Through the magic of television scheduling, Danielle Colding went from winning Design Star to hosting her own HGTV series, Shop This Room, just 10 days later. The real story was a lot more complicated than that, of course. Colding had to keep her victory a secret for weeks while she worked to put Shop This Room together.
The New York-based designer joins us for a brief Q&A about how it felt to win Design Star, and what she hopes to accomplish with her new show, which airs Saturdays at 8pm on HGTV.
Channel Guide Magazine: First off, describe the feeling of emerging victorious on Design Star.
Danielle Colding: When they called my name I felt like I was in a dream. Confetti fell from the sky, everyone was smiling at me, and when I turned toward the monitor 12 of my images stared back at me. Surreal is an understatement to say the least. I had thought about both outcomes but have to say had never fully imagined winning until I heard my name called. There were so many emotions at play: shock, awe, gratitude and sadness. They were all there for me in that one moment.
CGM? What was it like going from that hyper-competitive atmosphere of Design Star to having to actually do your own show?
DC: The Design Star experience was an extremely intense one. After wrapping the show, I slept for about two weeks solid. I couldn’t move and I couldn’t tell anyone the outcome. It was a strange time. When I began to work on the new show it helped to refocus me and combat the feelings of isolation. Imagine having the best secret ever and not being able to tell your best friends. When I began shooting Shop This Room, the difference was immediately apparent. Although you have to design very quickly and work long hours, the schedule is not nearly as demanding and stressful as it was during the competition. In addition, when shooting a show you have a whole team working to make your vision into a reality. Everyone shares a unified vision and a desire for the show to succeed. It was a very powerful experience.
CGM: What kind of show is Shop This Room going to be? How will it be different from what’s out there?
DC: Shop This Room is a show about designing for homeowners starting with the finishing touches. I look for inspirational items — either something already in the home or by shopping for something that represents them- and then design a room around them. It is different from other shows in my approach to design. I focus a lot on art and decorative accessories and build my design from there. The other key element is that I highlight my life as a designer in New York City. I am giving viewers a glimpse into how I work and the relationships I’ve built with artists and craftsmen throughout my career.
CGM: Did you know what kind of show you wanted to do right away?
DC: I wasn’t sure of what kind of show I wanted to do initially. Through working with the producers on Design Star I was able to pinpoint my design process and came to realize it was a lot about finding those special items that give a space its soul. Putting the show together was a blast because I had so much creative freedom and could create something that represented me — the shops I love and people I love to work with. It has given me a platform to be creative and express myself in a different way and I have loved every minute.
CGM: Is the first episode of Shop This Room pretty representative of what we’ll see going forward?
DC: The first episode does represent the bones of the show. It focuses on my process of finding inspiring items and how I design from there. It shows a different way to look at design where there is not necessarily a right or wrong answer. I try to show the viewers how to design highly personalized spaces that represent who they are. It also is great because it introduces the audience to the people in my life and shows more of my personality.
Photo: © 2012, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. Credit: Aaron Rapoport