“Vacation House Rules,” short for “Scott’s Vacation House Rules,” premiered on HGTV in summer 2020, a summer where everyone was likely spending much more time indoors than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic — likely dreaming of owning their own vacation paradise by the lake one day. In addition to the picturesque properties with majestic lakefront views, hunky host and real estate investor Scott McGillivray surely provides some additional eye candy for viewers. And lucky for fans, McGillivray and designer Debra Salmoni have a lot more vacation property transformations in store.
What makes this show, which was nominated for a 2021 Canadian Screen Award for Best Lifestyle Program or Series, unique from other HGTV series is its focus on vacation properties and on providing homeowners — and viewers — with knowledge and value to “unlock their vacation property’s full rental potential,” as noted by HGTV. In each episode, McGillivray gives “tips on how to transform the most neglected and unlivable of spaces into showstopping pieces of paradise.” However, you probably have some questions, like where is “Vacation House Rules” filmed and where have we seen McGillivray before? So, follow along as we unlock the untold truth of HGTV’s “Vacation House Rules.”
This is where Vacation House Rules is filmed
On some HGTV shows — take “House Hunters,” for example — the city where the episode takes place is mentioned loud and clear. However, on “Vacation House Rules,” the locale of each vacation retreat is a bit more of a mystery.
So, we’ve got the answer for you: “Vacation House Rules” is filmed in and around Ontario, Canada. Season 1 was filmed in Ontario locations like Haliburton Highlands, Muskoka, and Wasaga Beach, as noted by The Cinemaholic. For Season 2, host Scott McGillivray, designer Debra Salmoni, and the rest of the crew filmed in various spots around Southern Ontario: Trent Lakes, Trent Hills, Minden, Blue Mountain, Collingwood, and Kawartha Lakes. According to the Toronto Sun, the first episode of the season was shot in Trent Lakes, where the average rental property goes for $300 a night — which means that these vacation property owners can make a pretty penny with the right investment.
Vacation House Rules host Scott McGillivray is no stranger to HGTV
If you’re watching “Vacation House Rules” on HGTV thinking that host Scott McGillivray looks familiar — that’s because he should. After all, McGillivray is no HGTV newbie. He’s been an HGTV mainstay — both in Canada and the U.S. — since 2008, starting with the long-running series “Income Property,” in which he also served as executive producer. An accomplished real estate investor, McGillivray helped first-time homebuyers on “Income Property” turn part of their home into an income-generating rental property. In 2013, the series won a Canadian Screen Award for Best Lifestyle Program.
“Income Property” isn’t McGillivray’s only previous HGTV series. On “Buyers Bootcamp,” McGillivray worked with rookie real estate investors to help them renovate their first property and make a profit, while learning all the ins and outs of the process (similar to “Flipping 101” with Tarek El Moussa). Then there was “Moving the McGillivrays,” a 10-episode HGTV Canada series, which introduced viewers to McGillivray’s wife and two young daughters as they “build their dream home together.”
This is how Vacation House Rules host Scott McGillivray got started in real estate
Although Scott McGillivray, host of “Vacation House Rules,” has been an HGTV mainstay for some time, his career in real estate and construction goes back much further. In fact, it seems his interest stems back to his childhood, where he watched his father get hands-on around the house. “I’ve always been into it,” he told Remodeling of his early interest in the industry. “Even as a kid, I was into woodworking, carpentry, building furniture just as a hobby.”
However, it wasn’t until college that his personal interest began to shift toward a potential career. The business major bought his first rental property during his third year of college — with the help of his student loan money — when he was both looking for a new place to live and a potential topic for his thesis project. “I fell in love with real estate renovations,” McGillivray explained in an interview with Hoss Magazine. “I became a licensed contractor when I was 26,” he said, adding that he owned 25 properties by age 25. “That was like a big milestone for me,” he added.
McGillivray’s television career was prompted by a friend’s suggestion — and he didn’t stop there. Today, he owns his own production company, McGillivray Entertainment Media. McGillivray has surely come a long way since buying that first property in college.
Vacation House Rules designer Debra Salmoni has her own design firm
On “Vacation House Rules,” Scott McGillivray leads each vacation home renovation — with a little help from designer Debra Salmoni. So, who exactly is McGillivray’s designer sidekick?
According to her LinkedIn page, Salmoni is the “Owner & Lead Designer” of her own design firm, Debra Lillian Design, which emphasizes “luxurious, approachable designs for everyday living.” From the looks of her website, Salmoni prefers minimalistic looks that deliver high impact.
Notably, Salmoni shows off her design on her Instagram page. In an Instagram post, she shared a beautiful finished bathroom design for one of her clients. She described the design — which featured a luxurious marble shower and a contrasting wood-grain feature wall — as having “many layers, subtle details and custom pieces.” For fans who want to work with the “Vacation House Rules” star, she offers a form on her website to get in contact with her.
Love Vacation House Rules? This is how you can access more tips from Scott McGillivray
For “Vacation House Rules” star Scott McGillivray, it’s all about the education and value he can provide to both his clients and his TV viewers. “I actually do try to give people value to the show,” he told Remodeling. “When you’re watching the show and you’re not getting value, what’s the point?”
To that end, the value that McGillivray provides doesn’t end with his clients. He offers a wealth of tips on how to make decisions that generate the best return on your investment. Of course, his HGTV show “Vacation House Rules” includes his tried-and-true tips. But there’s a lot more where that comes from. There’s his blog, available on his website, that includes helpful articles, such as “5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Buy a Vacation Home.” Then there’s his podcast, “The Real Estate Rebel,” where “Scott and his expert guests cover everything buyers, sellers and investors need to know about navigating today’s market,” as noted by the podcast’s homepage on McGillivray’s website. And, if that’s not enough for you, you can also tune into McGillivray’s digital series, “Scott’s House Call,” where he meets with individuals to help them with a specific real estate or business issue in exchange for homemade food. Nice!
Vacation House Rules doesn't shy away from a little DIY
We already pointed out that “Vacation House Rules” star Scott McGillivray first started getting his hands dirty while growing up, doing everything from woodworking to building furniture. So, although he’s heavy on the real estate investment side of things, he’s really a Jack of all trades. He doesn’t just hire contractors to do the work — he does a good amount of it himself.
If you’ve seen “Vacation House Rules,” you probably know that McGillivray sometimes likes to incorporate his own DIY projects. For example, on the Season 2 premiere episode of the series, titled “Family Funhouse,” he incorporated a 3D wall composed of blocks of wood to add a big impact without making a huge investment. “It’s something that’s going to grab your attention when you turn the corner, and it’s also kind of family-friendly,” the real estate influencer shared with Realtor.com. Further explaining his reasoning for the unique piece, he said, “It’s an interesting feature that pays tribute to the wood and the nature of things that are going on here,” adding, “But at the same time, it’s got the intentional different angles and chunkiness to it that draw your attention.”
This is how Scott McGillivray contributed his musical talents to Vacation House Rules
Have you ever wondered what Scott McGillivray was doing before the fame? Apparently, while “Vacation House Rules” star Scott McGillivray became a real estate investor in his 20s, as noted by Hoss Magazine, that’s not all he was doing. Around the same time, he was also in a boy band called Next Element! Yes, back in the day, McGillivray was trying to make it with a boy group, and he even rocked the Justin Timberlake-esque bleached-blond curls!
So it would make sense that McGillivray might try to use his musical talents in other areas of his life. It turns out that McGillivray sings the theme song to “Vacation House Rules”! “During post-production, I started picking up my guitar and I started thinking about some music stuff and came up with the theme song for the show,” he said during an interview with DJs Roz and Mocha on radio station KISS 92.5 FM. The DJs then played a clip of the song called “Payday,” and we have to admit — he sounds great!
Speaking with Breakfast Television, McGillivray added another interesting tidbit: He anonymously submitted the theme song to HGTV — and they chose his for the show!
Scott McGillivray owns property near one of Vacation House Rules' shooting locations
With his years of real estate experience, “Vacation House Rules” star Scott McGillivray enjoys helping his clients renovate their vacation properties and setting them up for financial success. However, McGillivray can even relate to his clients on another level — he actually owns his own property near one of the show’s shooting locations: Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, Canada. “It’s nice to stay close to where I am doing properties,” he said in an interview with The Highlander. “It’s a beautiful area. I think it’s underestimated. There’s a lot of potential here for growth. Some other areas are just saturated and overdone and it’s maybe not quite as difficult to get into.”
However, the real estate investor, who is one of the richest HGTV stars, doesn’t have only one property. McGillivray and his wife and daughters split their time between their main home in Ontario and another home in Fort Myers, Florida, as noted by Good Housekeeping.
The Vacation House Rules cast and crew support the local communities where they shoot
We know that Scott McGillivray has a personal appreciation for the Ontario, Canada vacation towns where he and his crew film their hit HGTV show “Vacation House Rules,” so it comes as no surprise that he and his team find pleasure in supporting the local communities. “We’re here to support the local community, be balanced with what we do and be respectful about it and find affordable ways for people to have a slice of that dream, too, that other people get to live all the time,” he explained to The Highlander, adding, “We’re not a show that goes in and says, ‘let’s tear this down and build something that’s a 100,000-square-foot mega mansion.’ Our show is way more grassroots than that.”
Adding to these “grassroots” efforts, it’s clear that McGillivray goes out of his way to help others. On Instagram in October 2020, he reflected on a meaningful project he undertook with his HGTV family. “Once upon a time, before social distancing,” he captioned the video, “this gang got together to help some seriously deserving families!”
In the end, it’s all about the people McGillivray meets and the effect that his work has on people’s lives, as he shared with The Highlander. According to The Haliburton County Echo, McGillivray does his best to ensure that the viewers learn just as much as his lucky clients.
What's Vacation House Rules' Scott McGillivray and Debra Salmoni's relationship like off camera?
If you’ve seen episodes of “Vacation House Rules,” it’s clear that host Scott McGillivray and his designer partner, Debra Salmoni, get along really well. Their natural on-air chemistry together is super enjoyable to watch. So, what’s their relationship like off camera?
Well, it turns out that McGillivray and Salmoni are close friends both on and off camera. Salmoni shared a photo of the two of them on Instagram with the caption, “Nothing like hanging with your pal, and having a few laughs. Over the last few years, me and this guy [have made] TV together, but more importantly, have become great friends.”
It seems that Salmoni is also close with the rest of the “Vacation House Rules” crew. In another Instagram post, she wrote, “Hilariously fun day on set today! Such a pleasure working with this lovely crew.” Sounds like a fun show to work for!
This is how you and your vacation home can appear on Vacation House Rules
If you’ve watched “Vacation House Rules” and wondered how you could get your own vacation property featured on the show — that is, if you’re lucky enough to have one — we have all the info for you. Just go to the official website for the show, and fill out the casting registration form.
However, first you should find out if you’re eligible to appear on the show. In order to be considered, you must own an Ontario, Canada-based vacation property, and you must have at least $75,000 of your own money to put toward a renovation. In addition, you’ve got to have some time on your hands: You’ll need to be available at least five or six days during the renovation period, which takes up to 10 weeks. Lastly, you need that special HGTV charisma; the production team seeks people who are “fun, outgoing, and super passionate about real estate investing.”
The application form also asks for photos of yourself and your partner and/or family, as well as pics of both the inside and outside of the property.
What effect did the pandemic have on Vacation House Rules and the vacation rental industry?
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 obviously had a major effect on the entire world. In an interview with The Highlander, Scott McGillivray shared how the pandemic threw the “Vacation House Rules” crew “some curveballs,” such as filming outdoors during the winter and sleeping in tents. “Boy, was it cold,” he recalled. “As a team it has been hard, working harder to make everything work, and fewer people doing more work.”
Always one to keep it real, McGillivray took to Instagram in October 2020 to share his experience getting a COVID-19 test — noting that the uncomfortable experience made his eyes water. So, if you’ve had that long Q-tip stuck up your nose, know that even your favorite HGTV stars had to do it, too.
However, despite the constraints of the pandemic, McGillivray has seen firsthand that not only are “people really [refocusing] on what is truly important and meaningful in their lives,” but also that the vacation rental industry is back in a big way. “Not only are people vacationing closer to home,” he explained to the Toronto Star, “but work-from-home culture has proven that you don’t need to be in the city to do your job. More and more people are working remotely from the cottage.”
Imagine that: working from “home” in your very own, newly-transformed vacation getaway. One can only dream, right?
Source: Read Full Article