David Bromstad Paints for a Cause
BY Winston Gieseke
July 25 2011 3:05 PM ET
It isn’t enough for David Bromstad to transform rooms from bland to brilliant on HGTV’s Color Splash. The accomplished artist is also appearing on the network’s newest hit, HGTV’d, as well as mentoring the current crop of contestants on Design Star, the show that launched his TV career back in 2006. In addition to being the first HGTV personality to be named to the Out 100, Bromstad was also honored with the prestigious HRC Visibility Award for being out and proud in the public eye.
In September he’ll be lending his talent to the “Know Yourself: Get HIV Tested” initiative by creating a mural to bring to life the importance of HIV testing, which will be unveiled in New York City in recognition of National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.
The Advocate: There seems to be this belief that all interior designers are gay. Is there a special gene responsible for that?
David Bromstad: I think that stereotype is completely wrong. Some of the most successful interior designers have been straight men. I just think gay men happen to like to experiment a little bit more than straight men do in their own homes when they’re single.
When you first started out on television, were you at all concerned about being open about your sexuality?
I thought about it for about 3.2 seconds and then the camera started rolling and I said, “I’m a gay man — I don’t care!” [Laughs] After that, I had complete support from HGTV. They continue to support me in ways that I’m blown away by.
When did you come out to your family and friends?
I came out to my friends when I was 22, and shortly thereafter to my family.
How important do you think it is for celebrities to be out and proud?
It’s a completely personal issue. Every celebrity has different obstacles to go through. I’m very fortunate that I get to work with a supportive company like HGTV, but film actors and TV actors don’t have that luxury. If they come out, their work can go away. I would love for every gay actor out there to be open about it, but it’s not my decision.
How has your style evolved from season 1 of Design Star to now?
I went onto Design Star as an artist. I was not an interior designer. I really didn’t know what I was doing. [Laughs] I think my style has evolved a lot. At that time, I liked contemporary, bold art and design, and now that my skills have matured I love eclectic design. I love using styles from all over. That’s how you come up with a really fantastic room.
How did the Color Splash vibe change for you when the show moved from California to Miami?
California was great. I loved being out there. San Francisco is an amazing place. But Miami is my home, and to be able to take it back to Miami was amazing. I just feel like I’m at home in Miami. The vibe feels more fresh and young and sexy, and I like to think I’m still fresh and sexy. Maybe not so young. [Laughs]
Fresh and sexy is still good. What’s unique about the new show, HGTV’d, and how do I get my submission pushed to the top of the pile?
[Laughs] I love HGTV’d. It’s the biggest-budget half-hour show HGTV has ever done, and we’re definitely making design over-the-top and bringing really interesting things to it that we don’t normally get to do on our shows. We’re having a blast. It’s a lot of fun.
Can you give me an example of what you’re doing?
On the first episode I did some crazy columns. But for the final episode [of the season], I partnered up with Ellen DeGeneres and we did a whole house makeover. We did the backyard as well as their living room, kitchen, and bedroom. We really transformed their space.