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Local contestant aims to be next 'Design Star'

Georgetown designer Tera Hampton competes for her own show on HGTV.

Sarah Beckham
Tera Hampton appears in the fifth season of HGTV's 'Design Star,' on which contestants compete to get their own HGTV show. She owns Sensible Re-Design in Georgetown.

Tera Hampton has loved design since she was a little girl who used to constantly rearrange her room.

That passion has led to her own Georgetown business, Sensible Re-Design, and it could lead to even more.

Hampton is one of the 12 contestants on the HGTV series "Design Star," which begins its fifth season on Sunday, June 13. They're competing for their own HGTV show, and they're being judged not just on their design skills but also on their TV presence.

Hampton's interest in the show came from being an avowed "HGTV junkie" herself. She says that she and her husband were watching an episode of "Design Star" when he encouraged her to apply. She applied for the show's third season, but didn't make it. She gave it another shot for Season 5 and made the cut.

The show took the Fort Worth native and mom of three from Texas to New York. She and the other contestants shared a penthouse during the taping of the show, which she says added to a sense of togetherness.

Meeting the show's judges — former "Trading Spaces" designers Vern Yip and Genevieve Gorder and "Divine Design" host Candice Olson — was a treat for this lover of design shows.

"It was so awesome," Hampton says. "And let me just tell you: They are beautiful. They are beautiful on TV, but when you see them in person — I don't get starstruck very often, but it was almost like I couldn't talk."

On tonight's show, the judges evaluate bedroom designs that the contestants do for each other. As a fan of past seasons of the show, Hampton knew the challenge would be hard work.

"But I don't think you're ever quite prepared for how intense it truly is," she says. "Just having that camera in your face magnifies it." (But, she adds, she got used to the cameras more quickly than she had ever imagined she would.)

Hampton is no stranger to tight deadlines, though. One part of her business is staging houses for real estate agents, and she sometimes has just a few hours to transform a house.

"I'm really used to working under major time constraints. I feel like that did work in my favor" on the show, she says.

If her grace-under-pressure helps her become the winner of "Design Star," she would want her show to mirror what she does in her business: making spaces look beautiful on a budget. Anyone can go into a high-end store and spend thousands on fabulous pieces, she says.

"I think it's much more challenging to be able to go and make a room look like you spent that much when you just spent a fraction of that," she says.

Some of the work she does for clients does not involve going shopping at all.

"I work with a lot of people who are just wanting to redesign what they have," she says.

When she does shop, "I try to keep it as sensibly priced as possible," Hampton says. She likes budget-friendly stores such as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Real Deals Home Decor in Georgetown.

"I love to treasure hunt," she says. "That's my favorite thing to do."

‘Design Star'

9 p.m. Sunday, June 13

HGTV