Tag Archives: Backyard Builds

Backyard Builds returns to HGTV with more impressive and attainable renovations

When I last spoke to Sarah Keenleyside and Brian McCourt, their fledgling series, Backyard Builds, was set to debut. They had joined their fellow HGTV Canada designers and builders on Home to Win but that hadn’t been broadcast yet either. They were nervous, and excited, for both projects. Now the duo is back for the sophomore go-around on their renovation series.

“To call this a family is an understatement,” Keenleyside says over the phone alongside McCourt. “The whole HGTV crew takes you under their wing. Brian and I still pinch ourselves sometimes. We’re like, ‘Dude, we’re working with Scott McGillivray and Sarah Richardson!’ These are the people we used to watch and now we’re their peers.”

Backyard Builds returns Thursday with back-to-back episodes at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT with Keenleyside and McCourt once again blowing up bad-looking backyards and turning them into something amazing. And while the transformations are truly impressive—a family full of energetic boys sees their yard turned into a basketball court—the projects add value to the home and aren’t outrageously expensive for the homeowners. Last year, I wrote that the pair are almost criminally good-looking but know their stuff, are articulate, don’t talk down to viewers and have fun. That continues in Season 2, but McCourt says the projects have changed this time around.

“The projects were fun and whimsical [in Season 1] but didn’t relate to the viewer on a practical sense,” McCourt says. “This season we’ve done a lot more practical backyards and really dove into low-maintenance ideas for homeowners.” That’s a tall order when your episode clients vary from big and small families to single guys, but they relished the challenge. In Thursday’s second episode, the pair and their renovation team descend on a small bungalow owned by a dude looking to have space in the yard to entertain. The desert-like landscape and stubborn tree stump provided a challenge for McCourt but he triumphed and, with Keenleyside’s keen design flair, the homeowner ended up with a sweet outdoor pub-themed oasis.

“We have some really strong backyards this season,” McCourt says. “We did an outdoor kitchen with an outdoor pizza oven with two structures—one is a lounge and one is a secondary prep space—and in between we actually suspended a pergola. It’s really something special.”

Backyard Builds airs Thursdays at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada.

Image courtesy of Corus Entertainment.

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Corus Entertainment renews eight Canadian series for its 2018-2019 programming slate

From a media release:

Corus Entertainment continues its commitment to investing in Canadian original content with renewals of fan-favourite series across its suite of networks, including HGTV Canada’s Backyard Builds, Love It or List It Vancouver, Property Brothers, Property Brothers: Buying and Selling, $ave My Reno and Worst to First; Food Network Canada’s Carnival Eats; and Global Television’s Border Security: America’s Front Line. Today’s renewals follow Corus Studios’ recent MIPTV greenlight announcement of new Canadian series slated for launch in 2018/2019. Additional series renewals and greenlights for Corus’ roster of networks will be announced at a later date.

Newly greenlit returning Canadian original series include:

Backyard Builds – Season 2 (14×30)
Backyard Builds showcases the endless opportunities outdoor areas can provide. Contractor Brian McCourt and designer Sarah Keenleyside work with homeowners to extend their living area outdoors by creating one-of-a-kind structures and clever designs. Backyard Builds is produced by Frantic Films in association with Corus Studios for HGTV Canada.

Love It or List It Vancouver – Season 5 (26×60)
Love It or List It Vancouver showcases families in B.C. who are struggling with homes that no longer suit their needs. Whether they’ve outgrown the home they once loved or the luster has worn off, homeowners are faced with the dilemma of whether they should love it or list it. Each episode features interior designer Jillian Harris pitted against West Coast realtor Todd Talbot as they implement their plans to battle it out for the homeowners’ allegiance. Love It or List Vancouver is produced by Big Coat Media in association with HGTV Canada.

Property Brothers – Season 7 (18×60)
Canadians Drew and Jonathan Scott have become household names in real estate and home renovation. In Season 7, Drew and Jonathan help out couples in Calgary and Las Vegas to find, buy, and transform extreme fixer-uppers into incredible dream homes. First, real estate specialist Drew tracks down hidden gems with untapped potential, and then it’s up to identical twin brother and contractor Jonathan to expertly overhaul these ramshackle properties. Convincing homebuyers to take a radical risk is their first challenge, then they’ve got to deliver ambitious renovation projects on time and on budget. Property Brothers is produced by Cineflix in association with HGTV Canada.

Property Brothers: Buying and Selling – Season 6 (8×60)
In Property Brothers: Buying and Selling, Jonathan and Drew Scott help homeowners take their next step up the real estate ladder. Jonathan renovates the family’s home for a successful sale, while Drew hunts down the best options for their next property and oversees the selling and buying. Property Brothers: Buying and Selling is produced by Cineflix in association with HGTV Canada.

$ave My Reno – Season 2 (14×30)
Cash-conscious homeowners catch a break when Sebastian Clovis, the savvy contractor, and Sabrina Smelko, the resourceful designer, toss out overpriced reno quotes and make dreams come true. Sebastian and Sabrina save through smart spends, upcycling, DIY and putting homeowners to work. With their contagious energy, together they give homeowners the reno they want, on a budget they can afford. $ave My Reno is produced by Great Pacific Media in association with Corus Studios for HGTV Canada.

Worst to First – Season 2 (10×60)
Worst to First sees best friends, professional contractors and brothers-in-law Sebastian and Mickey take on the challenge of transforming the most undesirable house on the block into a stunning forever home. Worst to First is produced by Great Pacific Media in association with Corus Studios for HGTV Canada.

Carnival Eats – Season 5 (13×30)
Hosted by Noah Cappe, Carnival Eats gives audiences an inside look at the mouth-watering and outrageous foods famously found at fairs and carnivals, the wacky characters who create them and the culinary thrill seekers who devour and delight in them. Carnival Eats is produced by Alibi Entertainment in association with Food Network Canada.

Border Security: America’s Front Line – Season 2 (20×30)
Securing the longest border in the world is the work of the men and women of US Customs and Border Protection. Season 2 of Border Security: America’s Front Line follows CBP officers as they search for illegal travelers, weapons, and contraband. Guns, drugs, money and more – it’s all in a day’s work. Border Security: America’s Front Line is produced by eOne Entertainment (eOne) in association with Global Television.

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Backyard Builds breaks new ground in renovation television

When I first heard about Backyard Builds, I figured I knew what the show was about. It’s on HGTV Canada, so it was likely about, duh, cleaning up a cluttered backyard, fixing up a pool and constructing a new deck. The hosts, Sarah Keenleyside and Brian McCourt, would plot, plan (perhaps bicker a bit) and worry about budgets and, ultimately, get the job done.

I was, for the most part, wrong. Backyard Builds, debuting Thursday on HGTV Canada, certainly has elements of a typical renovation show—budgets, two hosts and building things—but blows conceptions about what a backyard space can be out of the water. Want proof? In Thursday’s debut, a Toronto couple pines for extra space for the husband to have an office. Keenleyside and McCourt come up with an ingenious idea: the plop a shipping container in the couple’s yard, insulate it, wire it for heat and turn it into the coolest office I’ve ever seen. (I had instant office envy. Have I mentioned I work in my basement?)

“We’re working with people whose homes are working for them but are at capacity,” Keenleyside says. “There is an untapped potential in their backyard and want to take advantage of the space that area has to offer. It’s hard for them to envision anything other than a new deck and landscaping. That’s where Brian and I come in.” After consulting with the homeowners about their needs and wants, the duo and their team work major magic. Every episode of the eight is a unique construction tailored to the clients’ wish list; an upcoming instalment includes two treehouses connected with a zipline.

“It’s kind of crazy that we’re the first ones to break out and do this in the back yard,” McCourt says. “We talk about a deck, a pool and beautiful landscaping, but it’s rare that people use the area for much else. It’s a cool territory to break into.”

Keenleyside, principal designer and co-owner of Qanūk Interiors Inc., brings her style knowledge to projects while McCourt’s expertise as a contractor, design expert and real estate flipper serves him well. He had never worked in television and she had appeared on Steven & Chris and The Goods—both were called out of the blue by producers about trying out for the project from Frantic Films—and didn’t know each other, but they quickly bonded. Having hosts you like and want to watch is key to lifestyle programming, and HGTV has hit a home run with Keenleyside and McCourt. They’re easy on the eyes, sure, but they know their stuff, are articulate, don’t talk down to viewers and most importantly, have fun. Keenleyside certainly had fun in Episode 1 when a dream of hers came true related to her time at the Ontario College of Art and Design. Her program was heavy on environmental design and, in particular, the rise of shipping containers being used in Europe.

“Then this project presents itself,” Keenleyside says. “A long, linear back yard that needed a long, skinny structure … shooting this whole first season was worth it just to be able to work with a shipping container!” It didn’t go without challenges, however. Tight corners in a laneway, a tree and fence caused jangled nerves for everyone.

“There is some stuff that you don’t see on TV with that project,” McCourt says. “We had to lift wires up over the shipping container. Sarah and I have a lot of experience, but we are always doing something we haven’t done before on this show.”

And something viewers haven’t seen either.

Backyard Builds airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada.

Image courtesy of Corus.

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HGTV Canada debuts two new Canadian series

From a media release:

This April, HGTV Canada showcases spectacular builds and designs inside and outside the home with two new Canadian original series featuring familiar and fresh personalities. Beginning April 5 at 10 p.m. ET/PT with back-to-back episodes, savvy contractor Sebastian Clovis teams up with DIY designer Sabrina Smelko to rescue cash-strapped homeowners by delivering the renovation of their dreams on a budget in $ave My Reno. Starting April 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, also with back-to-back episodes, viewers are introduced to a new duo featuring contractor and design expert Brian McCourt and interior designer Sarah Keenleyside as they transform bland backyards into remarkable retreats with unique, one-of-a-kind structures in Backyard Builds.

In $ave My Reno (14x30min), cash-conscious homeowners don’t have to break the bank when Sebastian Clovis and Sabrina Smelko make homeowners’ dreams a reality with an outstanding renovation on a budget they can afford. Sebastian and Sabrina save by putting homeowners to work and hunting for salvaged goods to up-cycle into custom items. Sabrina is an award-winning designer and expert at finding restored pieces at great prices and Sebastian is a master at smart spends for breakout builds and custom surprises. Throughout the season, this duo tackles everything from tight layouts, unfinished renovations and outdated designs to transform spaces with open concept areas, storage solutions and custom repurposed furniture. After each episode of $ave My Reno, HGTV.cagives viewers a front row seat with stunning 360-degree room reveals.

When indoor space isn’t enough, Backyard Builds (8x30min) showcases the endless opportunities extended outdoor areas can provide. Starring contractor Brian McCourt and designer Sarah Keenleyside, the pair work with homeowners to maximize their backyard’s potential by creating tailored, one-of-a-kind structures and designs. Sarah is a creative, outgoing designer with a knack for unique projects while Brian is a renovation specialist with a well-rounded skill set. Throughout the season, whether it’s a converted shipping container, whimsical treehouse village, or roman-style outdoor theatre, this duo proves they can extend any outdoor space with a little imagination.

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Corus Entertainment brings three new lifestyle series to MIPCOM

From a media release:

Corus Entertainment today announced three unscripted, lifestyle series for international sale at MIPCOM. The company continues to grow its slate of outstanding original unscripted series developed for its portfolio of Women and Lifestyle channels and this season debuts Home to Win (10×60), Backyard Builds (8×30) and $ave My Reno (14×30) to the international market.

Unscripted series being sold at MIPCOM include:

Home to Win (10×60)
The hit series Home to Win brings 20 of its HGTV Canada celebrities under the same roof to pool their extraordinary expertise, creativity, and reno know-how. Celebrity builders and designers include Scott McGillivray (Income PropertyMoving the McGillivrays), Bryan Baeumler (Leave it to BryanBryan Inc.), Mike Holmes (Holmes on HolmesHolmes and Holmes), and Sarah Richardson (Sarah’s Rental Cottage, Sarah 101). Together they will completely remodel an average, run-of-the-mill house into a dramatic, inspirational dream home. Home to Win will culminate in a one-hour challenge episode where home-winning hopefuls will compete to win this spectacular house. Produced by Architect Films in association with Corus Entertainment.

Backyard Builds (8×30) – In Production
When indoor space isn’t enough, Backyard Builds showcases the endless opportunities outdoor areas can provide. The series stars contractor Brian McCourtand design expert Sarah Keenleyside who work with homeowners to maximize their backyard potential to create tailored, one-of-a-kind structures. Whether it’s a converted shipping container, cake studio, treehouse village, or poolside oasis, this contractor and designer duo can extend any living space on a budget. Produced by Frantic Films in association with Corus Entertainment.

$ave My Reno (14×30) – In Production 
In the upbeat new series $ave My Reno, cash-conscious homeowners finally catch a break when Sebastian Clovis, the savvy contractor with contagious energy, and Sabrina Smelko, the resourceful DIY designer, toss out overpriced reno quotes and make dreams come true with a slashed budget and spectacular renovation. Sebastian and Sabrina save by putting homeowners to work and hunting for salvaged goods. Sabrina is a wiz at finding restored pieces at great prices while creating amazing designs and crafted items. Sebastian is the master at smart spends for breakout builds and custom surprises. Together, they give homeowners the reno they want on a budget they can afford. Produced by Great Pacific Mediain association with Corus Entertainment.

Corus Entertainment has a longstanding history of international success in the Kids programming category through its production and distribution giant Nelvana, and in more recent years the company has expanded its content offering into the unscripted Women and Lifestyle genre. As commissioning broadcaster and distributor of Canadian series that have achieved international success, withMasters of Flip now available in more than 90 territories worldwide and Buying the View in more than 60 territories, Corus brings its production, broadcast and distribution expertise to this new slate of internationally appealing series. Corus’ Women and Lifestyle networks include: Food Network Canada, HGTV Canada, W Network, Slice™, Lifetime, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network (Canada), CMT (Canada) and Cosmo TV.

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