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Interview: Oakville’s Bryan Baeumler goes ‘All In,’ in both work and life

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Bryan’s All In returns on March 31 on HGTV Canada, and he still finds time to co-host ‘Renovation Resort’ w/Scott McGillivray

One thing about HGTV star contractor Bryan Baeumler of Island of Bryan fame, if he says he is going to do something, he is ‘all in.’ Thus, the name of his new show on HGTVCanada, Bryan’s All In. Season 2 premieres March 31. And while you may be a fan of Island of Bryan or House of Bryan, Bryan’s All In has a unique twist in that Bryan travels off the beaten path to help struggling entrepreneurs renovate their businesses.

Bryan’s All In

“A big part of it is that I like to see young entrepreneurs be successful,” explains Bryan. “The title and idea of the show is similar to us moving to the Bahamas a few years ago where we went ‘all in’ and invested a lot of our time and money in a business we really knew nothing about (and filmed five seasons of HGTV’s Island of Bryan). I feel like over the years we gained some experience. A lot of people who get into business have the blinders on.”

“The idea of the show was to give back; boots on the ground, and help people get the business to where it needs to be. You’ll see some renovation, some marketing planning, a bit of background story, lots of interaction and great laughs. The reason I really wanted to do this show is because I think that anyone in business or society should help out if they can. My parents used to have a saying that if your neighbour is hungry and you have a sandwich, it’s your duty to share that sandwich with the neighbour.”

Bryan says he is proud to have helped a wide range of businesses including a brewery, a distillery, a farmstead and a maple sugar shack. “The premise is, I’m all in. I’m here to help these businesses succeed. There’s nothing that makes me happier than to see a business be successful.”

My parents used to have a saying that if your neighbour is hungry and you have a sandwich, it’s your duty to share that sandwich with the neighbour.Bryan Baeumler

Two shows on the go

Bryan is one busy guy. He has two shows in the works – Bryan’s All In and Season 2 of Renovation Resort in which Bryan co-hosts and judges with Scott McGillivray. He and his wife Sarah just finished filming Rock the Block and the couple also own Baeumler Quality Construction in Burlington, a full-service construction and renovation company which has delivered the best-in-class construction craftmanship for over 15 years.

“With multi projects on the table you think we would have retired by now,” chuckles Bryan. “I often ask myself why I can’t just sit back and relax. It is not in my chemistry—there is always a project that I want to do.”

Renovation Resort with Scott McGillivray

Asked how the collaboration with Scott McGillivray came about on Renovation Resort, Bryan laughs: “Scott begged and begged me to do a show with him.” He continues, “We’ve been looking for a way to collaborate and came up with this great concept of co-hosting and judging this renovation challenge with some real money on the line, an unprecedented grand prize of $100,000 for the winning team. It’s a dynamic, energetic renovation show. It’s also a great story about these couples or pairs, and how they work their way through things – then we get to see the amazing reveal of what they’ve created.”

The first season of Renovation Resort was filmed on the Trent-Severn in the Campbellford area. The location of Season 2 is still under wraps; however production is currently casting for new design/renovation duos to join the new season

“I think for Scott and I, as mentors to some of the teams and as people who have been through a lot of these challenges ourselves, there are times you want to jump in and say, no don’t do that – do it this way, but it’s a competition show,” states Bryan. “These couples work 20 hours a day and put their heart and souls into it and come up with some incredible things. The hardest part for Scott and I is judging their work. It’s almost more difficult to judge because we know what it takes to compete. The skill level blows us away. It often comes down to some fine details that separate the pack. It’s hard because you want everyone to win.”

Island of Bryan

Bryan fondly talks about his wildly successful show Island of Bryan where he and his wife Sarah ‘went all in’ when they purchased a dilapidated resort in the Bahamas and moved to the island with their four young children. The family’s journey of renovating the run-down property into a luxury resort (renamed Caerula Mar Club) was the inspiration for the show which ran for five seasons. Bryan and his family still own the resort but have since moved to Florida. He mentions that an expansion plan is in the works and hints that he’d like to share this ‘bigger picture’ project with audiences, but no new season is confirmed at this time.

Says Bryan, “When we first told friends and family we were moving to an island, we got a thousand reasons why we couldn’t do it and why it was a bad idea. Not one person suggested what happens if you put your life savings into this and there’s a pandemic and no one can travel for a year? That happened (COVID) and it was the most beautiful and most expensive seven-month vacation with our kids that we had ever taken! But we came out on the other side and the hotel has been hugely successful. We learned that when there’s a risk you want to take on or something different you want to do, if you just refuse to give up—of course you will experience failures along the way— it’s worth it.”

Sarah is the creative one

Sarah is a leading Canadian designer who oversaw the design work at Caerula Mar Club Resort. Asked if there were times when Sarah wanted one thing and he wanted another, Bryan jokes: “Sarah’s very creative and I’m a little more pragmatic and more on the building and financial side – somewhere in the middle is this perfect balance. When the business needs attention you take it from your marriage or your time with your kids or your hobbies; when your marriage or the kids need more attention you need to pull back from work. It is a constant rebalancing act. There are projects that Sarah takes the lead on and projects where I take the lead. For the things we don’t agree on, we find compromise and move forward.”

Pilot’s License

Bryan earned his pilot’s license a few years ago and bought a plane so he can fly his family back to the Bahamas when they want to. “I love flying,” he adds. “It is a great feeling mentally and emotionally, and this great high. To me it’s very therapeutic.”

Growing up in Oakville, living in Burlington

Both Bryan and Sarah grew up in Oakville (Bryan attended Appleby College for eight years) and still have a home in Burlington as well as a lake house on Georgian Bay. Bryan is still hands-on with his company and even had a Zoom call with his team following our conversation.

Asked what he is most proud of, Bryan answers: “I am most proud that I have four kids (age range 11-19), that are all doing well in school, and they are well fed. It is nice to see the kids excelling and doing a little better than Sarah and I.”

Where does Bryan see himself five years down the road?

“Sitting on an excavator in the Bahamas planting palm trees. That’s my goal to be fully content digging holes by the ocean.”

Bryan’s All In returns on March 31 on HGTV Canada. Island of Bryan and all of Bryan’s series are available to stream on STACKTV.

by Laurie Wallace-Lynch

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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