The dazzling and inventive superstar designer Genevieve Gorder has joined forces with the solar company, Sunrun, to share the latest ways we can all slash our energy usage and bills - and do it stylishly, mais oui! Gorder took a few minutes to talk about everything from her personal favorite smart products (which are under $100 - yes, please!)...to her upcoming HGTV show, "Genevieve's Renovation" (July 17th on HGTV). Can you stand it?
Oh and P.S. Sunrun is running an out of this world amazing sweepstakes through July 11th where a winner will receive a free custom home consultation from Genevieve (supersize YES!), and another winner will win a free custom home consultation from “Property Brothers” Jonathan and Drew Scott (double YES!). So much design power coming at you! Thanks, Sunrun!
MM: There's this misconception that solar paneling is too expensive and out of reach for most consumers. America will listen to superstar designer Genevieve Gorder though! Can you please explain how solar panels actually boost property values and slash utility bills?
Genevieve Gorder: For many years, investing in solar energy has been thought of as a great expense. Much like doing your kitchen or another big reno project, yet we still end up renovating our kitchens and say “It’s a good investment and will increase the value of my home.” When it comes to energy, it seems to feel a little more obscure, a bit technical and something “I’ll-get-to-later.” Well, later is now. And now, solar energy comes without the big price tag that has held so many back for so many years. Sunrun is this genius company that basically can be your new electric company. There is no big investment up front, the solar panels are installed on your home with no money down and you’re basically leasing the equipment from them and saving a ton of money on your energy bill. You’re using natural energy, from the sun - not from the city, it costs less, and it’s maintained for you by Sunrun, so no jumping up on the roof and getting nervous. Resale values increase with solar systems already in place. It’s that simple.
MM: What's one efficient item/design feature you'd recommend people splurge on that gets the most bang for the buck?
GG: You know “splurge” isn’t even really necessary when it comes to smart items for the home, they are priced so fairly that it just feels like well, I can buy a “smart” product or a “not smart” product. I think we all know what to choose when those are the only two options. I think the Smart TV’s are probably your biggest price tags and for some reason people never question television prices…they just do it.
MM: On the flip side, what are a few budget-friendly items or things people can buy or do to make their home more efficient?
GG: I love the new Smart Thermostats. Being able to control the temperature of your home from anywhere in the world is pretty incredible. It gives us all the ability to really control the environments we live in instead of being at their mercy. They are under $100. Once you understand the simple technical steps of each product you implement it doesn’t feel overwhelming and life gets a lot easier and more streamlined.
MM: How has the efficiency trend influenced your designs? e.g. Flooring, window treatments, door choices?
GG: While technology hasn’t really changed my taste in aesthetics or mediums for the rest of the house, it’s made my job a lot easier. As a designer, we’re always looking for ways to “hide” the home tech as traditionally it’s been clunky, unattractive, etc. As we progress technologically, our electronics and tech products have become much more streamlined, lighter in weight and sleeker in appearance. This is great for design! As a television is only a focal point when it’s on, a thermostat is not a piece of art and security systems should never be apart of the decor. We’re paying attention to the design of these very technical items where as in past decades they were very much an eyesore to the aesthetic.
MM: What are some efficiency-friendly products, tips, or design features you use in your life or have incorporated in your own home? Will any be featured in your new show, "Genevieve's Renovation”? P.S. Positively can't wait!
GG: I’m so excited for my new show to come out! “Genevieve’s Renovation” July 17th on HGTV people! Smart TVs, thermostats, security systems will all be a part of this documentary like they show on the renovation of my home in Manhattan. I’m showing it all, the struggles, the financial whoas, the warts and all. Design needs this dose of real, it’s not a perfect science and it’s hard for the professionals, too.
MM: Have you and your fellow Sunrun partners, the Property Brothers, traded any efficiency or design tips with each other?
GG: We don’t generally trade tips with each other, we generally just make fun of each other. It’s great being paired with the Brothers because we all bring a different super power to the table and meet in the middle with important and smart upgrades for your life at home that help you in the aesthetics and real estate value of your home. It’s fun to have some buddies to play with so often we’re lone rangers on our shows and rarely get to work or hang out with our peers.
MM: On a personal note, you're a wildly successful designer and HGTV star. What has made you so successful?
GG: [Laughs] Well, I guess everyone will have their own opinion who watches me but I think it boils down to a few things: grace, passion, compassion, honesty, two feet on the ground and I’m in this for design not fame.
I love what I do and I love to teach and share, there is nothing better than a child telling you they want to do what you do when they grow up or seeing an adult finally “get it” who before never thought it was possible.