Host of HGTVs The High Low Projects talks about transforming spaces and following her dreams
Dressed in tall, black boots, dark denim skinny jeans and a black, short-sleeved top with leopard printed sleeves, Sabrina Soto, host of HGTVs The High Low Project is glowing. The interior design maven spent Saturday, March 16, in Fredericksburg, Va., sharing her design expertise with thousands of attendees during the Fredericksburg Home and Garden Show held at the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center.
"It's been fun. I used to live around here. My first HGTV [show] was Get It Sold and I moved from L.A. to the D.C. area and did six seasons of Get It Sold; I Iived in DuPont Circle and Bethesda, Md. Now I'm living in a New York City high-rise and I really miss having a house. I can't do any DIY projects," says Soto, making a sad face.
In New York City, where Soto hosts The High Low Project, she has the challenge of designing a homeowner's dream room with no expense spared. Once revealed, she then has to create smart, high-value replacements that mirror the high-end pieces she chose initially.
"I love doing makeovers, but the best part is the reveal—when you get to see everyone's faces when they see their room for the first time. It's a fun job. I never wake up in the morning and go, 'Ah, I just don't want to go to work today.' Trust me, I remember how that feels and I don't take it for granted. I appreciate every single moment," she says.
Soto—the daughter of an interior decorator and a television producer—got her big break in an unlikely way.
"Seven years ago I was bored and I couldn't sleep and I was on Craigslist and there was an ad for a designer with TV experience and it was for Get It Sold. Isn't that crazy?" she giggles. "No one believes me, but my friend Taniya Nayak, who is also on HGTV, found her job on Craigslist, too. She did Designed to Sell. Nuts."
Known for her budget-consciousness, Soto believes any home can look expensively decorated with a few bucks and a little creativity.
"Splurge on the bigger pieces and get a lot of the smaller accessories at Target, Home Goods, even thrift stores," she says. "You'd be surprised at how many really good finds at the second hand stores. Not upholstered pieces, but like frames or tables. Even if you see a table that's pink or burgundy that you hate, everything can be painted. When you're on a real budget, you have to see things in another light so you can transform it to what you want it to look like."
Children's rooms are fun to decorate, exclaims Soto, but parents often forget about the most fundamental element: storage.
"A lot of parents think only about the décor and the color, but forget about storage. Kids need a lot of storage and it needs to be assessable. Parents need to be able to reach it to put away seasonals, but kids need to be able to store things, too. The more you make it complicated for kids to get to storage areas, the more that room is going to be a mess," Soto explains.
Her favorite room in the house is the home office. Soto says she spends the most time here and thinks it needs to be best-planned space in the home if you rely on one.
"I think a home office needs to be ultra-organized, but it also has to be comfortable and have a comfortable chair. I like to work with a TV on in the background—HGTV on, of course. Every home office should have a sofa or a day bed that can serve as an extra bed in case you have additional guests.
"In terms of color, I think in a home office you can get away with having a crazier color on the wall," she says.
Soto believes in the power of dreams. Her commitment to her craft has led her to the pinnacle of her field and she's still rising. She offers these words to those who want to pursue their passion, be it interior design or another pursuit:
"Do it. I know it sounds cliché, and I know you may have heard it a million times, but I do believe in my heart that whatever you want to do you can be a success at," she encourages. "Just don't chase the paycheck, chase your passion and you'll be successful."
"I never wake up in the morning and go, 'Ah, I just don't want to go to work today.' I appreciate every single moment."
Chris Jones loves to watch HGTV despite the fact that he’s never done any home projects.