AN interviews Bobby Berk to discuss his new collaboration with Tri Pointe Homes and life after Queer Eye

New Beginnings

AN interviews Bobby Berk to discuss his new collaboration with Tri Pointe Homes and life after Queer Eye

Bobby Berk (Viby Creative/Tri Pointe Homes)

After Queer Eye launched on Netflix circa 2018, design expert Bobby Berk took pop culture by storm. Together with Antoni Porowski, Jonathan van Ness, Karamo Brown, and Tan France; Bobby Berk provided architectural services for numerous people on the hit series that now has a huge cult following. In 2020, Architectural Digest dubbed him one of the “most famous interior designers working today.” But more recently, Berk announced that he wouldn’t be returning to Netflix so he could embark on a new journey.

Bobby Berk presently splits his time between the U.S. and Portugal while leading a seven-person interiors and furniture design practice. In a partnership with Tri Pointe Homes, Bobby Berk just opened new residences in California, North Carolina, and Arizona; with more to come. AN interviewed Berk to learn more about his new practice, and life after Queer Eye

book by bobby berk
Right at Home: How Good Design is Good for the Mind by Bobby Berk (Bryan Snider/Courtesy Tri Pointe Homes)

AN: Your new monograph, Right at Home, discusses how homeowners can optimize their space. What can readers expect to learn from the book?

Bobby Berk: I decided to write this book because I wanted everyone to realize that good design is about more than just a beautiful space. It’s also about creating a home that adds function, reflects who you are, and truly improves your day-to-day life. The book teaches you how to make that happen—no matter the size of your space—by getting organized, engaging your senses, and exploring color, lighting, and mood-boosting materials. I’ve always been passionate about the connection between design and mental health, and Right at Home is my way of sharing that philosophy with the world.

AN: In a recent interview, you discussed leaving Missouri for New York, where you eventually became a creative director at a design studio. How did this life experience shape who you are as a designer today?

BB: I arrived in New York when I was 22 with not a lot of money and no design experience. So to make things happen, I had to be very resourceful. Luckily, I was very determined and able to sell myself. So I got my start in design working at Bed, Bath & Beyond, then moved up to sales at Restoration Hardware, and eventually to Creative Director at Portico. More than anything, this life experience taught me that having a good eye and a natural design talent is much more important than having a degree in design. It also shaped my work ethic and my drive to succeed. I learned it takes hard work to make things happen in design, and even though there will be setbacks, if you trust your gut and keep going, the end results are always worth it.

interior designed by bobby berk
Interior by Bobby Berk and Tri Pointe Homes (Photograph by Kara Mercer/Stylist Teressa Johnson/Courtesy Tri Pointe Homes)

AN: On episodes of Queer Eye, you worked with disabled individuals to make their homes ADA compliant, such as the episode “Disabled But Not Really.” You’ve also worked with LGBTQ+ youths in conservative states. How does social justice fit into your practice?

BB: I’ve never thought of myself as being a leader in social justice or anything like that. However, working on Queer Eye made me realize I had a platform to use design for good, and I wanted to take advantage of that. I also feel it’s my responsibility as a designer to make a space function well and elevate someone’s experience. Working with disabled individuals, I had the opportunity to improve their daily life and show that ADA design can also look great. Working with LGBTQ+ youth, I looked to my own experiences of feeling rejected and wanted to create that feeling of safety that we all crave. Whomever I am designing for, I certainly think about their story and life experience, and I want the space to help them live better, to uplift, provide security, and truly make them feel comfortable at home.

kitchen by bobby berk
Mediterranean Kitchen by Bobby Berk (Photograph by Kara Mercer/Stylist Teressa Johnson/Courtesy Tri Pointe Homes)

AN: Several new homes from Bobby Berk x Tri Pointe Homes just opened. What are your ongoing and future projects?

BB: I’m very excited about those homes, and can’t wait for the public to see them. They’re part of my new collaboration with Tri Pointe Homes, which includes 10 unique design collections I created exclusively for them. That collaboration will continue, with new communities all over the US, for the next 3 years. Tri Pointe Homes’s first communities to showcase my home designs this year are Heatherly in Rancho Mission Viejo, California; Luminary at Outlook in Winchester, California; Context at Oakhurst in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Waterston Central in Gilbert, Arizona. As far as other design projects, I also have a vacation property remodel that is just getting started and should be completed in early 2025.

pantry by bobby berk
Pantry by Bobby Berk (Photograph by Kara Mercer/Stylist Teressa Johnson/Courtesy Tri Pointe Homes)

AN: Do you see the company designing other types of spaces, other than residential?

BB: On Queer Eye, I had the opportunity to design lots of different spaces, including restaurants, a barn, a shipping container home, and a sweets shop. I would definitely be open to other types of projects at my own firm! I would actually love to expand the breadth of our work and design some commercial and hospitality spaces.

AN: What is your dream project?

BB: Now that I’ve designed a vacation home, I want to go bigger and work on a hotel project. The dream would be a historic property in Portugal—where I live part-time—that could be renovated and transformed into a world-class resort.