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30 Things You Didn’t Know About Brian McCourt

30 Things You Didn’t Know About Brian McCourt

Growing up, Brian McCourt had an obsession with real estate and, by the age of 25, he had successfully flipped seven properties. With heavy demand, he eventually started his new venture: Brian McCourt Designs. His well-rounded skill set, knowledge of building products and creative mind make him a true asset to the world of renovation. Read on to find out more about the co-host of Backyard Builds!

          1. Who’s your biggest inspiration? I’d say my dad inspired me. I know that’s the cheesiest answer ever, but it’s true. My dad is very handy, he does a lot of cabinet work and renovation, he’s a very focused, detail-oriented guy. That kind of inspired me and gave me confidence to try things on my own. And I quickly learned that I really loved it, so I followed it.
          2. What’s your proudest career moment? My proudest career moment would be my first flip, because it was a big struggle. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I dove right in. It took longer and cost more and took a lot more out of me than I thought it would. But it just made the sale of it even more sweet. I realized there was really something to this, and something in me that I should follow.
          3. What’s the best thing about being a contractor? My favourite thing about being a contractor is the creative aspect. I love before-and-afters, I love transforming something, I love creating something and I love building something. It’s a visual reward, and the endorphins start going as soon as it’s finished. I stare at it for awhile and I’m proud of myself.
          4. What’s the worst thing about being a contractor? The worst thing about being a contractor would be surprises. Crappy surprises, and having to break the news to homeowners.
          5. What’s your favourite contractor trick? My favourite contracting trick is just having the right tool for the job. Early in my career I didn’t have all the right tools, and so I was trying to do things with handsaws and basic tools that weren’t meant for the job. Now I always make sure I have the right router bit, I have the right saw, and so that way I can do a great job and do it time-efficiently.
          6. What was your first job? My first job was delivering newspapers in the wee hours of the morning at the age of nine, but I was taking out the trash when I was five.
          7. What’s your dream vacation? My dream vacation would be to backpack around Australia and take some surf lessons along the way.
          8. What’s your hidden talent? I’m a pretty good athlete and played just about every sport growing up, but my claim to fame is landing a back-flip.
          9. Do you have siblings? If so, how many? Yes, I have four brothers and two sisters; seven kids within nine years and yes… my parents were busy!
          10. Cats or dogs? I love both but I have to go with dogs, especially my dog Malick. I thought he was a lab, but when I brought him home he never grew. He’s kind of a forever puppy and he’s the best cuddler. Dog lover to the max.
          11. What’s a movie you can watch over and over again? Bridesmaids makes me laugh every time! Pretty much any movie with Kristen Wiig or Melissa McCarthy – total fan of hilarious women.

            Bryan Baeumler definitely has the best hair. Very consistent, full of shine and no split ends.

          12. What’s your favourite ’90s jam/band or artist? I love a good singer/songwriter and I have a thing for female vocals, Alanis was killing it back in the day and Jewel made me feel fuzzy on rainy days.
          13. How did you feel the first day of your first time shooting for your show? I was 80 per cent anxious and/or excited and 20 per cent confused. It was a complete change of pace for me and I felt guilty for taking time away from doing the work so that I could tell the camera what was happening. I had to learn how to balance the work with the filming.
          14. If you could have any career, what would you do? My dream job is to run my own furniture and home renovation product company. Catering to the shrinking footprint trend and green living.
          15. What’s a guilty pleasure that would surprise your fans? Chocolate eating marathon… Zero self control when it comes to chocolate and caramel.
          16. What’s the most embarrassing item in your home? A newspaper clipping of me on Canadian Idol in 2004.  I’m wearing a pink button up shirt with a popped collar and loose tie. Not sure which look I was going for there…
          17. What’s your favourite season and why? My favourite season is spring because the days get longer, and it almost feels like you’re on vacation when we get the first run of nice weather after winter.
          18. What’s your favourite way to relax? Netflix and candy.
          19. What’s your biggest source of design inspiration? My clients. I’m always trying to find ways to customize a space to reflect each person I work with. Whether it be based around their heritage, travel experiences or interests, the home just has to be unique to them.
          20. What’s your favourite home you’ve ever flipped? A 150-year-old stone house in Montreal I flipped in 2011. I converted the home into an open-concept loft space with custom open-riser stairs made from a recycled I-beam along with ash wood steps my brother made in my dad’s shop.
          21. Least favourite design trend? I just can’t hop on board with the bold floral wallpapers. They were a mistake in the ’80s and they are a mistake now.
          22. Biggest mistake you see in homes? I think the biggest mistake I see in homes today is when four different types of materials are used on the facade of a house. I find it looks messy and disjointed.
          23. Next big trend in home design? I think the next big trend will be removable walls made of interlocking bricks. Similar to a life-sized Lego trend – it’s already starting!
          24. Next big project you plan to take on at home? I’m planning a move in the next few months, so that will be a big project on its own! I’ll likely be gutting it and reworking the floor plan. Time will tell!
          25. Favourite tradition at home? Playing the ukulele and singing old Irish songs with my whole family.
          26. Favourite part of the holiday season? Definitely spending time with my family and my moms cooking. “Hi mom!”
          27. Who’s your HGTV celebrity crush? Dave and Kortney Wilson. Man, they make me laugh on Masters of Flip.
          28. Who has the best hair on HGTV? Bryan Baeumler definitely has the best hair. Very consistent, full of shine and no split ends.
          29. What’s the hardest part of days on set? When the makeup artist pokes under your eyes with makeup. I can’t believe people do that everyday, voluntarily.
          30. Describe your dream backyard. It would definitely have a workshop in it. I love making custom pieces, so having a proper space to do that would be a dream. I would also want an open field for my pup Malik – and I have a new need for a few goats in my life. So a little hobby barn or “goat house” is on the list. A four-season greenhouse and space to entertain would be great, too.

Learn everything you need to know about Brian’s co-host Sarah Keenleyside and don’t miss the season premiere of Backyard Builds  Thursdays at 10pm e/p on HGTV Canada!

This post is an update of a story that was originally published on March 16, 2017.

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