As one who helps people get through a life transition through home renovation, Orlando Soria of “Build Me Up” views his role as part designer and part therapist.
Indeed, in the series that airs Wednesdays on HGTV, the Los Angeles-based designer, artist and writer helps people work through a significant event – be it the death of a spouse, a child going off to college, or a divorce – by making big changes to their home’s interior. This not only requires his impeccable design skills, but also an attentive ear and the occasional shoulder to cry on.
“Design and therapy are lightly linked,” Soria explains, “in that in order to be a good designer, you have to be a really good listener, because you have to be trying to decipher what people want and trying to figure out how to enact it in their space. So the interactions with the clients are kind of a combination of those two things ,and I kind of pride myself on being a good listener so I can be there as sort of a design facilitator for them, but I’m also there to just allow them to tell the story that they want to tell.”
The idea for the show came out of a breakup Soria went through a few years ago, which resulted in his 2019 HGTV series “Unspouse My House,” in which he helped people rid their homes of memories of past mates. He found the process of remodeling to be therapeutic, so he wanted to open that up to others going through change.
“For me, my design philosophy is really that I want the home that I design for my clients to look like my clients designed it themselves, but they just did a really excellent job and had really sophisticated, great taste.,” he says. “So that always starts with a lot of listening.”
Name: Orlando Soria
Birth date: July 5, 1982
Residence: West Hollywood, Calif.
Family ties: Single
Alma mater: Has degrees from Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design
Business interests: E-Design
Other TV credits include: “Secrets From a Stylist,” “Unspouse My House”
Book credit: “Get It Together!: An Interior Designer’s Guide to Creating Your Best Life”