If you're a design buff, you're likely obsessed with Bobby Berk's home transformations on the hit Netflix series, Queer Eye. For one, he makes every redesign project look effortless. Secondly, the Missouri-bred interior designer has such a bubbly personality that keeps us glued to the screen. And let's not overlook his mastery of layering—a go-to tactic designers use to add depth and character to a room.
ED caught up with just in time for the season premiere today. Read on for what to expect from Queer Eye this time around.
Siweb: Let's hear about the third season and what viewers can look forward to.
BOBBY BERK: What’s different is the amount of diversity this season. We are working with more women, which, honestly, has been way more fun. We love our male heroes (subjects), but we had an easier time connecting with our female heroes. They’re usually much more open to sharing their feelings with us. With a lot of the males, we had to work a lot harder to get them to really open up. We were blessed to work with a lot of powerful, amazing females this season.
ED: Can you share about the upcoming episode featuring Tony?
BB: With Tony, it wasn’t just about redesigning the space—it was about teaching him how your space can affect your mood. Tony was suffering from depression. He owned his own home, which was great. He had a one-up on a lot of people, but he went through a car accident and losing a job. He was just sitting around depressed in his house a lot. He let the cleanliness of his home deteriorate really badly. The bedroom was disgusting and his kitchen was piled to the ceiling with dishes. When you wake up, looking around at that, that just makes you more depressed.
He also had a six-year-old daughter, who started to pick up those habits. Her room was a disaster and she thought that was okay. I taught them how their cleaning habits can really have an effect—not just on them—but a lifelong-effect on their kids as well. Plus, they had a baby on the way, so I was able to make a space in their master bedroom for the baby. It wasn't just designing—it was family planning, too.
ED: As you mentioned, Queer Eye touches on self care and how a well-decorated, organized home can have an affect on your overall lifestyle. How did that play out this season?
BB: It’s a point I always try to drive home to people. They don’t think about their home as something that affects their mental health, but it really does. If your house is dirty and untidy, and you wake up in that every day, you start your day with a sense of defeat. When you wake up in a home that you feel proud of because you’re maintaining it, you’re respectful of your life. And it's not about spending money. Just find things you're passionate about or, as Marie Kondo would say, things that "spark joy."
People always ask about my favorite trends, and my response is my favorite trend is finding the thing that makes you the most happy and decorating around that. I don’t think anyone should decorate their home based on the latest trend. It should be whatever you love.
ED: Are we going to see more of the challenges you encountered with the various renovations and redecorating projects this season?
BB: Unfortunately, at the end of the day, this is not a design show and I hear that from our producers. Our show is about the internal transformation of our heroes, and my vertical is just one of the tools we use to effect positive change in their lives.
You’ll probably see a little bit more than in seasons one and two, but at the end of the day, we film an entire week with our heroes and it has to be cut down to 42 minutes. You'll see more behind the scenes, though. We had a photographer on set with us every day and got a lot of behind-the-scenes photos. I’ll be launching something soon to house these behind-the-scenes images and show people how to get the different looks on their own.
ED: What lessons have you learned about yourself as a designer from working on the series?
BB: The lesson I learned the most is just to listen, and not just from a design perspective. I’m thinking of a young man from a past episode named Remi, who inherited his grandmother’s house. He had no idea what his style was and wore gym clothes every day. He didn’t have a sense of fashion or a home style and lived in a time capsule of a home from the '70s, because it was his grandmother’s.
When I asked him about his design style, he wasn’t able to articulate it. I decided to take a different approach and had a conversation with him about his favorite television show and dream vacation. His favorite show was Mad Men and his dream vacation was Cuba. That’s how I was able to come to the realization that I should design his home in a mid-century way with some Cuban flair to it. He said I hit the nail right on the head, and I told him sometimes you just need to listen to people. You find out a lot more about them that way and realize you are way more alike than you think you are.
ED: You have to share one surprise we can look forward to this season. Is there one?
BB: I do a restaurant for the first time. They are the only female barbecue pitmasters in Kansas City. They're icons and the most amazing sisters. They're the most powerful, strong women I have ever met. I am very excited for the world to see them and to be able to buy some of their barbecue sauce. The secret to their amazing barbecue is their sauce. We hooked them up with a distribution company, which had been their dream for years. This is an episode where you can entice all four of your senses: sight, sound, taste and smell.
ED: Finally, is there a common decorating theme that we can see across all of the home featured this season?
BB: I design for my hero, my client, but layering is one of my signatures. I don't like a ton of crazy colors and patterns. I like creating depth, dimension, interest, and texture by creating different layers, like layers of textiles in the same color family but in different patterns and materials.