled duo say they've encountered many emotional moments as participants sort through their belongings and spaces — from old photos, instruments and records, to door-frame markings measuring children's heights — and find a new appreciation for them.
"If you have all those sort of memories that are part of a home, it means even more to people than just buying a new place and renovating it," Drew Scott said in a phone interview.
"We really wanted to make sure that we're cherishing all of those moments and those memories that people have in a house but making sure that it's functioning for them in the way they've always needed, or that it looked as beautiful as they've always dreamed. There's definitely a lot of ugly-crying."
The Vancouver-born stars even found themselves getting teary eyed while working on the Las Vegas home of their brother, JD (James Daniel), and his fiancee, Annalee Belle. Their father, who taught them all to be handy as young kids working on their ranch in Maple Ridge, B.C., helped with the makeover of the home that JD has lived in for about 10 years.
"That was incredibly emotional for us," Drew Scott said. "(JD) is a busy guy and he's never really been able to fully commit to transforming his space, and it's also felt like a bachelor pad for many years. Now he's engaged and he and his soon-to-be wife are going to be living in the house and we wanted to make sure it had a bit of both of their personalities in it."
The Scott brothers have been renovating houses for 20 years, with Drew as the real estate expert and Jonathan as the licensed contractor and master builder. Their original Emmy-nominated show, "Property Brothers," debuted in 2011 and has spawned many incarnations and launched them to international fame.
"One of the biggest things people always said is, '"Property Brothers" is for people who are buying a new house and they want to renovate it. What about all of us who already live in a home, have so many memories, love the home but it's just not perfect?'" said Jonathan Scott.
"That's who qualifies for 'Forever Home.' It's more about the heart. We really want to find out why they fell in love with the home initially and we can fix all the other stuff so they fall in love with it again."
The new series includes homes in San Francisco and Las Vegas, as well as Toronto, where they had so many people apply they decided to extend the number of episodes there from 20 to 32.
The twins have made it a collaborative process, incorporating the homeowners' wishes and needs to make the house fresh and functional, and complement and beautify what's most important to them.
"We listen and all the little details that these homeowners say, we write it down and find clever ways to incorporate it," said Drew Scott.
"This is important for everyone to know: We are two men who actually listen," he added jokingly.
Scenarios included a multi-generational home where the recently widowed matriarch wanted to move back in, and one where a couple raised a family that included 32 foster children over the years.
"They said to the kids at one point, 'We received an inheritance, do we want to go buy a bigger house and a different house?' and the kids said, 'No, this is all we've ever known, this is our home, we love this place,'" said Jonathan Scott.
"So things like that you can't just replace."
Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press