Bethany home renovator Marnie Oursler is normally figuring out the best way to construct households. With the debut of her new HGTV series, “Big Beach Builds,” she will now also try to entertain them.
Oursler says a production company approached her last spring about pitching a show to HGTV about her work. She could not reveal too much, but says the show will focus on her renovations of houses around Bethany Beach—her childhood vacation destination and current home.
“I never really thought it would come this far,” she says. “It’s very exciting; I’m very fortunate […]. I think all the hard work that we’ve put into it over the years, it’s neat to see it on a larger scale.”
Oursler says she hopes the show will motivate viewers to follow their dreams, particularly when they learn the story of how she came to succeed in the industry.
She says she first entered the home-building business in 2007 essentially as a means of survival. She spent about two years working on her home in Bethany Beach while living simply and taking several odd jobs along the way. Nine months later, she sold the house for a significant profit and fulfilled her dream of moving closer to the ocean.
Courtesy of Tracey Lucas
Oursler, a rising star in the male-dominated home construction industry, says there have been times when she has faced gender bias but that they have not affected her passion for her work. She says she knows her new show might inspire more women to become involved in the home-building industry, and that she is comfortable serving as that type of role model.
“I have an 8-year-old niece who doesn’t think twice [about the fact] that I’m a builder,” Oursler says. “She just has that in her, where she could do whatever she wanted to do. I think it would be great to see all women, whatever their passion is, to follow that.”
Gender was not the only obstacle she overcame during her early years as a builder. The housing market implosion of the late 2000s made entering that workforce a daunting task. She credits a group of contractors, vendors, friends and family with helping her emerge from that time period with her company and sanity intact.
“I was able to form a team of people that really work well together,” she says. “I think there were certainly some obstacles, but I was able to take a positive spin on them and turn them in my favor.”
“Big Beach Builds” debuts on HGTV at noon on Feb. 5.