I’m finally getting around to writing about my day on The Nate Berkus show from my point of view. The previous posts about the day were by
Reid and Josef.
On the show I reminded Nate he had given me one week to work on the challenge. That’s mostly true. Almost all the projects that you saw in the show sitting on set were finished during the week before the taping. You might have seen me on TV for 10 to 15 minutes, but it took weeks of intense preparation. To give you a bigger picture, I’ll take you behind the scenes and back in time.
I had decorated a bunch of Easter eggs, and Nate got hold of some photos I had on an earlier design blog. That got me on his radar. A few months later I officially launched Relevé Design’s blog and shop. My pendant lights made a few splashes here and there. I guess he thought I was ready after that, cause he threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to a duel (aka Design Blogger Challenge)! Make five upcycled items to decorate a living room.
I have sketchbooks full of projects and ideas from years of sketching and writing. I work in several sketchbooks at a time, cause I never know when inspiration will hit! I already had quite a few projects made. I thought I was pretty well-prepared. Design challenge? Bring. It. ON! It’s going to be a breeze! Boy was I wrong!
I love antique wire trays, but they are so expensive, especially in the NYC where the vintage and distressed look is still all the rage. I decided to make my own with white powder coated clothes hanger. I showed this to the producers, but it didn’t make the cut. Now it’s sitting in my bedroom. I keep some of my neckties in it. I’m always getting junkmail and bills, but I really love the cool patterns on the inside of security envelopes. I make my business cards out of them, but I thought it would be funny if I made security envelope envelopes and notecards. They actually turned out really nicely. Obviously, this isn’t decor, so it didn’t make it onto the show. Another strike out! OUCH! My friend Sara invited me and my boyfriend to stay with her family at their summer home in Marbelhead. Marblehead is an old New England town with a great nautical history. I was inspired by the all the shipmaking, sailing, and yacht clubs. It was gorgeous! When I got home I had the idea to make an soft t-shirt ocean plait bath mat to replace hard wooden teak one I had. I thought it looked pretty cool, Obviously it’s not going to work in Nate’s living room. That was a total miss Since I rent my apartment, I don’t like putting lots of holes in the walls. I came up with a system to hang everything from one hook. I was going to put it up in my living room, but my boyfriend wasn’t so enthused about that. I hung it up in my studio instead. Honestly, sometimes things can look wonky, especially when you know what it’s made of and how it’s made. When you actually put it up and stand back, it’s really cool! I made mine out of dark wire hangers and hung then from brass hooks. It’s perfect for Nate’s living room. SCORE! I made a white version for him. He and his crew made it look totally awesome on set with the grey wall. The first tray didn’t quite work out. It a functioned more like a basket than a tray. I went back to the drawing board, and came up with a folded fused plastic tray based on leather catch alls. For it to function as a serving tray it would need a whole lot more structure. It evolved into an ugly plastic and cardboard craft fail! But I managed to iron out all the kinks for the tray that ended up on the show. Rolled paper vases and bowls are really common, and you can find them in home goods stores. I think they’re a bit overdone, yet I’m still in love with the idea! I was determined to freshen it up. I’ve sketched ideas to stack junkmail and magazines instead of rolling them, but it needed just a bit more OOMPH. I found inspiration in the silhouettes of two handmade wood layer stools at the Museum of Art and Design. I had to wrangle in my friend Joseph to help cut up junkmail for the prototype. Nate liked it, and I was so excited about the magazine vases I made him two. Win Win! I never understood the whole spherical knickknack thing, until I got a dining room table! Instead of buying them I thought I could whip something up with origami. Never one to go about things the usual way, I decided to use plastic bags instead of paper. My coworker Ryan and his wife Lauren are super skilled and incredibly crafty DIYers. I pulled them in to help me decide on shape to make with the plastic. It was much more difficult than we thought it would be! I went back to the drawing board and made paper prototypes first to show Nate. With his official approval I finished it up with plastic and shellacked paper versions. I went to my stylist Mune to get a fresh new cut a week before the show. She’s worked with lots of people in show biz, so I knew I she’d be able to give me advice and a great style for my first TV appearance. Our friend Makky came along with my boyfriend and I for the last minute wardrobe hunt. Hailing from London Makky is a veteran fashion maven and renowned make up artist. I was pulling in the big guns! I got a sport coat from Ramdane, shirt from Gant, and oxblood pants from Unis. In the end we went a more casual with the forest green Ramdane sweater, Unis khakis, and Tretorn shoes. It was comfy! I got to the tv studio early. There was a lot of waiting, but it went by fast. I had Joseph with me just in case, since he assisted me on most of the projects he’d be able to help if anything fell apart. The t-shirt throw is mostly his handy work. I did a third of the throw before I showed him how to do it, and he finished it off. The throw can definitely be a group project. I rehearsed with Jordan, a producer on the show, in the green room before we rehearsed on set. He’s great. He gave me lots of tips. Here I am after the taping with Jordan and another producer. It was fun! It was hard work, and I had lots of help along the way from all my friends. I hope you enjoyed the show and the projects!