Bobby Berk got his start in the design world by forgoing an education in interior design, and instead working in retail at Restoration Hardware and Bed, Bath & Beyond. In 2006, he started his own business, Bobby Berk Interiors + Design, which has locations in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles and Atlanta.
“I found that the remodeling aspect of it and the design aspect of it made me way happier than the sales part of it… and that’s honestly what led me to pursue [interior design],” says Berk.
Although Berk has renovated a variety of spaces on his Netflix show, his favorite spaces to design in a home are kitchens and bathrooms because of the options for creativity they can afford.
“They’re kind of like fashion,” Berk says. “You need your outfit, you need your accessories, you need your jewelry. That’s countertops and cabinets and hardware and faucets and appliances. You really get to pick so many different things that go together.”
Focusing on the client
Still, Berk takes a client-first approach to every one of his projects, just as he does when helping transform lives on “Queer Eye.” For instance, he says, “If they’re a cat mom and their cats are the most important thing to them, I’m going to design that home around what’s going to make their cats the happiest— because that’s what is going to make [the client] happy.”
It comes down to what changes will help meet the client’s emotional needs, Berk says. He gave the example of client Cory Waldrop, who was featured on season one of “Queer Eye.” Initially, Berk planned to renovate his basement, where Waldrop spent the majority of his free time with his friends. But when Berk realized the real issue was Waldrop wasn’t spending enough time with his family, he opted to renovate the upstairs of the police officer’s home instead.
“Ultimately, if you prioritize the thing that means the most to the client — what the client is most passionate about — that’s going to have the most positive and large impact on their day-to-day life,” Berk said.
Finding your passion
In addition to filming season 3 of “Queer Eye,” which is set in Kansas City, Missouri, Berk has plans to tackle remodeling and renovations in cities including Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco.
Berk calls himself “lucky” to be able to lean on colleagues who can help him utilize the computer systems he never learned in school, and emphasizes the importance of an education in jump-starting a career in interior design. But a passion for helping others realize the impact of loving their space is also key.
“It’s all about mental health,” he said. “If your brain is not functioning the way it should, if the things around you are making you feel sad and depressed, it affects everything else in your life.”