Here’s The Story: 4 Home Reno Tips I Learned From HGTV’s ‘A Very Brady Renovation’

updated Sep 12, 2019
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Credit: HGTV

Warning: Spoilers ahead for the season premiere of “A Very Brady Renovation”

A little over a year ago, “The Brady Bunch” house in Los Angeles hit the market. The initial news caused a stir, and then there were rumors that Lance Bass purchased the home, only to discover shortly after that he was outbid by an unknown buyer. The news leaked that HGTV had swooped in and snagged the 1970s TV show house, and a few months later, the public figured out why: they were going to create a home renovation show out of it called “A Very Brady Renovation,” premiering Monday, September 9 at 9/8 c on HGTV.

For the series, HGTV set out to make the “Brady Bunch” house look exactly as it did in the sitcom. But since the actors shot on a soundstage and the house was only used for exterior shots, the interior of this place had nothing in common with what viewers saw on television. And that meant a lot of renovation work, which of course makes for good TV.

Credit: HGTV

So the HGTV paired its own stars—The Property Brothers, “Good Bones” Mina Starsiak Hawk and Karen E. Laine, “Restored by the Fords” Leanne and Steve Ford, “Hidden Potential” Jasmine Roth, and “Flea Market Flip” Lara Spencer—with the ones who knew the house (or the soundstage set) best: Barry Williams (Greg), Maureen McCormick (Marcia), Christopher Knight (Peter), Eve Plumb (Jan), Mike Lookinland (Bobby), and Susan Olsen (Cindy). The supersized cast then got to work on the very Brady project.

In the first episode, the HGTV stars and Brady kids tackle the living room and the dining room, plus the exterior of the house. And as you can imagine, the cast was overwhelmed by the nostalgia, especially when they did the reveal at the end of the episode.

“When I first walk in the front door, I had goosebumps all over,” Maureen McCormick told Apartment Therapy. “I saw in my mind Florence and Bob on the two chairs in the living room, and I saw Anne B. coming in from the kitchen. I really did, and I’ll never forget it.”

While a lot of Brady Bunch knowledge was thrown my way, I also gathered a decent amount of home tips throughout the hour-long episode that could be used in real-life scenarios. Here’s what I learned:

Credit: HGTV

1. Keep your neighbors in mind

Although this doesn’t apply to every situation—like someone who’s closest neighbor is five miles down the road—many of us are in close enough proximity that construction would be seen and heard by others. This seems like a pretty obvious thing to consider, but in reality it could easily fall by the wayside on the list of priorities when you’re planning, you know, a massive renovation.

Before beginning any major exterior or interior renovations, think about letting your neighbors know if any loud noises or obstructions are going to be involved. That’s what the HGTV team did when they were about to embark on the Brady house reno, and so they looped the neighborhood in as a result. The producers offered up gourmet cookies and the former homeowner Violet McCallister’s prized rosebushes, which everyone knew her for.  “This is going to be a tender dance of making sure that the neighbors are on board,” said Loren Ruch, HGTV executive. “We want to make sure to win them over.”

Having your neighbors’ blessing (or at least keeping them in the know) will allow your process to go much easier with less drama involved. And while you might not have prized rose bushes or have access to gourmet cookies, even a thoughtful note or conversation goes a long way.

2. 3D printers are helpful

Even if you’ve never used one, you’ve probably heard about 3D printers that make objects come to life through computer-generated technology. Here’s how it works: these printers can use a variety of materials (plastic, polyamide, silver, steel, etc.) to construct a desired object by printing one layer at a time until the item is complete. In the case of the Brady Bunch project, they needed to 3D print a crucial object that they couldn’t find otherwise: the living room couch.

“The couch in the Brady Bunch living room is so specific, the moment you see that Persian-inspired floral pattern, you know ‘Brady Bunch,’” said Dylan Eastman, Design and Build Manager for the project. “This isn’t something we can cheat on; it has to look like the show. Obviously finding a vintage couch would be the easiest way to achieve that, but who would want to sit on a 50-year-old couch?”

The team didn’t have much luck going to all the biggest suppliers to see if they could find a match in their vintage-styled collections, either. So as a result, they turned to 3D printing to get the job done, who was able to create an exact couch replica with the pattern.

So if you ever find yourself doing a home renovation and can’t see to find that exact piece you desire, a 3D printing company is a great option. That beautiful vase that you broke a few years ago? As long as you have a photo, you’re solid.

3. Take your time picking a paint color

Sometimes it might feel like you’re the only one having a difficult time picking between Cloud White and White Dove. You hold both swatches up to different lighting, put them against the wall, ask your family and friends, but it’s still a hard decision to make.

Host of “Hidden Potential” Jasmin Roth and Christopher Knight, who played Peter Brady, teamed up to try and determine what color they should paint the exterior of the house. But when it came down to comparing photos of the house on TV, each one made the color look slightly different. “In each image the color reads really differently,” said Roth. “So if we zoom in on that color where the siding is, it’s totally different if we zoom in on this photo. This is hard!”

Eventually, Roth and Knight found a layer of paint underneath the current one that matched Knight’s vision of what the house’s exterior looked like, but it wasn’t an easy feat.

Moral of the story is this: Take your time when selecting a paint color. Weigh your options, sleep on it, get an experts opinion, and get paint samples so you can physically try it on your wall first, if you can. And hey, TV designers, they’re just like us!

Credit: HGTV

4. There’s no harm in asking around about antiques 

Visiting home goods stores on a daily basis only gets you so far when searching for that dream antique. When you see a historic statement piece in someone else’s home that you want, the odds are that you’ll have to wait a long time to stumble upon it one day, if you ever get so lucky. But who has time to wait? You should go looking for it—and that means taking to the Internet and its many resources.

The Brandy Bunch house was filled to the brim with antiques, and so the HGTV crew and the Brady kids tried their best to hunt them down. McCormick, who played Marcia, and Lara Spencer from “Flea Market Flip” looked through a truck filled with pieces from Paramount Studios in hopes that they would find things from the original “Brady Bunch” set. But when they had a hard time finding what they were looking for (although they did find a vase that appeared in many episodes), they turned to people across the country and asked to send in their items, which they did.

While not all of us can send out an SOS note that goes viral and people actually respond to, there are tools that can help: Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Etsy, and our own Apartment Therapy Bazaar, just to name a few.

Have any other tips that you found helpful from the episode? Leave us a note in the comments below!