“Property Brothers” stars Drew and Jonathan Scott have been renovating up a storm in Nashville, TN, but this week on their self-titled show they take their services north—to Calgary, Canada.

In the episode “Mountain Chic,” we meet Shauna and Steve, who sold their starter home months ago. Since then, they and their two kids have been living with Shauna’s mom while they look for a new place of their own nearby. They love the neighborhood so much they want to stay close, but it’s going to be difficult on their budget of “only” $1 million Canadian.  (That’s approximately $754,040 in U.S. dollars.)

Drew says they’re going to need to make some big compromises: “We’ve got to separate their wants from their needs.”

Surprisingly, they find a way to get everything they both want and need, and then some, all within their budget. Find out how the “Property Brothers” stars help them accomplish this, and how you might be able to apply some of these tips in your own home (or any new ones you might buy in your future).

Consult the neighborhood grapevine

Drew is having a heck of a time finding homes for sale in this small neighborhood. But as Shauna’s mom discusses their trials and tribulations with her bridge club, one member says that she’s thinking about selling, and would let Shauna and Steve take a look at it before it even goes on the market. Sensing a great opportunity, the Scotts pounce.

The advantages of selling a home before it goes on the market

Drew tells the sellers that while they might get a higher price if they list their home, by selling to Shauna and Steve, they won’t have to go through the hassles of showings, advertising, and going back and forth with the buyers. Taking all this into consideration, Drew is able to negotiate a fair price of $885,000 for the neighbor’s home. Everyone is satisfied, especially since Jonathan says he can renovate it for $125,000, which just hits their budget.

Decide if ‘close to schools’ is really a plus

The home backs right up to an elementary school playground, which is great for their children as they grow up. However, in the meantime, the family will have to put up with a lot of school noise during recess and when school lets out. It’s best to go back and take a look and a listen to a home during the busy times before you buy it. If you love the sound of kids, you’re home-free. But if you want peace and quiet, you might think twice.

Look up and around for asbestos

If you look up, see popcorn ceilings, and think that asbestos remediation overhead is all you’ll have to deal with, think again. Jonathan finds asbestos in the walls as well, and it costs a whopping $11,000 to remove. Jonathan will have to find other ways to save money in order to keep the project on budget.

Lose the dated pop-out windows

You’ve all seen them; you might even have one. You know those pop-out glass windows in the kitchen, where people grow herbs or put fresh-baked pies? Jonathan actually crawls up in the one in Shauna and Steve’s new house, to take in rays. But it totally dates the home, he asserts, and tells them that removing it and putting in a normal window is a cheap and easy fix. And he’s right! The kitchen looks so much better without it. He tells them they’ll just have to put their fresh-baked pies elsewhere, and they’re fine with that.

The kitchen looks modern and clean without the pop-out windows.
The kitchen looks modern and clean without the pop-out windows

When carpeting on stairs is OK

Most people these days love the look and feel of hardwood stairs, and this family is no exception. Still, hardwood is pricy—plus Steve observes that “when kids fall down stairs, it’s a softer landing” with carpet. Ouch! So they decide to go with carpeting.

Sharp corners should be childproofed

The home’s mantel is carved oak with sharp corners that stick out, and there’s a brick step, also with sharp corners, beneath the fireplace opening. Steve points out that those are head bumpers for their kids at every stage of growth. Jonathan removes everything that juts out from the wall, and replaces them with a smooth marble finish. Not only is it safer, but it also seems to expand the room.

A smooth marble fireplace works wonders in this room.
A smooth marble fireplace works wonders in this room

The glory of peel-and-stick wallpaper

Jonathan adds some blue textured wallpaper by the fireplace, sort of giving a river impression to the home’s modern rustic design. Shauna and Steve love it, but it was a bit of a risk, and Jonathan explains he used “peel-and-stick wallpaper, so if you decide you ever want to change it out, you don’t have to scrape for 20 hours.”

Do the Scott brothers deliver?

By saving a little here, a little there, Jonathan is able to compensate for the expense of the asbestos issues, and the reno comes in exactly on budget: $1 million Canadian.

“After months of being house guests in Shauna’s old childhood home, this family can finally unwind in a place of their own,” Drew summarizes.

And the family is overwhelmed. “This is even better than I imagined,” says Shauna as she tours the final results.

“You nailed it!” Steve tells the bros. Don’t they always?


Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award-winning writer who covers lifestyle, entertainment, real estate, design, and travel. Find her on AtHomeInHollywood.com.