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Q+A Celebrity Connection: Not in Kansas Anymore

2020 Dream Home designer Tamara Day discovers Lowcountry for herself

Story by Lisa Allen

Known for her HGTV show “Bargain Mansions,” based in Kansas City, Tamara Day had never been to the Lowcountry before designing the 2020 Dream Home in Windmill Harbour.

Handy Woman • Tamara Day learned the construction trade growing up on her family’s Kansas farm where she helped her father maintain and repair the property’s buildings.

The Kansas native and mother of four grew up on a farm and learned construction skills from her father, a builder of medical centers and other large commercial projects.

She never shied from hoisting a sledgehammer or manhandling a floor sander herself. Along the way, she developed an eye for design that has launched her career on HGTV and her new online design service, Growing Days.


[LOCAL Life] What stands out most about the project at Windhill Harbour? [Tamara Day] Getting to work on the Windhill Harbour home felt like a vacation. The atmosphere was so peaceful and the people I was fortunate to work with made it a dream location to be building a beautiful home.

[LL] What did you enjoy doing while here? [TD] I was lucky enough to get to participate in lots of local activities – boating, bike riding, playing golf, just a little bit of everything. But my favorite was just sitting back and enjoying the view. Everything about Hilton Head Island revolves around relaxing at a slower pace and enjoying exactly where you’re at. And lucky for me, I got to visit every month for six months and watch the seasons change. I feel like I got a really good taste of what life on Hilton Head Island could be like. I loved being right there on the water and having a lifestyle where everything you do, including golfing, has a water view. That’s definitely something I could get used to!

Everything about Hilton Head Island revolves around relaxing at a slower pace and enjoying exactly where you’re at.”

[LL] Had you been here before? [TD] I had never been to the Lowcountry before. Living in Kansas we had always headed out to Colorado for our vacations or California, but now I have a whole new appreciation for the Lowcountry and can’t wait to explore even more it has to offer with my family. I’d love to bring them out for a summer vacation. I’m certain they would enjoy it every bit as much as I have.

THe bigger, the better • Day is the host of Bargain Mansions. A native of greater Kansas City, the mother of four specializes in large, neglected houses that would intimidate most.

[LL] What is your favorite area of the country and why? [TD] I don’t really have a single favorite spot. I love to travel and experience new places. I suppose if I truly had to pick, I’d choose the warmest spot I can think of because I’m always cold. I’d go to Arizona!

[LL] How can the construction trade attract more women? [TD] I think the construction trade is attracting more women already as I think boundaries are blurring and women are gaining confidence in themselves and their abilities. I think it takes a mindset shift for men and women alike, but the more of us who just get out there and get after it, the more confidence everyone will have.

[LL] What made this design project unique? [TD] In Kansas, I build for the four seasons and all the snow, wind and rain but I’ve never built for hurricanes. I’m used to basements that are an entire level of a home versus on the island, where houses are built four feet in the air to avoid flooding. That was a steep learning curve for me when I first saw it. And we had two tropical storms hit the area in the middle of the build! I was watching the weather radar like a hawk the entire time.

STORM PREP • The Dream Home marked the first time Day has built a home where hurricanes are possible.”That was a steep learning curve for me,” she said.

[LL] What impressions of Hilton Head did you leave with, in terms of strengths and areas of potential? [TD] My impression of Hilton Island is that if you want to relax, you have found the place for it! It’s so easy to jump into the laid-back lifestyle that you find on the island and everywhere you are you have a fantastic view. Something that I find both good and bad is the traffic going over the bridge to the island because it definitely slows you down in the mornings. But on the other hand, is it really so bad when you get to look out over the bridge to the breathtaking view? I don’t think so.


2020 Dream Home

The HGTV Dream Home 2020 grand prize winner will receive the fully furnished, three-bedroom, 3-½ bath residence in Windmill Harbour, a new Honda Passport Elite and $250,000, a prize package valued at more than $2 million. Fans can enter up to twice a day at HGTV.com. The 2020 Dream Home will make is television debut at 8 p.m. on Jan. 1 on HGTV. Find more here.


HGTV Dream Homes

2020: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

2019: Whitefish, Montana
2018: Gig Harbour, Washington
2017: St. Simons Island, Georgia
2016: Merritt Island, Florida
2015: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
2014: Lake Tahoe, California
2013: Charleston, South Carolina
2012: Party City, Utah
2011: Stowe, Vermont
2010: Sandia Park, New Mexico
2009: Sonoma, California
2008: Islamorada, Florida
2007: Winter Park, Colorado
2006: Lake Lure, North Carolina
2005: Tyler, Texas
2004: St. Mary’s, Georgia
2003: Mexico Beach, Florida
2002: Sherwood, Maryland
2001: Camden, Maine
2000: Nehalem, Oregon
1999: Rosemary Beach, Florida

1998: Beaufort, South Carolina