Watch the Property Brothers Make a Small House Feel Huge

Allison and Ryan need the help of “Property Brothers” stars Jonathan and Drew Scott, stat! With a pair of kids under 2, their family is growing fast—and so are their housing needs.

In the episode titled “From Fault to Vault,” we learn that this Canadian couple sold their first house with lightning speed, and are now living in a cramped rental with stairs galore. Further complicating matters is that these parents have very different ideas about their housing needs. Ryan has always wanted to take on a major fixer-upper, even though he has absolutely no building experience or discernible skills. Allison, realizing her husband’s lack of ability, just wants someplace with lots of headroom and within walking distance of a coffee shop.

You’d be amazed by how hard it is to satisfy both of them on an $800,000 budget. But Drew pulls a rabbit out of his hat by finding Allison and Ryan a very low-priced home for the area ($545,000). The catch: It needs a huge amount of work.

The $255,000 that’s left over for the reno budget is quite sizable, considering the house measures only 1,700 square feet. With that amount of money, Jonathan can actually add square footage, and the ceiling height that’s so important to Allison.

In the process of giving this project their best shot, the brothers come up with some nifty buying and building advice that we can use on our own homes as well.

Flat is where it’s at for families with young kids

Drew showed the couple a number of larger homes with finished basements, but they concluded that toddlers and stairs just don’t mix well. Besides, Allison wants to be able to keep an eye on the kids, so sending them to play in the basement is not a viable option. Young families (as well as families with seniors) do much better in a one-story home. Jonathan promises he can find other ways to expand the square footage of their eventual pick.

Don’t judge a house by its paint

Drew shows them a home with white and turquoise paint on the exterior. How very ’80s! Even though it hurts their eyes, Drew tells them to look past that—exterior paint is a relatively easy, inexpensive fix. So they decide to buy it—and Jonathan paints it a classic gray that he says “will never go out of style.”

Add a pop of color on the front door

Remember that classic gray exterior Jonathan promised? Pairing that with white would be just so dull. Jonathan insists on painting the new front door a cheery yellow, adding fun to the exterior while keeping it classy.

Pay attention to a contractor’s track record

This house needs a huge amount of work, and Allison is doubtful that Jonathan can deliver all he’s promised. Jonathan reminds them that they have a contractor with a track record that backs up his promises, informing all of us that we should always be careful to fully investigate a contractor’s work.

Families need a mudroom

Especially in a cold climate, where family members will walk into a house and immediately shed their boots, scarves, coats, gloves, backpacks, etc., a mudroom is almost an essential. And when strollers are involved, you can’t live without one! A tiny entryway just won’t do, so Jonathan suggests they convert the garage into an entryway, mudroom, and laundry room, and build a completely new garage out back. There’s room in the yard and the budget, and this expands the size of the house considerably.

Raised foundations allow you to move the plumbing

The kitchen sink is positioned under a side window looking out onto the neighbor’s house, and Allison sees this as less than ideal for keeping an eye on the kids while she’s working in the kitchen.

“Too bad the sink is stuck there forever and ever,” Jonathan says. Kidding! Actually, because the house has a raised foundation with a crawl space underneath, they can easily reposition the plumbing. They can even move the kitchen to another spot in the house, which they do. And it’s spectacular!

The kitchen is now situated where the family room used to be.
The kitchen is now situated where the family room used to be.

HGTV

Create your own coffee shop

The one thing Ryan and Allison end up sacrificing is a location within walking distance of a coffee shop, so Ryan asks Jonathan if he can create a coffee station in their new kitchen. Of course he can! For the price of a new cappuccino maker, the couple can save hundreds on cafe-bought coffee, and not have to go out in the stormy weather. (Incidentally, it’s snowing throughout this entire episode.)

Raise the roof to create a sense of space

The higher the ceilings, the bigger a house feels, even if the square footage is minimal. Jonathan is able to add about 16 inches to the ceiling height by removing the dropped, textured ceiling, and raising the support beam into the rafters. He then adds new drywall at that higher level, and paints it white.

Lighten up underfoot

“Light hardwood floors make a modest-sized home look bigger,” says Jonathan, as he installs beautiful, lighter wood floors. Incidentally, lighter wood floors also don’t show scratches as much as darker wood floors do, and with young children, that’s significant.

Light wood floors make a modest-sized home seem larger.
Light wood floors make a modest-sized home seem larger.

HGTV

Do the ‘Property Brothers’ stars deliver?

Even though Allison doubted Jonathan’s abilities at first, by the time he’s finished, she’s totally sold.

“The house is a dream!” she exclaims. “I can’t believe we get to live here!”

Then she adds, “This is more stylish than us! We’re really going to have to step up our game. No more flannel, eh?” she asks her husband, pointing at his soft plaid shirt.

“Whoa!” says Jonathan, who is also wearing his signature flannel shirt. But he feels the project was worth the good-natured grief.

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