We had the great opportunity to recently interview HGTV’s Design Star winner, Danielle Colding! I’d been following Design Star season seven ever since it began and was on pins and needles at the end to see who was going to take home the title. Ultimately, Danielle’s name was called and ever since, her whole life has changed! Read to find out how this former professional modern dancer ended up with her own show and a Design Star title to boot!
Q: How did you get started in Interior Design? Did a specific situation spark your interest?
A: There wasn’t a specific situation that sparked me going down the interior design career path. But, when I look back home design is always something that’s been a part of my life. I grew up doing home repairs and changing rooms around with my mother on a regular basis…. And we loved to shop! When I decided to move on from my career in dance, I kept coming back to design as something I would love to do every single day. When I was contemplating a new career, I focused on choosing something I was passionate about, something that constantly changed (I hate to be bored), and something that forced me to grow and learn new things regularly. The chance to travel and shop all the time didn’t hurt either!
Q:How long have you been a designer and what is your personal design style?
A:I have been a working designer for eight years… gulp! My personal style is pretty eclectic with a definite bent towards the classic and elegant. In general, I love modern and traditional furnishings with clean lines and elegant detailing, accented by global and contemporary accessories and art. For me, it’s all about layering and mixing it up. I have always resisted defining my style in one catch phrase because I have been exposed to so many different styles that I love and always want my designs to evolve and respond to the project at hand with new eyes.
Q: How did you go about getting on the show?
A: I was encouraged by friends to try out for the show. They insisted that I could do well but to tell you the truth I wasn’t so sure. I never thought of myself as a public figure and didn’t know how I’d fair in front of the camera. During the audition process my mother was in the hospital at the end stages of her fight with cancer, so in many ways I simply felt I had nothing to lose. I went to the open call and it escalated from there. It just felt like everything lined up perfectly for me to have this experience on Design Star. And I’ve never looked back.
Q: What were the best and most difficult parts about being on the show?
A: The best part of being on the show was being in a very creative environment. All we did was design 24/7. The other great part of the experience was being with the other designers. I was shocked by what a supportive environment it was and how we all helped each other out. And, we laughed non-stop which really helped keep us sane. The hardest part was the sheer intensity of being in a competition AND making a TV show at the same time. It was non-stop. We did not have any time off and had to just keep producing and being creative. There were times that we just wanted a day to sleep or veg… but in the TV world that just wasn’t possible.
Q: How did you feel when they called your name as the winner of HGTV’s Design Star?
A: I still pinch myself thinking about that moment. It was truly a dream- confetti fell from the sky, a studio of people smiling at me with expectation, and a rush of emotions from shock and awe to gratitude and sadness. It was absolutely incredible. I had thought through both possible outcomes but really was not prepared for the experience of winning. It’s just not something you can fathom until it happens.
Q: How has your life changed after winning HGTV’s Design Star?
A: The funny part was that initially my life didn’t change very much. After Design Star ended, I couldn’t tell anyone anything about my experience or the outcome. It was a strange let down because I had this amazing secret that I had to keep completely to myself. Once I finally started shooting Shop this Room, the real change came about. My life became different because my career became different. I went from being a full time designer to being a TV personality who happens to shoot a design show. And unlike being a working designer, it’s not all about the design. It’s about shooting a show that is interesting and entertaining and brings something new to the table. From that perspective, it’s a whole new world. And…. I can finally talk about my experience! Woo hoo!
Q: You’ve started filming your new show, Shop This Room- what can we expect from the show in the future?
A: I am so excited about Shop This Room. It is a reflection of my design approach and who I am as a person and a designer. The show focuses on my life as a New York interior designer and my approach to designing highly personalized spaces. It’s about finding inspirational items- that speak to the home owners in some way- and designing spaces around them. The viewer gets an inside view into where I like to shop, my design process of developing a design plan, and the artists and craftsmen I work with on a regular basis. And we have a blast shooting- I have such a great team. Design should be fun and we try to bring that to the show as much as possible.
Q: What is your favorite space you’ve designed so far?
A: Whoa that’s a hard one. There is one on my show I absolutely love but cant talk about that just yet…. You’ll have to be patient and watch all five episodes!
I would have to say my favorite space I’ve designed is a home I have been working on for about one and a half years. It’s a gorgeous colonial house in Westchester and it just feels like the design has evolved over a lifetime. The thing that’s great is that every room is different and tells its own story. My client is one who is amazing to work with. She is thrilled by beautiful things and has a passion for art. We push each other to make the house as incredible as it can be. I simply love it!
Q: In your opinion what element should a room have to give it a designer look?
A: What I love to do in every space is focus on the decorative accessories. I love creating small vignettes by pairing decorative accessories with practical items. Creating moments in a room where interesting things are paired together with a focus on scale and textural interest achieves a designer look. Bookshelves and console tables are places to go wild!
Q: Our blog is called Material Girls so of course we have to ask you what is your material of choice?
A: That’s a great question. All the materials I’m drawn to in my work are natural elements. Its so hard to pick a favorite since I’m an equal opportunity material lover. But to answer, finally, I will say Belgian linen- I love it! Printed, plain, glazed… I don’t care. It is elegant and relaxed at the same time- the feeling I love to create in my work.
Q: What trends do you see coming to the forefront of design in the upcoming seasons?
A: The trend that I see and love is the willingness for people to take risks with the spaces they inhabit. Design has become such a part of our lives I think people realize that an overly designed, matchy matchy space is not desired. Instead being a collector of beautiful things over a lifetime is the goal. I like that this quirky approach to design is catching on and people are inspired to make their homes reflect who they are.
Good luck Danielle on your future endeavors! Us Material Girls (and boys) will keep a look out for your upcoming HGTV show, Shop This Room!