Build Me Up on HGTV is the home renovation show the world needs right now. Featuring interior designer Orlando Soria of Unspouse My House and Secrets From A Stylist, every episode shares the story and home renovation of someone going through a major life transition. Soria not only hosts the show and designs the spaces, but he also helps every homeowner transition into a new period of their life through design. After all, in a mid-pandemic world, our homes and environments have a greater impact on our emotional lives than we may have previously believed.
In addition to HGTV’s signature reality formula, there’s also a heavy dose of design inspiration, making Build Me Up a must-watch for anyone trying to renovate or refresh their home on a budget.
The Feel Good Factor
According to Soria, “Interior design is really about listening to your client and trying to figure out what they need.” The stories behind the renovations are a major part of the appeal of Build Me Up. “It’s really a show about using interior design as a tool for healing and moving forward. I’m interviewing them about what they’ve gone through, what they want, what they need, and also trying to figure out what to do in their space to make it practical and beautiful for them,” he explains.
Soria’s philosophy is that a living space should not only reflect who the homeowners are, but also who they want to be. “I want them to be able to say goodbye to the things that they want to say goodbye to,” he says. “So there are a lot of different layers, trying to incorporate their practical and emotional needs.”
For example, the second episode features a single father in Valley Village, which is a suburb of Los Angeles. Soria isn’t only re-designing the master suite, but he’s also renovating the guesthouse so his mother can move in to help with the kids.
“His mom is really involved in his and her grandkids’ life. And so he wanted to honor her by creating a great guesthouse for her to live in,” says Soria. “That was a really fun episode. Just because it was such a sweet story. A good son doing something nice for his mom. And she was such a cool lady. Everybody on set loved her.”
In addition to the story, this episode in particular provides a great lesson in small space design because the team needed to create different spaces within one room, including a fully functional kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom area. The guesthouse might be small in size, but it ended up being big in style and warmth. The designer’s ideas can easily be applied to other guesthouses, tiny homes, studio or smaller apartments in general.
For anyone who feels inspired by the show to makeover their own home, but doesn’t know where to start, Soria suggests prioritizing what you want the most, as opposed to what an influencer or website recommends. “Sometimes when there’s something that you just really want to splurge on, it’s worth it. Then save money elsewhere, so maybe it’s buying a really like inexpensive sizable rug, but going for the glamorous big light fixture that you wanted, because that’s where your eye is going to go,” he says.
When it comes to renovations, especially on a budget, Soria also shares that its important to take your time. “If you’re willing to spend the time, you can save some money and create a beautiful space, but it’s usually like if you’re trying to do things fast, that’s when you end up spending a ton of money.”
He certainly applied this principle while shooting the show. When budgets were quickly depleting, Soria pitched in and helped with the dirty work. “One of the reasons why we’re able to have those tiny budgets is that we have me and other people who are literally just doing manual labor,” he says.
How The Pandemic Impacted Production
Entertainment production as whole has been greatly impacted by the pandemic but fortunately, the show was filmed before the shut down began in California. However, there is one episode that was filmed when coronavirus began to become a concern. While production did their best to keep everybody safe and maintain physical distance, they ultimately decided simply to air the show as it was without explanation. “You’ll notice in one episode that there’s a little bit of distance happening, but it’s not the theme of the episode because we realize people are kind of sick of thinking about that. We need to let them have an escape.”
If there’s ever been perfect timing for a show about the power of interior design, it’s the current moment. Everyone is spending more time at home than they anticipated at the beginning of the year. Our environments are constantly evoking emotions, but Soria believes that changing our homes can help us stop thinking about the past and start thinking about the future. “You realize the importance of home. Getting new rugs, like all that kind of stuff gets more important when you’re not leaving your house,” he says.
And if you’re staying home on Wednesdays at 9:00 pm, don’t forget to watch Build Me Up on HGTV.