Kansas City’s Jennifer Bertrand has been in the design spotlight since winning HGTV’s Design Star. While balancing the needs of her young son, who has had significant health issues, Bertrand continues to make design exciting and approachable. She is appearing at this year’s Kansas City Home Show.
The experience and attention of winning Design Star must have been so exciting. How did that kind of exposure change your life and your perspective on being a public figure?
I like to say that it’s like a pageant—it’s a lovely title that will always look fun on a resume. It was a moment in time that taught me that anything is achievable and yet, I still have plans to do more. The reason I love a national platform is that I love to inspire others to take control of their environments. And no matter what level income you are at in life, everyone deserves well-thought-out design.
Catch us up. What have you been up to since?
The last few years have been fun! I won a national contest with Angie’s List and Ariana Huffington’s book The Sleep Revolution. I had to compete against three national designers and it was another “America votes” kind of thing. I was very fortunate to win. Then this past fall I was in London for four design shows with the National Kitchen and Bath Show as an “insider” meeting with global brands and tastemakers as to what is fresh in the world of design. And as if that is not lovely enough, I have been a spokesperson for Flooring America and am designing a line of soft flooring with Carlisle Wide Plank Floors. All the while filming Military Makeover on Lifetime Channel and taking care of my amazing local design clients with my team of helpers.
Do you think clients expect certain things after seeing you on TV?
I love to share the reality of design. I think the concept of TV makeovers inspire homeowners to love their home, take on what they can or want to, and still bring in the experts when needed. I often teach people that if you do not have a total design plan, you can spend more money because you go one step forward and two steps back. I think most people understand the silliness and the false reality TV can portray. Most of it is entertainment design, but I adore that there is something for everyone.
Of the social media that you use—Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—do you have a favorite?
I have to admit, I love all social media because I feel like they all have different vibes. On Facebook, I love, love, love to do live videos. I want to share wherever I am and whatever I’m doing. On Instagram, I enjoy showing a little bit more of my kooky, artistic side. Currently, Kansas City has embraced grays and whites, but on Instagram I’m forward thinking to color and what it can do for your mind and environment.
You’ll be at the Kansas City Home Show March 23rd to 25th. What should people expect?
I get to be like the Hugh Jackman ringleader of the Home Show. I’ll be emceeing all weekend and sharing all of our amazing local and national talents. We have some Q+A, a student design challenge, and some DIY demos. I have to admit, I am a big fan of (Flipping Out’s) Jeff Lewis, who will also be there. I am already giggling wondering what he will do and say. His dry sense of humor only adds to the fun.
Tamara Day, who is also presenting, is not a fake host on Bargain Mansions. She gets into her design makeovers and rolls up her sleeves, and the end result is always breathtaking.
Also speaking are Jeff and Chrysalyn Huff, owners of Restoration Emporium. They are always inspiring Kansas City to layer textures and materials in unexpected ways. They have big surprises up their sleeves.
Some people don’t know this, but I have a master’s degree in education, which is why I am so excited for the Home Show’s first ever student design competition. It’ll be highlighting the creativity and talent that is flourishing in our schools.
That is why I love this home show. Every part of it is created with love, wanting to share what we find cool and different. Plus this year there will be an evening beer and wine tasting event. I am so excited to play with this lovely group of people.