HGTV's very own Sabrina Soto pulled up a chair to help judge last night's Design Star, so we asked The High/Low Project maven all about the high and low points of evaluating the contestants' efforts.
TV Guide Magazine: OK, so the players had to help homeowners match indoor rooms with outdoor spaces. How did you guys pick the winners?
Sabrina Soto: We reviewed the spaces and selected a winner based on which team married the indoor and outdoor looks most successfully. For the on-camera hosting challenge, each finalist had to demonstrate their ability to bring the outdoors in or the indoors out by giving a clever design tip under $100.
TV Guide Magazine: Were you surprised, good or bad, by the level of talent still in the running?
Soto: I was pleasantly surprised by some of the ideas and projects that were in each space, but I also saw where mistakes were made. It's tough in a situation where you're working with new people, you're new to filming and you have time constraints.
TV Guide Magazine: How would you have done if Design Star host David Bromstad dared you to participate?
Soto: At this point, I've completed about 200 TV makeovers... I would hope I would have done a good job! [Laughs] It really would have been fun to work with the group. The contestants all seem to have great energy.
TV Guide Magazine: Since you're all about high-end looks at a lower cost, did anyone create something in this episode that you could do at a better price?
Soto: I wasn't privy to what each piece in the room cost. Though, I can tell you if anyone could hunt for a bargain, it's me! [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: What's the one thing you were looking for from the designers?
Soto: A well-designed room that had great balance and flow. It's important to make sure all elements of a room work in harmony. How do the accessories correspond with the furniture? Do the colors compliment the overall feel of the space? These factors are very important to understanding the overall energy of any given space.
TV Guide Magazine: What is the quickest, most affordable way for someone to turn up the style in their home?
Soto: Color! Switching up the colors of your walls allows for a drastic change but allows you to keep your existing decor. Color sets the overall mood of a room. Pillows and throws also add for pops of color. Another quick and budget-friendly way is to pair your existing accessories in new and interesting ways.
TV Guide Magazine: Was there any designer on the show you would be willing to collaborate with?
Soto: All of the designers have so much talent. They each have their own unique views on design, working with any of them would be a fun experience, I'm sure!
TV Guide Magazine: As a Target style expert, what would you say is your favorite purchase from the store?
Soto: Bedding and accessories! I can't get enough. I love all of the great details and elements. Shopping and pairing accessories are the perfect finishing touches to any room design.
TV Guide Magazine: Who or what is your design inspiration?
Soto: Inspiration can come from anywhere, whether it be from a place I visit, a piece of art or from a person I meet. On the High/Low Project, it comes from my consultation with the homeowners. I pull a lot of my ideas from listening to their ultimate design dreams. I like to draw my favorite elements from my inspiration to create something beautiful and interesting.
TV Guide Magazine: If you had to pick one judge to redo a room in your own home, who would it be and which room? Vern, Genevieve or David?
Soto: I'll take all three! They each have such a great sense of style...my door is always open! [Laughs]
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