August 18, 2014

HGTV ‘Property Brothers’ stars give Hughson couple home design consultation

HGTV stars of the “Property Brothers” Drew and Jonathan Scott were in Hughson on Monday morning, giving a free home design consultation to a local couple. Danesa and Jeff Menge won a contest from the solar energy firm Sunrun to have the famous siblings give them tips and advice on improving their home’s look and value.

Lots of people wish HGTV “Property Brothers” stars Drew and Jonathan Scott would come to their homes for a free consultation. Getting ready for it to really happen is another thing.

Hughson couple Danesa and Jeff Menge won a contest for a design consult with the Scott twins, stars of the popular HGTV shows “Property Brothers,” “Buying & Selling” and “Brother vs. Brother.” Monday morning, the twins known for their home design and renovation expertise arrived on their doorstep.

“When I found out, I thought, oh no, the house had to be clean,” said Danesa, a seventh-grade English teacher at Oakdale Junior High. “But then I just got really excited. Hughson, as you know, is a small town, and the fact they’re coming out here is amazing in itself.”

The Scott siblings – Drew the real estate agent and Jonathan the licensed contractor – appeared as part of an online contest from Sunrun, a San Francisco-based national solar energy company. Danesa entered the Sunrun Brilliant Design Sweepstakes earlier this summer after seeing a promo for it on HGTV. But when she got the email last month saying she had won, she couldn’t believe it at first.

“Honestly, I didn’t know if it was real. I forwarded the email to my husband and we were checking things out. Finally, we said, ‘Let’s call,’ and they cleared everything up. We are longtime fans of their show,” said the 35-year-old Hughson resident. “Once I told people they’d be coming, friends started coming out of the woodwork. Everyone offered to come over.”

The Scott brothers arrived with big smiles and plenty of advice at the Menges’ four-bedroom Sterling Glen residence Monday morning. Danesa took a personal day from school, and Jeff, an accountant, took a half day off work to welcome the stars into their home.

“This is just the four of us hanging out, seeing the place, what you’ve done and what we can maybe give you some tips on,” Drew said, after meeting the couple and beginning to poke around.

This was the Scott brothers’ first visit to the Central Valley. They flew in Sunday night from Toronto, where their show is produced, and spent the night in Sacramento before heading out to visit the Menges the following morning.

“They’re a lot shorter than I thought they would be,” joked Jeff about the 6-foot 5-inch brothers, who towered over everyone in the room.

In December, the Hughson couple completed a home renovation, updating their kitchen and putting in hand-scraped hardwood flooring. So Danesa said she was anxious to see what the brothers thought of their upgrades. Overall, the Scotts were impressed by the work – which was a mix of do-it-yourself and professional projects.

“This is all too smiles and giggles, where is the good stuff? I want to see the ugly stuff?” Jonathan asked after seeing the renovated kitchen complete with subway tile backsplash and granite countertops.

They did manage to find a few things not to smile about. The duo commented on the couple’s color choice for the walls, a yellowy taupe they dubbed “a little bit boring,” and suggested a more contemporary gray with additional splashes of color in the décor.

The home’s upper level, which has not been renovated, caused even more consternation. The master bathroom, in particular, became a target. The couple confessed to hating their shower area, which has a broken door and cramped space.

“Oh, wow. I would like to point out that I have found the secret gem that we can help you guys out with,” Drew said, before stepping into the shower to demonstrate its tight space.

The duo horsed around while giving constructive criticism throughout the visit. At one point, Jonathan asked if he was being too easy on the couple.

“You can be meaner, go for it. I love it,” Danesa said.

Other suggestions included changing out the builder’s-grade light fixtures for those with “a little bling,” painting the wooden staircase banister white and turning a small reading space in the upstairs landing into a closet.

“At first, it was surreal to have Jonathan and Drew in the house. But once they were here, they make you feel really comfortable, like they are long-lost friends you haven’t seen in a while – who are tearing up what you did with your house,” Danesa said. “I didn’t feel dumb until Drew got into the shower. But really, they were so kind and were like, ‘Ask us anything.’ It was fun; they were really knowledgeable.”

The couple also showed the brothers their planned children’s room. The Menges are in the process of adopting their first child and the call could come “any moment,” Danesa said. The room was kept neutral because they do not know the gender of the child.

“I will say, I was expecting to come in here and just tear the entire place apart and say every other thing was terrible and you’ve got to change that,” Drew said. “But I can see just from your choices here, you do have a design eye. I can see you have some rustic pieces you’re blending with more of a modern, fresh look with the countertops and the flooring. So, good job.”

For homeowners on more of a budget, the duo said boosting curb appeal, decluttering living spaces and painting interiors are some of the less expensive ways to perk up a house to increase value and attract prospective buyers.

The brothers, who live in Las Vegas, spent close to two hours with the Menges. The men had appeared on “Good Day Sacramento” earlier in the morning to talk about their upcoming Hughson visit. The news spread quickly and brought out “Property Brothers” superfan Beverly Jones, who drove from Modesto to meet them.

“They are more handsome in person than they are on TV. They made my big toe stick straight up.” Jones said after getting a hug from the men.

The brothers took selfies with a handful of other fans and neighbors gathered outside the Menges’ Hughson home. They even met, and played with, the couple’s two dogs before leaving.

The Scotts are in the middle of filming their show in Toronto. They have been working with Sunrun since the beginning of summer to promote solar technology and other “smart home” features. The company teamed with the brothers’ HGTV colleague Genevieve Gorder for a similar consultation winner on the East Coast.

“For us, the home space is obviously an important thing, but the technology in a home space is huge. So is making your home green and more energy-efficient,” Drew said. “This is where we actually get to come in and talk to people about design. Adding value through kitchens and through your living space, but also the technology and ways to do long-term energy savings, is great.”

Though, Jonathan said, Drew may have had an ulterior motive for coming to Hughson.

“Drew just likes to sneak through people’s houses,” he joked.

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