Home to Win, the fan-favourite powerhouse reality series, returns to HGTV Canada on April 30th offering Canadian viewers the opportunity to compete for a gorgeous, fully-furnished waterfront property.

This season, HGTV Canada is bringing together 30 of the network’s best-known builders, designers, and real estate experts (Drew and Jonathan Scott, Bryan and Sarah Baeumler, Sarah Richardson, Scott McGillivray, Jillian Harris, Mike Holmes Sr. and Mike Holmes Jr…the list goes on!) to bring their extraordinary expertise, creativity and reno know-how to this massive project.

Joined by host Sangita Patel of Entertainment Tonight Canada, they will completely transform an average lake house into a royal yet rustic waterfront chalet. Home-winning hopefuls from across the country will vie to compete to win this spectacular house in the dramatic series finale.

The Home To Win 2 Experts


One of this season’s talented contributors is Danielle Bryk, not only a designer but a contractor and tradesperson herself. I had the pleasure of speaking with Danielle about the show, her career, and her family of performing artists.

What was your role on Home To Win this season?

I am part of two episodes and I’ve designed two spaces, and I’m happy to say that I was honoured this year to get to work on the kitchen which is always one of my favourite rooms in a house, and I’m working with Sebastian Clovis on that one so that was a lot of fun.

Are people surprised when they meet you that you are a contractor/tradesperson? Have you experienced any sexist attitudes about that, or do you think times have changed?

I think I’ve been very lucky, I often tell people that I don’t know what others are saying behind my back and I don’t care, but I have been very welcomed in this industry. I’m very lucky not to have experienced any sexism or certainly nothing that I feel has held me back or impacted me at all. I don’t know that it’s because times have changed, I’d like to think so but I have heard of other people who have experienced sexism so I don’t want to be too optimistic about it. I think things are changing, and certainly I will tell you that clients are very open to having a female contractor. I think there’s a level of trust that comes with that, rightly or wrongly, and I have not experienced anyone who has said, “Whoa, I don’t want you, I don’t think you can handle it because you’re a woman.”

What message do you have for young girls who are interested in pursuing a career in the trades?

There are the practical things that are incredible about this industry, for example the growth is exponential, and there are a lot of government and educational incentives to encourage young women to join the trades, but besides all that, on a personal level I find this job to be so satisfying, very creatively fulfilling, I never have two days that are the same, it’s an interesting career, you get to work with amazing people. Plus you’re always building things, it allows you to be physically present which is kind of rare these days, a lot of us are kind of scattered, so when you’re actually working with your hands, I find it so fulfilling.

What are the biggest differences between doing a project off-screen and on-screen?

Oh, boy. Well, they feed you when you’re doing it on-camera! (Laughs) It’s probably timelines and budget. Things are a lot quicker when you’re doing them on-camera because everything has to be lined up ready to go, and people are working extra hours because you have those deadlines with the filming process, and that can be discouraging to homeowners who see that and think they can do a kitchen in four weeks because in real life that’s not the case at all. Then in terms of budget, shooting sometimes means we’ve got access to amazing products and sponsors and often we’re able to accomplish a lot more than what a real-life budget would get you.

Like so many viewers/readers out there, I’m planning a kitchen reno. What are the most important things people need to consider before taking this on?
The most important thing is to really assess and be aware of your lifestyle and your cooking habits, and that can be hard to determine because you see kitchens in magazines and they look fantastic but they’re not going to work for you. So it’s finding out what you need: do you need a social space, a space where people can do homework, find out what you really need, and ideally the reno is going to give you that space. That’s what we want from a kitchen reno, to give you the space that makes your life easier. Then of course you’re going to be aware of the work triangle, which is the space between range, fridge and sink, and ideally it’s relatively close together and not obstructed. It makes getting from one station to the other efficient. Then, just to be totally honest, it always costs more than you think. Good quality is an investment and there’s no way to cheat that, so have an open mind when you’re looking at things…and brace yourself! I’ve moved so many times and renovated so many houses of my own and I’ve done it both ways. I’ve gone cheap and cheerful and relaxed and I’ve figured out that I’d rather do less and do it well than get it all done and looking pretty for a year or two and then it all falls apart.
I have to ask: I still have my heart set on a white kitchen, yet I saw a designer recently say white kitchens are “out” now. What do you think?
Oh my goodness, I think depending on what source you look at you’re going to have a different answer for all of that. You can look at one thing that says Carrera marble is out, and then another magazine will say Carrera marble is still going strong. A kitchen is an investment, it has to be something you love, it can never be because something is on-trend, and then if you love it, it will never date. If you love it, and it is right for the space, it is never going to date. I personally don’t think that white kitchens are out at all!
Tell us about your husband and the pros and cons of being married to someone in show business.
My husband, {actor} Greg Bryk, and I met when we were at Queen’s University so we have been together for I think 25 years now, and it’s funny, we have a very volatile relationship, we always did. We decided within three months that we were going to move to New York City together once we started dating and we’re very impulsive like that. It’s shocking to people that we are still together – it’s shocking to us sometimes. We wonder how we managed all that! We were very young when we started our family and of course with him being an actor, one of the most challenging things for sure is the instability. Work can be going strong for a while and then nothing for an even longer while and that can be very tricky, especially when you’re trying to raise a family. For us, that was the biggest challenge, how unstable everything was. But at the same time, it was kind of nice because there were large stretches of time when he was home when we were raising the kids. So that was more financially stressful but it was nice to have him around.
Danielle on-set with Tiffany Pratt
Tell us about your kids, and what they’re doing now.
We have three children. Our eldest, Dempsey, is 20 years old. He also is an actor, he did a complete 180, he was in business school at Western and decided to leave and move to New York City, which is exactly what we did, and he was actually living a block away from where we had him. It’s kind of crazy! Greg tried to dissuade him for sure, he actually forbade him, but he did it anyway and he’s doing really well. He’s been acting and has quite a few credits to his name. Our middle son, Billy, is 17 and he’s graduating from Rosedale High School of the Arts and he’s also very much into acting and filmmaking. He’s going to join the circus too! We’re not sure what he’s going to do next year, he might take a gap year or he might go into film school as well. Our daughter Ella is 13 about to turn 14, she loves singing and dancing so she’s also into the arts. Try as we might to have one of them choose a stable career, it’s their passion. You can’t fault them for it.
It brings up the nature/nurture question: is it in their blood, or because they’ve been raised with it?
I don’t know! For sure it’s in their blood and it’s the way life has always been for them, and storytelling has always been huge in our family. Greg and I both did English Literature at Queen’s and I was reading to them when they were in the womb so I don’t think there’s any alternative for them. It just makes sense. I think Greg worries, he takes that burden, and the financial responsibility is hard. It always is. At the end of the day we both feel it’s worth it though.
Because my blog is called This Mom Loves, I always ask my interviewees how they would finish the sentence “This Mom Loves”.
This Mom Loves real things. Real marble, real wood, real food, real beauty, real life. Which we all know can be messy.

Thanks, Danielle!

Canadians can visit HomeToWin.ca to submit an audition video for a chance to win this year’s spectacular waterfront property, renovated and designed by 30 HGTV Canada builders, designers and real estate experts.

Catch the season premiere of Home To Win on Sunday, April 30th at 10 pm ET/PT on HGTV Canada.

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