David Bromstad takes ’Color Splash’ to Miami
The first thing you might notice when you see interior designer David Bromstad on television is that he happens to be very easy on the eyes and that includes his often shirtless, tattooed torso. However, Bromstad established early on that he is much more than a gym bunny and first showed his amazing design skills when he won HGTV’s first season of its competition series Design Star in 2006.
The following year (as part of the Design Star grand prize) Bromstad premiered his own series, Color Splash, which was set in San Francisco and became a hit for the design network. With the new Color Splash season that begins this weekend on HGTV, Bromstad, his crew and the cameras venture cross-country and move the show to Florida with Color Splash Miami.
EDGE’s Jim Halterman talked to Bromstad earlier this week about the move, the importance of listening to your gut, what part of his personal life is off limits to the press and his thoughts on when gay marriage will no longer be an issue.
Miami :: edgy and sexy
EDGE: Besides the obvious geography, what are the differences in Color Splash moving from San Francisco to Miami?
David Bromstad: We were in San Francisco, which was a beautiful city and very quaint and lovely, but Miami is edgy and sexy. I have a whole new team and I’m really concentrating a lot on personality and design and we’re really taking it to the next level. The makeovers are bigger, the colors are more crazy and it’s just a shift to a really fun show.
EDGE: Visually I know Miami clearly has its own sense of style but how does that lend itself to a designer?
DB: Miami is itself South American-influenced and it’s very international in a very different way than San Francisco. In San Francisco, everyone is traditionally contemporary but in Miami everyone is modern chic and very eclectic at the same time. People are very aware of style because we’re surrounding by amazing hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs and new architecture. Since we’re surrounded by so much design, people know what they do like and what they don’t like.
EDGE: You grew up in Minnesota, what was it like when you first ventured to Miami? They’re very different places.
DB: I went to school in Sarasota, Florida, which is on the West Coast of Florida and then I went and moved to Orlando and worked at Disney Universal for nine years [as an animator] and in those nine years I was down in Miami several times and I always wanted to move down there. You have to be really strong to live [in Miami]. It’s a party city so it’s easy to get caught up in that. When I first moved down here and made that decision I was ready for the diverse culture and ready for all the designers and artists and all the great architecture so there was no shock to me.
Very international cast
EDGE: Miami also seems to have a little of everything in terms of the types of people. Will we see that reflected on Color Splash Miami?
DB: We’re going to show a lot of different types of people and have a very international cast. I have two Latina assistants - one who speaks four languages and the other is completely gorgeous and is incredibly talented. We have carpenters from the UK. My painter is from Panama. And then the clients we’re working with are very different, very cool and a little bit spicy.
EDGE: Spicy is good!
DB: Spicy is great. [laughs] That’s what we want!
EDGE: Watching you on your show, you seem to really listen to your gut and go with your inspirations. Is that the key to being a good designer?
DB: Absolutely. Going with your first instinct is always key, at least it is for me. Once you start second guessing yourself and you start doing things that you are not quite comfortable with it really shows in your work. I always come back to my first instinct and stick with it.
EDGE: How has your business changed since you first started appearing on television? Has it gone places you never imagined?
DB: I never thought that I would be an interior designer on television. That’s bizarre to me! And then getting recognized...it’s a huge compliment and I’m very aware of how blessed I am and I never take advantage of that. Because I’m so thankful and appreciative of what I’m doing it makes work so fun. Nobody is throwing me eggs or calling me nasty names. I’m not in the press having scandals so I have it pretty good.
EDGE: Even before you were on TV with Design Star, was being out ever a question for you?
DB: That was a huge part of when I came to Miami. In my 20s I really struggled. I was out and gay but being proud of it and really owning it was a whole different story. When I went onto Design Star I did think about it. ’Should I be in the closet and keep everyone guessing?’ I made the decision to just be myself and it was the right decision. HGTV has always backed me on that. When you have a company that really supports you 100% it really empowers you.
EDGE: One thing about watching your show is that it’s never about you being gay and it doesn’t really come up or is a part of any agenda.
DB: Well, that’s the thing about that. A lot of people on these reality shows are like "I’m gay!" Being gay is who I am but it doesn’t define who I am.
Drawing the line
EDGE: One thing that does coming with being in the public eye is people wanting to know about your personal life. Are you comfortable with that or do you draw any lines?
DB: I do draw a line on certain things. I let everyone know I have a partner and we’ve been together for six years but that’s where it stops. His personal life is his personal life. It’s not up to me to divulge his information. I’ll divulge everything about myself and be an open book but when it comes to my partner and what he does and where he’s at in his life that’s nobody’s business but his own.
EDGE: It’s also very easy for fans to have misconceptions of celebrities. What’s the biggest misconception about you?
DB: I have to honestly say that I’m really portrayed exactly who I am. When I do appearances and meet with people they’re like ’You’re exactly who you are on the show!’ I say ’I wouldn’t have it any other way!’ I’m not a good actor. People always think that I am always this high energy/crazy personality person all the time and I am when I’m around people but I’m actually kind of an introvert and I like to be home with my partner or home alone watching TV or on the beach where it’s quiet.
EDGE: Since you are partnered, what’s your thought on gay marriage? Are we going to get to the point where it’s a non-issue?
DB: I think we’ll definitely get there but I think we need to get there faster. Come on, people! In the last five years we’ve come a long way but we’re supposed to be in one of the most progressive countries in the world and yet we’re just half way there but I do think we’ll get there. Gay marriage will definitely happen. It’s just a matter of when.
EDGE: Miami already had their Pride celebration, right?
DB: We have it really early in March because it’s so bloody hot down here right now! We had our Pride early and I went to it. It’s very small but it’s so great. It’s the second year that Miami Beach has Pride. Miami the city does not have Pride but hopefully that will come in the next few years.
EDGE: Since you travel quite a bit, will you be hitting any other Pride celebrations around the country?
DB: I’m always celebrating but I am just starting the second season of Color Splash Miami in two weeks but it’s so funny because every year during New York’s Pride I’ve been up there working and again this year I’m scheduled to be up there working. [laughs]
Color Splash Miami with David Bromstad premieres this Sunday on HGTV at 11pm et/pt right after the season premiere of Design Star.