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HGTV Dream Home opens lens, millions of eyeballs to Gig Harbor

Living a luxurious life on Henderson Bay with a new home, a new car and $250,000 spending cash is just a click away for one lucky person.

The annual HGTV Dream Home sweepstakes is set this year in Gig Harbor, bringing millions of pairs of eyes onlooking the bay.

“Last year we got 130 million entries,” said Matt Kothe, spokesman for Scripps Network Interactive, the parent company of HGTV. “We do these dream homes in picturesque locations all over the country. We look for a town that is a good mix of sleepy and active. We have never done a home in Washington yet and Gig Harbor just seemed like the perfect fit.”

HGTV does three home giveaway sweepstakes a year. The network has been giving away a “dream home” since 1997. The 2018 Dream Home Sweepstakes will begin on Dec. 27. To enter, one just has to visit the network’s website and enter their email address into the drawing. People can enter their email every day until the contest is closed. A random email will be picked from the entries.

The network has been advertising Gig Harbor as a tranquil waterside community perfect for commuters while HGTV designers and architects worked around the clock to create a home worth more than $1 million.

HIGHLIGHTING THE HARBOR

Brian Patrick Flynn designed the interior and exterior of the home in a pastel vision that makes the inside of the home bright and airy, even on the foggiest gray day. Flynn, who lives in Georgia, has designed three HGTV Dream Homes and is one of the main designers for HGTV’s Urban Oasis project. While designing a home, Flynn relocates so he can have a close eye on his project while taking inspiration from the community around him.

It didn’t take long for him to fall in love with Washington.

“I’ve always wanted to come visit Washington,” Flynn said. “I am actually upset I am not allowed to enter (the contest) because this is my dream house. I want to live here.”

Flynn worked with a modern-style 1970s home located on the beach of Henderson Bay, with a spectacular view of the sound, and gutted it to become a new work of art. The exterior of the home is black with slated gray accents, a large finished garage with a see-through door and a beautiful curvy driveway. The inside is bright with white being the base color to an array of pastels, including pastel millennial pink.

“The HGTV Dream home needs to be current and ahead of trends,” Flynn said. “Since 2014 I have been doing a lot of with pastels. It’s a neutral that really goes with every color. It’s weird because people think pink is such a standalone color but if you have enough white undertones it really goes with everything.”

06LivingRoomAbove
The main living room of the HGTV Dream Home in Gig Harbor. Tony Overman toverman@theolympian.com

The four-bedroom, three-bath home includes an expansive view of Henderson Bay with a two-level patio, full kitchen and will be given away fully furnished and decorated. The home has many modern embellishments and windows all over the house to let in natural light. Flynn put various local spins on the decorating theme, including large murals in the home that highlight both Mount Rainier and the Space Needle.

The lower level includes an informal living room, a cocktail lounge, an exercise corner and a lower-level patio with access to the backyard. The master bedroom includes a window corner with a spare reading and lounge area to view the harbor on a rainy day. The furniture was provided to HGTV by Wayfair, an online home and furniture market. The sweepstakes grand prize also includes a brand new Honda, the home with all its furnishings and $250,000 from Quicken Loans.

“Last year a 29-year-old woman won the sweepstakes,” Flynn said. “Imagine being set for life at 29.”

The entire package is valued at $1.8 million. Kothe said the winner of the sweepstakes has the choice to take the property, car and $250,000, or they can choose to take a cash payoff of an undisclosed amount. If the winner chooses the money, HGTV sells the home.

The amount of free publicity the city of Gig Harbor will receive while being highlighted for the sweepstakes is remarkable. Karen Scott, the city’s Tourism and Communications director, believes the city’s work to paint itself as a welcoming and active community is part of the reason the national network chose Gig Harbor for its next destination point.

“We work really hard to welcome ourselves to tourists during the season,” Scott said. “Tourism is a huge benefit to the community.”

Scott said after HGTV chose to use Gig Harbor for its sweepstakes, she has been inundated with emails and press releases relating to Gig Harbor and the home, each with a snippet of information on the city.

“It’s on almost 4,000 websites,” Scott said. “It fell in our laps. Tourism is a cash-generating machine. And the residents are going to reap the benefits.”

Scott, who works with her staff out of the Skansie House on Harborview Drive, said during the season the historical home sees thousands of visitors. Scott works with Pierce County to attract tourists, which bring in both revenue through sales tax each year.

According to the 2016 Pierce County visitors spending report:

▪ Average annual visitors equal nearly 6 million each year in Pierce County.

▪ Visitor spending equals about $1 billion per year.

▪ The number of jobs created through tourism is about 11,000.

▪ The local taxes generated equals $40 million

▪ The state taxes generated equals $70 million

Kothe said besides receiving construction permits and filling out the usual paperwork, Scripps Network Interactive and HGTV don’t usually work directly with the cities where they build. Cities do not bid for a spot but are chosen by a team at the network.

“We had a few members of the network from the area who raved about Gig Harbor,” Kothe said.

Scott estimates more than 200 million people will be learning about Gig Harbor through the sweepstakes, which can bring a wave of new tourists and possible home buyers.

“We work hard to make this a welcoming place,” Scott said. “With events, festivals and more on a year-round basis. This is going to be exponential for us.”

Danielle Chastaine: 253-358-4155, @gateway_danie

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