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Design Star Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview with mentor David Bromstad on June 20, 2011 about the show Design Star.

David Bromstad

David Bromstad, the season one winner of HGTV Design Star and the finalists' mentor in the new season of the series, is known for his endless energy and out-of-the-box thinking. David began his career as a design student at the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla. Earnest, passionate, talented and innovative, David creates awe-inspiring works on many platforms, including custom art, furniture building and interior design. David says he "blends styles that incorporate realism and fantasy." He combines this approach with a love of color and practical advice that shows viewers how to transform tired rooms into unique, vibrant spaces in his weekly series Color Splash.

Question:
Can you tell me more about what your role is going to be on this season of Design Star?

David Bromstad:
I am going to be doing the mentoring role, and I'm really focusing on really honing their skills as on-camera talent and doing camera challenges. I'm there to assist them, and I've been there. I've done it. I know how nerve wracking it is. I know what craziness is going through those brains and so what better person then to mentor them than me.

Question:
If you were competing on Design Star again, would you approach it differently than you did the first time you were actually on it?

David Bromstad:
I am sure I would have. When I entered the competition, I was like, sure, I'll do this, whatever. Host, what does that mean? And when it came down to the hosting challenges, I was a mess. And you know, if I would have had somebody like myself who had already been through the process or just taught me how to enunciate and just say things correctly in really short bursts, it would have helped tremendously because that was the hardest part for me in Design Star. The design was fun. It was great, but it was the hosting challenge is where I really struggled.

Question:
What were your initial thoughts going into Season Six as a mentor after winning Season One?

David Bromstad:
It was like everything's just been full circle. I was thinking wow, this is pretty amazing. I've been watching Design Star since I won and just in awe of the talent that has come through there, and now to be a part of it is just, it feels right. It feels amazing, and I had so much fun. It's a true honor. It really is.

Question:
What kind of advice will you have for the Season Six contestants, including things that you've learned while doing Color Splash?

David Bromstad:
I think the biggest advice is to not lose yourself in the competition, is just to stick with who you are and be that vibrant personality that brought you onto the show in the first place. And whether you're great at camera challenges or horrible at it, you can always be taught to be great on camera, but you can't be taught to have a great personality.

Question:
Do you think the competition to find the design show host leads to a better end result, such as a stronger fan base when the winner show does premiere?

David Bromstad:
I think it brings in a stronger sense of the camera challenges when now that I'm in there. Before, these contestants were just going for it not knowing what to do, and my role is now to guide them and tell them what to do and guide them and just be that mentor that they didn't have in the past.

Question:
How did you become the mentor? Did HGTV call you up out of the blue or was this in the works for a while?

David Bromstad:
They've been talking about it for almost close to a year, so they've been talking about it, mulling it over, and of course, I am gung-ho on the whole process because I'm a Design Star junkie of course. That's how I got my beginning. So I was more than honored to be a part of it.

Question:
When mentoring people, how do you suggest they go into this to keep calm and to have a goal and keep focused on that?

David Bromstad:
It's so much easier said than done because when you're in a competition setting, it's just intense, and I remember when I was doing it, there was even the producers like just relax, but at that point, as an artist and as a designer I did things because it looks great. I didn't know how to express those things in clear terms, and now that I'm able to do that and give advice to these contestants, it's just fantastic. I feel like it's just one less stress that they have to worry about. It's like, I'm their buddy and their mentor, and they can ask me anything about design and ask me anything about the camera challenges, and I will be 100% honest.

Question:
How do you mentor without diminishing their style and still letting them do their thing?

David Bromstad:
I'm not giving so much design advice. I'm definitely there checking if they're on their design and being intriguing asking them questions, but you've got to keep it pretty neutral because it is a competition. And yes, I have to have very strong opinions about certain designs, but if I'm going to give those opinions, then that's an unfair thing to the other contestants. So, I've just stayed very neutral, ask challenging questions. I'm there as basically America. I'm representing America going I'm going to ask you a question that everyone else out there wants to know. Why are you doing this? Are you scared about this because what happened last time? What's going to happen this time? I'm that person.

Question:
So, less on the helping them with their style, more helping them just be the design star.

David Bromstad:
Exactly. There's so many facets of being a design star. You know, design is just one of those facets. I'm not there???we already have judges giving advice on their designs, and they already have that. I'm there to kind of wrap up the package.

Question:
Thinking back to when you were a contestant on the show, what advice do you wish a mentor had given you at that time?

David Bromstad:
There's a lot of advice I wish I could have gotten, and it was all with the camera challenges. You know, design wise I was fine. I could do that. I was enjoying that process, but it was the camera challenges that I really struggled on, and I just wish someone would have told me just break it down, slowdown, relax and but continue to be yourself. It's just someone there to hold my hand, even if they didn't tell me the best advice, but if I was there coaching them or someone I mean someone was there coaching me, that would have been nice. So, just a little handholding would have been good. I was on my own momma.

Question:
From all the time now you've spent on the camera between different shows, what has been the most surprising thing that's ever happened to you?

David Bromstad:
That I got comfortable in front of the camera. After doing Design Star and winning it, I was like, oh my gosh, now I have to do this on a daily basis, be in front of the camera, articulate, talk about things. I was honestly really scared, and even a few short months after I got into Color Splash, I was like, wow, we're not in a competitive setting any more. I don't have to do it in one or two takes or three takes, I can do it in 50 takes if I want, and the ease of kind of being a host has been, it's been a lot easier than I thought it was. I think that's probably the most surprising because when I first thought, I was like, what? I'm in trouble.

Question:
Since you will see the contestants weekly, how do you stay impartial and not fall into the trap of having favorites or things like that?

David Bromstad:
You have to be professional, and even though there's definitely people that you like and there's people's design styles that you like more, get in the competition, and I'm not there to infuse my opinion in their designs and how they are and how they act. I can give them certain pieces of advice, little pieces of nuggets, but they have to take those nuggets and run with it. I'm not there to say going here's what you need to do to win. I'm there to just guide them to give better Design Star if they by chance happen to win.

Question:
What's your first inspiration for a space? Like when you first walk in, is it paint, furniture, art? How does that work?

David Bromstad:
My inspiration is my homeowners. If it wasn't for them, then I wouldn't be inspired because I can walk into a room that looks terrible and needs to be redone, and I have a lot of opinions, but I need to be inspired by my homeowners and what they're inspired by and the colors they want, and that is where I get my inspiration.

Question:
What is your favorite type of room to design?

David Bromstad:
I think that my favorite room to design is the bedroom. There's just something about it that's really personal, really dramatic. It can be elegant. There's just so many things you can do, and the great thing about a bed is that your bed is the feature piece of furniture, and you can really go fantastic with it. Like with the living room, you have a lot more pieces to deal with. You have the couches. You have your feature wall behind the couches. You have your TV area. There's a lot more things for you to focus on, and I think the bedroom is like one focus, the bed. Let's make it fabulous.

Question:
Do you have a favorite bedroom that you have done?

David Bromstad:
I know, my gosh. I can't even wrap my head around how many I've done. I've done tons of kids' bedrooms and that's how I got started in this business and the interior design world was in fantasy kids' room, and oh my gosh, I have so many good ones that I love because they're all inspired by Disney and themes. You know what it is? It's my Little Mermaid bedroom. This huge clamshell bed, and it looked like it was open and I did a pink velvet comforter with a big, I painted a silver beach ball to make it look like a pearl. It was fun. It was one of my favorite bedrooms ever.

Question:
Will you be talking to the judges about your experiences mentoring?

David Bromstad:
The judges and I have very little contact with each other. So, basically when the judges are on, I am in a different place and vice versa. So, we're constantly missing each other. I think I actually used to see the judges very often. This year, only in passing, which is kind of a little bit of a bummer, but no. I don't chat with them. They simply???I'm mentoring the designers, the contestants and whatever comes out on their mentoring, whatever comes out on their camera challenge will come through to the judges. And then, the contestants can argue with the judges as much as they want.

Question:
How do you keep from getting into a color rut?

David Bromstad:
Well, I love color. So, I love when a homeowner comes to me with anything but blues and greens. I love blues and greens. They're my favorite colors, but everyone wants blues and greens because when you design for couples, what are the two colors that go with boys and girls? Blues and greens. So, anytime someone's like I'll do pink, I'll do purple, I'll do fuschia, I'll do yellow, I'm like, what? To me, it's great. I love color, and I'm never in a color rut because if I've never used a color, I want to use it and use it in a really fun, interesting and unique way that hasn't been done before.

Question:
So, it's mainly just hoping that you get a client that's open to whatever because you'll do whatever.

David Bromstad:
Absolutely. Yes. When someone goes do whatever you want, and I go you don't want to know what I'm going to do to your room if you say that again.

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