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“Motel Makeover” follows April Brown and Sarah Sklash’s Motel Reno


PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF NETFLIX CANADA

Netflix’s “Motel Makeover” follows April Brown and Sarah Sklash as they renovate and open the June Motel in Sauble Beach.

When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, April Brown and Sarah Sklash were neck and neck in their renovation of a run down 1970s motel. worrying uncertainty caused by the pandemic, Canadian entrepreneurs had an eventful journey ahead of them – and everything was filmed for a Netflix original show, Motel makeover.

The six-episode docuseries take viewers alongside Brown and Sklash’s process of gutting, renovating and launching the June Motel in Sauble Beach, Ont., At the height of the pandemic. Fortunately, best friends who have become business partners are quick to take on a challenge. In 2016, they both left their office jobs in Toronto to follow their entrepreneurial aspirations and open their first motel, The June Motel in Prince Edward County. But for their second motel renovation, things were more complicated, to say the least.

The Sauble Beach Motel property was Brown and Sklash’s largest business to date, consisting of 24 rooms, a pool, restaurant, gift shop and lounge. Reimagining the outdated property involved lots of revised coats of paint, debates over vintage decor items, and self-asked questions such as, “Is this charming or hideous?” “

From heated discussions about their love for ros̩ to teaching their small town entrepreneur Rick what a mirror selfie is, the pair bring adorable charm to the project Рdespite their endless curvy balls.

“There were a lot of firsts that we had to tackle on this one project, and that would have been a challenge in itself. But then you superimpose yourself on a film crew that follows you every day, and then you superimpose yourself on a global pandemic, ”says Brown. The rooms at the motel had already been completely emptied when the pandemic hit, so the only option the couple had was to continue with the project, despite the loss of money and time.

“[During] during this entire lockdown period, there were almost daily conversations of “What are our options?” How are we going to move forward? Do we have any money? Are we going to run out of money? ‘ Brown remembers. “And it was like, probably the scariest moment of our lives – definitely our careers.”

When the first lockdown hit, with the rest of the world largely stuck at home, Sklash, Brown and renovation project manager Courtney Mann were stuck at work – living together in the apartment above the restaurant from the motel. Business partners used their homes and their first motel for the project, but the pandemic forced them to stop construction for months. “There were some really scary times,” Sklash says. She remembers thinking, “We may lose the business. We could lose our homes. Who knows?”

Despite the stress, they managed to create some great memories during this time, including watching Schitt Creek – a comedy about a once wealthy family who lose their fortune and are forced to move to a small, dilapidated motel. Seems familiar? “It was just this very relatable experience,” says Brown. After months of delay, they were able to realize their vision for the June Motel’s Sauble Beach location and complete the renovation.

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF NETFLIX CANADA

Motels aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a glamorous getaway, but Brown and Sklash see them as blank slates. The June Motel has a retro and retro feel, and these features are often found in motels to begin with. In addition, they are economical.

“We were young entrepreneurs and the only thing we could afford wasn’t this beautiful resort, but it was a filthy roadside motel,” Sklash says of the decision to buy their first. upper floor in Prince Edward County. “This is really the reason we started, but [we] since then, they have just been charmed.

Now that the renovations are complete, the June Motel has a beach vibe, punctuated with pops of color like neon signs and trendy wallpaper. The space was designed by Brown and Sklash with the goal of creating Instagram-worthy moments.

“We are constantly pulling out our phones and taking pictures of them throughout this design process because we want to see how the colors appear on the camera,” says Brown. With over 82,000 Instagram followers at the time of publication, The June Motel has become an aesthetic oasis for travelers and influencers.

Brown and Sklash are ready to start over. The duo are building a “motel empire,” one hectic renovation at a time. In fact, they’re already planning to start looking for their next motel in the fall of 2021. “We don’t know where it’s going to be,” Sklash says. “We are going to look for this diamond in the rough property.”

Motel makeover premieres on Netflix on August 25.



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