Camille Cothron is no stranger to style and theatrics. The interior designer, and sister of Fancast’s Amazing Race blogger Kynt Cothron, says she comes from a family of performers, including her father, a magician. It’s that background that made her a perfect fit for The Style Network’s inspirational home makeover show “Dress My Nest.” Starting tonight, the Kentucky native will put her taste to the test as host Thom Filicia’s assistant on the season premiere of DMN. In an interview from Los Angeles on Tuesday, Cothron dished on her favorite spots to shop, easy home improvement tips, and some of the horrors she encountered on the show, like one Malibu couple who hadn’t cleaned their place in over eight years! Read on.
How would you describe your design and style aesthetic?
Ecclectic. I love different styles. I’m kind of a vintage girl. My place really reflects that. I love vintage elements. But I also love modern, too.
How did you get into interior design and how did you get this gig?
I had a very theatrical background but I’d never acted. And interior design was something I was interested in as a kid. I remember the moment it happened. At 13 all of my friends were like ‘what are you going to ask for for your birthday? We all want subscriptions to Seventeen Magazine,’ and I was like ‘I want a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens!’ In college I found out that my school had an interior design program. So I got into interior design and then I sort of wound up getting into acting by accident at the end of college. I came out to LA about three years ago and I was getting a fair amount of acting jobs, but then I thought, while I’m out here I may as well use what I have, and I do have this degree in interior design, so why not bring it back in my life? So I got an internship with Kelly Wearstler. She was always one of my favorite interior designers. She was one of the judges on Top Design on Bravo. She’s really cool. So the internship brushed me up on all of my design skills. It was a great reintroduction and I was getting really enthused about it again. So then I started doing freelance interior design. Then it all came full circle because my manager called and said I had an audition for an interior design show as a co-host. So I auditioned and it was a series of other interviews, and after that and I booked the gig! We just wrapped a couple weeks ago and it was a such a great experience. It was so much fun.
What’s your favorite thing about Thom Filicia?
I love his sense of humor. He is absolutely hilarious. Pretty much every single thing he says makes me crack up.
What was the best project this season?
There was this woman who’d moved to LA from New York, and she had a little two-year-old boy. I loved her story. She’s a single mom and she’s only been in LA for a couple of years. She was living in a one bedroom apartment to save money to buy a house, but she had given up her bedroom to her son because she didn’t want to deprive him of having his own space. So she had put her bed in the living room and essentially her living room felt like a studio apartment. It was a very cramped, cluttered, tiny place. Thom came up with an amazing solution to make it feel like two separate rooms. It was so nice for her because she actually felt like she had her own bedroom.
Was there ever a client who you didn’t think you could help?
There was one episode where the people were the sweetest couple ever, but total hippies, like Malibu beach bum hippies. I don’t think they’d ever cleaned their home in the 8 years that they’d lived there. It’d gotten to a state where the clutter and the grime was BAD. They also had a crazy amount of pets: three dogs and a cat, and a bird that flew free throughout the house. Unfortunately there were bird droppings everywhere, and the dogs would climb up on the dining room table, so that was all scratched, and the furniture was clawed. Just the cleaning we had to do, we weren’t sure we’d be able to do it in the time we had, because these turnarounds are quick. They’re like three or four days. But we pulled it off and it was amazing.
Where do you like to shop for furniture or accessories?
One place that I really enjoy if you’re looking for great vintage pieces is this flea market here on Fairfax and Melrose. I actually used to go there every single week when I first moved here; I was obsessed. You can get such wonderful pieces. My favorite piece in my apartment is this beautiful 1920s bar that I bought for $200 and use as a dresser in my bedroom. It’s absolutely breathtaking. My coffee table also came from there. It’s a great mid-century modern design. There’s also a great place out here called Nick Metropolis on La Brea. It’s an antique store but it almost looks like a junk yard. I think that’s to make it look kitschy. As far as more expensive stuff I like a lot of the specialty shops in Larchmont and West Hollywood.
What about online?
I love Anthropologie. I love their home accessories. I actually like Urban Outfitters for the less expensive stuff. CB2 is really great. They’re owned by Crate & Barrel.
Is there a simple trick or tip for how to make the most of your space?
Don’t feel like all of your furniture has to go on a wall. Everyone wants to spread out every piece of furniture they have flat against one of the walls. It doesn’t have to be that way. Things can come out of the wall and act like space dividers. Things that you wouldn’t even think could be dividers, like a simple bookshelf, can break up spaces. When people spread things and put them against the wall, it makes the space feel less functional because there is so much open, unused space in the middle.
What is the most important thing in a room?
Lighting is number one. If the lighting isn’t right in the room then nothing is going to be right. The colors won’t look right, and the mood won’t be right. That said, without accessories, rooms don’t have any life. There’s nothing worse than bare walls. You have to have artwork and accessories to liven up a room and give it visual interest. And rugs are great for creating defined spaces.
IKEA: yay or nay?
Nay. Unless you’re in college in a dorm room, and even then, nay!!
When it comes to seating: leather or fabric?
Fabric. I’m not a fan of leather. I think it’s uncomfortable. It takes me back to the 80s whenever I see leather furniture, like really bad black leather sofas. My boyfriend has a leather chair and I’m just like ugh! Get rid of it!
You can see Camille on the new season of Dress My Nest premiering tonight on Style at 11 PM ET. You can also find her on Facebook.