Monday, July 16, 2012

Style Talk: Danielle Colding of HGTV Design Star

Danielle Colding

From the moment I tuned in to Season 7 of HGTV Design Star, there was one designer who caught my attention from the very beginning - New York interior designer Danielle Colding.  From the start of the season, Danielle's work has been incredible.  Her smart and sophisticated style incorporates everything from a refined color palette to beautiful art and accessories, making her designs some of the top in Season 7.  Today she joins our Style Talk series to tell us about her experience on Design Star, and what inspires her as a designer.

Danielle Colding Portfolio

You have an incredible background - a former dancer, and a degree in anthropology. Does dance and your study of anthropology have an impact on your design philosophy?
Both areas of study have had a definite impact on my design style and how I run my business. Through the study of cultural anthropology, I have learned to approach projects from that standpoint focusing both on how people use their spaces and what they want their spaces to evoke. The beauty of this is that it is different every time. No two projects have the same solution. The study of dance and my career as a dancer have brought a certain amount of discipline to the way I approach my work. And on the flip side I have an understanding of being an artist and tapping into my creative side and the need to not over-think everything. Being an artist requires both discipline and letting go and I try to bring that balance to my design work.

Danielle Colding Portfolio

You characterize your style as global chic.  What do you feel is the importance of the connection between design and culture? 
To me design is connected to culture in every way. It is another reflection of the way we make sense of our world. Design is an art that reflects how we live, the spaces we inhabit, and also how we want our spaces to reflect who we are. The way I bring culture into my home is through collecting things that I love wherever I go. I love bringing found objects and items with a story into my space. Whether it be a reclaimed wood table from a flea market in Brooklyn or a tapestry from Peru, there’s a place for it all.

Danielle Colding Portfolio

You have a talent for blending modern, classic, and global design. How do you bring these varying styles together?
My rule of thumb in an interior space is to focus on big pieces with clean lines and elegant detailing and then to layer, layer, layer. The modern and classic elements are usually my foundation pieces—furniture, case goods, and lighting. The global comes in through art and accessories that bring a space to life through funky and unexpected touches.

Danielle Colding Portfolio

In your designs, art is regularly incorporated.  Can you explain the importance of art in your designs? How do you source art to be featured in the interiors you design? 
Art is one of my greatest sources of inspiration. I am constantly seeking to grow as a designer and art is always forcing me to look at things in a different way. I use it as both a starting point—often as a way to come up with a color palette—and as a finishing touch in the spaces I design. To me, art should be something that you love and that enhances your experience of a space. There are no rules here—I have both fine art and street art in my own home. In terms of sourcing art, I am quite lucky. I have a ton of artist friends who are constantly exposing me to new things and whose work I love and respect. I also am tapped into the art world in New York and love to visit galleries and art openings. When I travel, museums and galleries are always a must. 

Danielle Colding Portfolio

How has the HGTV Design Star experience been? 
The experience of being on the show was incredibly positive. I went on the show only a short time after losing my mother to a pretty brutal battle with cancer and I wasn’t sure what to expect or if I’d be able to handle the stress under such circumstances. But what I found was the most amazing support system in the other designers and people involved in the show. It really was so much about the design and creative process and not about the drama. My focus was on my ability to grow as a designer, to constantly tweak my style and push myself creatively under very tight time constraints. 

Danielle Colding Portfolio

Can you walk us through a-day-in-your-life as a contestant? 
Each day on the show was non-stop. We usually got up at about 5am to do our own hair and makeup. That was a huge challenge! I’m not one to wear makeup every day, but on TV you can look scary without at least a little. Usually, we would be filmed while just chatting and eating breakfast and then head out to whatever challenge we were doing that day. Our days designing ranged from shopping excursions to doing the physical work of creating the space. The amount we accomplished in a day was truly mind blowing—especially compared to the design schedule in the real world where you can sit and ponder your options. On the show there was no ponder time—it was all about going with your gut and coming up with solutions in an instant. Most days we worked until about 7 or 8pm, came home and ate and then turned in to get ready for the next day. At the end of a challenge we would report to the studio for interviews to recap the challenge and then go to evaluation, which lasted for several hours—much longer than what you see on TV. It was by far the most stressful part of the whole experience. After evaluation night, we started the next day with a brand new challenge. No rest for the weary here! 

Danielle Colding Portfolio

On HGTV Design Star, your work has been superb and has served as an inspiration to many of our readers (and me too!). Can you tell us what inspires you as a designer? How do you continue to put together amazing rooms? 
I am constantly inspired by art, fashion, and most of all travel. I find it so useful to experience the world in different ways, to experience how other people live. This approach constantly exposes me to new ways of doing things and thinking about design. It is crucial to never stop learning. Honestly, I don’t know how I come up with new designs. Most times it just comes to me. At the same time, I am always replenishing the well—exposing myself to the work of other creative people—art, fashion and travel do it every time. 

Danielle Colding Portfolio

Without revealing if you won this season of HGTV Design Star, what’s next on the horizon for you? 
Right now, my focus is on building my business and my brand. I want to work on large-scale international projects and would love to get into hotel design as well. I also have hopes of developing a product line at some point. I really enjoyed working on a TV show and would love to be able to continue to share what I love about design with the world through this medium. 

Thank you so much for joining us this week Danielle!  Be sure to tune into HGTV Design Star tomorrow at 9pm ET and watch Danielle as the final three compete.  You can also follow her on Twitter @daniellecolding and Danielle Colding Design on Facebook.  And I personally have to recommend her Pinterest boards.  There's lots of beautiful fashion to behold!

{Images furnished by Danielle Colding}


  1. Just watched! Can't wait to see if she's going to be the next design star! My two favorites made it to the end so it's some tough competition.

  2. I love Danielle's designs. She has been one of my favorites since the beginning. It should be a great show tomorrow night! I am looking forward to it!


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