Bobby Berk On Remodeling Homes in a Week — And Which Queer Eye Guy Actually Has the Hardest Job
The design guru finally weighs in on the question Queer Eye fans have been asking all along
The stars of Netflix’s Queer Eye make over their subjects’ lives in the course of one week. But while it makes sense for the heroes to learn a new recipe or overhaul their wardrobes in such a short period of time, fans everywhere have wondered: How on earth is it possible to remodel an entire space in just a few days?
“It’s magic!” interior design guru Bobby Berk tells PEOPLE with a laugh during a conversation about his recent partnership with Lyft in honor of Pride Month.
“No, I’m just kidding,” he continues, adding that the Fab Five — that’s grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness, culture guide Karamo Brown, fashion maven Tan France and food and wine pro Antoni Porowski — really don’t meet their subjects until their time together starts, to keep everything as real as possible.
“I get the house on Tuesday afternoon, when we are initially done meeting our hero” — Queer Eye fans know this as the day that the guys arrives in their truck — “and we’re usually done with him or her around 5. That’s when my team gets the house. And we usually [give] it back by about 9 or 10 am on Friday morning.”
That’s less than three days for the whole home makeover.
As for how exactly that’s humanly possible, Berk explains that “there is, of course, some pre-planning going in. I do get measurements of the space, I get measurements of the windows, I send the team in to get an actual floor plan.”
“For example, in season one, in order to turn Bobby Camp’s front sun room into a great space to use, it needed window shades. There’s no way to get custom window shades in a day. So there are things like that that pre-planning must go into,” he clarifies. “We usually start planning about two weeks in advance for stuff like that, but the design of it, I usually don’t find out the things I really need to make the design personal until that Tuesday.”
Remember the episode in season one with Remington, who inherited his grandmother’s home from the ’70s? “I found out that Tuesday that his favorite show was Mad Men, he wanted to have an advertising agency and his dream vacation was Cuba,” Berk says, so, “That’s how I ended up with a mid-century Cuban design.”
And yes, all of that work does mean that Berk is putting the finishing touches on the home while the subject is pulling into the driveway to finally see their new space. “I’m literally, like, steaming the last little wrinkle out of the curtain when they’re pulling up with them,” Berk laughs.
But lest you think that Berk has the hardest job out of the Fab Five, he actually says that his job is simply the most labor-intensive. “Just because my job is the most time-consuming, by no means it is the most important,” he explains.
“Jonathan might do a twenty minute haircut — although, his haircuts always take way longer than that. He is a perfectionist when it comes to cutting hair. It’s so cute how stressed he gets if like, one little hair isn’t the right length,” he continues. “[But] I could spend an entire week redoing a massive home, and Jonathan could have way more of an impact on that guy’s self-esteem and self-perception with a haircut than I could with a whole home.”
As for which Queer Eye guy has the hardest job? Berk maintains that it’s Karamo Brown who has the most difficult journey. “Every week, he has to reinvent what her does, because his job is really to get at the core of how we can help them emotionally with their self-esteem and their self-care and their love.”
Berk continues, “He has to, every week after we met our subjects, figure out ‘What am I going to do to help this guy.’ Whereas every week I might not know how big the job’s going to be, but I know I’m remodeling something. So, I’m in the game already.”
You can judge that for yourself by checking out both seasons of Queer Eye, which are available to stream on Netflix.