Forget about finding out who takes the Iron Throne, or which Avengers survive the endgame. What home renovation fans really want to know is, what’s going on at the “Brady Bunch” house?
Ever since HGTV bought the original house used in the exterior shots of the iconic ’70s TV series and then vowed to restore it both inside and out to its authentic, very Brady glory, many of us have been dying for progress updates.
All will be revealed in a mini restoration series, to be called “A Very Brady Renovation,” slated to run in September. But for those who desperately need instant gratification, we tapped Jasmine Roth, the host of HGTV’s “Hidden Potential” and the Southern California–based restoration expert who has been diligently working on the Brady home since the project’s inception.
HGTV star Jasmine Roth working on “A Very Brady Restoration”
Of course, she’s been helped by other HGTV experts, including “Property Brothers” stars Jonathan and Drew Scott, Mina Starsiak and Karen E. Laine of “Good Bones,” Leanne and Steve Ford from “Restored by the Fords,” and Lara Spencer from “Flea Market Flip.”
And the Brady kids—or rather, the actors who played them—are also on hand to roll up their sleeves and chip in to bring their TV home back to life. They include Barry Williams (Greg), Maureen McCormick (Marcia), Christopher Knight (Peter), Eve Plumb (Jan), Mike Lookinland (Bobby), and Susan Olsen (Cindy).
At least one lucky fan will be able to hang with Olsen and Roth, because they’re teaming up to auction off an exclusive, preview tour of the Brady house once it’s finished!
Conceived to benefit the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights group via IfOnly, an organization that arranges one-of-a-kind experiences for charity, this unique experience includes an exclusive tour of the finished home well before the series airs, a one-hour home design consultation with Roth, and a sampling of Olsen’s new line of chocolates called Candy Puppy Poop and Candy Kitten Crap. (So very Cindy!)
With a starting bid of $5,000, not everyone may have enough dough to throw their hat in the ring, so it’s lucky for us that Roth generously volunteered to give realtor.com an inside look at the progress of the project, and boy, did she come up with some juicy stuff!
Find out why the actors who played the kids had to be kicked off the set, why the toilets were such an issue, and the elements from the original show that were hardest to bring to life (superfans, can you guess?).
Roth working away to restore the “Brady Bunch” house
Q: Are the ‘Brady kids’ really working, or are they just there for fun?
They are absolutely involved. We weren’t sure at first how interested or how hands-on they would be, or if they were really going to get into the construction or not. But they’ve been so fun to work with! They’ve all showed up, they’re ready to work, they’re ready to get in there and get their hands dirty.
And the cool thing is that they have this experience, they have these memories that they can share with us, so as we’re trying to put the pieces together and figure out design decisions and where things should go, they have first-hand experience that nobody else has, so they’ve been very helpful.
The “Brady kids” today, in front of the old “Brady Bunch” house.
Q: How are their construction skills? Isn’t Mike Lookinland (Bobby) involved in construction in real life?
Yes. He owns a concrete company in Utah, and they do countertops, integrated sinks, concrete floors, those types of things. He’s definitely someone who’s comfortable around tools.
But over the years, they’ve all been involved in some sort of construction or remodel projects, whether it’s renovating their own house, or their kids’ houses—everyone has some renovation experience at this point. But even if they’ve never done some of these projects before, all of them have been so game—installing brick and stone, framing fireplaces, it doesn’t matter. They’ve been really, really involved.
Q. What was the most daunting part of the restoration?
One of the really tough things was when you look at the front of the Brady house, you’re used to seeing a certain roofline. That’s the roofline we all grew up watching. But because of the way it was set on the property, it was really hard to accommodate all of the rooms that the Brady house should have without messing up that roofline.
We wanted to make sure there was that iconic staircase that went upstairs, with the Jack-and-Jill bedrooms and that bathroom between them. In order to accomplish that, we actually found that we had to dig down. Because if we added everything on the second floor, you would see it from the front. And we didn’t want to do that.
Q: Why exactly was the staircase so problematic?
Here’s the thing about the staircase: Because the inside of the house was a set, the staircase actually went nowhere. There were no rooms that it led to at the top—it just stopped. So the kids would huddle up there, and the director would give the cue and they’d run down the stairs. The rooms that they were supposed to be in were not up there. So it was really interesting to put all of that into an actual working floor pan. I think where the stairs are now will make a lot of sense, once everything is put together.
Q: So you’re not just duplicating the set—you’re making this a real, livable house. Were there any other important features that weren’t on the set that you felt you had to add?
Well, we definitely had to change the bathrooms. On the original “Brady” set, there were no toilets. You notice you never saw a toilet when they were in the bathroom, so it wasn’t included on the set. It was like, OK, we’re going to make the bathroom look exactly like it did, but this is a real house and we have to add a toilet, so we had to figure out how to add that in and still have it look exactly like the bathroom you saw on TV.
Q: Is there anything that was just impossible to duplicate?
Ceilings! On a set, you don’t have ceilings—you have light kits, and you have rigs with lights and microphones and all kinds of stuff up there, But in this house, there are ceilings, of course. And I think all the kids have said that that’s the most striking difference, that we actually have ceilings in the house that are nice and clean and have functioning lights.
Roth, working to restore the “Brady Bunch” house
Q: So did you go total ’70s and add popcorn ceilings?
We stayed away from popcorn ceilings. But it was nice, because it was one place that we were able to take some liberties, since there were no ceilings on the original set.
Q: Has it been hard to source finishes that match?
The surprising thing is, as a designer, a fair number of the finishes that were in the Brady house I actually use regularly. They’ve gone out of style; they’ve come back into style. For example, a lot of the stone and the brick that were in that original house, it’s come back in, so it wasn’t hard to find something that looks exactly like what was in that house.
Q: What about those orange kitchen counters?
Formica countertops, that’s a stretch. But there are a lot of places that use Formica. It’s a material that is still used regularly, and it really wasn’t that hard to find.
Q: What were the hardest elements to find?
The things that were really tough to find were the appliances. Because nobody’s making appliances like that anymore, and we want them to work. So we had to find those retro appliances, then completely bring them up to today’s standards and building codes. That was really tough.
Q: How close is the house to being finished?
We’re supposed to be done at the end of May, so we only have a few more weeks. It’s definitely crunch time. We’re just really hustling at the end now with all those finishing touches. And at this point, we’ve kicked the Brady kids out.
Q: Wait, what? You kicked the Brady kids out? Were they bad?
No! They were great! But we’ve had to ban them from the job site, because when they come back to see it we want it to be a surprise. Last week I had to kick Barry [Williams] out, and he’s like, “Wait a minute, don’t I get to come back?” And I said, “No! You’re done!” and he said, “Oh man!”
We just want it to be really cool when they come in and see this place where they spent their childhoods. It’s been like 50 years.
Q: Do you know what they’re going to do with the house once they’ve had the big reveal and the show has run?
I wish I knew. That’s a big question mark for everybody. There have been a lot of rumors, but I haven’t heard anything concrete. I know that there was talk of actually allowing people to spend a night there. How fun would that be, to stay in the fully restored “Brady Bunch” house?
It won’t be open to the public where you can just walk up and go through it. So the auction is a unique opportunity for a fan to go see the house and get their own private tour. There’s literally no other way to get into the Brady house and see it right now.
And in case you’re wondering, you only have a couple of weeks to get your bid in. The auction ends May 7.
Roth, renovation expert and host of HGTV’s “Hidden Potential”
Source: Housing Trends Feed