Meet Our 2019 TV Designer Of The Year, Queer Eye’s Bobby Berk!
You know him from the smash Netflix reality reboot Queer Eye, but Bobby Berk — the design brains of the Fab Five — does more than just turn homes around for the heroes on the show. Under the design wing of his firm, Bobby Berk Interiors & Design, he’s designing standout spaces, as well as creating a new line of furnishings for A.R.T. Furniture. Bobby developed an early interest in design while in New York City, where he worked for Bed Bath & Beyond and Restoration Hardware (celebrities — they’re just like us!). He started his own brand in 2006, which led to the launch of his interior design services in 2015.
We chatted with the celebrity designer about how he delivers chic style, with a side of his trademark sweet, positive demeanour.
Dark & Dramatic Kitchen
For this San Diego showhome, Bobby created a dramatic black kitchen with an adjacent dining room. “We wanted the space to feel open, yet intimate, classic yet edgy,” says the designer. “Don’t be scared of black. It’s a color that is not only timeless but sophisticated, and I predict we will be seeing a lot more of it in design.”
A Silestone waterfall countertop and backsplash features dramatic veining and wood elements to offset the dark tones. “When designing a home, we want to create an inviting space that is designed to not only look good, but feel good for the people that live there,” says Bobby. “Your home should be an extension of who you are and every part of it should be a space where families and guests can gather.”
The kitchen is the hub of the home — surrounded by the living room, dining room and entry, and leads to the backyard and outdoor areas. “Because of that, we knew that we wanted it to be a statement and a ‘wow’ moment as soon as you walk through the front door of the home,” he says. “To achieve the look we went black on black on black. Black cabinets, black marble, and all black appliances. We chose to do a waterfall countertop on the edges of the island to keep the visual line clean all the way across the countertops.”
The formal dining room adjacent to the kitchen is equipped with a wine bar and leads to the outdoor BBQ and kitchen. “The space needed to be an extension of the kitchen both in function and in design so we wanted to mirror a lot of the same elements that we used in the kitchen,” says Bobby.
A wood table was brought in to bring a bit of warmth and visually breaks up the black that was used throughout the space. “A custom wine storage area gives purpose to what would have been a wall of cabinet and the bar makes the dining room feel like it’s ready for any kind of party,” he says.
Stylish Palm Springs Home
Bobby worked with Design Milk and partnered with heritage Danish mid-century furniture company Carl Hansen & Son to curate the interior of the second annual Modernism Week’s Social House in Palm Springs in 2017. “One of my favorite weeks of the year, Modernism Week, is… an amazing celebration of all things modernism, from design to architecture and everything in between,” Bobby wrote on Instagram.
This Palm Springs oasis was designed by Claude Oakland, a prolific architect for mass builder Joseph Eichler. Oakland created about 5,000 modern homes which have become contemporary classics and established a distinct fan base. This newly-built abode is a modernized version of an original Eichler house and the first of its kind developed by KUD Properties.
“This home’s modern Eichler plan offered iconic architectural elements that served as a strong canvas for us to dress the interiors,” says Bobby. The sprawling space is more than 2,100 square feet with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a 450-square-foot atrium.
An Artichoke-style light is a classic that fits in perfectly with the home’s mid-century modern sensibility. “Thanks to our partners at Carl Hansen & Son, we used a blend of pieces from the classic mid-century lexicon, while mixing in contemporary art and accessories,” says Bobby. “Staying true to the minimal form, we selected details (including some of my original artwork), which offered character to and elevated the design, but still allowed Eichler’s iconic footprint to remain the star of the show.”
In this aqua bedroom, a kitschy photograph brings home the playful atmosphere of Palm Springs. An upholstered headboard and mustard coverlet add some coziness to the cool-toned walls.