David Bromstad is no stranger to reality television and house hunting. Since 2015, the HGTV star has helped newly rich lottery winners find their brand new homes in “My Lottery Dream Home.” He has helped countless couples look for new homes, narrow down their must-haves, and start living their brand new lives in a place to call home. But for Bromstad, things are about to change in a big way.
In a brand new special called “My Lottery Dream Home: David’s Dream Home,” the cameras are turning on this show host. The special follows Bromstad as he searches for a home in Orlando, Florida, alongside his best friend. In an exclusive interview with The List, Bromstad sat down with us and chatted all about his house-hunting experience, what he was looking for in a house, and what fans can expect from the special. He also gave us a few teasers about the new season of “My Lottery Dream Home.”
David Bromstad opens up about working with Disney
I am curious about your start working for Disney. That sounds like such a dream job, and I know that you were an illustrator and a designer. How do you think that affected your future job prospects? And do you think that had any effect on you wanting to live in Orlando someday?
Well, so the whole trajectory of where I wanted to be was I wanted to be a Disney animator, and at the time, and I’m dating myself because I’m super old … there was still hand-drawn animation. And so Disney — my dad, when he got behind me, because he saw my talent as an artist, which was hard to do, but once he got behind it, he goes, “Do you want to work for Disney? Great. We’re going to put you into the best school, or at least do the research.” And the research was Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, or Cal Arts in California. Well, that was too expensive. And so I applied to that one school and that one school alone, got in, and Disney pulled directly from their illustrators. And so that’s what my major was, but I realized about six months into my college education that I didn’t want to do animation.
And this is something I had wanted to do for the last 12 years. And now I’m like, “What am I going to do?” I had no idea. I was like, “Just get your training. Don’t think too much about it.” I moved to Orlando and I started working for Disney, but not as an illustrator. I worked for them as a visual merchandiser. I did that for about six months. I got super bored. And so my boss was like, “You’re too creative to be here.” So I dropped all of my benefits with Disney and I still worked for Disney, but it was for a sculpture department. And so that’s where I learned the basis of perfection with Disney. And that’s where my true artistic training started.
That’s amazing. And have you since been to all the different Disneylands, and visited them? I imagine, of course, you have. Do you have a favorite?
Not the ones overseas, but in California. I went to that just recently, probably about three years ago. And that was interesting. And I was like your Magic Kingdom or your Disneyland, and I’m like, it’s so small.
It’s so small.
I just like ours better. Each park has a different love for me. So I go to Magic Kingdom to get the magic, to get that purity, to see the kids, to see the castle and just be overwhelmed with fantasy. And that is one of my biggest things. I love it. I got Epcot to have adult time, because it’s like, beautiful. It’s well curated. Drink around the world, I mean, there’s so much to do, and seeing drunk people at Disney is hilarious.
Yeah. It’s a weird thing you never thought you would see.
And then I love Hollywood Studios because it, it has all the animation and the movies. And now that they put “Star Wars” in there and Toy Story Land, it’s a full-fledged park, and it’s just a different type of park, and honestly, that’s my favorite part to go to during the holidays, because they do it the best. Like their entire park is decorated. Like everything. I was like, “What is going on?” And of course, Animal Kingdom is perfection because it’s something completely new. The vegetation is beautiful. You just walk around, and you’re like, “Oh, my gosh, look at these plants and trees, and look at all the beautiful things they’ve done here. I feel like I’m in a different world.” So I go to a different park all the time, all depending on what I need in my life at that time.
David Bromstad looks back at his career trajectory
I couldn’t agree more. That’s exactly how I do it. I’ve got the Mickey tattoo as well. Yours is a little bigger, but same thing. So, the David of today, what do you think he would say to the David that maybe had no idea that he would end up in interior design? Because I remember reading a little bit about, if I have this correct, that somebody had asked you to design a child’s room, and you kind of just like ran right into that head first and you really loved it. And is that kind of how interior design started for you?
Yeah. They asked me to handle the kids’ rooms for these model homes that were on the Southeast. So it was easy, because I was building props for end tables and just doing really basic headboards and being creative with it by doing the murals. But I wasn’t technically doing the interior design. I was just doing the guts, and then the interior designer who I was working for [did] the interior design. So I never did any sort of interior design until I got into television.
So, do you ever look back on that version of yourself, and are you shocked that this is kind of the trajectory that your life took professionally?
Not at all. Everything I’ve done since I was in like, high school through college and then working for Disney and Universal and then doing the kids’ rooms. And then those kids’ rooms led to working on TV. And I was … The reason why animation wasn’t working for me was because it was too simple. Drawing the same form over and over again. Then I looked into doing backdrops and I was like, I like so much more than just painting. I love drawing. I love painting. And then I realized I loved building. And then creating then just an environment now when I was doing the kids’ rooms, I’m like, “I like creating spaces.” So everything I’ve done through my life just seemed to fit perfectly. And it got me out to TV and then learning interior design on TV, like interior design is … I’m obsessed with it. It’s the passion I never knew I was going to have.
Yeah. It seems like all of your life experiences just kind of serendipitously led you to where you are now. And that explains why you’ve just found what you were meant to be doing. And you’re so excellent at it.
Oh, thank you.
David Bromstad's advice for moving to Orlando, Florida
Do you have advice for anybody that is moving to Florida or moving to Orlando specifically?
Yes. I have lots of advice. Orlando’s a wonderful city. Everything you need. It’s probably the city that you will have the most fun in because it’s a very young city, obviously with the parks and resorts, it brings in a very young clientele for workers. It’s a fun city. If you’re bored here, it’s your fault. Like there’s so many things to do for free. Like all the parks and resorts, you can go and walk around the hotels and get inspired or go to a restaurant there or walk … There are so many beautiful parks and there’s so many lakes here. Orlando obviously has a lot of the theme parks, and that’s what we’re known worldwide for. But downtown Orlando and neighboring suburbs are beautiful and full of lakes, full of charm. So get out and explore, get away from the theme parks, and come downtown because that’s where the fun is. Tons of bars, like lots of places to hang out, and just, it’s a very active city. Like people are always out. It’s really fun.
Next week my parents are moving to Horizon West and they’re so excited. So I’ll make sure to tell them all of this advice from you. And so I’m so excited to see the episode that’s premiering of you looking for your dream house. What was it you think that suddenly made you turn the camera on yourself a little bit more and start to think that you should look for a place for yourself?
I’ve been looking for a place for four years. For three years, I planned on buying a house within the first six months, and I was too busy finding everyone else’s dream home to really concentrate on myself, even though I was actively looking, but my taste changed every time I looked and the more I did “Lottery,” I was not just hunting for them. That was hunting for me. Like, “Ooh, do I need this space? And how does this work for me?” And so the more I looked at those hundreds and hundreds of homes, the more I knew what I wanted and needed for my future, and my family. So turning the cameras on me was weird, because at first I was just going through the motions and that’s why I had my best friend Greg there, because he kept going like this, “This is for you.” So I’m like, “Oh, that’s right. I’m spending the money now.”
Here's what David Bromstadt was looking for in a home
Yeah. It makes me wonder, over the years that you’ve been doing the show and all the advice you’ve given, did you find yourself taking your own advice?
I did. I did practice what I preach. You’re going to know a house when you know it. And I knew the house basically right when I walked into it and kept exploring it, because it kept calling me in, had a good vibe. Was it anything I was looking for originally? No. Not at all. It was exactly the opposite. It was not in the right area. It just was like, all of these things were just like not working for me. But when I got in here and I was like, “I love it so much. It’s perfect.”
Love that. What were some of the things you were looking for? I don’t want to spoil the episode too much, but if there’s anything you can tell me?
So, I was looking mostly for space. So my parents are getting on with their years and they live an hour north in the villages. And so they’re not going to be able to go back and forth to Minnesota as often as they are for the holidays, because that’s where we go. [We] go to Minnesota, obviously, because you got to have snow for Christmas. I wanted this to be a holiday house, and a house my entire family [could use] to come down and enjoy. So I needed space. Bedrooms, first-floor living for them, for sure. And just a space to entertain, and we love to watch TV. That’s how we bond.
That’s how we always have. It’s one of our moments. People are like, “But you’re not talking.” I go, “Oh, but we are. And sometimes we’re not, but we’re still together.” And I’d rather be together with my family and not say a word than not be with them at all. But crazy, we’re like a bunch of big mouths, so it was mostly space, and it was a place to entertain. It could have been a complete disaster and I could have fixed it up. It just had to feel right.
I’m so glad that you ended up finding that space that felt so good for you.
What David Bromstad wants future home buyers to know
What would be your advice for prospective home buyers?
Make sure you’re pre-approved.
And because if you’re house-hunting and you’re not, and you find a house that you love — the market right now is so chaotic. You’re not going to have time and you’re not getting that house. So that’s going to save you a lot of heartache. And just make sure that you love it. You’re going to live in this, it’s going to be the biggest purchase you make in your life, and see yourself there. Do not care about wall color, or wallpaper.
It drives me crazy. They’re like, “Oh, my gosh, it’s got yellow walls.” I’m like, “That’s paint! Relax!”
It’s temporary, but look at big structures, look at kitchens and bathrooms. And if you need to redo those, then that needs to be in your brain.
Yeah, absolutely. What are some of the biggest mistakes you think that home buyers make, and then also, do you think you made any of those mistakes, or maybe almost fell into any of those mistakes?
I almost fell into a few mistakes before. I did. It was kind of overbuying and then knowing I was going to be in construction for a year and a half and not really thinking things through. And when I first moved up here or like before I moved, I had found a house, the first house I looked at and looking back at that, I was just in a rush to get settled, because my life was really chaotic before and I was just a rush and I wasn’t taking my time. So, take your time. It will be there when it is there. Don’t rush into anything. It’s a house, it’s a big commitment. That’s kind of like having a child, don’t have one just to repair a relationship because a house is a huge commitment. People are like, “Oh, it’s a mortgage, or it’s rent.” I go, “But, no, there’s so much more. There’s insurance and you having to fix things, and yard work, and pool work.” And so just be prepared for all the unexpected, but just … [be] happy with it. Make sure.
David Bromstad's thoughts on turning the camera onto himself
As for the actual episode itself [“My Lottery Dream Home: David’s Dream Home”], what can we expect to see? Can you give us any teasers?
You can expect me to seem grateful that I’m doing this and you’re going to see a really fun dynamic with my bestie Greg. I don’t want to give too much away. You’re going to see me kind of thrown for a minute.
Yeah. I’m imagining it’s kind of like a version of you that maybe people haven’t seen before because the roles are switched.
Yeah, it is. It’s a little … I haven’t seen the episode, so I don’t know what they put in there, but as far as like … I dressed my best friend Greg in all my clothes. So I let him have the fashion forefront. I dressed down this episode, which is weird for me, but I was like, that’s cute all the time. I still dress cute.
But he had the stronger outfits.
He got to put on home-buying chic. What do people wear when they go shopping for a house?
I would’ve worn a tank top if I could have.
Well, you’re in Florida. I feel like you have to wear a tank top all year-round.
Look at me, I mean, it’s too hot to even put on a shirt with sleeves, I apologize.
Is it taking some time to get used to the heat, or are you used to it at this point?
No, you’re never used to it. You’re never used to it. From now ’til October, it’s Brutal. Like, but the summers are so nice here because they’re always very cloudy, because it’s raining all the time. So sun’s out, you are just struggling. I grew up in Minnesota. It’s like being there in the winter. You go from air conditioned space to air conditioned space, like heated space to heated space. You’re just kind of surviving.
What can we expect from this season of My Lottery Dream Home?
As for the upcoming season of “My Lottery Dream Home,” is there anything about that you can tell us? I’m also just really curious if there are any moments that stick out with you or any couples that you really enjoyed working with.
I enjoy all my couples. I really do. My previous interview that I had before, she was just like, “You get along so well with everybody.” And I’m like, “This is a human being, and this is someone who deserves my every single second.” And I’ve always been like that since I was a kid. Like, oh, you, and I’m going to get to know you very quickly. And even like in my 20s and 30s, my friends who I would just meet were telling me their life story. They’re like, “I don’t know why I’m saying anything.” All my winners are wonderful. We do have a bigger winner. I can’t remember if it’s aired because we’re like filming and then editing and airing. So I don’t watch the show because it reminds me of work.
I mean, I love it. I’m watching this Friday.
Yeah. I love it too, because … like personally I watch to just decompress and it’s something I do for fun. But for you, it’s literally just watching over the work that you’ve done.
It is. And if I’m doing a voiceover and I’m seeing that it’s a funny episode, I’ll turn it on and then sometimes I’ll watch the entire episode. And sometimes I’m like, “I can’t watch myself.”
Yeah. Did it take you a while to get used to just seeing yourself on TV? I can’t imagine ever getting used to that.
So, when I was doing “Design Star,” I was super fit, I was super young, and I just realized like I was never photogenic and then I didn’t know there was something called telegenic. So I was living for myself on TV, I was like, “Yes!” Now getting used to hearing yourself. I was like, “I really sound that gay? Okay. No big deal.”
You just mute it when you’re watching it.
That took longer. And I loved watching “Color Splash” because we shot so much more footage and I was wondering what they put in there and I wanted to see how the designs look on TV, because that’s important. Designing for TV and designing for reality is very different. Now, with “Lottery,” it’s like, “I was there.” I knew we’re very, very good at what we do and yeah.
Yeah. Are there any projects you’re working on right now that you can tell us about? Anything that we can expect to see you in kind of coming up, or?
Working on my house?
Yeah, are we going to be able to see that beyond just that one episode?
Well, I’m sure I’ll have it on my Instagram all the time. God, no, it’s going to be highly televised for myself because this is a home I’ve owned by myself. I’ve usually had one with a partner. So, this is my first home for me. And I’m going to design it the way I want to. No one’s going to tell me what to do. It’s so liberating.
David Bromstad's advice for decorating your first home
So freeing. I feel the exact same way, I moved into my first apartment, like all by myself this past year. And I started putting things up on the walls and I was like, I don’t have to ask anybody if they like this. I can buy whatever I want. It’s the best feeling. Do you have advice for people who are living alone for the first time?
You know what? Live in your space for a minute or if you’re a big planner, I do mood boards. I’m a Pinterest fanatic and I’m constantly like, “Ooh, I love that.” And I’ll take a screenshot of it because I just need it in my photos all the time. So, do as much research, live in the space, see how the light is in the morning and the evening, see where you need things. And my advice is to overbuy, because what you can do is basically have like a wonderful catalog of things in your house, like pillows, and rugs, and lamps, and then just take it back.
Because if you’re not design-inclined, you’re not going to be able to go to the store. It’s too overwhelming. I buy almost exclusively online, because I’m that person, even though I’m a seasoned designer, I’ll walk into Target or CB2 or West Elm and I’ll sit there and go like this [stares with open mouth].
Yeah. Absolutely. I actually had an interview with Breegan Jane a couple of weeks ago. I absolutely love her. And she said that being an interior designer is exactly as you’d imagine, that she moves her stuff around constantly. And she always just kind of wants to see where the couch can go, where the plants can go. She’s constantly moving them around. Do you think that’s what most interior designers would say?
Oh, yeah. It’s like we have big problems with like, making sure they’re … Like, I just bought a sofa and I made sure I bought a slipcover for the sofa so I could change it.
Yeah, because I was like, I know I’m going to get bored of just cream. I need a nice strong color. Yeah, and it’s like, I’m sure that I’ll spend all this money on these wallpapers that I’m going to install and I’m sure in two years I’ll change them, because I’ll be sick of it. I’ll be like, “Okay. Time for something new.”
Yeah. But that’s the beauty of living in a home, isn’t it? That you can do that. You have the freedom to do that.
I can and I’m so excited for it.
I’m so excited to see it.
Watch new episodes of “My Lottery Dream Home” each Friday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV, and stream all episodes of the series on discovery+.
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