“A Very Brady Renovation” has begun! After months of fanfare, the premiere episode of this new HGTV show aired on Monday night, featuring much of the old “Brady Bunch” cast (now very much grown up) as they attempt to bring the Brady house back to its former ’70s glory. High concept, anyone?
Fans might have heard that the iconic house—with its ranch-style exterior, grand staircase, and orange kitchen—was actually in two different places. The home’s interior was filmed in a Paramount studio, while a private home in Los Angeles was used for the exterior shots.
Since then, this L.A. house has become quite the tourist attraction—reportedly the second most photographed home in the U.S., after the White House—much to the consternation of its owners, who put it up for sale in 2018. After a frenzied bidding war (sorry, Lance Bass!), HGTV bought the Brady house for an undisclosed sum, with grand plans to restore the place so that the exterior and interior look just like how we remember from the show.
And it turns out that this is a challenge, since many aspects of the home’s interior (like the living room’s stone fireplace) don’t jibe with the exterior (which, um, has no chimney). What to do?
Since the Brady kids aren’t exactly pros at remodeling, they have plenty of help on the premiere episode of “A Very Brady Renovation,” titled “Honey, We’re Home!” Three of the Brady clan are assisted by none other than “Property Brothers” stars Drew and Jonathan Scott, who help them fix up the home’s famous exterior, as well as the living room and staircase.
But can this team make this old home look like the Brady house? With high expectations from the actors who remember the space so well, it’s bound to be a challenge. Here’s how they tackle this renovation, and some lessons we can learn from their efforts.
Taking down a fence transforms a front yard
The first thing to go from the Brady house? A tall fence surrounding the yard. It was once built to keep out too-curious fans, but now, it’s time to tear down this wall!
As expected, removing it makes a big difference to the home’s appearance. Without the fence, the house already looks much more like it did on the show—and, well, better. While the bulky wall made the yard look small and closed off, once it’s gone, the front lawn feels more open and welcoming. Without anything to pull attention away from this home, the home can shine unobstructed.
Paint looks different in different light
Christopher Knight (who played Peter Brady) is tasked with a very important job: finding the exact paint color for the exterior of the Brady house. On the show, the home’s exterior was beige, but it’s been a long time since the show was on air, and the house has been painted over since then.
Yet Knight manages to find some spots on the house where the original paint color is hidden beneath layers of paint. This small sample is all he needs to start narrowing down his options to a few hues, which he tests by painting spare boards and then examining them in different lights.
Though most people won’t need to be so specific when it comes to exterior color, it’s good to be thorough when choosing a paint. Considering what hues will look like at different times of day and testing the color before painting the house is a great way to know you’re getting the color you want on your own house.
A chimney isn’t a necessity
Meanwhile, Maureen McCormick and Susan Olsen (who played Marcia and Cindy, respectively) are tasked with re-creating the home’s iconic stone fireplace. The problem? If they build a traditional wood-burning fireplace, the chimney would be visible from the front of the house. And since the house on the show had no chimney, this simply won’t do.
The solution, as advised by the Scott brothers: Skip the chimney and make the fireplace electric. Brilliant! These fireplaces can make a great compromise as they keep you feeling cozy inside without disturbing the look of your sleek roof.
Spoiler alert: The Brady staircase is missing something
Guess what’s missing from that iconic Brady staircase? One step. That’s right, in order to re-create the staircase at the same angle as the one on the old set, the Scotts realize they have to sacrifice one step. To include all 12 steps, they’d have to lower the angle of the stairs so they’re less steep.
They aren’t sure what to do: Should they stay true to the staircase’s angle, or the number of steps?
In the end, one of the Brady kids weighs in. They should build the stairs at the correct angle and lose the step, McCormick says. “To me, it’s all about the angle.”
In the end, the stairs look great and the Scotts remind us that there are a lot of options when it comes to custom stairs, including slope, number of steps, and (of course) whether to layer on some groovy carpet.
So, is this ‘Very Brady Renovation’ up to snuff?
By the end of the episode, the Brady home’s exterior has been restored to its former glory, and the living room and staircase look identical to the spaces as they appeared on the show. The Scott brothers and the three “Brady Bunch” stars really came through. Now, on to the rest of the house!
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