Grin and Build it

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Who will crack first in this design pressure cooker?

Many a marriage has cracked under the stress of a home renovation project, and Grin and Build It cranks up the pressure with its mix of relationships, design and DIY — all on a gruelling three-day deadline, of course.

Designer Heather Smillie and contractor Jon Giacomelli work hand in glove with homeowners as they reconcile home owner design differences as they relate to the renovation at hand. There are rules and unexpected twists and turns challenging the established roles in the homeowners’ relationship. The stage is set for everything from agony and frustration to empowerment and laughter. Who will crack first? Will they make it through the weekend and what will be the outcome? 

Episode 1 – Desperate Dining Room

The Homeowners want a dining room make over… but will their marriage take the heat when we pull a big switch? 

In this docu-soap/design show, home owner Allisun has had to drop out of the dinner party club, because she is so embarrassed by the state of her dining room.  Husband Remo is comfortable at the kitchen table but has committed to doing the reno with the Grin and Build It team…that is until Designer/Host Heather arrives and pulls a switch…we get to see just how badly Allisun wants a dining room make-over! Will Allisun stop swooning over contractor Jon long enough to get the work done?

Episode 2 – SIZE MATTERS!

Melissa and Michael can’t agree…he wants a media center, she wants a guest room.  Heather creates a design that gives them both, but removes Michael from the project and puts Melissa in the driver’s seat.  Will Melissa give Michael the big TV of his dreams when she is making all the decisions?  Will Heather be able to keep some “Michael” in this room?  Will contractor Jon be able to stand up to Melissa?  And in the end, will it turn out that size DOES matter? 


Real life renovators Melany and Ascanio are newlyweds building their dream home.  Mel is on nerve’s edge with all the construction, but when Heather takes her handy husband off the site and puts Melany in a tool belt, contractor Jon has his hands full… it turns out that Mel is NOT into manual labour.  Will she get it together long enough to learn the ways of plumbing and tile?  Will the perfectionist Ascanio be able to cool his jets and not interfere with her work?

Episode 4 – Mrs. Fix-it & Mr. Tool Allergic

Rob is a business man with no love for tools or DIY projects, while Melissa is a bit of a control junkie who loves to take the lead on projects at home.  Their two boys, ages 5 and 6, need bedroom renos badly; Dad wants to turn the rooms into sports and super-hero wonderlands but mom is all about function and longevity…. who will win this design tug-o-war?  Will Heather’s designs suit them both and delight the kids?  How will Jon get along with Rob and his “tool allergy”?


When packrat Mark and his wife Maia meet with designer host Heather, they cannot agree on what will stay and what will go.  Mark loves out-of-date hand-me-downs he calls ‘family heirlooms’, and Maia just wants to carve out a bit of room to be herself in.  Heather designs around the conflicts as she takes handy Mark off the work site.  Contractor Jon teaches Maia some reno skills, but despite his best efforts, real damage is done…will relationships survive intact?


Real life running-shoe ‘king’ Toddy has literally hundreds of shoes…all over the condo.  Rita is a party planner who works from home, but has little or no room to meet with clients.  Add to this the fact that she is terrified of colour while he lives in a rainbow world of shoes, sports teams and graffiti. Heather picks mid-century modern to bring this couple together in a more sophisticated yet colourful style…but when Toddy is taken away and Rita has to do the work, she gets downright grouchy.  Contractor Jon has to deal with a sullen student as he tries to teach Rita some handy ‘How-To’s.

Episode 7 – BEAUTY & THE BEAST

Carolina is a stunning woman; she’s outgoing, an artist and a cabinet maker.  Ashley, her writer husband is not at all handy but under his grouchy veneer, he’s witty and extremely clever… they are a modern day beauty and the beast, of sorts.  When Heather and Jon arrive to gift Carolina with a new studio in the garden of their rural home, Ashley is instead hoping to carve out a space for his beer garden.  Will Carolina get her studio space?  Will Heather be able to tame the beast in Ashley?  And will Jon have the patience to work through this couple’s challenging dynamic to get the job done?  

Episode 8 – SEEING RED

This couple needs help with a small open concept living space, but he’s seeing red when she’s put in charge and makes decisions for the reno without him.  Anthonine is a budding decorator who, in a surprise twist, is put in charge of the work. She is brought along by Heather and contractor Jon, as her disappointed husband sits this one out, but enjoys watching her…until she picks red paint, red curtains and red rugs…red is the one colour that this man hates…will he see red, will she see reason? 


Pascal is a strong, vivacious woman who has survived a four-year battle with cancer and now wants her life back with husband Robert.  Pascal loves antiques, Robert enjoys clean modern lines…. can Heather find a happy middle ground? And what will happen when loving and slightly overprotective Robert finds out that Pascal will be doing all the work under the watchful eye of our contractor Jon?  Heather uses the inspiration of art deco design to create a glamorous design as Jon finds out just how strong-willed a woman needs to be to survive and get her life back.


Diane and Anthony enjoy the good life in their large home, but with five kids even a big house can be bursting at the seams.  With a family this size they need to use every inch and they have a dining room and living room that are sitting unused.  Heather comes to the rescue with a plan that will move this family into the next decade… but this reality design series will see handy Diane and unhandy husband Anthony pushed way out of their comfort zones. Diane cannot envision her home without bright vivid colours and Anthony is craving soft neutrals.  They also disagree about the use of space; Diane wants to get out the sledgehammer while Anthony takes a more cautious approach.   Will Jon inspire as well as teach?  Will Heather’s design choices leave this couple at odds?


Dana and Amir are a young married couple with 2 great kids, a busy family, and an ugly kitchen that Amir has not yet gotten around to updating. There is a lot of love in this house but with day-to-day life, romance has been on the down-low.   He loves ‘minimal modern’, she likes ‘warm and cozy’ with a real emphasis on function.  Will Heather’s design be able to please them both?  What will happen when Dana finds out just how far she will have to go to get that new kitchen? Will this reno be the spark that rekindles their romance?


Marc is a handy engineer who is not afraid of any home-reno project and Lydie is a working wife and mother: competent and capable until someone turns on a power tool!  In this reality/design episode Heather designs a home office for Lydie, but there are twists and turns!  Will Heather and Lydie leave room for Marc in this design?  Will Jon have what it takes to inspire and encourage and still make the three-day reno deadline? 

Episode 13 –  HEADS VS. HANDS

Pennie and Michael are an interesting pair; she is a hands-on lady who loves to renovate and Michael is a gifted lawyer who lives by using his head, not his hands.  The one thing that they share is the desire to turn the basement of their century home into a library.  Will Heather be able to give them both what they want in the design when they are starting so far apart?  Will Jon have what it takes to move through a real-life reno with a homeowner who is all head and very little hands?