HGTV designer to be featured at Fall Home and Lifestyle Expo at Saratoga City Center

Genevieve Gorder talks about design trends, common mistakes
Genevieve Gorder
Genevieve Gorder

Making successful spaces has been in Genevieve Gorder’s job description for years. 

The host of Netflix’s “Stay Here” started out working on interior design projects at a young age. She began her career in television on “Trading Spaces,” which aired on TLC and remains popular, even though it has since gone off the air. In the last decade or so, Gorder has become a celebrity on HGTV with shows like “Design Star” and “Dear Genevieve.” She’s also a regular contributor to the “Rachael Ray” show. 

Gorder will visit Saratoga Springs on Saturday for the Fall Home and Lifestyle Expo, hosted by The Daily Gazette. Kicking it off at 10 a.m. at the Saratoga City Center will be a VIP breakfast with Gorder open to the first 100 people in line. She’ll also be speaking at 11:30 a.m. and there will be a meet and greet from 1 to 2 p.m. 

Throughout the day, artist Rich Conley will be drawing caricatures and CVS will be giving flu shots. For those who pre-registered for the Expo, Marcella’s Appliance Center will announce the winner of the KitchenAid Stand Mixer at 2:15 p.m. For those who want to enter, visit 

There will also be more than 75 vendors, including Rivers Casino & Resort, Elderwood, Window World, Herrl Woodcraft Custom Kitchens, Grasshopper Gardens and others. 

Gorder caught up with The Gazette before the Expo to talk about trends, common design mistakes and some of her favorite shows to work on. 

Q: How did you get into interior design? Is it something you wanted to get into when you were growing up?
A: As a kid, I wanted to be a dancing doctor. I wanted to be a dancer and a dermatologist. I grew up in Minneapolis and there [was] an incredible architectural stock of houses. That’s because the housing there has to withstand over 120 degrees temperature variance. Being an old city, it’s built well and it’s built to last. So I grew up with this language of what house and home looked like that was very specific to where I’m from. Culturally, [it] had a very Scandinavian base so there’s a lot different language of wood that comes along with that. 
My family would just buy these houses in the ‘80s that were really inexpensive because everyone was moving to the suburbs. We were a really young family without a lot of money and we had good style. So we could just preserve, renovate, bring back all those houses that had been layered on from the ‘60s and forward with bad ideas and take them back to the 1910s and the 1880s. We kinda learned as a family together. We’re all creatives. There’s a ton of artists and painters [and] architects in the family too.
I didn’t know until college that I was going to be a designer. 

Q: Throughout your career, what have been some of your favorite projects to work on?
A: There have been so many. Of course, “Trading Spaces” is the show that got us all started and was really more of a movement than just a show. For that, you have to be eternally grateful because no matter what you do, it could be landing on the moon and building the first house, I’ll get there and someone will ask me about “Trading Spaces.” 
That was and continues to be quite an experience that is so rewarding. Having young adults come up to [me] now and say “I watched this as a kid and I’m a designer because of the show or because of you” it’s so much more [of] a rewarding experience than most creatives get to ever have. To get the emotional reward for how it changes people’s lives or [how it] makes people feel on a daily basis is incredible. 
Beyond that, I think “Stay Here” was one of my favorite shows that I got to do for Netflix just because the impact was so huge. It feels really current as to design and [how] the population travels. That [market] hasn’t really been tapped yet until that show. I love that show, making it was really hard but having it out there is really great. 
Then, of course, I love being a judge on “Design Star.” I’ve loved them all. 

Q: What do you think makes any space aesthetically successful? 
A: When there’s balance we tend to feel happy. It doesn’t mean symmetrical or matching, but when the highlights are mixed with the low lights and the neutrals are in checking with each other [or] when the feminine and the masculine are jiving, we’re good. When the metals are mixed and the colors are symbiotic and playful, it’s really just a checklist of opposites. That’s how we create space. They’re not always in proportion to each other, but they certainly have to be present in order for a room to be successful.

Q: What do you find are some of the most common interior design mistakes that people make?
A: One is fear. I see that most prevalently throughout American households. Fear of really living in your house, of saying “This is who I am,” whether that’s through color or it’s through objects. Instead, there’s a lot of “safe” techniques where it’s like “I’ll just paint it all beige and put beige furniture and a beige rug.” No one in the world says my favorite color is beige, you know? And it’s not safe for anybody, it’s just like “I’m safe from making a decision.”
[People have a fear of] being authentic to who they are. Fear is number one. 
Number two is matching. We don’t match our shoes to our socks to our bra to our shirt to our pants to our headband because [we] would look insane. Yet, people do this with their home. They feel this need or this urgency to match, which is never a good word in design. Complement is the real thing we’re looking for. So if I have black walls, where are my neutral-toned pieces of furniture? Where are my white pieces of trim? It’s just trying to create balance with whatever is the highlight of the room, it’s never trying to match my sofa to my chair to my wallpaper. I see that too often because, again, they think it’s safe and I think maybe safe is the worst word in design. 

Q: Can you tell me about some of your favorite home decor trends for this season?
A: Everybody likes talking about design trends. It’s fun and it’s not just fluff. It really is derivative of current events and pop culture and how we’re all feeling as a collective. It’s fascinating, the psychology behind all of it. 
A trend right now that I’m really loving and I don’t know how you couldn’t love is this deeper dive into nature, where plants are really becoming every space’s best accessory. You’ll see them in every editorial. Plants are the pattern and with that comes a bevy of colors. You’ll see a lot of deep dark green mosses, paired with green’s best friend, pink, which we saw in the ‘80s but we also in the ‘30s and we also saw in the 1870s. So it’s this repetitive pairing of color. 
[Only] instead of this Millennial pink that we all got sick of, it’s a deeper blush rose. It has a little more smoke in it than the ‘80s did, thank goodness. 
There’s terracottas as well, these deep clay colors, paired with the green, leafy nature colors. It’s undeniably beautiful, along with just a bevy of textures. Everything is becoming very nubby, [with] nature fiber [and] thick weave. This is again a response to a very tech-driven culture. 
2000 brought in silvers and gold and orange. Twenty years later we’ve had so much of the Jetsonian sterility that we’re craving rootedness. 

The 50+ Living Fall Home and Lifestyle Expo

WHEN: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Saratoga City Center
PARKING: There will be a free shuttle from the Walton Parking Garage (37 Walton St) and the Woodlawn Parking Garage (34 Woodlawn Avenue) to the City Center, sponsored by MVP Health Care. 

Categories: Life & Arts

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