Monday, June 21, 2010

HGTV Design Star: Alex Sanchez

HGTV Design Star: Alex Sanchez

Today I am very excited to bring you an interview with HGTV Design Star contestant Alex Sanchez!  I have been intrigued by this Washington DC designer who's bringing a new flavor to HGTV Design Star and to the DC interior design landscape.  Alex has big dreams.  He's out to diversify the world of design, and with his appearance on Design Star he's off to a good start.  Let's hear more from this up-and-coming designer who plans to take over the interior design world with his eclectic, urban style.

Lots of people watch shows like HGTV Design Star and think, “I can do that.” What took you past that point to actually being on the show?  What was the experience of trying out like?

I have always been obsessed with design shows. I was intrigued with the idea of having the chance to host my own show. My work schedule at the time - working anywhere between 10-15 hours a day every day to get my business off the ground - gave me the confidence to know that I could handle an intense environment. But the real deciding factor was my general complaint that [African-Americans] were not being represented on the show or on HGTV in general.  It hit me that I was in a position to be an example, to be a representative. So I took the chance and went for it.

The try out period was long! It was a long series of video auditions, portfolio submissions and interviews.  There was a lot of waiting as they dwindled the pool of candidates down to the 12 finalists.

HGTV Design Star: Alex Sanchez & Judges
Alex describes his design to the HGTV Design Star judges.

Tell us about Renaissance Design, your interior design firm.  Is there a design renaissance coming to Washington DC?  Where can we expect to see you in that movement?

There is definitely a renaissance in Washington DC, and I am determined to lead it. There is a general lack of knowledge about interior design in the District. It’s a city that is extremely transient and full of young professionals. I’ve already had a large increase in younger clientele who want to personalize their spaces and get away from every condo/townhouse looking like a transplanted furniture store showroom.

We are approaching a time of rooms taking on their own identities and being reflective of their owners’ personalities rather than what is selling at big chain furniture stores. When it comes to the younger generation, I feel as though the time for adhering to “design rules” is on its way out and I will be more than happy to usher out that era.

I have received a tremendous amount of support for Design Star from Washington DC and I believe the show is really helping to fuel this renaissance. I am excited that one of my major goals for competing on Design Star is already coming into fruition so early in the game.

HGTV Design Star: Alex Sanchez Portfolio
A bedroom from Alex's interior design portfolio.

You were born in St. Croix, have lived in New York, and are now in Washington DC.  How have these places shaped your interior design philosophy?  Is there one place in particular that you think reflects your style?

Growing up in St. Croix has definitely equipped me with a unique design sense. On the island almost everything was done as a matter of function. There were no interior designers or thought out design schemes.  But there was color, there was historic Danish architecture and there were numerous local artisans. Everything was done very organically. Being surrounded by this taught me about individuality, attention to detail, and an abandonment of rules. Strangely enough, the lack of access to formal interior design is what got me addicted to interior design shows.  So at a young age I learned and absorbed the very same rules that I would eventually love to break.

It wasn’t until I spent time in New York that I fell in love with modern design - extremely dramatic spaces that can be created with subdued color and texture; playing with non-traditional materials, scale and light.  It was nothing I had ever seen before and it gave me a new appreciation for design.  Meanwhile, living in Washington DC has introduced me to a more urban style with an almost afrocentric flavor. The exposure to so many different cultural backgrounds has brought a more eclectic twist to my styling.

There is no one place that has formed my design style. It is definitely a culmination of experiences from all stages of my life that has contributed to my clean-lined, urban contemporary style with eclectic accents.

HGTV Design Star: Alex Sanchez Portfolio
A living room from Alex's design portfolio.

How does a background in architectural engineering help you to bring a different perspective to the world of interior design?  Since the two are often done separately, what new things become possible when they are combined?

My original goal when I graduated from high school was to become a design powerhouse. I got my degree in Architectural Engineering to learn about building systems.  As I pursued my degree, I gained a detailed understanding of how everything from HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), electrical systems, plumbing, and structure affect the design. I know how to make a space comfortable from the bones to the accessories.

I then went on to construction management so I could learn the ins and out of how things really go together outside of the conceptual classroom. It was here, in a field that has a turbulent relationship with designers, that I learned the practical side of what works and what it really takes to implement a design.

Even though I am currently following my dream of interior design, I am planning to enroll in an architectural masters program to attain my architecture license.  All of these endeavors play a vital role in achieving a goal that I set for myself a long time ago. I want to be a revolutionary residential designer. The Frank Lloyd Wright of my day.  I want to design everything from custom colors and accessories to homes, landscapes, and communities.  Although many would consider that a lofty dream, that will not stop me from attaining it.

HGTV Design Star: Alex Sanchez
Alex working hard to create the pieces for his room in episode 1 of HGTV Design Star.

Our readers want to know - why are you the next HGTV Design Star?

I am the next Design Star because I am the future of design - starting trends instead of following them. I am not afraid to step outside of the box and bring quality, and unique design to everyday life. I am a designer in every sense of the word and I am a star because mediocrity has never been acceptable to me. I am bringing a new face to HGTV and inviting a new generation to come along with me.

We are definitely excited to come along with you Alex!  Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.  We'll be rooting for you!

{Images furnished by HGTV and Renaissance Design}

8 comments:

  1. LOVE THIS. Definitely a role model for a lot of people. Glad to see this brother living his dream and making things happen!

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  2. Once I found out Alex was from St. Croix, his design style made more sense to me. I'm from the St. Thomas (one of the other Virgin Islands), and what he's saying is completely true. Items were designed to be functional, and I can't think of ANY interior designers there.

    I do appreciate hearing a little more about his background and the way he thinks, so thanks for the interview.

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  3. I watched the first show - it was great. I'm hoping he wins it!!

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  4. Thanks so much for this interview! I haven't been home to watch this show when it airs yet, but I was so happy to see a brown face and even more so, a brotha, on the DesignStar commercials. I really liked learning a bit more about him and will definitely look out for him on the show. His sense of scale, color and texture from the photos is very nice. Can't wait to see what else he does!

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  5. I so excited that a fellow NC A&T (Agricultural & Technical) State University grad is up and rising on HGTV. Alex's story not only inspires those who went to college and chose to persue a different field after graduation, but it allows you to capture a glimpse of the risks one is willing to take to make their dreams come true. I wish Alex all the best!

    I'll definatley be staying tuned.

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  6. So glad this interview with Alex could inspire and I was happy to do it. He is a fantastic designer, and I am definitely hoping he goes far on Design Star.

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  7. Based on Alex's BIO "he earned extra money by selling his drawings and redesigning dorm rooms". How can one find or purchase his drawings, not that he needs it now that he has made it to HGTV Design Star!!!LOL. I must say I am very impressed with his designs. Keep up the passion you have as an excellent designer and as an A & T graduate. Does he have a website?

    aljoy200992@yahoo.com

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  8. His website is:
    http://renaissancedc.com/index2.php#/home/

    You can also tweet him @itsjustsanchez

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