Interview: Jonathan Scott on His 'Brother vs. Brother: No Rules' Win

HGTV sat down with the winner of Brother vs. Brother, Jonathan Scott, to get all the details on filming, his winning home and more.

Updated on February 16, 2023

"Never say die," was the rallying cry of Brother vs Brother: No Rules Season 8 champion Jonathan Scott after losing the first three competitions to his sibling Drew Scott. In the end, Jonathan's call to arms paid off: He triumphed over Drew by securing a larger profit on the sale of his Los Angeles-based beachside home. Ahead, we check in with the winner as he savors his sweet victory.



HGTV: During the first episode, you suggested a competition with no limitations when it came to budgets, design plans or neighborhoods. What was the thinking behind this new approach?

Jonathan: I’ve always wanted to have a competition with no rules because Drew always cheats. He’ll set guidelines knowing he has some type of advantage or edge over something or someone. With this new format, I knew he couldn’t manipulate anything. We would just do what we do and then see who wins.

HGTV: You mentioned you preferred your house over Drew’s right from the start. Why?

Jonathan: The previous owner had lived in my house for 60 years, and it was meticulously maintained, making it the perfect purchase for me because I wanted few unknowns and no headaches. The very first time I walked into Drew’s house I was like, “This is a dump!” It needed so much work and not just aesthetically speaking — I could see right away it required major structural work. Honestly, I would have walked away from that house and found another.

HGTV: You were down zero to three at one point during the competition, which Drew coined a “brother trifecta." At that point did you reconsider your strategy?

Jonathan: Drew’s whole philosophy this season was to spend more money to beat me, and it worked in the first three challenges. But I knew all along he was overspending and that it would catch up with him. It’s one thing to win the individual challenges, but at the end of the day the real competition is determined by who makes a larger profit on the sale of their house. Those first three competitions felt like an emotional roller-coaster. I kept thinking, am I going insane? I knew my house looked beautiful. I could see how buyers would love it and how the fans were responding online. Yet, I was losing competitions.

The powder room off the entrance in Jonathan's home.



HGTV: You exceeded your budget by $15,000 whereas Drew went $100,000 over his. How important was it to keep your costs down?

Jonathan: You can’t just go crazy and spend, spend, spend. You need to keep costs in check and set your budget in advance — not when you’re in the heat of the moment. It’s a lot easier for people to be like, “While we’re here, let’s upgrade the TV and whatever else.” Right from the beginning Drew was spending and it eventually caught up with him. My brother always has good ideas, but they’re always expensive. Even when we renovated his and Linda’s own home, he added a basement after we already started the project. We had to lift the entire house off its foundation, temporarily support it on massive beams while we dug out the basement, pour the walls and put the house back down. All of that was a last-minute add-on.

HGTV: You had a lot of neat tech features in your house that paid off, including a space-saving $20,000 bed that dropped from the ceiling. Was there a risk you wish you hadn’t taken?

Jonathan: I was confident with the bed and all of the cutting-edge technology I put into the house, but in hindsight, I should have passed on the modern recessed receptacles. They were a lot of work and stress, and I was surprised not a single judge or anyone who walked by noticed or commented on them. In the end, I could have simply settled on décor style switches and plates.

HGTV: Your entire house was 100% decarbonized, meaning you took steps to discontinue the use of fossil fuels. Is protecting the climate something close to your heart?

Jonathan: Drew and I have been champions of the environment forever. We grew up on a ranch, and our parents taught us to be good stewards of the Earth. In this case, electrification of the home is the way everything is going. It’s inevitable, it’s going to happen because the technology is just better. The only real hiccup right now is the expense. A lot of these technologies are initially pricey to install. But there are tax rebates and incentives to mitigate that extra cost. So, if somebody has a furnace or range that breaks down, they can get a high-tech, state-of-the-art appliance for pretty much the same price, if not less, than a non-climate-friendly option. My home was green, it was smart, I actually called it a “genius” home as it will make life heathier for whomever lives there.

HGTV: You guys did your fair amount of snooping this season to see what the other brother was up to. How hard did you try to keep your design secrets from Drew?

Jonathan: Drew likes to say we don’t need to bother with the secrets, that it’s OK if we know what the other brother is up to, but I know when he’s snooping, he’s actually cheating. Which is why I like to keep some secrets from him. For instance, I didn’t tell him about the space-saving bed or the smart panel that monitors every circuit in the house. (It tells you, for example, if an appliance is using too much energy or if your kids are up in the middle of the night on their computers.) These were all super-secret things I kept from him.

HGTV: Who comes up with the ideas for the rewards awarded to the winner at the end of each competition? Of the three competitions you lost, which reward was hardest to miss out on?

Jonathan: We all suggest ideas for the rewards, but the job mostly falls on my older brother JD. Some of the ones he comes up with are really wild, and the network is like nope, they’re going to kill themselves doing that. I really wanted to win the Magic Castle (an LA-based clubhouse for magician enthusiasts) outing because I’ve been a magician since I was 8 years old and that would have been cool. I’m also a foodie so it would have been great for Zooey and me to be the guests at Michelin star chef Min Fen’s romantic dinner, which was incredible. Conversely, Drew is obsessed with cars, so the fact I was able to drive in a vintage vehicle (at the Petersen Automotive Museum) really irked him.



HGTV: Your brother JD shared he was helping Drew, “Because my mom said I had to,” and your parents showed up at one point to lend their advice. Is it hard for your family members not to take sides in these competitions?

Jonathan: It’s funny because my mom will never pick sides. She’ll never say, “I prefer this feature.” Whereas my dad will absolutely tell us whose house he likes better or tell us what he thinks works or doesn’t work. JD is just like my dad — he says how he feels.

HGTV: Let’s talk about the pranks you played on each other.

Jonathan: A buddy of mine who designs magic props built the confetti bomb I blew up in Drew’s house. I originally was going to make a glitter bomb, and then I was like, “You can never get glitter out of anything,” so I stopped at confetti. Because at the end of the day, we’re trying to finish these spaces so we can sell our homes — we’d never want to do something that would jeopardize the transaction of a sale.

HGTV: A lot of the judges thought the hillside house was yours and the beachside house was Drew’s, when it was the opposite. Do you and Drew have similar decorating tastes and styles?

Jonathan: Not really. I’m always willing to do something bold, for example, using color and pattern. Over the years, Drew has started to loosen up. He had a modern, clean aesthetic, and now he’s developed a much more interesting palette. That’s why a lot of the judges may have thought his house was mine, because traditionally I was the one who would go for a little more whimsy. But this season, I decided to keep things simple, clean and modern.

Drew's whimsical sitting room.



Drew's whimsical sitting room.

HGTV: Some of the funniest moments on the show were when Drew ribbed you about purchasing a house near an airport. Do you have a “do not buy” list when it comes to a home’s location?

Jonathan: Yes, I won’t buy next to a nuclear power plant [laughs]! I do have a rule I won’t buy near an airport if the planes fly directly over the property. With my house, they weren’t going over the house, they were flying adjacent to it so there wasn’t a huge impact on the noise levels. When you’re outside, it’s almost like white noise. I upgraded all the windows and insulation so when you’re inside the house, you don’t hear anything.

I also wouldn’t buy a house next to a freeway. In some communities, the last row of properties are located almost right on the freeway. I just couldn’t live with all that truck rumbling.

HGTV: If you had the chance to rethink any design decisions early on when you lost the first three competitions, what would they be?

Jonathan: I’ve given this some thought, especially when it came to the kitchen, as I’m known as the “king of the kitchen competition,” but I really can’t think of what else I could have done to win. I set my kitchen up like a commercial kitchen to impress the professional chef judge (Alex Guarnaschelli), and it had the largest island I’ve ever done. I think the judges were taken by surprise by some of my technology that they hadn’t seen or used before, including the under-stone induction cooktop.

Photo by: Erik Voake / Getty Images

Erik Voake / Getty Images

HGTV: You went through a lot to save the blue painted beams in the second family room. How important is it to you to save something original in a reno?

Jonathan: It’s important, especially in a century-old home. You have to remember everything you do when you renovate has one of two effects: It either puts value into the home or takes value out. If I had removed the beams and made it a flat ceiling, I could have put in lights and it would have worked. But I realized I was going to lose value if I got rid of the beams because as people walked through, they wouldn’t see anything special. Whereas if I kept the beams, people would instantly say, “Wow, I like that.”

Photo by: Erik Voake / Getty Images

Erik Voake / Getty Images

HGTV: Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs) seem to be a big thing in California. How important was your ADU to the resale of your home?

Jonathan: There’s huge value having an ADU, as it’s expensive to live in California, and people look for ways to subsidize their income by creating extra rental income. The city of Los Angeles is desperate for more dwellings due to the housing shortage (so jurisdictions are fast). It’s nice to see the government put its support behind what’s a real need.

HGTV: Was there a feature the buyers of your home went crazy over?

Jonathan: I’ve kept in touch with the couple who purchased my house, and they’ve mentioned they just can’t get enough of the bed that drops down from the ceiling in the ADU. Their guests always want to see the bed. They also love the fact that the house is hyper-efficient — it produces all its own power and stores it as well.

Photo by: Erik Voake / Getty Images

Erik Voake / Getty Images

HGTV: A portion of the proceeds from the sale of both homes provides meals for Turn Up! Fight Hunger. How did you get involved with this charity?

Jonathan: We were introduced to this organization through the Warner Brothers Discovery network, and it felt like the perfect fit. Drew and I are very involved with a few different charities, and that one just sort of hit home for us.

HGTV: Drew kept stressing he was sleep deprived due to late night feedings with his son. What’s the best part of being an uncle?

Jonathan: The planning for the future. I will be spoiling this kid and sending him home all pumped up with candy. I know it’s going to be good.



HGTV: Drew mentioned at the end of the show he wants to bring the rules back next season. Any thoughts?

Jonathan: Drew has already told me, never again, never again. I didn’t mind the no rules because I can practice restraint. We’ll see. Remember, he’s only 50% of the vote.

Stream Season 8 of Brother vs. Brother on discovery+. Keep up with Drew and Jonathan on Instagram at @mrdrewscott and @jonathanscott.

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