Brooke And Brice Gilliam Dish On Making Modern - Exclusive Interview

Once upon a time, not many years ago, "Making Modern" stars Brooke and Brice Gilliam, an orthodontist and a pharmaceutical sales rep, met, fell in love, and got married. Their careers flourished, and they hired a contractor to build them a new home. Then things started to go seriously wrong. Their future home was a hot mess, and they realized they had no choice but to take matters into their own hands and take charge of the project themselves.

This could very well have been a formula for disaster — or the premise for a slapstick comedy about two hilariously unqualified newbies who've gotten way in over their heads. But when Brooke and Brice took the reins of their home construction project, they realized they not only had a talent for construction and design, but a real passion for it. Friends and neighbors noticed the striking quality and style of their work and began asking them for help with their own home renovation projects. Their new Magnolia Network show "Making Modern with Brooke and Brice" follows the Gilliams as they help their new clients refresh their homes while turning their accidental side hustle into a full-time contracting and design business. In this exclusive interview, the Gilliams share the details of their surprising journey.

They fell into construction and design by accident

First of all, how did you guys meet and how did you figure out that you were such a good team at this sort of stuff?

Brooke: You want to tell them how we met? You always like to tell the story.

Brice: Brooke was on a bachelorette party here in Nashville, and I'm from Nashville. And I was out with a couple of my guys, and we had mutual friends. I was friends with her bachelorette.

Brooke: Yeah. So the bachelorette, they knew Brice because they all went to school with each other and so because of that, they introduced us, and it was honestly love at first sight. We knew we were the one for each other pretty quickly, and we were engaged seven months later and then got married right at that two-year mark of knowing each other. So we've been together almost 10 years now.

Congratulations! And how did you get into home building, decorating? That wasn't your original field, right?

Brooke: Yeah, exactly.

Brice: Yes, so I'm an orthodontist and Brooke is a pharmaceutical sales rep and well, go ahead.

Brooke: So when we were building our house, we didn't have the best building experience. We worked with a contractor that we had different expectations for. And so because of that, we ended up taking it into our own hands, a lot of the build. And so I was able to be at the site learning from the subcontractors, and they're not used to having a girl around. So they were really eager to say, "Hey, come learn how to do this." And so, because of that, I ended up learning trades that I never thought I would. And I took on a couple projects for friends and family, and one thing led to another. And then we decided from the clients that were reaching out to us from word of mouth, we'd take on their projects, and we decided to make this side hustle a full-time gig.

Making a TV show wasn't something they'd planned for either

So how did "Making Modern" happen? How did you get into that?

Brice: So since we had such a bad experience with our builder, our neighbors and the neighbors around here started noticing that we would come at five o'clock after our day jobs and work all night long, trying to get our house together. And they were all kind of rooting for us so they would all be outside, cheering for us. And then once we finished, one of our neighbors was friends with a producer that was moving to Nashville and she's like, "Hey, you need to meet this lady." And when she came, she was like, "You guys should have your own show." And Brooke and I were both like, "Yeah, sure." Because we'd never even thought about it. It never even crossed our mind. And she was like, "Well, would you mind if I brought a production crew with me?" And then we were like, "Yeah, that's fine." And next thing we know, we have our own show.

Brooke: Yeah. It landed in the hands of Chip and Joanna, and now we're part of the Magnolia Network family.

So tell me about working with Joanna. What's it like working with Joanna Gaines?

Brooke: Well, they are the most humble, helpful human beings I feel like I've ever met. Everyone always told me you shouldn't meet your idol, but they absolutely exceeded my expectation whenever I met them. So they are very eager to help and help us learn from the mistakes and the path that they took so that we can, I don't know, just take bits of information from them. They've been like mentors to us and been really helpful. And then the fact that we get to be on their network and a part of their story that they're telling, it's an amazing feeling and we're so, so grateful and thankful for the opportunity.

Launching their new business on camera has been challenging

One of the interesting things about your show is you're actually starting a business as the show progresses. So what's that like to launch a new business while you're on camera?

Brooke: Well, first off, it's always funny because no matter how many times we tell people that I'm the builder and he's the designer, people still get very confused by it. People still come to me saying, "Hey, can you help me design my space?" And I'm like, "You're my friend. You should get it by now. I don't design. I just build." But it's been interesting trying to launch our own business because to the outside world, they're still very confused about the fact that I'm not the designer since that is the industry norm. And so it's been interesting having the cameras follow us along, but it's been exciting too. And I feel like we're able to kind of document the experience.

Brice: It is really cool that we do have this true documentation of this growth. So from a concept in our mind to this little seed that we plant in the ground, to now it's starting to grow is just incredible. And it's hard because everything that you see, Brooke and I do. So it's not like we have this huge team, it's really us. And then we have a production crew, of course, they do production. So the builds and all the other stuff is us. And it's a lot, but it's really fun.

Brooke: Yeah, definitely so. But I think that what's cool too is with the show it's a docu-follow. So you see the true lives behind the camera, so you see the good and the bad and the ugly that comes along with renovation. And that's the same with starting our own business. You see the struggles and having to build out a team and trying to figure out what's next. And it's been a challenge for us to figure out work-life balance because we have our full-time jobs, then we have this side hustle we're doing, plus —

Brice: You got to have friends and family.

Brooke: Friends and family and our own married life. It's tough to balance, but it's been interesting trying to navigate it. But we're getting the hang of it.

Being on TV has been an eye-opening experience for the Gilliams

So that leads me to my next question, what surprised you most about taping the show?

Brice: Just how much work goes into it outside of the work that we do. Because it's really two different businesses running at the same time. The production part has to run, but then construction also has to run simultaneously, but not together, which is really crazy. So that was really surprising. And to be honest, we had no clue about any of the entertainment business or any of the production stuff. So there were so many people moving and being like, "Cameras here," and, "mics here," and it took us a little bit of time to get used to that stuff.

Brooke: Yeah. And even still, it's surprising to see the final episode and realize that all came together that way. And it really makes you respect the people behind the scenes that don't always get a lot of credit, but they are so amazing and talented to be able to take these novices that have never been on camera and form such a beautiful show. And so to me, that's the most surprising thing with filming [the] show.

Brice: Yeah, I agree.

And what has been your favorite project so far and why?

Brooke: I feel like there's little things from each project. I don't know if I can name just one.

Brice: Yeah. It's really hard, if I had to pick one, there's this bedroom that we redesigned. It's a newer home, but the family needed the space to be more inviting. They needed to have something that they could just rest in. And we designed and built custom things for that bedroom. And honestly, it's one of my favorite things I've ever seen, let alone that we've ever done. It was seriously something that I would love to have in my house.

Brooke: Yeah. And in that same project, we also did a little nook in the foyer entryway and I love how it turned out because I painted a wall and then took a design Brice had and printed out or I cut it out with my vinyl cutting machine. And so instead of buying custom wallpaper that's really expensive and takes a long time to get a sample in to see if we even like it, I was able to take his design, cut it out, and install it, and it was a two-day project between painting and putting the vinyl up. So those were things that I guess, because they were so outside of the box that I really feel like I enjoyed that most and love seeing it on camera whenever I got to see the final episode.

Their advice: Follow your passion — and go ahead and break the mold

And what would you most like your viewers to get out of your show?

Brooke: This one's my favorite because I feel like the construction industry is lacking the female touch. And so I really hope that there are more women that feel inspired and encouraged to be able to pick up power tools and try to do things themselves. So I'm not saying you have to go become a construction worker, but doing DIY projects at your own house. I want women to feel empowered, to be able to do it themselves and to lean on the people that the other women like myself that have learned from other people and just have mentors. Don't be afraid to ask the questions that you need to ask so that you can become better and better. So I just really hope that it encourages women to just try it. It doesn't have to be a male-dominated industry anymore.

Brice: Yeah. And I think to piggyback off that, the goal is to just try something. If you have a passion, it may not align with your profession. But that doesn't mean you can't do it also. And we were both taught "go to school, get your job, get your career, and be great at that." And that's cool too, but I feel like everybody needs a creative outlet, and you should find your creative outlet and do that and share it with the world and let everyone see it.

Brooke: I agree.

They have big plans for the future

Finally, what kind of projects are you looking forward to doing in the future? What kind of plans do you have?

Brooke: Yeah, well, fingers are crossed that we get a Season 2, because we would love to be able to continue our journey on camera for people to be able to follow along with us. But in the meantime, we have so many projects at our own house now that we've done so many things for other people, we're like, "We need to do some things here."

Brice: Jealous.

Brooke: But we love to incorporate hidden doors and hidden features into projects because Brice doesn't like clutter. I mean, most people don't, I do. But Brice doesn't like clutter, and so we try and have hidden features that can all be tucked away and then it still be a modern, crisp, clean look. And I think that those are some of the things in the future that people can look for from us because that's kind of what we specialize in.

Brice: Yeah, they can definitely look for us creating modern, but in a livable format. So the thing with modern, when you normally think of it, you think of it as sterile or hospital-like, and that doesn't have to be like that. So we're showing you a new approach to a modern design that is livable and functional.

Watch the full first season of Magnolia Network's "Making Modern with Brooke and Brice" exclusively streaming on discovery+ and the Magnolia app.