At the start of 2016, Turnstyle had the great fortune of being selected for an episode of HGTV’s House Hunter’s Renovation. We were paired with a young couple who just purchased their first-time home in south Austin by way of upstate New York. The past several months have been full of excitement as we renovated their kitchen, dine-in and living room. Because of the network and production company’s confidentiality clauses, we’ve had to keep hush-hush about all the wonderful details that were unfolding, but as of Saturday evening’s airing, we are finally delighted to share this unique project with you! Our own design associate, Carly, sat down with Lieve to get the scoop on the process as a whole.
C: So Lieve! You are now a television star! How does it feel?
L: Ha, well, no way a star, but we do feel appreciative that they approached us to work on something together.
C: Because you value a client’s privacy so highly, your projects aren’t typically revealed in the same way. What was this HGTV experience like, and how did being on camera change your process?
L: Being on camera didn’t really change much for us, from a project management perspective. We still went through the process as we would normally, so the project took on a similar arc to any other. I think one of the differences was that due to it being filmed, scheduling was naturally thrown off. Typically we’ll have our team come in at various stages to get the design somewhere, but because this was television, we would have to backtrack some of those items and do them uncharacteristically out of order in order to accommodate the camera.
C: What, if any, restrictions did you face throughout the duration of this episode?
L: The biggest restriction was a tighter budget and the restraints that come with television filming. With licensing agreements, one is limited as to what one can choose, product wise, so that can put a bit of a wrench in things at times. You have to work much quicker than you would normally. Conversely, at other times, your work gets very drawn out. One is very beholden to this accordion of changing television time!
C: Was it something you would do again?
L: Certainly, under the right circumstances. We love our brand’s philosophy, so it’s always something that we’re excited to share with others. We want them be aware of what is possible! At the core of our ideology is the belief that everyone should love their home and everyone should feel like it’s their favorite place to be. We feel we’re able to take any space to a very unique and personalized level. With this home, we certainly added extra depth compared to what one would see on most home decor shows.
C: What were some of the client’s initial design reservations that you tackled in this project, and how specifically did you resolve them?
L: The spaces we were working on had so much potential. The rooms were open, airy, and felt generic to our young, artsy couple. One interesting tidbit was this set of clients really had personal doubts about wallpaper. A big part of what we do is to take clients out of their comfort zone; so that’s what we did here, and they loved it. This is such a tangible example and it’s metaphorical of many people’s experience when designing their homes. Most people have a delicate association with something, whether it be tied to nostalgia or otherwise, and it’s our job here at Turnstyle Design to push people outside of their norm. We take them to places they didn’t know they wanted to go. It’s important for all of us to grow. We love pulling that part out of them.
C: What were the specific aesthetics of this job and how did they differ from previous projects? Did anything surprise you along the way?
L: Our aesthetic approach didn’t really change here. We were chosen because of our lens, so that was inherent in the project. We amped up the volume in terms of intensity. That’s one of the things we are most known for: for pushing the boundaries and using those combinations to make unusual design decisions. But because this was a youthful couple, and this was their first house, we could really be playful, which is always a fun experience.
When you see the episode, you’ll notice a kitchen and adjoining breakfast nook that we tackled. We used a rich teal paisley wallpaper, in combination with brown, and white woven wicker chairs, persimmon-striped curtains, and interesting, geometric tiles for the back-splash in the kitchen. It is always wonderful to see a room come to life with patterns and textures. To us, a successful room design has a layered, lived-in feel; in other words, it’s not too precious.
C: In this episode, one of the most memorable moments was the impromptu canvas painting that you undertook at a moment’s notice. What circumstance elicited this unplanned artwork? What is the thought process when something like this happens and do things like this arise often?
L: As mentioned earlier, we faced some licensing issues. We had initially selected a piece for the wall: a beautiful, large, vintage map of South America. Not only did it have some personal resonance with the home owners, but it was a perfect fit, scale-wise. However, since we couldn’t find the artist of the map for licensing, we had to come up with something on-the-fly. I’ve been painting for many, many years, and because the situation called for it, I was able to be spontaneous and site specific. Although, it was a little more spontaneous than I would have liked, I do think it’s fun to be pushed up against those boundaries. One can do amazing things under that kind of pressure!
C: What was the most stand-out moment from this encounter that you cherish and will take with you from here on out?
L: What I always take with me is how well everyone works together. In any project scenario, you have a lot of people collaborating to make a project work, but with this one, the work load somewhat doubled with a film crew and the various restrictions that come with that. I really enjoy watching everyone come together to make happen what we need to make happen. It’s always wonderful to be a part of that process and witness the teamwork.