Even interior designer Hilary Farr is in suspense over whether the homeowners she works with on TV will decide to stay or move.
“Sometimes I think there’s no way they will choose to move — and they do,” she said.
The drama is one of the draws of Farr’s popular HGTV show “Love It or List It.” At the end of each episode, homeowners have to choose between Farr’s stylish makeovers of their existing rooms — or buy and move into a new home found by co-host and real estate agent David Visentin.
Farr, who runs her own Toronto and New York-based company, Hilary Farr Design, has been swaying people to “Love It” since 2008.
Her TV transformations run the gamut from remaking a midcentury modern split-level to revitalizing a century-old farmhouse.
We chatted with Farr, who was in Raleigh, N.C., filming upcoming episodes, about her design tricks, her rivalry with her co-host and “Rocky Horror” trivia:
Q: What program will you present at the Home + Garden Show?
A: I’ll be touching on trends and showing “before” and “after” images. I’ll give my opinion of new materials and products on the market — their pros and cons regarding beauty, functionality and environmental impact.
Q: Are the remodeling costs in “Love It or List It” real? Do they include all the updated furnishings we see in the final reveal?
A: We have a construction budget and a design budget and have to stay within that. We try to repurpose the furniture they already have to save money. Reupholstered furniture can look fabulous. Some of the decorating and accessories are for staging in “after” photos. The homeowners add their own personal accessories later.
Q: The homeowners “love it” in the majority of episodes I’ve watched. Does David ever win?
A: It’s about 70 to 30. I don’t keep count — but I know I’m in the lead. No one wants to move if they have a choice — it’s a horrible experience. If I manage to address their issue, there’s really no incentive to pack up and leave. But I just repurpose space — I can’t make a house bigger.
Q: You and David razz each other as you compete to win over clients. What kind of relationship do you have in real life?
A: We are good friends. But sometimes it’s like having a brother around — he’s annoying but you make each other laugh.
Q: What are some ways to transform a room?
A: A brand-new area rug, flooring or even wall-to-wall carpet can make open spaces feel more cohesive. Color can change the way a home feels. “Greenery” picked by Pantone as “color of the year” is lovely — and refreshing. I’m interested in how that emerges and is being used.
Q: What are some new products for the home?
A: I don’t embrace new gadgets — like an espresso maker built into a niche — because they can be gimmicky.
There’s more energy-saving innovations in lighting. Smartphone and various devices hooked into the home can control the lights and mood.
Q: What’s a design trick?
A: In a small powder room, the inclination is to go with a light wall color. My trick is to do the opposite — such as a patterned wallpaper or a deep color on the walls. It’s more interesting and makes a design statement.
Q: Many of your fans probably don’t know that you were in 1975’s “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” How did you get the part [bride Betty Munroe, who appears briefly at the beginning of the movie]?
A: My family lived in a London apartment below Tim Curry. I would hang out at his place and sing around the piano. He was getting ready to film the movie, and the writers came over and created a role for me.