LEAWOOD, Kan. — A Leawood mother of four and her father have become TV celebrities appearing on DIY Network’s “Bargain Mansions.”
Tamara Day and her father Ward Schraeder have renovated 13 homes around the metro on the show. To mark the show’s second season finale, they invited fans out to see what they experience on television.
“It’s from our hometown, and we are always looking trying to figure out, ‘Where do you think that one’s at?'” Jessie Fetters said at a recent open house at a renovated Leawood home on Belinder Road.
“Just to see how she takes these houses and turns them into something you’d like to live in is pretty interesting,” Christine Duffin said.
“I like moving the walls around, imagining how it could be,” Day told 9-year-old Charlotte Byram.
Day may be breaking down walls and breaking down stereotypes in the home improvement world. But she nearly missed her big break. A producer spotted her brother in a hardware store. He pitched his sister as a perfect fit to build a show around. But at first she turned it down.
“I said I didn’t have time because nobody is going to cast a show in Kansas City for a major network. That doesn’t make sense,” Day said.
Two seasons later, “Bargain Mansions” continues to grow followers.
The show is set in the Kansas City area. Renovations this year also included homes in Leawood and Louisburg. Day, a mother of four, said she tries to stay within 45 minutes of her Leawood home and her children’s schools for her projects.
Fans seem to like the dynamic between Day and her dad, who’s a bit of a reluctant TV star.
“I knew absolutely nothing about television other than how to turn it on,” Schraeder said of his inclusion in the show.
Schraeder has been in the construction and remodeling businesses for 40 years. He said he didn’t realize his daughter was picking up as much as she did along the way.
As the show highlights however, they don’t always share the same vision.
“He has a little different feeling to his design style than I have. He’d leave the cracks in the walls if he could. I like to fix them,” Day said.
She gave FOX4’s Dave D’Marko a tour of the home called “Belinder” in episodes airing in February.
“This room also ended right about here,” Day demonstrated in the renovated master bedroom.
Day and Schraeder added three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a loft to the second story of the original ranch home. A bedroom on the downstairs level was turned into a large walk-in closet. Renovations helped the home double in value to approximately $900,000.
The DIY Network star said she invests in lighting and plumbing fixtures in her homes to make them something viewers can aspire for.
But she says she also wants improvements to be attainable and designs functional homes she’d want to live in with her husband and four children. She lists local vendors she uses on the show on her website, growingdays.com.
She said there’s a lot that goes into the design off camera.
“Where do I want this light placed, where do I want wallpaper, what cabinetry, what color?” Day rattled off.
But for her and her dad, there a lot of highlights, including working together.
“How many daughters get to work with their fathers in real life, but also get to work with them on something as big as this?” she asked.
They’re also happy to get to showcase Kansas City to a national audience.
“Kansas City has so many great houses. Not every city has these gems of homes that we have,” Day said.
Bargain Mansions just wrapped its regular season schedule on DIY Network. Viewers can catch up on eight of the season’s episodes this Wednesday beginning at 7 p.m. Central.
Future seasons of the show are still in the works, but both said one thing’s for sure: All future episodes will be filmed right here in the Kansas City area.
Watch FOX4’s entire interview with Day and Schraeder in the video player below.