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Leawood mom with DIY Network show prepares for premiere

See behind the scenes of the DIY Network's new Bargain Mansions show

Leawood mom Tamara Day is starring in "Bargain Mansions" that will debut on the DIY Network in November. She has a full camera crew following her as she leads a crew restoring six mini-mansions. The homes are in and around the Central Hyde Park Ne
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Leawood mom Tamara Day is starring in "Bargain Mansions" that will debut on the DIY Network in November. She has a full camera crew following her as she leads a crew restoring six mini-mansions. The homes are in and around the Central Hyde Park Ne

If you’ve been looking for “Bargain Mansions,” the new DIY Network show starring Tamara Day, mother of four from Leawood, the wait is almost over.

The show’s premiere was pushed back a week, but is now scheduled for 9 p.m. Nov. 15.

Day sat down for coffee recently, after finishing taping the last bits of the series. She said it’s been a race to the finish line with every house. She restored six mansions in 10 months.

“It’s been exciting and fun and stressful and late nights and early mornings and now it’s the calm before the storm. But it’s a good storm,” she said, referring to whatever fame and fortune await once the show begins airing.

The wrap party for the show’s production crew was at Foundry in Westport Nov. 6. Day says it was bittersweet.

“On one hand, I am really excited and glad that it’s done,” she says. “But I absolutely adore everyone on our crew. We all crossed from just colleagues to friends. There is huge diversity from 20-year-olds to crew members just a few years older than me, people from all economic backgrounds, men, women, black, white. I live in a little bubble in Johnson County so it’s nice to have that diversity. My life is better because of them.”

She is hoping the show will be so popular it will be renewed so they can all work together on more seasons.

Two back-to-back, 30-minute episodes will focus on renovating four rooms in each of the six homes. The pilot will also re-air, so there will be 14 shows over seven weeks.

Charlotte, the first of the six houses that Day renovated, will air first. She named most of the homes after streets they either sit on or near, so there’s Juniper in Leawood; Warwick in Old Hyde Park; Locust in Central Hyde Park; Ward Parkway in Country Club District; and Lake House in Leawood.

“That last one actually sits on a pond,” Day said, chuckling.

Five of the homes sold quickly after Day and her team finished them and the sixth is under contract. Her dad, Ward Schraeder, who makes guest appearances on the show, bought one of the houses, near the Days’ Leawood home.

He and Day’s mother wanted a part-time place closer to their grandchildren. The Schraeders live full time in Salina, and Ward Schraeder is CEO and a principal partner at Medical Development Management in Wichita.

Troy Paul, owner of Leawood’s Next Generation Construction, was general contractor on the “Bargain Mansions” and will also appear in all the shows.

Day noted that she was only a part of the renovation process of each home.

“This is a we, not a me. It takes a whole team working together.”

All of the homes had their own issues, Day said.

Charlotte, for instance, was abandoned and so neglected that most people would have torn it down, she says. She showed off photos of its redone interior on her cellphone.

Now it has a jaw-dropping kitchen with tiny white glass tile walls, open shelving, black base cabinets and a huge wood island that adds warmth to the modern room.

The living room’s original stone fireplace has been painted black giving the space a fresh feel. She was also able to restore the intricate woodwork and spindles on a staircase from the foyer to the second floor.

Day and Matt Antrim, co-owner of Reality Road Entertainment in Kansas City and executive producer and creator of the show, as well as the rest of the crew, family and friends will hold a watch party at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night. They’ll view a recorded version so Day can get her kids home at a reasonable hour.

“It’s a school night,” she notes.

Until then, the bubbly and unassuming Day hopes to spend as much time as possible with her kids. Her youngest, she says, is turning 5 in a few days so she’s in the middle of planning a unicorn party for her.

“I feel like mom again, making dinner, driving carpool, hanging out and watching TV with the kids, though I could do without the homework,” she said. “Seventh grade math is challenging.”

Vahe Gregorian: 816-234-4868, @vgregorian

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