Sarah Pickard has 15 years of interior design experience, but her latest project put it all to the test. She entered the realm of reality television, signing on with HGTV as the project manager and designer on “Real Estate Intervention”, which filmed for four weeks last April in the Dallas area. Pickard and the show’s host, Cora Sue Anthony, surprised homeowners by redesigning homes of people struggling to sell in today’s tough real estate market. Pickard lives in Preston Hollow and owns Pickard Design Studio, focusing mostly on hotel design with several projects to her name, including the Crowne Plaza West End Hotel. For the show, she worked on four homes in Mesquite, Fate, Garland and Junius Heights in East Dallas. Each will air as individual episodes on HGTV this fall.

How did you get involved with the show?
They were looking for interior designers or stagers. I sent in my portfolio, and they contacted me within five minutes. I interviewed, and they offered me the job. I work with the host, Cora Sue Anthony, who is a professional stager. I’m the project manager and designer.

What’s it like working in reality TV?
It was really interesting because you don’t realize what all goes into making it happen. It’s really amazing to see it all come together. It’s an incredible experience.

What are some ways that you are helping people transform their homes?
Everybody wants to have an open concept. So, we knocked down a lot of walls. We renovated the bathrooms, dining rooms, kitchens, added new carpet, painted walls. They want to show what you can do on a tight budget. One homeowner started crying on film. It was a very emotional experience. When you’ve lived in a home for 10 years, and you have people come in and make such drastic changes, it’s amazing. These homeowners just didn’t know what to do.

How are you able to redesign a home in just three days?
We did three rooms in each home. One was a large project, knocking down walls. One was a medium-range project, and one was small, such as repainting the walls. In my real job, it takes months. We were just on a mission; it was amazing. It really proved that I could do so much more. We had an amazing construction crew. It all turned out fabulous, especially the first show. I remember thinking there’s no way we’re going to get it done. Then, all of the sudden, it all came together.

Did you learn anything new during this experience?
I learned there’s a huge difference between designing and staging. With staging, you want to grab people right when they walk in a room. Designing is much more long-term. What we do is for longevity.

How would you describe your own design style?
We’re definitely more contemporary and transitional. It’s high-end, classic but with a twist. I like the unexpected.

What’s next for your TV gig?
If the show gets picked up for another season, and they decide to come back to Dallas or the surrounding area, I’ll be doing the show.

Watch the show:
To learn more about HGTV’s “Real Estate Intervention”, visit The Dallas area shows are scheduled to air this fall.

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