What do you do when you buy a big country home and renovate it and it’s all being filmed for Canadian TV and you’re construction hero Bryan Baeumler?
You keep on building.
For two and a half years, Baeumler and his wife Sarah have carefully built their Niagara region dream home, step by step, steel beam by steel beam, chandelier by chandelier.
Its transformation into a massive multi-building compound with fun extra features like a palatial chicken coop, an elaborate tree house and miles of windows is the stuff of home fantasy dreams. And you can watch them at work.
House of Bryan is the #1 series ever on HGTV Canada and it’s back for a third season October 11th with back-to-back episodes starting at 9pm ET/PT.
We spoke with Baeumler about the seemingly unending project.
Your country home is enormous. Has anyone ever been lost there?
We haven’t lost anyone yet. The irony is we have four children and entertain and have a lot of people in our home. When we went from living in the original house which was tight to all this space, suddenly we’ve got all the kids getting into bed with us. But we love it.
Talk about reality drama. The sequence installing that ridiculously big steel beam gave me the willies.
That was a heavy steel beam. Those kinds of jobs, structural work we know how to do but having that much weight above your head is still a big deal.
Judging from the show title, this is the last series on that never-ending house reno?
I think for us that is our forever home. We’ll raise the kids there, Sarah and I will be there as far ahead as I can see. I have no plans to move but as far as building things and projects were certainly going on.
Your show and others reflect or help drive the trend to upgrading to bigger, better, and fancier living quarters. What’s at the bottom of it?
In the 80’s you bought bigger and bigger houses and now we renovate those houses and wish we knew then what we know now.
Are you using the property for growing food?
We’ve tried a garden and we got a couple of sweet peas and a raspberry and strawberry or two. The local skunks ate it all. We will get one going though. We planted apple, cherry and pear trees and evergreens as well. We’re hoping to provide ourselves with food down the road.
Has the length of time doing the project provoked anxiety? How do you cope?
We’ve worked on it for two and a half years. We bought the house three years ago and shot a day or two of the show here and there and took the winter off. And we had a fourth child! I felt in control but there were times I thought okay, it’s time to wrap this up. Sarah and I sat down and talked about it and she said we’re going to be here forever, why compromise?
If we need to wait and put the brakes on and go through it again, we’ll do it. Like my book (“Measure Twice: Tips and Tricks from the Pros to Help You Avoid the Most Common DIY Disasters”) says, let’s take a break.
So you do know how to relax?
For me building is relaxing. I work very hard but we play very hard. We take March off and take the kids to Florida and fish and boat and then a month in the summer at cottage. I’ll pay for it working evenings and weekends through the year.
Do you worry about amateurs who are inspired by you and take on something above their actual skill level?
Every day. It’s hard because I know I’m part of the solution but I also know people see the shows and get excited and start ripping things up. That’s a problem. And certainly, living through a big reno and living onsite in the house and doing the job is not for everybody.
We have experience and we’re in the construction industry and we’ve been together 15 years and have four kids but it’s not for everybody. You have to communicate and its up and down and how it’s going to go. We know how to argue, when and why.