Bargain Mansions host Tamara Day breathes new life into Kansas City-area mansions

Tamara Day, host of Bargain Mansions on DIY Network

Tamara Day, host of Bargain Mansions on DIY Network

Returning neglected estates to their former glory is not for the faint of heart. Protecting the charm of the old home, while adding modern conveniences expected by today’s homeowner, is a daunting task on its own. Add pressing timelines and the hectic production schedules of a hit DIY Network show, and you have a glimpse into the daily challenges facing Tamara Day, host of Bargain Mansions.

Growing up in the construction trade, Day first became involved in restoration work by helping her father, Ward Schrader, maintain and repair her family’s Kansas farm building structures. Now, as an experienced design and construction expert, Day travels around the Kansas City area dramatically revamping historic homes with the latest modern amenities, while preserving character and authentic features such as exposed brick walls and original staircases. Just like old times, Day’s father can be seen by her side, but this time as her mentor. 

Bathroom of the “Farm House.”In one of the first episodes of the show’s second season, Day enlisted the help of contractor Centric Homes to overhaul the laundry room, kitchen, master bathroom, basement and bunkhouse of the “Farm House.” The new designs feature various Daltile product offerings like mosaic tile and are installed using LATICRETE® materials. 

Bathroom of the “Farm House.”“After speaking with LATICRETE, it was a no-brainer to incorporate their products throughout the entire home. They have installation materials for just about every kind of installation, allowing me the freedom to focus on creating fabulous designs for each space and not worry about how I was going to execute them,” said Day.

The Challenges 

Production deadlines: When working on a production timeline, the importance of hitting deadlines is elevated, especially when following trades need installations to be completed before they can begin their portion of the restoration. It was important that the LATICRETE products chosen be able to be installed with ease in a timely fashion.

Products for multiple applications: Not only does renovating an old home take a team of installers, but it also takes a team of products that are up to the task. From installing large-format tiles in showers around the home to leveling the concrete substrate in the basement for a flat floor, LATICRETE had a product for every design application.

Design flexibility: The Kansas City area is no stranger to the cold. When planning the “Farm House” improvements, Day mapped out two key areas where heat was a must – the large basement and master bathroom. It was vital the LATICRETE electric radiant floor heating system offer design flexibility to accommodate the unique floor plans of each space.

A LATICRETE Solution 

In recent years, interior designers have increasingly incorporated large-and-heavy tiles into their projects, which has not only presented new design possibilities but has also created new requirements and challenges. To install Daltile tiles that were 12”x24” (50.8mmx609.6mm) and larger in areas like the master bathroom shower, 257 TITANIUM™, a lightweight thin-set mortar was selected. This product features an easy-to-spread, creamy consistency for ease of use and exceeds ANSI A118.15, the industry’s highest performance standard for a cementitious- based adhesive mortar, for a long-lasting worry-free installation. 

STRATA_HEAT™ electric radiant floor heating system“The large-format tiles, installed with 257 TITANIUM, trick your eye into thinking the bathrooms are actually much roomier than they actually are,” added Day. “The tile’s large size allows for far fewer grout lines, creating an easy-to-clean, uninterrupted finish.” 

Grout colors featured in areas like the shower walls in the master bathroom and basement and the walls behind the mirror in the bunkhouse bathroom include Light Pewter, Sterling Silver, Marble Beige, Bright White and Twilight Blue. PERMACOLOR® Select Grout – the industry’s first dispersible dry pigment grout solution – was used to achieve these looks. With PERMACOLOR Select, contractors gain increased productivity and time savings on the
jobsite, with a faster time-to-grout, and foot traffic permitted in as little as three hours. 

Radiant floor heating is a high-end design feature that is growing in popularity in both new homes and renovations that focus on clean, comfortable living. To prepare the basement floors for the installation of STRATA_HEAT™ electric radiant floor heating system and the following floor covering, NXT® Level, a cement-based underlayment for use in leveling interior substrates was chosen. Centric Homes used this product to produce a flat, smooth and hard surface. Once cured, NXT Level is durable, fire- and heat-resistant, non-combustible, non-sensitive to moisture and maintenance-free. 

Unlike most other systems, the STRATA_HEAT Wire used to heat the floors in the basement and master bathroom does not have a minimum on straight-run lengths and will not interfere with other electronics in the vicinity. For added design flexibility, this product is highly customizable with multiple spacing options for variability in heat output, making it easy to work in the uniquely shaped rooms. 

As the world becomes more focused on smart home technology, the tile and flooring industry has been tasked to develop products like the STRATA_HEAT electric radiant floor heating system that keeps up with and adapts to a new way of living. To control the system, the homeowners will use the STRATA_HEAT Wi-Fi Thermostat, a smart-focused thermostat that is compatible with home automation devices and can learn homeowner routines to reduce heat usage by up to 25%. 

Outcome 

“The pictures speak for themselves. The Farm House went from unruly to an absolute knockout! Thanks to the wide array of LATICRETE products, we were able to make the vision for this home possible,” said Day. “Being able to bring a home back to life is why I love what I do, and working with companies like LATICRETE makes it easy.” 

Full episodes of the dramatic Bargain Mansions makeovers can be seen on DIY Network. The show can also be streamed via the network app, YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Video, VUDU and Google Play.

LATICRETE products will be featured throughout the entire second season.