To ensure the outdoor makeover of Kris Jenner‘s longtime friend’s home made the desired splash, Jonathan and Drew Scott had to replace an existing deep pool with a larger, family-friendly one in a new location. On top of a heap of other improvements. And in just five weeks.
“Drew and Kris started like concocting this plan to add the big pool and to move the location of the pool, which I agree, I think it’s fantastic,” says Jonathan. “That was not part of the scope of work.”
The renovation of the home in Hidden Hills, California, unfolds in the return of HGTV’s “Celebrity IOU” (Monday, 9 EDT/PDT), the makeover show in which celebrities surprise a significant person in their lives with a renovation dreamed up by the Scott twins, known as the Property Brothers. Brad Pitt, Viola Davis and Melissa McCarthy were among the stars giving back in the show’s debut season. Eight new episodes feature stars including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Hart and Josh Groban, and the season kicks off Monday with Kris and Kendall Jenner and Kim Kardashian West.
Kris Jenner had her heart set on transforming Lisa’s 39,000-square-foot desolate, sprawling corner lot into an outdoor oasis for her friend of more than 40 years, whom her children know as “Auntie Lisa.” Within a year, Lisa’s husband and mother died.
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“The way she, literally, was broken over it, it just made me so sad,” says Jenner, who recently wrapped her long-running E! reality series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” “You can do so much for somebody, but you sometimes can’t heal a broken heart. I just tried to be there for her, and then when this opportunity came up it made me so happy because it was also a great way to try and cheer her up.”
Jenner, who says she’s “kind of addicted to HGTV,” approached the Scotts about Lisa’s yard. “I’ve watched them so long on TV,” says Jenner, who says she “cried in every one” of last season’s episodes. “It was so heartwarming and amazing to see what people were doing for the people they love.”
With Lisa in a rental house, the Scotts went to work transforming her barren yard and pool – Drew called it “a cesspool”. Though Kardashian West had a photo shoot on demo day, Jenner and her daughter, Kendall, leaned into the labor.
Jonathan says Kardashian West was forthcoming about her disinterest in demolition. “She wore high heels, and she’s like, ‘I’m not doing the demolition, I don’t want to do the demolition, but I will do anything else you guys want,'” he remembers. “So she helped us pick materials and the color palette. Kendall, on the other hand, (had) no problem tossing the runway aside and jumping in heavy machinery and doing the demolition.”
The model’s willingness sparked a friendly competition, Drew says. “Kendall and Jonathan went to use the heavy machinery, then Kris elbows me and says, ‘We’re not letting them show us up. So she grabs the jackhammer and starts jacking up the concrete. Then she started ripping out boards from the old deck.”
Says Jenner: “I like to get down and dirty, and I like to do things like that. So for me, it was all just a joy.”
Jenner was also instrumental in making sure the new pool would be completed on time.
“Kris actually – this is where you can see that she’s a mover/shaker – she said, ‘You tell me who do I have to call, what do I have to do. I’m making this happen. And we’ll stay on time,’” Jonathan says. “And she was right. So the only reason that actually happened was because she jumped in.”
Paltrow also stepped up for her renovation and became the first celebrity in the series to take the reigns on the project’s design. The Oscar-winning is paying tribute to her assistant and friend of a decade.
“She obviously has great style. It turned out amazing,” Jonathan says. “She knows Kevin better than anybody, and so I was comfortable with it, too. You can tell that the whole design world that is her in her element,” he adds. “She didn’t love the demolition and the loud noises, but she did love pulling together the palette.”
“Kevin Hart was funny because he was trash talking the cabinets before he knocked them out,” Drew shares. “He talks as if he’s been doing construction for 40 years, and then there’s a little bang, or there’s a cobweb in the corner and then he squeals like a little girl and runs to the other side of the room.”
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Drew says the makeover recipients’ reactions are his favorite parts of the brothers’ shows.
“”Just seeing that raw emotion, like the tears of joy, and you can feel the love, and you can feel the connection and how much this means – it’s life changing for these people,” Drew says.
Viewers agree. “Celebrity IOU” is one of a growing trend of surprise renovation shows that has already spurred a spin-off. “Celebrity IOU Joyride,” arrives on Discovery+ this summer. Hosts Ant Anstead and car expert Cristy Lee partner with stars like Renee Zellweger, Mary J. Blige and Octavia Spencer for car makeovers. In 2022, the streaming service will launch an eight-part series hosted by “Black-ish” actress Marsai Martin, who will surprise teenagers by redoing their bedrooms.
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