Are You A Fellow Designer Who's Addicted to HGTV?

By Denise Butchko | Posted: 10/23/2013 9:16AM


OK, maybe not addicted, but how much HGTV do you watch? (There's no wrong answer here people, and no judgment). Do you have favorite shows?

For me, I love catching “House Hunters International” because I can pretend I'm moving to Switzerland or Rome and Bali along with the people they're featuring in the episode. I also really enjoy “Extreme Homes” because it features what's really “out there” in terms of design and architecture.

Do you think that might help me design better spaces? I do. And so does Angelia York, one of the Top Shelf Design Awards judges who has an admitted addiction to watching HGTV.

I recently interviewed York, vice president of St. Louis Closet Company, to get her insights on great designs and design awards. Here are some of the thoughts she shared:

Angelia York
St. Louis Closets Co.
Maplewood, MO

Angelia York
St. Louis Closets Co.
Maplewood, MO

- See more at:

Question: What do you think are the most important elements to a successful design award submission?

“The quality of the photos is really important. I see a lot of below average photography because things are staged. If the space looks disorganized, then you didn't come up with the right design solution for that customer. Take 4 – 5 items out of the picture and then take the photograph. Focus on the system more and the stuff less.”

Question: What do you look for in the designs?

“Symmetry is very important to me. Do the drawers stack up? Is there an overall plan? Is there a “wow” factor? There often is for a large closet because of the size, but the details and the details shots are really important.

I also look for how they met challenges in their design solutions. Why did they do what they did (especially if the design itself isn't that impressive and you don't have much to say about it. Then I did to know what challenges you overcame and what problems you solved.”

Question: What do you find most annoying?

“Lack of effort. If you are going to go through the steps of entering a contest, put 100% effort behind it. Take great pictures. Write a great description. Help me feel and see and experience your design as much as you can.”

Question: What design principle do you see ignored the most?

“The width of sections. For example, a section will hold 2 ½ pair of women’s shoes. That's not very functional. Or the depth of something will not really accommodate the specific client. We're not all built the same, so if you're designing a custom space, make sure you incorporate the height and size of your individual clients.”

Question: Where do you get your design inspiration?

“I like Pinterest and Houzz. I also like magazines that talk about inspiration. And, of course, I watch HGTV. I love “Property Brothers” and the “House Hunters” series – both domestic and international. And, on the other side of the coin, I get rather annoyed with “Love It or List It”. It's too over the top and the show is too formulaic. You know what's going to happen and you're kind of waiting for the drama.

And if you'd like more insights about fitting the pieces together, join me for a free webinar about just that - “How to Create Award Winning Designs” -

I'll be co-presenting with award winning designer Janet Stevenson from Closet City. Janet serves on the board of directors for the Association of Closet and Storage Professionals and help create the designer certification program. She and I will discuss different facets of great design as well as share info about different contests you can enter and ways to market and leverage your participation in design contests. It will be a fun and insightful hour sponsored by KCD Software. Just click on the link to reserve your seat and then join us on October 25th at noon eastern time.


About the Author

Denise Butchko

Denise Butchko is a design and marketing expert who teaches these concepts with the intention of helping people grow their businesses (particularly those in the design/build industries). She’s been a contributor to Closets magazine since 2003 and is a judge for the closet industries “Top Shelf” Design Competition. She's also a member of the first graduating class of Registered Storage Designers. Her design work has been featured in national publications like “Better Homes & Gardens” and The Chicago Tribune and she works with some of the top interior design firms in the country. She’s helped cabinet companies launch closet product lines and trained sales professionals in both design and marketing, including ways to leverage social media and design to increase opportunities and brand themselves as the “go to expert”. If you want to have fun while you learn and bring your “A” game to your business, Denise is the one to partner with to make that happen. You can find her at Google+ or go to or to

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left


Search our database for woodworking equipment, supplies and services:

Select a category:

Feedback Form
Feedback Form