With ‘Property Brothers,’ twins flip homes and expectations

Property Brothers Drew, J.D. and Jonathan
Drew Scott, left, and his twin brother, Jonathan, right, challenge each other to a difficult task while being filmed for their new show, “Brother vs. Brother,” in the backyard of their home in Las Vegas. Older brother J.D., center, also participates in the show.
(Genaro Molina, Los Angeles Times)

The brothers are outside shootin’ hoops and talkin’ trash, like guys in most any suburban backyard across the U.S. — or even Canada. Because these guys are the “Property Brothers,” Drew and Jonathan Scott, 36-year-old identical twins from British Columbia who have become HGTV’s hottest property as they salvage cast-off dumps for TV clients.


“Property Brothers": In the May 9 Saturday section, an article about HGTV home-rehabbing twins Drew and Jonathan Scott referred to a cruise event that the brothers will host as “Cruising With the Scotts.” The name of the event is “Sailing With the Scotts.”
The Scotts are in the yard of the 5,500-square-foot manse they, of course, overhauled themselves. With older brother J.D. playing referee, they hash out the ground rules for the latest episode of a competition renovation show, the aptly named “Brother vs. Brother,” in which the twins compete over home rehab jobs that are later judged for quality by a panel of experts. Season 3 is set to begin airing this summer.

The loser endures an indignity J.D. helps devise. In previously taped shows, Drew dressed in drag on the Strip and Jonathan danced in an all-male revue.


“I want to see them embarrassed,” says J.D., 38, a host on cable shows including “HGTV Insider.”

Jonathan responds: “What brother wouldn’t want that?”

Surrounded by three cameras, a couple of boom mikes and producers calling out cues, Drew spins the basketball on his fingertip.

“This is the only talent he has,” Jonathan deadpans.


The trio can’t decide on a torture for the next week’s loser: Bungee jumping? Naked skydiving?

“How about eating hot chicken wings?” J.D. suggests.

Jonathan insists Drew’s stomach is too tender.

“You don’t even eat wings,” he insists. “You’d use a knife and fork. Then you’d be sick for a week.”

“What if I hit this shot to decide?” Drew says, taking aim from the foul line.

Jonathan sighs: “We’ll be here all night.”

Drew misses; once, twice and then again. After the cameras stop rolling, he swishes three straight.

“I’m a baller,” he says.


The Scotts, who are childhood performers from the Vancouver, Canada, area, began house-flipping in 2001 to ease the financial purgatory of being out-of-work actors. After an initial television deal in Canada, their onscreen chemistry went viral, and the first season of “Property Brothers” aired in 2011. Now they are in the midst of Season 7.

The Scott brothers aren’t just flipping houses; they’re a brand — capturing the imaginations of do-it-yourselfers in two dozen countries.

Still, they work at being regular guys. “We take our work seriously,” says Drew, “but not ourselves.”

While at first glance they’re hard to tell apart, there are differences between the rangy 6-foot-4 twins: Drew is a serious workaholic whose North American travels rarely leave him time to visit his parents in their Alberta home. He’s also a TV director preparing to make his first feature film and is frequently so busy that his girlfriend, Linda Phan, nags him to call his friends.

As a kid, Drew would be in bed by 7:30 p.m., while Jonathan and brother J.D. angled to stay up late.

Jonathan has a word for that: “Loser.”

Drew’s a gym rat, but not Jonathan, who asks: “Why have a six-pack when you can have the whole keg?”

Jonathan is pure wiseguy. He and J.D. moved to Las Vegas seven years ago and spend most of their time at the family home here. An illusionist, Jonathan is working on several creative projects and, like his brother Drew, has a black belt in karate.


Oh, and then there’s the hair: that swept-back Eddie Munster look. “It’s actually a wig,” he riffs. “And it comes off a lot.”

In the end, the twins are just two laid-back guys from that frozen hockey land to the north. They use the “royal we” like kings as they nurture easygoing verbal duels. “Drew is the most competitive person I’ve ever met in my life,” Jonathan says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s racing to the car or answering the phone. He has to win.”

As kids, J.D., two years older, played gags on them, which still prompts twin face-offs. Says Drew: “J.D. would say, ‘I’ll trade you that dull dollar coin for a shiny new penny.’” Then Drew looks at Jonathan: “I was 4 at the time; you still get tricked.”

Jonathan says he’s the smarter one. “I use big words on the phone so Mom knows it’s me.”

They flipped their first house as 21-year-olds while attending the University of Calgary, making a $50,000 profit. The trio kept raking in huge profits while they continued their education: Jonathan earned a degree in construction and design; Drew, his real estate license. In 2005, Drew was auditioning for a TV role when casting agents learned of the home-rehabbing twins. The rest is Scott brothers history.

After the hoop-shooting session, the brothers move inside the house, where they shoo away their parents, who are visiting Las Vegas for the winter.

But before they can get down to talk about success in TV land, they fluff the pillows of their living room couch — like they do before greeting “Property Brothers” clients for final walk-through. They even clean the smudges off the glass coffee table. Nothing if not perfectionists, these boys.

Immediately, Jonathan and J.D. launch in on Drew’s famed work-avoidance on the set. “Drew,” Jonathan says, “does not want to do any physical work.”

Back in the house-flipping days, J.D. says, Drew did the siding and tile work. No more. “In ’96, he broke a nail,” Jonathan says. “It was all downhill after that.”

They discuss the foibles of “Property Brothers” clients who implode once something goes wrong. Said Jonathan: “They’re, like, ‘Well, that has to be fixed. But I’m not paying for it.’”

He admits he’s not a fan of the show’s tactic of showing a couple a refurbished house only to tell them they can’t afford it: “There are nicer ways to tell people they don’t have enough money.”

One speed bump of success is having absolutely zero privacy. The Scotts can never tweet where they are, only where they’ve been.

The twins have even made People magazine’s “sexiest man alive” list. “Two years in a row,” Drew says, punching the air. “Kapow! Kapow!”

Their secret? “I have a sexy butt and Jonathan has very sexy ankles — and that hair,” he adds. “Together, we’re one very sexy man.”


“Property Brothers” expand their brand

Drew and Jonathan Scott are building an empire. Their original “Property Brothers” show is in the midst of its seventh season, and in 2012 the duo launched “Buying and Selling,” which quickly became another top ratings earner. Last year, they took viewers into their redone Las Vegas manse for a four-part special called “At Home With the Property Brothers.”

The Scotts seem to be everywhere: They recently returned from a tour of the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore to mark the launch of “Property Brothers” in Asia. Now they’re filming “Property Brothers” episodes in the Big Apple environs of Connecticut, Westchester and New Jersey, before moving on to a yet-to-be-decided slate of cities in the fall. In November, they’ll host an event called “Cruising With the Scotts,” a week on a Miami-based cruise ship, where fans can learn some do-it-yourself tips.

In the works are a book deal and a Scott Living Collection outdoor furniture line; ideas for shows whose topics range from travel and food to a “social experiment” and even a yet-to-be-unveiled fashion production. Naturally, they’ve got their own production company: Scott Brothers Entertainment.