Celebrity Style

The Property Brothers Tell AD Which Celebrity IOU Stars Were the Most Design-Savvy

Jonathan Scott says he and Drew realized Melissa McCarthy knew her stuff when she "suggested unlacquered brass finishes"
two men and two women
The first star to say yes to doing the show, Viola Davis surprised her former roommate with a home makeover on her episode of Celebrity IOU.Photo: Dennys Illac

Drew and Jonathan Scott—better known as the Property Brothers—are seasoned HGTV veterans at this point. Since the twins launched their first reality show in 2011 (Property Brothers began on W Network in their native Canada, and was later picked up by the home television juggernaut), they have starred in no fewer than nine different spin-off programs, tackling everything from home renovation (Jonathan's forte) and real estate (Drew's domain) to planning Drew's 2018 wedding to his wife, Linda Phan, on camera.

But their latest venture, which premiered earlier this month, takes their mini empire to another level. Celebrity IOU's first episode drew huge ratings, as over 2 million viewers tuned in to see Brad Pitt join the Scotts to turn a garage into a guest house at the home of his longtime friend and makeup artist. The Oscar winner isn't the only A-lister to do a renovation project for a loved one on the show; subsequent episodes have featured Melissa McCarthy and Viola Davis, and still to come are Rebel Wilson and Michael Bublé.

Michael Bublé hard at work with Drew and Jonathan on an upcoming episode.


Below, the brothers take AD behind the scenes of the show, including its inception five years ago, and share how they've been spending their time stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Architectural Digest: It seems like all of the celebrities you've worked with so far have been really hands-on. Was anyone not as enthusiastic?

Jonathan Scott: Everyone was extremely hands-on, because they were doing this for people they love!

Drew Scott: People are going to be shocked by how much Rebel Wilson was doing. She was basically auditioning for the show by the time we were done.

AD: Did anyone surprise you with their knowledge of design?

DS: Pretty much everyone had a general knowledge of how to pull a space together, and choose the right color palette for what we wanted to achieve.... They got really, really into it.

JS: When Melissa McCarthy suggested unlacquered brass finishes, we knew we were dealing with someone who’s done this before. Brad [Pitt] is also obsessed with architecture and real estate. He not only walks the walk, he talks the talk.

AD: What was the most challenging project of the season?

JS: Though there are many similarities to our other shows, like Property Bros: Forever Home, I think the timeline was the most challenging part. With Brad Pitt’s episode, we had to pull everything off in under three weeks—essentially creating a completely self-contained detached-dwelling unit with all of the amenities in that time frame—in Los Angeles, no less. We may be certifiable.

DS: We designed an entire outdoor space for Rebel Wilson’s episode, which, by the way, includes lifting a 6,500-pound prefabricated pool over our resident’s house. So that was a little stressful.

AD: Who is your dream guest?

DS: I think somebody like Oprah would be incredible. She’s basically the patron saint of doing nice things for people, so she would be amazing.

AD: Where did you get the idea for this show?

DS: Believe it or not, we started thinking about this idea five years ago. We were at the Emmys and Viola Davis came over to us and said that she is a big fan of our show Property Brothers. After a little chatting, we mentioned the idea for Celebrity IOU, and almost immediately she said she was in and she knew exactly who she wanted to help. That’s when we knew we had something, and the word spread from there.

Melissa McCarthy worked with Drew and Jonathan to renovate the Chicago home of her aunt and uncle, who are both retired cops.

AD: Since we're all stuck at home for the time being, how have you both been passing the time?

DS: It does seem strange to be separated from Jonathan for this long. We typically have a very hectic production schedule, so this unexpected downtime has given us a break that we haven’t really had in the last decade. But we’re still staying connected over virtual game nights and video-chat dinners.

JS: Even though filming is shut down, we’re still operating the other parts of our business remotely. For Scott Living, we’re designing new furniture and home accessories, particularly to tackle storage solutions, home office setups, and new stylish household sanitary products for people who are stuck at home during the virus. Other than work, I’m learning piano; enjoying amazing meals care of my private chef, Zooey [Deschanel, his girlfriend]; and doing a lot of jigsaw puzzles.

AD: Do you watch HGTV yourselves? What are your favorite shows other than your own?

JS: Of course. Our production team, Scott Brothers Entertainment, not only produces our shows, but also many others, like Nate and Jeremiah By Design. I love Nate and Jeremiah. Not only are they incredibly talented, but just great guys.

DS: My wife, Linda, and I have been talking with several HGTV personalities, like Jasmine Roth, through our podcast, At Home With Linda and Drew Scott, so it has been fun to hear about new projects coming to life. Oh, and Home Town is also one of our faves. Ben and Erin [Napier] are amazing.