The Property Brothers Show Off the Ultimate Space-Saving Kitchen Upgrade on ‘Celebrity IOU’

The Property Brothers Show Off the Ultimate Space-Saving Kitchen Upgrade on ‘Celebrity IOU’

Property brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott have worked with many a film, TV, and pop star on their show “Celebrity IOU.” But this is the first time they’ve ever been able to help a Broadway legend.

In the episode “Idina Menzel’s Slam Dunk,” they meet Idina Menzel, who has starred in “Wicked” and “Frozen,” among many other musicals and shows.

“She is known as the Queen of Broadway, and I am known as the King of Construction,” jokes Jonathan.

“No, you’re like the jester of construction,” Drew quips back.

Menzel wants to give back to her friend James, who started a basketball camp for kids—including Menzel’s own son—to teach them both game and life skills.

“Idina wants to turn his detached garage into a league office and personal retreat, a place where kids can come and play ball, train, work out,” Jonathan says.

James will be out of town for three and a half weeks, so the Scott brothers have that much time to renovate his detached garage in Canoga Park, CA.

With Menzel singing them on every step of the way, the brothers manage to come up with some pretty slick moves and take-home lessons that we might want to take to hear and apply to our own garages, or beyond.

Upgrading a garage? Prepare to add plumbing and utilities

Digging a trench from the garage to the mainline
Digging a trench from the garage to the mainline


“Renovating a garage always seems like a very manageable project, because it’s a blank slate and a smaller scope,” says Jonathan. “However, in reality, that’s not always the case.”

He explains: “When you have a detached garage, I love the fact that you can envision whatever you want to put in there. The downside is, it means you have to do a lot more utility work to get the plumbing, the electrical, everything over to that space.”

“And digging. You need to do a lot of digging,” Drew adds. “Because we need to run a trench from the garage all the way to the water main in from the front of the house.”

“Inside the garage, we need to open up the concrete slab so we’ll have an entry point for those utilities,” Jonathan adds.

We’re exhausted on their behalf already!

Garage flooring might need to be reinforced

Reinforcing the garage floors with rebar
Reinforcing the garage floor with rebar


Another challenge of renovating a detached garage? Sometimes the flooring is simply poured concrete slabs.

“We are finishing up the rebar cage so we can strengthen the concrete slab,” says Jonathan. “The garage floor was not suitable for a living space, so bringing it up to code makes it safe for the droves of basketball players who will surely come through these doors.”

A high ceiling without rafters can make a space feel bigger

Removing the rafters
Removing the rafters


Like most detached garages with pitched roofs, there are dropped, raw-frame rafters supporting the ceiling. They’re not attractive, and they limit the head space.

“This isn’t a huge garage, so getting rid of the rafters would make James’ basketball headquarters feel way more spacious,” says Jonathan. “There will be a lot of tall players coming in and out of here, so the higher the ceiling the better. We can’t expand this way [from side to side], but we can definitely make the ceiling higher, and that will make it feel much bigger.”

An induction cooktop saves space in the kitchen

Induction cook top
Induction cooktop


Jonathan and Drew have designed a kitchenette with a sink, refrigerator, and something Menzel and James have never seen before: an induction cooktop.

“With our kitchen counters now set in place, we can install our new induction cooktop,” says Jonathan. “What’s cool about it is that it attaches underneath the stone, so you can cook without any unsightly elements, and the counter won’t get hot.”

It really is amazing. The cooktop looks like a regular countertop, but when you open a drawer beneath it, you simply pull out a couple of floppy-looking burner discs, throw them on top, turn a knob, and voila! Your water is boiling in no time.

“When you’re not cooking, you put those away, and you can use [the countertop] for anything else,” explains Jonathan.

Menzel and James are blown away. So are we!

Kitchenette with invisible induction cooktop
Kitchenette with an invisible induction cooktop


Use black marble sparingly

Nero Marquina marble mixed with white
Nero Marquina marble mixed with white


“This black marble is spectacular,” says Drew as he peruses his options for bathroom tile. “Not only will it be durable enough for the kids, but also flex as the chic and sophisticated bathroom that Idina wants for James and his new headquarters.”

There is one that particularly tickles Drew’s fancy.

“I am obsessed with this Nero Marquina marble for the shower,” he says. Nero Marquina is from Northern Spain.

“Taking it down to the floor makes sense, but we need to break it up so it doesn’t feel too dark,” he explains. “Going with a contrasting white stone [on the floor] is perfect. We just need to design a pattern that pops.”

Drew decides to intersperse white tile for floor stripes.

“The shower, if it was all black except with a [white] honed edging, that would be very cool,” he says.

Do the property brothers score a victory?

The finished project
The finished project


When James pulls up to the house for the first time in three weeks, he is overwhelmed.

“You’re not just a coach, you are family to us all, and we just wanted to pay you back,” says Menzel.

“This is so beautiful,” says James. “My parents instilled in me, don’t ask for nothing, just keep working hard and everything will work itself out. To get something like this is just amazing.”

While taking the tour of his new garage turned clubhouse/training facility/business center/personal space, James says, “I strive to help kids, because I’m that 10-year-old kid who continuously strived to get to the next level, and didn’t have the resources. Stuff like this is going to help me reach out to so many kids.”

He also believes that “This gift is going to help out in many aspects of my life, whether it’s my personal life or my business life. To have a dear friend like Idina do something like this for me and surprise me like this is totally mind-boggling.”

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