The Property Brothers Reveal One Thing Never To Do to an Old House

Drew and Jonathan Scott know that most old houses could stand some updates. But in the latest episode of their show “Property Brothers: Forever Home,” they insist there’s one thing you should avoid at all costs: eliminating its history and character.

In the Season 5 episode, “Room To Move,” Drew and Jonathan meet Cooper and Fanny, a couple with two kids and an old Los Angeles home they love. Their decor is overdue for a serious refresh, so it’s up to the Scott brothers to update the home without losing the classic L.A. charm that Fanny and Cooper adore.

Drew and Jonathan have just six weeks and $140,000 to update the home, and that’s not even accounting for all the water and termite damage they find! Here’s how they give this old home a fresh feel, with some great tips you might be inspired to try on your own abode.

Sometimes it makes sense to make windows smaller

living room
These three windows were especially low.


Many classic features in an old home are worth saving—but old windows in an unusual size aren’t one of them.

Jonathan and Drew know that the living room, which is suffering from termite and water damage, needs a ton of serious renovations. So it’s surprising when Jonathan wants to spend valuable time making the front windows smaller.

Why would he want to close up part of the window? He explains that a front window doesn’t need to be so low, because when a room is filled with furniture, people outside will see only the back of a couch. A window that’s too large, just like one that’s too small, can be awkward.

living room
Jonathan Scott wanted to raise the bottoms of these windows just a bit, making them feel less like doorways.


“It might seem weird to reduce the size of a window, but in this case, it just makes sense,” Drew says. “We’ll get better furniture layout options, but we’ll still keep all that natural light flowing.”

Make an old fireplace look new with fresh paint

The family loved this classic fireplace.


While many homeowners are eager to update their fireplace, Cooper and Fanny want to keep theirs as is. Still, the brothers want to clean up the brick and repaint the white mantel. When they’re done, the fireplace looks new.

“This did not cost a lot of money to give them a much prettier feature,” Jonathan says.


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But they’re not done yet! To give Cooper and Fanny some more storage, Jonathan and Drew install some elegant shelving on either side of the fireplace. The two shelving units frame the fireplace perfectly, bringing attention to the classic feature. They also make the room more functional for a modern family.

Now, the fireplace looks brighter and the room has more storage.


When the room is finished, Fanny and Cooper are happy to see that their fireplace is intact, and they are thrilled with the light update.

“This is a room that was so important to you guys,” Jonathan explains. “And having some of your original features cleaned up, but still present, I think is really important.”

Let your floors add a bit of color

wood flooring
This medium-tone flooring adds some color to a light, bright room.


Between both water and termite damage, it’s clear right away that Drew and Jonathan will need to replace many of the original materials in this house. That presents a design opportunity.

Drew suggests that Fanny and Cooper would love crisp white flooring, but Jonathan is hesitant, refocusing attention on darker flooring options.

“I like the color,” Jonathan says. “Especially if they want to go lighter with a lot of the tiles and stuff, let’s get some color in the floor.”

Jonathan’s darker wood proves an important point: While it may be tempting to design a home with lots of clean, white, modern materials, a touch of color will help the home feel warmer and full of character.

The brothers spend $8,000 on this engineered hardwood flooring, but it’s definitely worth the investment.

White cabinets help a narrow kitchen feel spacious

These cabinets were too old to save.


Cooper loves to cook, but the kitchen is old and small. Jonathan and Drew know that it’s time for an updated look and an expanded space.

They pull out the old cabinets, explaining that they’re too old to donate, and replace them with new cabinets, in a brighter white.

“It’s still a somewhat narrow kitchen, so we want to make sure that we do keep things as light as possible,” Jonathan says. “That’s why, for the cabinet colors, I’d love to do something maybe in, like, a nice, matte white.”

Indeed, the kitchen looks bright and spacious once it’s complete.

white cabinets
These white cabinets make the tight kitchen feel brighter and bigger.


Mix up the size of subway tiles for more personality

Jonathan Scott
Jonathan shows off his backsplash idea.


Drew and Jonathan want this narrow kitchen to be all white, so they decide on a simple white subway tile for the backsplash. However, Jonathan wants to make sure that the tile isn’t too forgettable.

“In the kitchen, if we’re going with more classic tiles, I don’t want to just do the same old, same old bricklay pattern,” Jonathan says. “So we could even take something, and we could do, like, a cool pattern for the backsplash.”

To accomplish this, he alternates between longer and shorter tiles in each row, giving the backsplash a unique design. It’s a fun twist on a classic look.

Even a plain white tile can look unique, laid in an unusual pattern.