Big Beach Builds: Q&A with Marnie Oursler


I’ve spent practically my entire life vacationing on the Delaware shoreline, from Fenwick Island, where my parents had three different places over the years (including this one), up to Bethany and Rehoboth beaches. That’s why it’s fun to watch Marnie Oursler, a home builder based in Bethany, as she heads into her second season on the DIY Network’s Big Beach Builds!
Her second season airs on Monday, April 9, and she graciously agreed to talk to me about her work and her show.


Where in VA and MD did you grow up?

I was born in Southeast DC and grew up in Prince Georges County until I was 5, then we moved to Fairfax VA until I was 10, and then we moved to Calvert County MD.


What percentage of your second-home clients are from the DC area, would you say?

Ninety percent.


How is making a show about building beach houses different from your day-to-day business of building beach houses?

It is much faster! It is different because it is just a snapshot of what I do every day for a living; it highlights the action—not the day to day with budgets, walking job sites, designing on the computer, meetings, etc.


What was the biggest surprise that came from taping your first season?

How much time it takes to make a 30-minute episode and how many outfits I would need!


Any lessons that you take into your second season?

Season 2 was much more organized, I found better ways to manage my time and I kept my clothes more organized! I designated an entire room in my house for “show clothes”.


I grew up going to the beach at Bethany and Fenwick Island. Home sizes have exploded since we had our small condo at Fenwick Towers in the ’70s. Is that because families are bigger? Needs are bigger? Egos are bigger? Or building technology can enable it in a flood- and storm-prone environment?

Probably the last one. Technology in general has changed the environment at the beach. People are spending more time at the beach, because they can work remotely. Building technology has enabled us to use products that withstand the beach environment better than ever before. And with the amount of baby boomers retiring, why not retire to the beach!? Low taxes and a great environment for the multiple generations in a family to spend time together. And the house size is larger because of just that. We are building houses that will have three or four generations living together at the same time. Grandparents, their children, the grandchildren and sometimes great grandchildren. So to accommodate everyone, the houses are bigger.