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HGTV's Property Brothers construct Casaza, a new home furnishings site with an AR twist

The brothers put $2.5 million of their own money into the e-commerce site, which will focus on design.

Ben Fox Rubin Former senior reporter
Ben Fox Rubin was a senior reporter for CNET News in Manhattan, reporting on Amazon, e-commerce and mobile payments. He previously worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and got his start at newspapers in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Ben Fox Rubin
Joan E. Solsman
3 min read
Apple Store Soho Presents: Meet the Property Brothers: Drew Scott And Jonathan Scott

Drew, left (no really), and Jonathan Scott in late 2015

Rommel Demano/Getty Images

Jonathan and Drew Scott on Monday added another piece to their media and retail empire with the opening of their new home furnishings site, called Casaza.

The identical twins, best known for their Property Brothers show on HGTV, have been using their names to sell more stuff, including their line of Scott Living furniture and their Builder Brothers children's book.

Watch this: The Property Brothers can trick Face ID

Now, they plan to use Casaza as an extension of their home renovation show, offering a small, curated set of furnishings, along with articles on design tips. A group of about 20 designers will create sample room looks for the site for free, and in return get referrals for design work through Casaza. Jonathan and Drew will also post new designs for the site regularly.

"it's putting value back in design," Jonathan said in an interview last week. "And I believe that there is value in having a trusted designer."

Despite the Scotts' famous names, Casaza will face an uphill battle gaining attention and customers since the home furnishings e-commerce market is already filled with far bigger competitors like Amazon, Wayfair and Houzz. Jonathan Scott said he hopes to stand out with the help of Casaza's design chops, as well as connected services that some other e-retailers don't offer.

For instance, early next year Casaza plans to launch Casaza Pro, in which a customer will be able to hire a Casaza employee for under $300 to get all the measurements in her home. That data will then be loaded onto Casaza's site, making it easier to order the exact amount of flooring or paint needed for a project.

Augmented design

The company plans to introduce an augmented-reality feature to Casaza, too. It will let shoppers digitally stage their existing space with furnishings from any of Casaza's curated designs by placing and viewing those pieces through their phone cameras. It won't be as elaborate as the animated design renderings Jonathan unveils on their show, but the concept is similar, they said. "You'll be able to hold up your phone and see your room transform into that look," Jonathan said.  

The feature extends to offering 360-degree visuals of all the pieces in their curated looks too, but the Scotts said they're being strategic in the kinds of technology they integrate into Casaza. "We're not adding any technology to our platform that is just for fluff. It all has to have purpose," Drew said. The brothers discussed the AR features at an event hosted by Pinterest and Chase Home Lending focused on renovating trends. 

The startup will also connect Casaza shoppers with the designers on its site, but won't take a commission if those designers are hired for projects. Warranties for purchases and loans for bigger projects will also be coming.

The brothers, who are co-CEOs of Casaza, invested $2.5 million of their own money to start the site and haven't yet taken outside investment, Jonathan said. They co-founded the site with Taleeb Noormohamed, the chief operating officer, who previously worked as an executive at fashion e-retailer Farfetch and home rental site HomeAway.

Casaza won't have any of its own inventory, but instead will show off products from home goods manufacturers who will then ship directly to customers. The site will include items from the brothers' Scott Living line, which will also continue to be available on Amazon and Wayfair.

First published Oct. 29 at 1:19 p.m. PT. 
Update Nov. 13 at 5 a.m. PT: Adds details about Casaza's augmented-reality feature. 

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