Worth a Million Bucks: Nathan Turner, 'Million Dollar Decorators'

July 14, 2011


Known for his globe-trotting style and celeb clientele (think Billy Ray Cyrus, Marcia Cross, Adrian Grenier), California interior designer Nathan Turner also runs a successful, eponymous L.A. shop and stars on Bravo’s new show “Million Dollar Decorators” (season finale Tue., 10 p.m.). We caught up with him about his West Coast-y vibe and the trouble with oversized sofas.

Nobody is competing for a prize, so where does the drama come from on the show?
There is plenty of drama because countless things can go wrong with designs. It comes from unruly clients and mistakes on job sites.

Your clients on “Million Dollar Decorators” have bucks. But how can ordinary folks get a rich look if they don’t have much to spend?
I am a big fan of paint. Paint is inexpensive, and you can do so many things with it. You can create an amazing stripe on a floor or on a ceiling, or create borders. I love painting the ceiling. If you have no architectural detail in your home, create some kind of interesting, eye-catching thing on the ceiling with a can of paint. That can be $20!

How’d you get into design?
I always had this obsession with all things Italian and French, and studied abroad in both places. I started working with an antiques dealer right after college, and the idea of being able to travel and bring things back was just beyond my imagination. I couldn’t believe you could do this for a living!

Do your California roots influence your designs?
One-hundred percent, yes! Growing up here, the vibe and the way we live is unique. There’s a lot of outdoor living and a casualness, but I also think Cali is a very sophisticated place. It’s definitely shaped my aesthetics to a casual elegance.

Besides travel, what else do you draw on for your work?
I find inspiration all over the place. I constantly carry a camera with me because [inspiration can come] literally from the color on the side of a building. I’m also insanely inspired by food and all things food industry. I enjoy cooking and the entire process of creating a meal, going out to eat or shopping for food.

What’s your decor pet peeve?
Getting scale right in rooms, sizing of furniture. I think it’s a really common mistake, and it drives me nuts. You walk into a room and see one humongous sofa that fills up the space. You could have gotten a sofa, two chairs and a bench. It’s hard, especially when manufacturers make these huge, oversize pieces. It throws people off.

What’s your favorite room to design?
I like bedrooms. They’re the ultimate personal space.

Written by Express’ Kelly Johnston
Photo Courtesy Bravo

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Clinton Yates | July 14, 2011