Bethany builder hosts HGTV pilot

Marnie Oursler's Big Beach Builds premieres Feb. 5
Big Beach Builds host Marnie Oursler is a custom builder based in Bethany Beach. SOURCE SUBMITTED
February 5, 2016

Bethany Beach-based custom home builder Marnie Oursler will be bringing national attention to coastal Delaware when HGTV premieres the pilot episode of her new show, Big Beach Builds, Friday Feb. 5.

"One episode will take you from how the beach house looks in the beginning to the end, which is the big reveal," Oursler said. "It’s a neat transformation."

The 37-year-old builder has been building big beach houses since she relocated from Washington, D.C,. to Delaware after college. Oursler, a graduate of Duke University's MBA program, began assembling an impressive resume after she renovated her first home in 2003 and built her first new home in 2005. She has since been credited with building the first environmentally-friendly LEED-certified home in Delaware.

Establishing Marnie Custom Homes in 2007, Oursler has since become involved in outreach for women in business colleges at Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.

When she was approached by a production company to film the pilot of Big Beach Builds for HGTV, Oursler said she had to fit it into her schedule in increments.

"I’m used to working a lot, so I just work 16 hour days during taping," Oursler said. "At Duke, I was in business school and running a company as well, so I’m used to it."

Oursler comes from a long line of builders – she grew up helping her father, grandfather, brother and uncle on job sites.

"In my family nobody thought twice," Oursler said. "I grew up working for my dad so there were no gender barriers. My dad never felt I was not capable of doing something because of my gender."

After she started Marnie Custom Homes, Oursler continued to tear down gender barriers as a pioneer in energy efficiency and spokesperson for 84 Lumber's "We build American" initiative, promoting environmentally-friendly building practices, sourcing local materials and promoting domestic jobs.

"Against a lot of people's advice, I started my own building business in 2007 as the building bubble burst," Oursler said. "I was able to differentiate myself  and connect with the home owners. It's something I love to do and have a true passion for it."

Big Beach Builds premieres on HGTV at noon, Friday, Feb. 5.

For more information about Marnie Custom Homes, contact the offices at  302-616-2664 or go to

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