Here’s a sentence you don’t hear everyday: We’re gonna have you move out to Los Angeles for production on Season 7 of Design Star, and you’ll also kinda-sorta be designing for the Kardashians—specifically office space for Kris Jenner’s marketing company, Jenner Communications. Sure, it seems random on many levels. However, there’s an easy explanation. My professional life has a somewhat split personality: Half of the year I’m an interior designer focused on projects for my own private clients; the other half is spent producing, designing and/or hosting interior design-related content for both TV and digital formats, my biggest yearly project being the HGTV reality competition series Design Star.
As far as my behind-the-scenes role for the series is concerned, I’m the show’s design producer. The best way to explain what that entails is this: Most food-related TV shows have what’s called a culinary producer on staff, a practicing chef who not only knows everything about food but is also well-versed in TV production, who is there to develop recipes and challenges as well as aid in the proper styling of food for camera. I’m the design show equivalent of a culinary producer, transforming spaces and furniture instead of food. Got it?
Okay, so back to the project. For the third episode of Season 7, the contestants were tasked with redesigning five spaces of Jenner Communications. Once those were completed, and the production crew was long gone, I was assigned the task of designing three small offices used to house TV equipment during production, but in real-life intended to house Jenner Communications’ staff members. The catch? We only had two days to do it.
The solution was all about sticking with the same vendors I use in Atlanta, then recruiting L.A.-based project manager Orlando Soria to oversee the build-out and installation while I moved onto episode four, which started taping the very next day.
We started with the office of Liz Killmond, who focuses specifically on the business affairs of Kris’ youngest daughters, Kendall and Kylie Jenner. To keep her office sleek, dramatic and sharp, Liz’s walls were covered in a black and silver-striped wallcovering with flocked detail, then brightened with cobalt blue accessories. Luckily for Orlando and me, Liz was sold on her design from the first strip of wallcovering. Score! Next came the office of Noelle Keshishian who, in addition to working on marketing for Kris Jenner, is also involved with marketing and business affairs of her three adult daughters—Kim, Khloe and Kourtney—as well as the marketing of dozens of Kardashian-related products. Although she absolutely loved the Moroccan-inspired pattern of her black-and-silver Graham & Brown wallcovering, she was less enthusiastic about the hot pink accessories used to contrast against it. The solution? Switching the hot pink out for plum accessories from the adjacent spaces.
The third and final office was designed as a work space for new employees who’ll eventually come aboard as Jenner Communications continues to grow. To keep it as neutral as the others, I covered the walls in a Kelly Hoppen geometric called “Hicks” from Graham & Brown, then stuck with mostly traditional-style furnishings, enhanced vibrantly with accents of violet.
With all of the spaces complete, I anxiously awaited word from Orlando on Kris’ reaction to the new offices. In the meantime, questions ran through my head. “Did we capture her style?” “Is it high-end enough?” Just seconds later, the phone rang and Orlando’s number popped up. Always assured that no news is good news, this phone call had me on edge, assuming there was news and that it may be un-good. Orlando answered with, “Kris is here and she has questions about your wallcovering and seating choices.” I paused with silence, awaiting the possibility of bad news. Then Orlando followed up with, “She absolutely loves it and wants to know where it came from so she can order more.” That bit of closure left me feeling as though I had, indeed, kept up with the Kardashians.