Taniya Nayak is the famous star of “Destination Design” on HGTV, partner of HomeGoods and one of the American “design idols”.  We think that her positivism, creativity and charisma are great attributes for an interior designer which is why we decided to find out how Taniya gained them along the way. In the interview below you can find out what determined her passion for this industry, how a typical day in her life goes and many many more inspiring details. We know you guys are looking forward to her answers, so here they are:

  • Freshome: What determined your passion for design? Tell us about the moment when you decided this is the way to go.
  • Taniya Nayak: The moment came when I was lying in bed with insomnia one night reflecting on my life and my meaningless jobs and thinking “I’m too young to NOT be doing something I LOVE”. I made the decision to go back to school to get a masters degree in Interior Design. Everything just fell into place from there. When it’s right, it’s RIGHT!

Images provided by HomeGoods

  • Freshome: Can you remember your first design project? Describe it a bit, whether it is a gizmo you worked at as a little kid or something that was sold at a large scale.
  • Taniya Nayak: My first design job was my first college dorm room! I was obsessed with sunflowers so I handpainted a table and had my mom make a duvet and valance that had the sunflower theme. SO glad my taste and style have developed since then!!
  • Freshome: What field of design are you most interested in? Do your works have anything to do with it ? (We are asking this because not many designers do what they actually want)
  • Taniya Nayak: I am lucky. I have had the opportunity to do all types of design. Commercial, residential, and designing for television. It’s hard to pick a favorite because all the designs become like your children. I love the fast pace and good healthy stress of doing the television makeovers, plus the homeowners that participate never have to pay, so it makes it that much more fun!
  • Freshome: Chronologically describe what you are going through (feeling and thoughts) on your way to work.
  • Taniya Nayak: Can’t function without coffee. Where’s my to-do list? Singing “Bad Romance” at the top of my lungs in the car on way to site. Need to order the modern industrial version of my topiaries for the restaurant design. I think they’re cool. I hope people get it. Don’t forget to order thank you gift and get present for sisters bday. Oooh, Vietnamese for lunch. That makes me happy.
  • Freshome: What is your favourite book/magazine on design? How about your favourite site?
  • Taniya Nayak: I collect books on design. Can’t get enough of ’em. I love restaurant design books- the ideas are always so innovative. I love when I see things that make me say..WOW I never would have thought of that!! Fave magazine was Domino. Sad about its passing. 🙁  My favorite sites… well, this one is pretty kickass. I also love apartmenttherapy.com cococozy.com and  theinsidestoop.com
  • Freshome: What inspires you?
  • Taniya Nayak: Nature does a lot. People. Places. Everything really.
  • Freshome: What is the most frustrating aspect of your job as a designer? And the most rewarding one?
  • Taniya Nayak:Frustration comes to me in waiting. When designing for television, things happen super fast. Not the case in the “real” world. I also get frustrated when someone tells me, “No- it can’t be done”. I just don’t believe that. I know that anything can be done- we just have to figure it out. Most rewarding is when I exceed someones expectations. I love designing so luckily, work NEVER feels like work.
  • Freshome: From your point of view, is design an art or a science?
  • Taniya Nayak: When it comes to interior design, it’s both! Decorating is more focused on the art (which it truly is an art) than the science. Designing entails a lot of math, building codes, space planning as well as the decorative finishes. It is very tedious. I’ve had a lot of design students ask me about the differences and I say that if you don’t like math, then you might not like doing interior design. What I do on the shows are primarily decorating but in my business life it’s more about design.
  • Freshome: Tell us something unusual that happened in your career.
  • Taniya Nayak: I landed my first gig with HGTV from a Craigslist posting.

before/after photos

  • Freshome:Let’s say you entered a contest. You have to come up with a design for the first house on the Moon built for extra-terrestrial living. How would your project look like?
  • Taniya Nayak:A lot of bolts to hold everything down! Not even sure if that would work. And walls made out of m&m’s.
  • Freshome: If design were a product, what would it be and how would you design it?
  • Taniya Nayak:A perfectly round white ball. You never know if you’re looking at the same side or holding it the same way. It can roll, spin, sit still, or even bounce. It’s one idea/item that can be interpreted in many ways.
  • Freshome:If you had no limits (money, resources), what would you create?
  • Taniya Nayak:I would have a 100 hunky guys all literally holding a roof over my head! haha That’s terrible, I know. Ok, I would love to have a home like the Jetsons.
  • Freshome: Share something you would like the world to know about you.
  • Taniya Nayak: If I could choose any other job in the world, I would still choose being a designer.
  • Freshome: What do you think of our site?
  • Taniya Nayak: So much fun! So easy to navigate, and I love that the ideas are sooo do-able.
  • Freshome: What advice do you have for young designers or architects reading this interview?
  • Taniya Nayak: Like any job- make sure you love what you’re doing. It truly is the most important factor in success. I define success not by the amount of money you make, but in the pride you feel in what you do.