When the Brady Bunch house was put up for sale for $1.885 million last year in Studio City, California, it wasn’t clear it would survive. The home used for exterior shots for the television series from 1969 to 1974 needed work and was seen by some as more valuable as a tear-down than a reno project.
Now, the iconic home is the star of “A Very Brady Renovation,” an HGTV series showcasing its restoration in two seasons with a total of 20 episodes that are slated to begin airing later this year. If you can’t wait, there are behind-the-scenes short videos, “Building Brady,” already available for viewing on the show's Facebook page.
HGTV called in its most famous renovation stars for the project. “Property Brothers” twins Drew and Jonathan Scott helped out, as did mother-daughter reno team Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak Hawk, hosts of “Good Bones.” You’ll also see “Restored by the Fords” siblings Leanne and Steve Ford, Jasmine Roth of “Hidden Potential,” and Lara Spencer of “Flea Market Flip.”
The crew rebuilt the house to mimic the exact Brady Bunch sets: the staircase where the family lined up for photos, the “Jack and Jill” bathrooms the boys and girls shared, the den where Mike, the dad, had his drafting table, and the kitchen where Alice muttered her way through dinner prep before getting ready for a date with Sam the butcher. Some of the features, like the staircase, were already in the house, but others were recreated to look like scenes that were filmed on studio sets.
The actors who played Brady Bunch siblings were there for the filming and sometimes joined in the work, including Barry Williams, Maureen McCormick, Christopher Knight, Eve Plumb, Mike Lookinland and Susan Olsen. It turns out McCormick, who played the beauty-queen eldest sister Marcia, can swing a sledgehammer.
When the property first hit the market, listed with Douglas Elliman Real Estate, local real estate agents wondered whether anyone was willing to take on such a major renovation project. While the style now called “Mid-Century Modern” has its fans, it usually ranks at the bottom on lists of the most popular types of U.S. architecture.
But then the Brady fans came out of the woodwork, and a bidding war ensued. In the end, it came down to Lance Bass, a former member of the boy band NSYNC, versus HGTV, the No. 4 cable network after Fox, ESPN, and MSNBC.
Initially, the sellers declared Bass the winner. The boy-band star even announced it on Twitter: “Super excited to announce they accepted my offer on the Brady Bunch house last night!!! This is going to be a fun project!”
That prompted a quick Twitter response from McCormick: “Congratulations! May all your problems from here on out always be solved in a half hour!” Lance responded, publicly, with a dinner invitation to see the house (of course, because Marcia always gets asked out).
But, alas, Lance soon found out he had been jilted.
HGTV topped his accepted bid by offering $3.5 million in all cash, with no contingencies. And, there was an added enticement for the sellers, who loved the house and hoped it would be preserved: HGTV said not only would it bring in its biggest stars to restore the home to its 1970s glory, it would also film every step of the way.