In 2010 I Said No To Hosting The Emmy Nominated Property Brothers.


Dear (identity witheld),

It’s me, Karen Bertelsen! The Cineflix people just called me today to ask if I’d host a real estate show. No audition, no nothin. Just offered it to me. Starts shooting in June and ends in September. 12 one hours for the initial run. It’s called Property Brothers” ~ May 4th, 2010

Please enjoy this poor quality snapshot of me on the set of Handyman Superstar Challenge for HGTV.


That’s an excerpt from an email I sent to someone I knew 6 years ago.  It was about 3 weeks after I finished hosting a show for W Network in Canada that was supposed to be a HUGE show for them but ended up getting cancelled almost immediately.  W Network still wanted to work with me and they had an idea.

They were starting up a new real estate show with 2 guys who had never hosted their own show before and in their pilot episode they seemed to be kind of flailing.   W Network thought the show needed an experienced host to sort of guide the episodes otherwise this show could possibly crash and burn. I was the person they wanted to host it. I knew about home design, DIY  and always had camera-ready hair. I was a perfect fit.  If you added in the fact that I can also do a bang-on impression of a monkey eating clam chowder it’s a miracle I hadn’t been offered a show like this before.

I watched the pilot episode the network sent me and then went into Toronto to meet with the producer at the time.  I listened politely and then said no, thank you.  I don’t think I want to host this show.




That show as I mented … was Property Brothers.

Yes. That Property Brothers. The ubiquitous Emmy nominated Scott brothers.  Turned it down.  Suck on that television executives, I don’t want the cruddy old show you made for someone else.  Suck it all of you!

Here comes the life lesson about being wrong.

Not me.  I was completely right to turn down the show.  The television network was wrong.  The show didn’t need a host, the brothers didn’t need help and I knew that.  I’d have been kicked off of that show after the first season.  I’d have been the Brian Dunkleman of lifestyle shows.  Either that or I would have married one of the Scott brothers which would have been a horrible thing because then I never would have been able to pursue my relationship with Idris Elba.  So there’s that to consider.

Also, this was their vehicle. It was a show made for them. It was a great, GREAT opportunity.  For them.  For me?  Well, I’d just be a talking head saying things like, “That’s a house alright”  “Look at it.  It’s a blue house”.  And then the brothers would carry the rest of the remaining 58  minutes of the show.

At the time of the offer, I had just started my blog.  And I mean *just*.  It was May 4th, 2010 that I was offered the job of hosting  Property Brothers and it was on March 1st that I put up my very first post on The Art of Doing Stuff.  I knew if I really wanted to give blogging a try I had to do it. I couldn’t start a new blog and host a television show.  Not if I wanted the blog to be my next profession.

I had only been doing it for a few months but I knew immediately that I LOVED blogging.  I wasn’t making a single cent from it and didn’t for a couple of years but I knew I’d rather be poor and happy than rich and bored.  Not that television is boring, but I had done it for 15 years by that point and it had lost some of it’s pizzazzle for me.   Not the craft services table of course, that sort of thing could never lose its pizzazzleass.  (Craft services for those of you who don’t know is the catering you receive as someone working on a television production because apparently it’s very, very important that entertainers have quick and easy access to pizza rolls at all times. It’s imperative really.   Craft services is a room or table filled with food available for the taking at any time you want.  There’s fruit and liquorice and chips and cold cuts and salads and coffee and sometimes even chocolate bars.  FOR FREE.)  Also you can look people straight in the eye while shoving as much candy as you can  into your bra and NOBODY bats an eye.  You’re either padding yourself for camera or stealing candy to take home. Either way NOBODY CARES.  I guess I do kind of miss television.

6 years have passed since I turned down Property Brothers.  In that time my blog has grown to a medium size, I sometimes go to the grocery store just to have real life interaction with another human being and Sabrina the Teenage Witch started following me on Twitter, who I have since learned follows everyone in the universe … including Property Brothers.

In those 6 years the Property Brothers have grown their production company to another 5 television shows, a few product lines including an eclectic mix of beautiful outdoor furniture and bobbleheads, a book, hosted a radio show, produced a couple of original music CDs, and an Emmy nomination.


Because at the beginning of this post I was allllll “I did the right thing, I’m happy and I have chickens and Jimmy down at the video store knows me from my blog and lets it slide when I bring my movies back a day late and omg I’m the only person on the planet still renting videos, I’ve let my whole life pass before me, I’m living in the dark ages, I don’t have my own bobblehead  and nobody loves me. I bet I even have lyme disease.”

What the hell can I do to fix this?

Introducing the Karen Bobblehead.

Just kidding.

Yeah, the odd day I look at Property Brothers and all they’ve accomplished and how well the show has done and the fact that they have selfies with Tina Fey at the Emmy’s and I think. Shit.  I hate those assholes.

But I really don’t. And I know I made the right decision and I have no interest in running a production company or flipping houses, which is really how they’ve made it.

But man.  Tina Fey.

Fast forward to 2 minutes ago.

Ping” (that’s the sound of an email coming in, which I’m compelled to look at even though I’m writing a blog post because it might be someone emailing to let me know I’ve just won a wheel of cheese)

Hey Karen,

I was looking to get in touch about a show that we’re doing for HGTV. Our company is the producer of Property Brothers, American Pickers, Mayday, Food Factory, amongst others.

Anyhow, we’re doing a series on tiny homes and looking for builders and designers to co-star in different episodes. Let me know if I can arrange a phone call to give some more details.



Here we go again … why couldn’t it have just been a wheel of cheese?

Have a good weekend Drew and Jonathan.


  1. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Even if you did the show I most likely would not be able to see it here…Always be true to your own heart my dear lady..”Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.”–Hardy D. Jackson

  2. christine says:

    ‘ Give them my name,I am a retired designer and I am a pistol!

  3. tami says:

    You should do it. Tiny homes are very cool.

  4. Maria says:

    Please, please for the love of…of… um whatever you hold dear


    I would even buy a television to watch you on a show about tiny houses. I haven’t had a television since 2002. Heck, I’m living in a garage right now (yes, really, its a long story) and I’d love to be one of your “tiny house makeover/construction/projects” – I’ll even buy my own materials! (um, as long as it’s really, really cheap)



  5. Anti Kate says:

    DO THE TINY HOUSES! They are chicken coops for people! I want about 8 tiny houses, so I can put my family in all the others, and have one that is sound proofed and has locking doors and is all MINE!

    But seriously, I would love to see you do the tiny houses.

  6. Darla says:

    I can’t remember how I found your blog, but it is my very favorite. And now, after following your link to the open letter to Idris Elba, I realize I need to go back to the very beginning and read everything you’ve ever posted. Thank you so much for sharing your crazy life!

  7. Jennifer says:

    I can’t help but think that your “pithy” sense of humour and stream of conscious monologue would suffer, plus, “input” from the powers that be, Arghhh! You made the right call!

  8. Jen says:

    I seriously want a Karen bobblehead.

  9. Debbie says:

    All I can say is do it. I am seriously considering going this way. I love you and I’m sure I could learn a ton from you. I sure hope its not a Canada only show. : (

  10. Grammy says:

    Add me to the long list of people who used to be obsessed with HGTV and stopped watching them years ago when they pretty much dropped every show I wanted to see and went to all real estate all the time (none of the how-to-do-stuff-to-the-house-you’re-staying-in-to-make-it-better-for-you or Look at What a Professional Did for These People! shows). I don’t know if they’ve modified it much since I stopped, nor do I care. Today I don’t turn on my TV at all till after dinner.

    I have seen the Scott Brothers, but I couldn’t begin to tell you where — maybe an award show or something. They seem nice. I’m glad for their success.

    You are famous in my home. Here we refer to you as “Karen From Canada”. It’s the only way my husband can recognize who I’m talking about when I want to tell him something cool you did or funny you said. I’m so happy that is enough for you.

    Being retired myself, I also understand completely the freedom you get from not having to get up every morning with an alarm clock, get presentable enough to show up with so-called civilized people, and commute to and from work. I imagine doing it for a TV show is way more stressful and inconvenient than anything I ever did.

    Idris is a valid consideration. I’m sure he probably has heard about you. Just because he’s busy right now doesn’t meant he won’t find time to call you when he’s visiting around your neck of the woods and see if you’re free for an evening. And you want to be available when that happens. It would be terrible to have to say, “I’m so sorry, Idris, I’d love to, but I’m on a television show so I have to be somewhere else listening to people who don’t know as much as I do and don’t get my jokes and want me to change my show to suit them, so, maybe next time.” Don’t let that happen, Dear.

  11. Suzanne says:

    So happy to hear that you’ve chosen to keep on blogging. You make my day every day that I read you. And I so agree with you that the best of all is that you can be working in your pj’s. What a luxury. And the good news is that it is making you happy and that’s a great inspiration.

  12. Jean says:

    Guess I just never read through to the end of the comments to find how to comment.
    There are so many – I don’t have time – I’m retired!
    Also, Karen, you’re not the only one renting videos ( or bringing home free from the library).
    Love your blog even if I don’t always read all the comments. Thanks!

  13. Elaine says:

    A wise decision …. I think you’re right where you’re meant to be, Karen!! Their loss is our gain! ?

  14. Michelle H says:

    I love your wit and sense of humor, which is unique among the blogs I follow.

    Great to be choosy about your work versus the prevailing attention grabbing culture goin’ on. Do what feels right and makes sense for your personal and business growth.

  15. Ev Wilcox says:

    If it isn’t full time (and it does sound very “now and then”) maybe you should at least talk to them. Just sayin’. Talking isn’t signing anything…. Anyway, whatever you do will be just fine with your adoring readers! Hope you blog till the end of time (at least mine!)!

  16. Sandy says:

    Hey Karen, did you do the voice work on “My House, Your Money”? I work with someone (the money person) that was on that show.

  17. Rebecca says:

    That’s so cool but I really do think you did the right thing! I love following your blog and I love hearing about what happens in your life and like someone else said, I come to think of you as a friend, “my friend Karen” as I call you when I talk about something interesting/funny I’ve read on your blog. I’d think forming a relationship with your readers has to be fulfilling….more so than being a tv host? Maybe I’m way off though…

  18. Melissa Leach says:

    Isn’t there a saying about opportunities (or love) that come knocking at your door??? I say go for it…we will wait for you! Throw us an occasional bone and we’ll be good. WE love you and want you to be happy with no Television regrets. Live life to the fullest. Of all the folks I know, Blogland included, that is something you do. Live life to the fullest. Don’t stop now.

    • Karen says:

      Yeah, no. I’m good. No need to host a show on tiny houses. :) I’ve actually turned down the opportunity to audition for or host quite a lot of shows since starting this blog. Television isn’t the great opportunity everyone thinks it is. It’s fun and a great way to make a living but … it’s not nearly as fun or creatively challenging as blogging. Plus you can’t do it in your pajamas. ~ karen!

  19. Leslie Best says:

    Great Story Karen!

    As someone who’s loved you since the Jerry days, I would LOVE to see you back on the tube!

    But you’d have to keep blogging too. I want it all.

    Have a great weekend Karen!

  20. SuzyMcQ says:

    I don’t watch HGTV anymore because it’s all realty shows. Maybe they finally realized that and are trying to lure me back by dangling you, the proverbial practical and innovative programming carrot, in front of my face. I’d rush back there in a minute if they had shows that were relevant.

  21. Jane S says:

    So glad you chose to blog but you would have looked awfully cute between the brothers.

  22. Carolyn says:

    Today’s post had a link to an older post at the bottom in the “if you liked this you might like these” section.

    How did I miss The Stylin’ Gypsies???
    Just watched the first 10 minutes.
    How funny!!
    You are awesome!

    Aside: Now that I’ve seen you with much longer hair on that show, I whole heartedly agree with your shorter hair length in recent years.
    Not like you care at all what I think about your hair!! Lol.

  23. Mary W says:

    DIY bobble head coming right up. Stick a potato on a popsicle stick and put it in a houseplant. It’s fun to watch since plants begin growing out your eyes. I’ve had Karen Sweet Potato heads and Karen White potato heads and they bobble really well when my granddaughter pulls the plants out of your eyes. Oh yeah, I have a tiny blond wig on the top of it – the best part. (My granddaughter’s Barbie Doll head came in so handy.)

  24. Monique says:

    The twists and turns of this thing called life..I just found your blog’re so will be interesting to witness some of your future adventures.
    Bonne chance!

  25. Sonia says:

    Do the show then take the money they give you and buy your own wheel of cheese.

  26. Catherine Vosper says:

    Give it a try, otherwise you may always wonder if you missed something good…try to have as few regrets as possible by the time your life is over.

    • Karen says:

      The only thing I’d regret is hosting a show about tiny homes Catherine, lol. :) I spent over 15 years hosting and writing for television. I’ve done it. ~ karen!

  27. Su says:

    Woulda coulda shoulda ? And the road not taken. But when you know in your gut it’s not right it’s not right…. Still love your blog. Thank you for all you share

  28. Thera says:

    I love and want to build/own a tiny home some day.
    And I have always wanted to be a radio personality.

    Do what you love, be who want to be, but I am glad you decided to be a blogger. This blog, you and the commenters have made my day many a time and some times given my a lift when I really needed it.

  29. Jack Ledger says:

    Considering my very conservative nature and one who rarely walked to the edge of that cliff and jumped off, I would recommend you park yourself right where you are and continue on with your metamorphosis into the Martha Stewart of the North……and do you really want to do that commute between home and Toronto every day? Oh, and just one other thing…….what would they pay?

  30. Danica says:

    You must do the Tiny Homes!!!! Those things are so neat! I have a better idea one that is on wheels! Then you can travel across Canada and blog maybe bring some chickens with you. Imagine all the things you can blog about while living in your Tiny home traveling across Canada and maybe the US!

  31. Sandy says:

    OK, Karen…..Tiny House show NEEDS you! It’s a good show, but a “Property Sista” would help! That’s you….as long as you can keep blogging between all those candy bars….;-). And prepare to tell us just how to shrink all our “stuffage” so we can live happily ever after in a Tiny House…?

  32. Jenny W says:

    Is it wrong that I really, really want to see your impression of a monkey eating clam chowder? :)

  33. Lindy says:

    TV? Pah. We all care more about Cuddles and how you are bearing up rather than fame and glory.

    No wait. You do have fame and glory. And is a TV show going to reach the far far depths of rural France? Or seriously middle of nowhere Australia? I don’t think so. Global reach, an electronic hug from thousands every day. And we don’t even fuss when your roots are showing and you try to do a video blog about your veg. Shame about the freebie food table though……That might swing it for me.

  34. whitequeen96 says:

    When I started reading this post, I was so worried you would leave us – we neeeeed you! Then I was relieved that this was something from over 5 years ago. But then you end with this new offer – eeeek! Thank God I read your comment that you’ve turned the show down. I don’t think I could sleep if you left us! You’re my reward at the end of a hard day and my celebration for a good one.

    Yeah, I know I sound selfish, this is all about me and how I feel! But I’m glad you feel good about your decision to stay with your adoring blog-fans!

  35. mia pratt says:

    YOU, my dear Karen, would have made that show. You would never have been just a talking head…sure it turned out great for the boys even without you, but it would have been a completely different show with you on it, a far better show with Grammies and Emmies and….and….well they would have had to make up a whole new Canadian award for you on that show! And we all know it<:} But I much prefer receiving your blog in my inbox, thank watching reruns of a tv show. So it all worked out for the best…

  36. Marna says:

    Your show would be so awesome! I would love to see/hear you do and say the things you do in the blog! I try to get others to read your blog, I tell them it is fun and informative. :)

  37. Karen Too says:

    Who is Tina Fey? You made the right choice, don’t second guess it, don’t think too much… and I’ll send you some cheese if you really want…

  38. Markus says:

    Hey Karen,
    interesting stuff, you are the most!. You’re ledgible(?), visual and sensible, you are a doer, and “done it been there” kind of woman. A kind of thinking that needs to become more prevalent amongst us all ! Aside from me of course, though you can take all the credit(intp dude)
    I think it’s great you passed on the cookie cutter show and would proud to help you build a tiny house. Though you’d have to come down to Zin 95442 !

  39. Kim says:

    You need to do the show! Because you are amazing! And I want to watch you on tv.

    That is all.

  40. Stephanie Hobson says:

    You should totally do a tiny home episode! Heck, you’ve already built one, for your chickens. And you could just happen to mention your blog!

  41. Kristin ferguson says:

    What happened to Cuddles though. I’m sorry. I have a favorite chicken too. Tippie. She was one of the original four chicks I got in the mail (!) and I named all my little chicks after Hitchcock leading ladies, and the first one to get named was Tippie Hedron (I know it’s spelled Tippi, but I have an aversion to the dumb trend of women, mostly strippers?–whose names end in the letter i. No fault to Naomi and Heidi, maybe others?) Where were we? Oh, Tippie. She’s pretty much blind, and she requires a lot of extra attention–the others pick on her. She was always the smallest bird, and she was never super bright, but she liked to sit on my lap and always looked to me as her protectress, always came when I called her, always ran toward me when the others might scatter. She has almost died a number of times. I took her to the vet twice, though I could ill afford it. I love her, though her life is probably not much worth living and I will take solace in that thought when she eventually dies. But she is my dearly loved little hen and I know how you felt about Cuddles. No pressure from me, of course, but I want to grieve with you.

    • Kristin ferguson says:

      P.S. I’ve lost two hens to possums (or possibly raccoons, therein lies a tale) and I hope poor Cuddles didn’t suffer that element of fear.

      • Karen says:

        Oh no. She didn’t have that. Particularly because she lived in the house with me for the last several days of her life, lol. ~ karen!

      • Jac says:

        I too would like to know about what happened with Cuddles, tho’ not badly enough to want to cause Karen the pain of relating such a sad story too soon. But I’ve learned a lot about chickens from reading her blog (flystrike? who knew? for instance) and if there’s any part of the sad event that could be helpful to other chicken keepers I’m sure Karen will be aware of that and tell us about it when she’s ready.
        Kristin, I have a girl named Tippy, too. Tips of her tail feathers are the only black on her :) Kudos for the extra care you’re willing to give your Tippie.

  42. maggie van sickle says:

    I wouldn’t mind the Property Bros or a least one of them and a wheel of cheese. Are you serious about the Tiny Homes thing? You never know with you. If you really did get an invitation go for it. Might be fun and you have the talent. Just sayin

    • Karen says:

      :) It was a real offer Maggie. I have since given them a no. I’m not a designer or a decorator so … there’s that. Then they said they also needed a host. I said no to that too. I’ve done it. And I don’t care if I’m on television. I didn’t even care that much that I was on television when I was actually on television. :) ~ karen!

      • Pat says:

        I’m sure that’s why you were (and are) such a success – not impressed by the trappings, just want to “get ‘er done”!

      • Mark says:

        Can’t say I’m not disappointed. But I’ve got nothing to do with it.

        I do think the tiny homes is a fad that will fade away in a few years…

  43. Mark says:

    Well, eventually the Brothers’ pockets will be so loaded with money that they won’t want to work anymore, so there will be another opening. :)

    I imagine your show would be more entertaining like A Repair to Remember with Mag Ruffman. After all, how hard can it be?

  44. Pam says:

    Don’t hate me but I’m going to be that annoying person that points out spelling errors..monkey not money and Lyme not lime. ?

  45. Sarah says:

    Karen –

    Love your post, love your blog, love you – you’re so cool! We’re basically friends – close friends, probably. Which is why I can just come out and say this. Love the new chalkboard background, but ever since you switched formats, the email comes in as really wide – meaning that when I want to forward to my friend who has not YET subscribed (which I just did), I have to scroll to the right. And even if I want to read the title of the post in the email, or the first paragraph blurb – again with the scrolling (you know, on everything you send me now). I’ve tried to keep quiet about this, but, honestly, that’s just not me. But then that’s what you love about me, isn’t it?

    • Sarah says:

      And I’m on gmail… Maybe it’s not you or me – but them?

    • Karen says:

      Well, um. I don’t actually understand what you’re talking about Sarah. I’ll try to help but I just don’t quite understand. ~ karen!

      • Sarah says:

        Hhmmm…. Let me try again.

        Sometimes when I open an email (rarely, though always with your new format), the (visual) email (that I see) opens up on my screen, but wider than my screen. I think this happens when there’s an embedded image in the email, and the ‘visual email’ has to be so wide so that the size of the image can be accommodated.

        When this happens, I can’t see the whole email on my screen. (This always happens with your new format and never happened with your old format.) For this reason, in order to read your post – the whole title, for example – I have to swipe from right to left (on my Mac), so that I can see what is off the right side of the screen…

        (If this is not clear enough, never mind! Maybe it’s only me…!)

        • Sherry in Alaska says:

          Try opening it on the website and see if it isn’t better.

        • Mary W says:

          Mine does the same thing Sarah but I just “open it” where it says read more and go right to her website since I love reading the comments and lots of times there are things in the email that don’t show unless you are at the actual site.

        • Karen says:

          Hi Sarah. O.K. Now we’re getting somewhere. Are you on a laptop, iPhone or iPad? It sounds like a laptop or something. It may be your browser. Try switching browsers to see if that helps. ~ karen!

        • Sarah says:

          Thanks, Karen – and everyone. I do just click through to the browser version, and everything’s fine then. I will continue to do that.

        • Gillian says:

          I have that problem to…on my phone (android) when I’m looking at older posts. The pictures throw all the formatting off.

  46. Wendi Miller says:

    Wow! “…looking for builders and designers to co-star in different episodes” It almost sounds like it wouldn’t be full-time? Soooo, are you gonna talk to them?! You may not be totally into small houses, but it might be fun.

  47. Jani says:

    Do what makes your little heart happy!!

  48. MissChris SA says:

    waiting to hear what happens.
    It would be cool though I think!

  49. Lindsay H says:

    You absolutely did the right thing. Because if you were ‘Karen from Property Brothers’ you wouldn’t be ‘Karen from My Favo(u)rite Website Ever.’ And then I would be sad.

    PS- obviously you were seeking my valuable input so you could validate that long-ago decision. You’re welcome.

  50. Lilly says:

    Love it, love it and love it! You are a great bloger!

    • Jean says:

      I don’t know how to comment on this Site except by replying to someone else’s comment. Which isn’t always welcome, I think. Can someone please help?

      • Karen says:

        Hi Jean. You just have to scroll down to the bottom of the page and there will be a box (after all the other comments) that you can leave your comment in. ~ karen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Seed Starting Calculator

  • About Karen