The HGTV network is famously known for its multitude of home and design shows featuring some of the best designers, contractors, and home experts in the business. Artist and TV personality David Bromstad is right at the top of that list.
As the first ever winner of the network’s reality design competition show, “Design Star,” the artist known for his eclectic style and love for bright, bold colors has been a part of the HGTV family for the past 15 years. And while David has found success in the world of real estate and design, he says his childhood dream was to become a Disney animator.
“Fame wasn’t part of my existence or my dream,” David explains. “I just wanted to be well-known and respected in my craft.”
After a stint at the Walt Disney Company, David began designing kid’s fantasy bedrooms around the Southeast area. Fast-forward two and a half years later, and on the suggestion of one of the interior designers he worked with, he entered the design competition show that would alter the trajectory of his life.
“I was barely making ends meet, but I was loving my life,” says David. “I loved what I was doing. I could go into work whenever I wanted, I did not have a boss, and I really loved my life before TV.”
Despite the fact he had no formal training in interior design, that didn’t stop David from taking a chance. With no expectations of winning, he viewed the show as an opportunity to help out his career and to have fun in the process. But as he began winning a challenge here and there, David quickly realized he had a shot, and his competitive side went into “hyper-crazy mode,” as he describes it.
The win launched his TV career, and the rest—as the say—is history. Since then he’s had numerous shows of his own and starred in a handful of others for the network, including his latest, “My Lottery Dream Home,” now in its 11th season.
Fans everywhere have fallen in love with David’s infectious laugh and big personality, and lucky for us, we were able to spend some time with him to talk about his career and artistic vision, which include those fabulous tattoos!
You entered “Design Star” on a whim with no expectations of winning, yet you did. How did that feel?
I’m an artist who just watched my friends; I never took classes. So I thought I was outclassed, and [there was] no way was I going to win this. So winning was obviously a dream come true. I basically went from almost rags to slightly richer. It was a blessing; everything kind of aligned and I had no idea it was aligning, but looking back at everything, it just worked out so seamlessly.
You’ve had multiple shows on HGTV, and for the past 11 seasons have been helping winners find their ultimate dream home. What do you love most about “My Lottery Dream Home?”
Besides the success of the show, it’s super fun and it gives people hope. The most fun is hanging out with my crew and getting to know these winners. All we do is giggle; I don’t know how we get any work done. They have to cut through so much stuff that we say, but we know we have a job to do and we’re all very professional. If you’re not having fun doing everything you’re doing on a daily basis, then you’re doing something wrong.
Within the show, winners are shown three homes before making their decision. How does it work in terms of finding “the right one?”
We really do a good job of searching for the perfect houses for them. Of course, we show them more than three houses, but it’s a 22-minute show and we have to keep it clean and simple, so we show you the best. When they come to me, they’re like, “Help, we’ve looked for years and just can’t find it.” Sometimes it takes an outside perspective of someone who can help you envision your life in that house. And it’s easier when you have someone help you do it because then you can step away from it and really think about it in a more unique and fun way.
One of the perks of the show is the opportunity to travel to many different places across the country. To date, which has been your favorite?
Cape Cod. We’ve gone there so many times, and I absolutely love it. It is one of the most epically charming places I’ve ever been.
The travel is the best part of the job, and it’s also the hardest because you’re obviously sleeping in someone else’s bed, living out of a suitcase, and it gets tiresome, but on the flip side you’re seeing places you might never go and visit on your own. Seeing how America lives—I love that—and it’s what makes me really happy.
Having a creative eye, do you share some of your artistic visions when visiting the homes?
I give the advice only when they allow me to. I’ve been in this industry for so long and you can overwhelm someone who might not understand, so that’s why I ask if they are looking for a fixer-upper, to do things ourselves, or to just find move-in ready? Because if they say move-in ready, then those design tips are just not going to resonate with them, and it makes the house-hunting not as fun. When they want the advice, then it comes out—it’s so much fun to do that too.
It seems like a lot of the winners are first-time homebuyers, which is always amazing to watch. What advice do you share with them?
Obviously our conversations are so much more than what you see on the show. I go into extensive things like, What’s your closet situation? I just bought a house myself and the closet situation is bad, so I had to add another closet. Those are the kinds of things you have to think about before you move in. I’m not going to force my tips on anyone, but I will definitely make suggestions.
After helping others find their dream home, you recently purchased your own in Florida. Can you share a little bit about the process of house-hunting for yourself?
I looked at probably 200 homes, and I’ve been looking for about four years. It’s been exhausting because my pace would literally change every two seconds. I would be like, “Oh, I want to do this,” or “I need this type of house.” The more you look, the more you know exactly what you want. I am the most exhausting person to shop with for houses.
The house I bought is not a complete fixer-upper but I’m redoing everything. It’s a beautiful home in the most beautiful area. I fell in love with it just because it’s got such a charm and comfort to it, and of course, I’m going to put my own design craziness all over it and make it even more fantastic. It’s been a blessing, and I’m so happy to be doing it.
As an artist, you’re not afraid to take chances. From where do you draw your inspiration?
My sister is a huge source of my inspiration. She’s an interior designer and a fellow creative like me. We just set each other off creatively, and I look up to her. Her color senses are insane and wonderful and very different than mine—also very complementary. She is probably my biggest source of inspiration…we’re always sending each other Instagram pictures to look at. Obviously, I get my inspiration from other interior designers and artists as well, but my sister pushes me to another level that is amazing.
Let’s talk tattoos, which is another way for you to express yourself creatively. This might be a difficult question, but do you have a favorite?
It’s like asking my favorite color or favorite child. The one that brings people the most love and happiness and an immediate smile is my Mickey tattoo on my right shoulder; I have like six Mickeys over there. I love him and he makes me so happy. It represents hope, fantasy, and magic, and all the things you feel as a kid. I continue to live off those aspects.
I love them all for different reasons; they all have a meaning whether it is super-intense or not, and some are just nostalgia. I have a scratch-and-sniff popcorn sticker on my belly because my family loves popcorn and I collected scratch and sniff stickers when I was a kid.
Between the new season of “My Lottery Dream Home” and your home renovation, is there time for any new projects?
I’m just enjoying life right now. I think another project would be fine, but I don’t want to do another TV show because it’s a full-time job, and right now my full-time project is my house. Once I get through that, then I will be like, “OK, where am I going to retire, and start looking for properties to retire in.”
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