Designer John Gidding shows off his assets
John Gidding definitely has curb appeal.
The 33-year-old Turkish born architect/interior designer hosts HGTV’s highly rated and popular show Curb Appeal: The Block and redesigns spaces on Designed to Sell. Gidding will share his creative ideas and expertise with guests during appearances on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 1 and 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 24 at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Orlando Home Show.
More than 10 years, the studly host has applied his refined yet rambunctious aesthetic to both interior and exterior renovations. Gidding says he has a passion for both and admits that it’s difficult to choose a favorite.
“Although, most times if I’m working on one, I try to find ways to incorporate the other into the design,” he explains. “I’m an interior architect.”
The openly gay designer is not only easy on the eyes but also a Yale and Harvard-educated architect who conceives each episode’s creative vision and oversees its implementation. Before starting his design career, Gidding was a model and spokesperson for Armani, Gucci, Hugo Boss and Jhane Barnes. Even though spending so much time in front of a camera as a model, he accredits his ability to host and guide home owners to his architecture background.
“You have to be able to ‘talk the talk,’ if you will, and be 100% confident in your design,” he says.
Gidding says his ease on camera stems from having to be critiqued by professors and clients during presentations. He relies heavily on that skill-set while on camera. As viewers, we would never be the wiser but Gidding explains that there are segments that aren’t aired.
“I have homeowners asking me very pointed questions,” he reveals. “You have to be able to think on your feet.”
In the Gayborhood
HGTV has maintained its gay viewership with its combination of limited-budget home renovation, fabulous design, and requisite hunky carpenters. It’s no surprise that Designed to Sell appeals to gay fans, given the show’s focus on interior and exterior home design. But its main strength lies in its wider appeal. Gidding’s most recent venture, Curb Appeal: The Block doesn’t disappoint either.
The crew focuses on one home that is deemed an “eyesore.” The usual suspects: an unkempt, weed-filled yard, unsightly porch fixtures, peeling paint. Often, neighbors nominate said home.
The guilty neighbor, once confronted, is usually okay with the idea of a free renovation and is well aware of the problem. Usually, the family has neglected their front yard area due to lack of funds or a focus on other priorities. With the real estate market at an all-time low, Gidding explains that the show’s concept is more relevant now more than ever.
“People are focusing on their own home instead of flipping or moving,” he says. “[The show] teaches people that with not a lot of money you can build value in your property.”
Gidding says that generally, most people are happy to be part of the project because it brings people in the neighborhood together. However, there have been instances where property owners have been less than pleased to see them.
“In one neighborhood we filmed in, there was a sign in front of a house that said, “No cameras here….And don’t park in front of my property either,” Gidding reveals. “Some people are camera shy. Some people are happy with what they’ve done to the facade of their home. Some people are insulted that we’d think we know better than them.”
Before landing the job on Design To Sell in 2004, Gidding worked for a prestigious architecture firm in New York. He initially turned down the offer to design on the show but when it was offered again a year and a half later, he resigned from his job and jumped at it.
“I rarely quit,” Gidding says. “But I was at a point in my career where I was dreading going into work.”
Gidding went on to start his own firm. Based out of Atlanta, John Gidding Design specializes in sculptural interior architecture for all types of spaces. Through his firm and HGTV, he has been able to develop and utilize his many talents. Even though his ideal aesthetic is modern, he says that because of working on Design to Sell and Curb Appeal, he has learned to embrace the history and style of each home.
“The most interesting designs are the ones where I research the existing houses and design with that original integrity in mind,” he says.
Branching out from residential design, Gidding’s latest endeavor seems to be “dressing room design.” Among his celeb client list is Carson Kressley, Patrick Stewart and Carrie Fisher. Gidding says he is hoping to land Kristen Wiig of Saturday Night Live as his next celeb client.
Gidding is truly passionate about design but disclosed that he would love to be a teacher and says that it could eventually become a reality. He presently has an intern program at his firm in which he teaches the students first-hand and involves them in projects he’s working on.
“I’m finding that I want to teach some of the things I’ve learned [in my career],” he says.
Transforming homes to look amazing and stunning is a great feat but it isn’t what truly drives the humble designer. Gidding recently had the opportunity to team up with American Express and Wednesday’s Child, a non-profit organization that helps foster children find permanent homes. For the project, Gidding and crew designed two rooms for two children who had recently been adopted and never had a room of their own before.
“It was definitely one of the more memorable reveals of my career,” Gidding says. “It solidified why I do this.”
Who: John Gidding
of HGTV’s Curb Appeal: The Block
What: Orlando Home Show
When: Oct. 22-24, 10 a.m. daily
Where: Orange County
Tickets: $10 at OrlandoHomeShow.com
Originally published by Watermark Media, Inc.