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Design Expert and Emmy-nominated TV Host Bobby Berk Comes to Alexandria to Launch His Book

Host of Netflix’s Queer Eye Designs a Block of New Eisenhower Avenue Homes

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Bobby Berk was in the house. The well-known national television host made a stop in Alexandria Wednesday night March 6 for a VIP book signing and to showcase two new townhome communities in Alexandria that bear his signature designs. Zebra Press sat down with Berk for an exclusive interview before invited guests filed upstairs for a cocktail reception and a chance to hear from the famous interior designer himself.

Bobby Berk addressing the assembled guests at Eisenhower Pointe. Bobby designed the interior, décor, and furnishings. Left to right: Stephanie Lynch, Tri Pointe Homes vice president of community experience; Bobby Berk. Photo Judith Fogel

Berk remembers clearly what got him started on a life-long passion for designing rooms. He was around five years old. His mother got this bright idea to decorate the child’s room in red.

“You know, little boys, red fire trucks. So she did it in all red. Something about it that I didn’t vibe with, like I couldn’t articulate it but I definitely realized that red did not make me feel relaxed,” Bobby recalled. “Red was not a color for my bedroom so just like all little boys do, I saved up my birthday money to buy home décor!”

Bobby Berk autographing his new book Right at Home: How Good Design is Good for The Mind. Photo Judith Fogel

Berk settled on blue. He knew instinctively that creating a blue palette was a better fit. “I got blue curtains and a blue bedspread, and I found this dinosaur poster that I decorated around. I understood that blue made me feel more relaxed, it made me feel better. I think that is what put me on the trajectory of where I am now. I really understood the importance and value of the way your space makes you feel.”

Bobby Berk spent nine seasons on the hit Netflix series Queer Eye, formerly Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He left the show, in part, he says, to pursue multiple other productions in development right now. Designing homes also keeps him busy and traveling all over the country.

VIP guests listen to Bobby Berk’s talk. Forefront left to right: Julie Thompson, Tri Pointe digital marketing specialist; Julie Ogilvie, Tri Pointe new home advisor. Photo Judith Fogel

Bobby Berk founded his own interior design firm a decade ago and estimates he has designed hundreds of new homes in the US.

We were sitting in an attractive open-air space on the ground floor. The new batch of homes being shown that evening are part of Eisenhower Pointe, a Tri Pointe development somewhere between the Van Dorn Metro and Old Town Alexandria. Berk noted that 80 percent of the photos in his book are of Tri Pointe homes.

Invited guests nibble on hors d’oeuvres before hearing Bobby Berk’s remarks. Left to right: Liz Tisdale, Juan Campillo, Shannon Romulus, Shruthi Shyamalan. Photo Judith Fogel

“I love working with Tri Pointe because they bring us in at the beginning phases when we can work with the architects,” Berk explained.

“Often townhomes can be quite narrow which makes it difficult to design, difficult to furnish, not just for me as a designer but for homeowners. These townhomes are really wide and allow you to decorate as if it were a single-family detached house.”

Eisenhower Pointe, a Tri-Pointe community, between the Van Dorn Metro and Old Town Alexandria. Photo courtesy Tri Pointe Homes

Berk lives in Los Angeles with his husband but also owns a home in Portugal. He was drawn to the southern European country because of its unique beauty, situated on the Iberian Peninsula. “The food, the people, the design is beautiful. The architecture, the landscape, the natural beauty. The tile-covered buildings, the roofs, the streets, it’s a beautiful place to be inspired.”

Upstairs, guests wandered through the tastefully appointed rooms. The model homes on display were all designed by Berk, down to the finishing touches and accents.

Stephanie Lynch, Tri Pointe Homes vice president of community experience. Photo Judith Fogel

“All the furnishings, all the materials, surfaces, wallpapers, tiles, flooring, everything you see on this side of the drywall is from us,” Berk pointed out. “We consult with the architects. Architects often don’t think about the way the house is going to be lived in. Sometimes they think about what the house will look like from the outside. They’re all about the elevation.”

Berk counseled the audience not to be hampered by thinking everything must match. “A lot of times we’re afraid to put a piece of art in our home that has nothing to do with our house, it doesn’t match,” Berk offered. “Your friends will walk in and go, what is that? You’re worried about that judgment. Oh, my house is not a perfect showcase.”

Berk emphasized, “Your home is like your phone charger. It should be charging you up. If you’re not filling it with things that make you happy, you are not getting charged up.”

When Berk needs to charge himself back up, he turns to nature for inspiration and solitude. Many of his creative ideas are hatched on hikes in the woods.

But what to do with an ugly piece that has sentimental value?

“If you’ve got that horrible purple credenza from Aunt Gertrude, and you look at it and it brings back memories of an amazing childhood you spent with your favorite aunt, put that in your house. Because those are the things that when you’re down, you’re going to look at it and it’ll bring you up.”

Bobby Berk’s first book, Right at Home: How Good Design Is Good For The Mind, came out this past September. In 2020, Architectural Digest named Bobby one of the most famous interior designers working today.

Bobby debuted in the literary world with his book Right at Home: How Good Design is Good for The Mind in September 2023. Photo Judith Fogel

“Here’s what sets me apart as a designer,” Berk mused. “Doing big fancy homes, of course those are fun. Doing homes with no budgets, of course those are fun. But I like to democratize design. I like to show people that you don’t have to have a multi-million-dollar budget to live in a great space that feeds your soul.”

One guest admired the spacious look and wondered what to do with all his stuff. “Have less stuff,” Berk advised.

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