New York designer Katherine De Luca splits her time between personal clients and stage design, but she is no stranger to reality TV. De Luca designed 10 reality TV homes and suites over the past 15 years including the latest MTV Real World: Go Big or Go Home suite at the Gold Spike hotel. The show, now in the midst of its 31st season, was shot over 70 days last fall and while the roommates may have moved out, De Luca’s design remains and anyone can book at night at the MTV pad.
What are the challenges of designing a suite for reality TV?
The main challenges would be working with code—Las Vegas has it’s own special set of codes (laughs)—working with the owner of the building to make sure we can try to do something they can keep or take away easily and then obviously budgetary… and time. Time always plays a huge part in build.
What were your inspirations for this suite?
The boho chic movement, which is coming out of the desert in Southern California. It’s a freestyle, bohemian, world traveler vibe where you collect pieces from your journeys. You don’t have a match-matchey place. You have a chair from your grandfather’s house. You have a sofa from Ikea and a pillow from a flea market you found. The network wanted it to feel like a hotel out of Palm Springs to give it a super trendy vibe that it is so huge in the design world.
What are your favorite new trends?
I love minimalism and simplicity. The masters of that are the Japanese but also Scandinavia. There is a huge movement coming out of Scandinavia so keep your eye open for that—more natural wood, more faded colors, softer tones, but more geometric lines versus curved lines.
But the Real World suite is opposite of minimalist.
Part of the fun of my job is to get to do shows like the Real World because there is no real limit in terms of color and design, but if you look at my own home there is not much there. It is all very, very bare walls. There is a plank of wood hanging from two ropes on the ceiling. It is just a very minimal space.
What design trends are you tired of?
I am pretty over the shabby chic. I think it was genius at the time, but it feels so tired and heavy to me at this point.
What is your favorite part of the suite?
The bathroom is probably my favorite. Its graphicness I think is what I love the most and its clean lines. You don’t usually see graphic bathrooms like that that are appealing to the eye. The amazing vanity counter in the middle [was designed by my] art director Lorry Stone. It was great because you had two brains working on the project. I designed the bones of the room and then you have a different brain design a major piece of it. It’s a really great way to achieve an eclectic feel.
Did you have to drunk-proof any part the suite?
All of it. Literally all of it. We don’t have to pad the corners but we do have to make sure that everything is really, really durable. Nothing too delicate.
Have your designs been destroyed by drunk people in the past?
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. You know I always equate it to a Buddhist mandala. You spend weeks and weeks and weeks doing these amazing things and then in one ceremony it all gets brushed away, so it’s a spiritual practice as well I would say.
See new episodes of ‘Real World: Go Big or Go Home’ Thursdays at 10 p.m. on MTV.