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The untold story behind the Dream

How the HGTV 2020 Dream Home came to Windmill Harbour

Story by David Warren  +  Photos Courtesy of HGTV

When you drive up to the HGTV 2020 Dream Home in Windmill Harbour, it looks picture-perfect. It is located on a beautiful, expansive lot where the house fits perfectly to get the best vantage point of the spectacular marsh views. The landscaping is tasteful and matches the home design flawlessly. As you walk through the front door, you are aware of the fact that the coastal design of the interiors is ideally suited for the Lowcountry location and the marsh views beyond. This home, however, did not spring up from the ground like some native plant. It took a dedicated team of professionals working in unison to bring the idea to completion. This is their story…


Local connections

In a way, this all started in 2018 when Shoreline Construction of Bluffton built the HGTV Smart Home in Palmetto Bluff. HGTV came back to Shoreline Construction to ask them if they would create the 2020 Dream Home. After reviewing several local communities, Johnny Ussery of Charter One Realty was asked by Shoreline to identify some potential homesites that would be appropriate for the Dream Home.

Finding the right lot was somewhat complicated by the fact that HGTV had many sponsors, including a pool company and an outdoor furniture company. The lot needed to be able to accommodate not only the house but the planned outdoor living space for the Dream Home.

Johnny identified several homesites in various communities on Hilton Head. At this point Court Atkins, an architectural firm from Bluffton, was engaged by Shoreline Construction. Together with the HGTV team, the group identified a large waterfront lot in Windmill Harbour. Johnny contacted Rob Reichel of Sea Pines Real Estate about purchasing the lot, which Rob had listed. This lot looked like it would have all that HGTV needed in terms of space and view.

With input from HGTV, Court Atkins then designed the house for the Dream Home project. The challenge for everyone was to design, build and decorate the home in six months. This construction process typically would take 10 to 12 months. Windmill Harbour Property Owners’ Association and its Marketing Committee were excited about the potential positive publicity and became actively involved in facilitating all architectural review and assisting in providing construction access in the construction process.

Building the dream

With no time to waste, construction began by clearing the site and making preparations for building. The neighbors on Sail Stock Point were extremely accommodating as the compressed construction time made for a construction-truck nightmare. In six months, however, the house was finished, on schedule, within budget, and ready for interior design and landscaping.

Carolyn’s Landscaping of Hilton Head was brought in and developed a Lowcountry picturesque landscape design befitting the house design and construction. While the building was in process, the HGTV sales team worked with their sponsors to determine the various elements of the home, including furniture, decor, flooring, paint, outdoor hardscapes, cabinetry, faucets and fixtures, outdoor decorating and more.

Brian Patrick Flynn, who has been responsible for many of the interior designs on previous Dream Homes, was called on again to decorate the Windmill Harbour home. In October, he spent two weeks in the home placing furniture he had purchased and accessorizing. Brian and his team brought the house to life by making the house a home entirely ready to live in.

Worth 1,000 words

The next several weeks were consumed with photographing the home for advertising, promotional shots for the website, and video to be used on HGTV television. Teams of photographers and videographers descended on the neighborhood with equipment and drones to capture the home as only a world-class production television and magazine company could do.

Rhapsody In Blue • The bright and modern color collection by Sherwin-Williams keeps the focus on the home’s coastal connection.

As the process nears its final phase and goes into the sweepstakes phase, Chesney Anderson of HGTV summarizes the project by saying, “The home has privacy and a floorplan fit for entertaining and overlooking the outdoor spaces and sunsets. We think viewers will definitely fall in love with the home.”

Although the credit for the Dream House usually goes to HGTV, it is clear that this is a team effort of local, regional, and national talent coming together. Their collective efforts came together in a short time to produce what is aptly called a Dream Home. And like most things in life, dreams take vision and hard work.

Enter to win

All eligible persons looking to win the home can enter twice a day at hgtv.com/HGTVdreamhome. The contest will end on Wednesday, Feb. 19. At that point, the winner will be “ambushed,” and their excitement and surprise will be captured on film for the 30-minute give-away special that airs on HGTV in May. After that, the winner is brought to the home and given the keys to the house, the car, and the check for $250,000 — all this in front of HGTV sponsors. The production company then films the winner’s reaction seeing all the spaces of the home with Brian, the interior designer. All this footage then goes on the HGTV giveaway special.


Make your home a Dream Home

You don’t have to win the HGTV Dream Home to enjoy its design features. Each month, we will share a Dream Home idea we love with tips and tricks so you can bring the inspiration to life in your own home.

It’s all fun and games! This is good news for anyone who is tired of spending time with friends and family and their iPhones. Board games are back and expected to get even more popular. The global board games market is worth over $3.2 billion and is set to rise to $8.12 billion by 2021, according to board games market value data on Statistica. The HGTV Dream Home designers must have known this trend when they incorporated so many playful features into the home.


Break in the garage No room in the house for a billiard table?  Fear not! The HGTV Dream Home has a sweet setup in the garage. Just make sure you have AC and manage the humidity in the warm weather.


Duelling TVs Gamecock and Tiger fans don’t need go to separate rooms anymore. Watch both games in the same room with two sets, kind of like a sports bar right in your own home.


Speaking of sports bars… Foosball is always a winner, albeit a bit noisy. If you want to bring a bit of the north to your Southern home, try a table hockey game.


Bored? Games! Set up a board game on a table. No need to pack it up; a chess or checkers game looks especially good when left mid-game. Looks like the tiles in the tray in this Scrabble game spell a winner!