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Illinois woman hosts new HGTV design show '$50K Three Ways’
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Illinois woman hosts new HGTV design show '$50K Three Ways’

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CHICAGO — Tiffany Brooks is hosting a new HGTV series based in the Chicago area a dozen years after launching her interior design business there.

“My dream of all dreams is for it to be a franchise, and for it to be one of HGTV’s most-watched shows in history,” Brooks told the Tribune by phone.

“$50K Three Ways” follows Brooks as she redesigns spaces in her “livable luxury” style after the homeowners pick from three options. Back-to-back episodes are scheduled to air at 7 p.m. Monday on HGTV. Ten half-hour episodes and one hourlong special are on tap this season, which will be available to stream on the Discovery Plus platform.

Brooks — an Antioch resident who was born in Waukegan — won Season 8 of the “HGTV Star” competition, which aired in 2013. The North Chicago Community High School graduate hosted “The Most Embarrassing Rooms in America” miniseries and the annual “HGTV Smart Home” special. She also competed on the most recent “Rock the Block” season with fellow Chicago-area HGTV star Alison Victoria Gramenos.

Brooks said the idea for her new series came from HGTV. Fifty thousand dollars is how much homeowners are typically willing to spend on a project when they come to her Grayslake-based firm, which she started after designing an award-winning model home while working in property management. The show began filming in the fall of 2020, and Brooks said it was not difficult bringing her business to the small screen.

“Since we do this in real life, we have a good handle on it. We typically are used to working with 30 projects at a time, and with ‘$50K Three Ways,’ that takes up 11 of them,” Brooks said. “We work as a well-oiled machine getting all these projects done. So it’s kind of crazy. We do have our moments though, where it gets hard and we’re late night in here with wine and pizza crying together. But it’s few and far between.”

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Besides being the designer, Brooks also plays the role of relationship counselor on the show as she helps couples choose which rooms to make over. She said the drama stems from construction problems, material shipping delays and homeowner indecision. The series premiere follows a Grayslake couple contemplating between renovating their master bedroom, kitchen and foyer.

Ebony Wilson, who graduated from North Chicago three years before Brooks, plans to tune in. She said Brooks is a great representative of the tight-knit community of North Chicago.

“She’s always had such a bubbly attitude, always smiling. When we were in school 20-something years ago, she was just always such a pleasant person to be around. We’re just really proud of her in North Chicago. It’s awesome to see a Warhawk on TV like that,” said Wilson, the family and community liaison for North Chicago School District 187.


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