Holding the client’s hand
Ask interior design maven Genevieve Gorder who her most difficult client was and she will have a succinct answer.
“Myself,” admits the host of “Best Room Wins,” Bravo’s latest entry in the design-show genre. “I’m my most difficult client. I did a whole series designing my own home (‘Genevieve’s Renovation’) and I think knowing so much about the industry, making decisions for myself is that much harder because I know too much. … When I know the selection of every knob and handle and basket and color, you can get lost when it comes to your own edifice.”
In her latest series, which premieres Wednesday, May 1, Gorder serves as host and judge (along with Elle Decor Editor-in-Chief Whitney Robinson and a rotating guest judge) as two up-and-coming designers try to create luxury looks on a budget of $25,000 for two couples each with a room in desperate need of a makeover. The winner gets an online spread on ElleDecor.com while both couples get lackluster rooms renovated for essentially free.
Of course, that doesn’t mean all is hunky dory with the clients. Some come in with unrealistic expectations and can get a little cranky when they’re not met, which is where, Gorder says, some gentle guidance is in order.
“It’s something that our clients always need a little hand-holding and a lot of education on,” she explains. “That’s why they hire us, because they don’t know. So it’s our job to really break that down to them in a gracious and inspiring way, as much as we can be, during this really stressful time. So that’s how it goes but you’re always going to run into an exceptional personality, one that may never be happy, one that’s always trying to squeeze a nickel out of a penny. You know, it takes all sorts. So personalities are also what makes the show interesting.”
Full name: Genevieve Gorder
Birth date: July 26, 1974
Current residence: New York City
Family ties: Married to Christian Dunbar, an interior designer and furniture builder; has a daughter, 11-year-old Bebelle, from a previous marriage
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York
TV credits include: “Faking It USA,” “Switched!” “Town Haul,” “Battle on the Block,” “White House Christmas,” “Bang for Your Buck,” “HGTV Design Star,” “Dear Genevieve,” “Genevieve’s Renovation,” “The Apartment,” “Trading Spaces,” “Stay Here,” “Rachael Ray”
Awards: A five-time Telly Award winner and a two-time Emmy nominee