Scott McGillivray makes renos personal in new HGTV show
For years, HGTV personality Scott McGillivray has risen from savvy entrepreneur and skilled contractor to teaching homeowners how to make smart renovation and investment decisions. With the success of his long-running series, Income Property, he became well-versed in advising and guiding homeowners on how to turn their own homes into money-generating rental spaces.
But in his new 10-part series Moving the McGillivrays, which kicks off Sept. 25 on HGTV, the cameras turn the home buying and renovation focus on to the now-38-year-old, along with wife Sabrina — a schoolteacher in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) — and their two daughters, Myah, 4, and Layla, 2.
“The idea went back to a discussion I had with the network,” McGillivray said. “I was looking to take a break from my other series because at the time I was working on my own home and trying to move. And they came back to me and said, ‘Well, why don’t we do a show about that?’ ”
“I thought that seemed like a good idea. It turned out to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
In the series opener, the McGillivrays realize the space in their current digs is becoming too tight and need to find something that would not only better accommodate their needs, but also the needs of their two young girls. Among those priorities for their dream home: Privacy, being in proximity to parents and offering plenty of property and storage space.
Scott and Sabrina stroll through three styles they feel would ideally suit their preferences: one is a Tudor-style house, another is a ready-to-move-in mini-mansion and the third is a tucked-away house with a spacious property.
“We actually were looking for a home for over a year,” McGillivray said. “It’s not like we just went to look at just those three properties.”
In examining the prospective houses, McGillivray’s contractor sensibilities also kick in — but with a twist. As he implies in the opening episode, new home buyers should be looking beyond the dreamy layout of an island kitchen, a spiralling staircase, the spacious master bedroom, and that big backyard space. And even if said buyers have a knack for renovating, there might be a few unexpected surprises after the purchase.
“It’s one thing to be working with homeowners. As the host of a show, you’re always looking to find the problems of other people’s projects,” says McGillivray, who’s handed out plenty of his expertise on the likes of Income Property, Flipping the Block, Canada’s Handyman Challenge and All-American Handyman.
“It’s another thing to be the homeowner. When it’s your own project, you’re like, ‘No, no! No problems here! No big deal! Don’t show that!’ ”
And in the house the McGillivrays wound up selecting in the GTA, “We pretty much knew that we were either going to have to do some major, major work or start from scratch to get exactly what we were looking for,” Scott said.
“I gotta be able to sleep at night knowing this was going to be my dream home.”
Central to Moving The McGillivrays is the more personal scope of the show. Apart from the viewing, decision-making and renovating processes when filming began a year ago (and is continuing), the McGillivrays also incorporate how they juggle their daily work and routines, including parenting.
“This is real life,” he said. “The show evolved from a very typical ‘let’s find a property and start working on it’ to a completely different type of show where there’s way more going on.”
Early on in the series, there’s a glimpse of McGillivray’s younger days starting out as a TV show host, and also living out of a basement of a house while buying and renovating other homes and renting these out to students. That early accomplishment of his own would ultimately lead him to the relatable — albeit busy — life he leads now.
“People will be able to identify with our family at some point,” he said. “We are a normal family going through what could be one of the many stressful things in all our lives: move and renovate, all while having children growing up.”
As the series progresses, there will be room reveals as decisions get made and the McGillivrays’ dream home is completed.
McGillivray also fits in time to help build a home for another family in need.
While much of the series puts the focus squarely on his own family, McGillivray also fits in time to help build a home for another family in need.
“For 10 years, I’ve been working with Habitat For Humanity at different levels,” he said. “At first, it was thought that by doing the show, there wouldn’t be time to work with Habitat this year. It just wasn’t an option for me to have the time to refocus on something that was also important to me.
“So instead we decided to make it part of the show, and we were able to do even more than we normally would — by helping to build, contribute to fundraise and help a partner family that really deserved a home. It’s something we’re all quite proud to have accomplished.”
After each episode, fans can visit HGTV.ca for two new digital short series featuring Scott McGillivray with his family and never-before-seen rooms to be revealed later in the season. In the candid series Kick Back with Scott, the contractor’s family, including his mother, wife, daughters, brother and best friend all sit down with the star to ask burning questions and uncover never before heard stories. When he’s not busy being a contractor, McGillivray is busy being a dad and that means driving his two girls around. These trips result in hilarious and candid conversations between him and his daughters, with the best moments caught on tape in the new series Moments with the McGillivrays. Additional how-to videos and heartwarming personal stories from McGillivray’s life go live each week on the site.
Moving the McGillivrays debuts Sept. 25, 9 p.m. ET on HGTV