Houston-based interior designer Shazia Kirmani (pictured at right) is the latest Top Design contestant to hear from host India Hicks, “Sorry, but we could not live with your design.” Shazia’s voice got lost in the shuffle of this week’s challenge, which divided the contestants into teams and assigned them the task of making over the apartments of bachelors on a budget. Shazia says that she felt intimidated by the show’s diverse crop of talented—and cutthroat—designers, none of whom were brimming with Southern hospitality. And while she wasn’t impressed with the judges and their “weird one-liners,” she will leave the show with a new appreciation for Todd Oldham, who this season fills the Tim Gunn-style role of contestant mentor.
“Todd is such a positive, well-spoken individual that even if he were telling you your entire design was an utter disaster, somehow by the end of the conversation you’d be hugging and thanking him for weighing in,” Shazia tells us. “As far as what I learned, one example of many is that when working with different wood tones, always use groups of three and you will have a more cohesive balanced design.” Interestingly, Oldham recently practiced what he preached in customizing his charity auction trash bins with a cheeky pattern of woven wood grain strips.
As for her her own approach, Shazia focuses on “understanding what my clients needs are and then addressing them,” she says. “Personally, I like more modern and transitional looks rather than the traditional. Monochromatic palettes with a pop of color seems to have become my signature over the years. But I’m still growing.” What’s next for her, in the wake of Top Design and a sputtering economy? “I’m really looking to expand my business in various ways that can withstand these unstable times,” she tells us. “Investments in residential rehabilitations and commercial design projects are becoming my focus. I’m always open to new endeavors.”
Previously on UnBeige: