Discovery, Inc.'s successful HGTV (Home & Garden Television) channel is one of the most-watched in America; four out of five households with a TV receive it, which translates to nearly 100 million households.
One of HGTV's more popular shows is Dream Home, which has been on the air since 1997. The program showcases the build of HGTV's annual sweepstakes house, which is in a different location each year; what doesn't change is that the fully-furnished house is typically worth more than $1 million, and comes with both $250,000 in cash and a new car from the automotive sponsor. Roughly 130 million entries were received for the 2018 house, the most recent year for which figures were available. (If you're wondering why the entries exceed the viewership, it's because you can enter the sweepstakes twice a day, every day, until the drawing. This year's drawing is on February 19th.)
This year's house is located on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Core77 and a handful of other publications and people were invited down to tour the house by Honda, the program's automotive sponsor; this year's giveaway includes a 2020 Honda Passport Elite SUV.
The house is, in a word, bananas. Located on the coast, it's beautifully sited such that the view from the rear of the house perfectly frames the sun setting over the water each day. Two stories, three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 3,500 square feet, gigantic open-plan kitchen, massive Great Room, huge mudroom with a dog-washing station and built-in under-cabinet dog crates, gigantic outdoor kitchen, multiple porches, a detached two-car garage with an attached sub-garage for ATVs or a golf cart, you get the idea. From a design standpoint, the bedrooms and their attendant bathrooms are all sited as far away from each other as possible within the house for maximum privacy.
A lot of the house's features are things that we ordinary Joes might like in a home, but practically speaking, probably wouldn't be willing to pay for--hence their inclusion; this is, after all, a giveaway "dream" home.
As for the actual aesthetics, the interior--which combines modern elements with local tastes, as is the style of the show--isn't to my personal tastes. Which I get; HGTV isn't trying to produce a house that a design blogger will sign up to win, they're reaching for the 130-million-plus entries that creates ratings hits.
And as interior designer Brian Patrick Flynn led us through the house, it occurred to me what an impossible job he has: To design an interior not to appeal to one client, or even a family, but to those tens of millions of viewers, all of whom might have conflicting ideas.
Flynn was besieged by the Influencers invited to the tour, but I spoke with his handler to see if I could snag a ten-minute chat with him. I had to know how one person could possibly design an interior for that many theoretical clients; where does one even begin?