20 June 2018
We recently partnered with the multi-award-winning designer, Bobby Berk to help us launch our aluminum Aileron collection—we love his unique, modern approach to design with a spirited touch of urban luxury.
Berk also just happens to be a member of the “Fab 5” on Netflix’s wildly popular Queer Eye, which just entered its second season and is receiving much well-deserved praise. We couldn’t resist a chat with this talented world traveler to ask about easy ways to give any room a fresh look, his favorite hidden gems in New York City, and what he binge watches on Netflix.
You grew up in the Midwest and moved with little more than a few dollars and a vision. Tell us a little about the road to huge Netflix success with the Queer Eye reboot.
Growing up in Missouri I always dreamt of moving to a big city like New York City or Los Angeles to become a designer. I’ve been lucky enough in my career now to have lived in both and love the inspiration that both cities have given me.
My favorite thing about working on Queer Eye is that we get to help people in a real way. Transforming someone’s home has a really big effect on their lives both in and out of their homes. Seeing the look on their face when they see their new space is such an amazing feeling, because you can literally see all the thoughts going through their minds about stresses and negativities about their old spaces that have now been lifted off their shoulders.
Having lived in both New York City and Los Angeles, what are a few hidden gems you wouldn’t necessarily find in a guidebook? Give us your secrets.
Eaton Canyon Falls in Pasadena is one of my favorite hiking trails in LA. It’s a much more local trail that’s not packed with tourists. And, on a clear day, you can see all the way to the ocean—30 plus miles away.
In NYC one of my favorite spots is The Cloisters—a museum in Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan specializing in European medieval architecture, sculpture, and decorative arts, with a focus on the Romanesque and Gothic periods. You really feel like you’re in Europe when you’re up there.
The Cloisters Museum – New York, New York
The Cloisters Museum Garden
We think you have the hardest job on the show—tasked with redesigning an entire home in just three days! What are your favorite, easy DIYs or tips for quick interior updates that pack the most punch?
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to really transform a room is with a new paint job. It’s a really great way to start fresh in a space without spending tons of money.
Another quick and inexpensive way to transform a space is by simply updating your rug and throw pillows.
Let’s get real, other than “Queer Eye,” what do you binge watch on Netflix?
Altered Carbon, Narcos, and Nailed It!
You recently traveled to Spain and Italy. What was the most awe-inspiring place you saw on your trip?
It’s hard to choose my favorite, but I’d say the two places that tied for the top spot were Seville, Spain and Florence, Italy. The awe-inspiring architecture and history was utterly amazing.
My favorite meal while there was at a little restaurant in Valencia, Spain. It was all so fresh and clean. I can’t remember the name. Sorry!
Has traveling abroad changed the way you think about interior design?
I used to be a fan of only modern architecture and design. Though, having traveled around Europe, I’ve really grown to have an appreciation of ornate historic places. It’s inspired me to branch out more and to even combine a super modern aesthetic in a historic space.
What is your favorite city for a weekend getaway? Tell us why you love it.
Recently it’s become Mexico City. It’s such a beautiful urban city surrounded by mountains. It also has Chapultepec Park, which is the largest urban park in the world and blows Central Park away. It’s a safe and inviting city with amazing food architecture and people.
What are your top-recommended spots around the world for anyone looking for design inspiration?
For historic inspiration I’d head to Italy. If you’re looking for modern inspiration, then go to China or Singapore.
Last question! Can’t-do-without-it item while traveling?
My back roller! With as many flights as I’m on a month, I’d be crippled without it!
Chapultepec Garden – Mexico City
Chapultepec Castle Garden – Mexico City
Chapultepec Park – Mexico City