Coffee With: Carter Oosterhouse

Carter Oosterhouse & Amy Smart

Carter Oosterhouse & Amy Smart

You know Carter Oosterhouse from Trading Spaces and The Great Christmas Light Fight, but did you know Carter’s also one-half of home brand SmartHouse Collections? We spoke with him about DIY tips, fine wine, and going green.

Q&A With Carter Oosterhouse

Casaza: How did you get your start?
Carter Oosterhouse:
I was 12-years-old when I worked on my first construction job. A neighbor needed someone to pick up trash on a job site, and I was his guy! Then it became a regular gig, and I moved up the ladder. I became his apprentice and learned the ropes. Eventually, building homes helped me get through college. The design work didn’t start until my late 20’s.

C: How would you describe your style?
CO:
Simple is always better in my opinion. I like to keep things clean and streamlined. The composition of elegant finishes and organic wood grain is the perfect recipe!

C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
CO:
Nature is our biggest supplier of inspiration. Once we stop and see our natural surroundings, we realize we have so much to learn.

C: Favorite room in the house?
CO:
Bedrooms. We spend one-third of our lives in our bedrooms, so it should truly be a place to relax and recharge.

C: Design rule you don’t subscribe to?
CO:
I don’t like to have too many rules. Design is like a good wine — it’s relative to the person.

Fisher Mansion design by Carter Oosterhouse
Design by Carter Oosterhouse | Courtesy of MLive

C: Recent project that inspired you?
CO:
My sister and I transformed a sitting room in the Charles T. Fisher Mansion in Detroit. They had numerous designers collaborate on a historical home for the Junior League of Detroit’s Designers’ Show House. It was pretty remarkable.

C: Favorite texture/pattern/color?
CO:
Natural finish, blonde wood tone is something that I’m really into right now. Seeing the natural grain on ash, beech, oak, and even pine can make any room feel cozy yet still make a statement.

C: What is “good design” to you?
CO:
When a designer takes the time on every detail. Always sweat the small stuff. That’s what makes a good room great.

C: Pack your bag! You’re moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
CO:
Jennifer Aniston had a remarkable home feature in Architectural Digest a few years back; her home was pretty amazing.

C: What’s your rule when entertaining?
CO:
I want my guest to feel like they are at home when they’re at my house, so much that they can get their own drinks.

C: Best advice for DIYers?
CO:
Don’t stop. YouTube is your best friend. You can find out how to do anything.

C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
CO:
Always ask a friend, a neighbor, family member. Everyone has good experiences and everyone has bad ones. Find the good ones.

C: What is one design trend are you most excited about this season?
CO:
I love the kitchen color craze! More colors on more appliances throughout the kitchen is visually a dramatic movement.

C: How do you take your coffee?
CO:
Little cream, little sugar.

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