Special Edition LAB Talks: A Figure at 5 Chat with Queer Eye’s Bobby Berk

LAB Talks

A Figure at 5 Chat with Queer Eye’s Bobby Berk / 5.03.19

A conversation with Alana Ackerson of Figure
and Bobby Berk of Queer Eye

May is Home Improvement Month, and what better way to kick it off than by learning from an industry leader and resident home interior expert of the Fab Five from Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye?! We are so honored to have hosted the one and only Bobby Berk for this Special Edition LAB Talks with Figure at 5. The evening featured a discussion about the most efficient way to transform your home and your well being. It’s safe to say our inner-fan girls were exposed during the release of these tickets, and folks couldn’t reserve their spots fast enough! Luckily, for those who were unable to get a ticket and join IRL, we have footage on facebook which is the next best thing to being there, right? FOMO solved.

On the morning of, our loyal LAB Talks community eagerly awaited the arrival of Bobby who is taking the country (and now the Twin Cities) by storm with his presence. The excitement filled as he entered, cue *celebrity status.* A round of applause erupted and he greeted everyone with that engaging smile and took a seat next to Figure’s co-founder Alana Ackerson. They hit the ground running and indulged in a happy conversation discussing transformation and renovation - two concepts that are not to be taken lightly in the interior world. Right away, he touched on some of his favorite projects which made us giddy to run home and peek at past episodes for reference. (Netflix and chill, anyone? We’re feeling a serious binge coming on.) We felt like true insiders to receive some hilarious and candid insights into the makings of Queer Eye - we’ll leave it to you to pick up on those via the FB video link shared above.

It was immediately clear and there’s no denying that Bobby’s charm certainly isn’t a facade for television - his infectious personality and captivating energy could be felt as soon as he entered, and we were at the edge of our seats to hear more from him!


Alana led the discussion with enthusiasm, asking only thoughtful questions while contributing her lively personality in engaging the audience with laughter, insight and natural chemistry with Bobby.

What is one little thing that you can do to improve your house that can make a huge difference?

Paint. It can be something that is quick and that isn’t a huge project. It can make you feel like you’re not living in someone else’s dirt. Actually, in season 3, I painted 6 out of 8 houses.

What is your favorite room to design in the home?

I would say the kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of the home and it is where you get the most bang for your buck. You start and end your day there.


We took the liberty and asked Bobby about his personal life and about the making of Queer Eye - how could we not?!

What is something that you have had forever, that you haven’t gotten rid of?

My husband. Actually, if you haven’t heard my story I left home at 15 and move around a lot. I didn’t keep many possessions with me as I moved sometimes 5 times in a year. The one thing I have kept is a blanket from Banana Republic Home, believe it or not.

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Do you struggle with people who want to keep sentimental items in their home when you are doing a renovation?

Yes. Let it go, let it go! You’re on a damn show! By season 3 people told me to do whatever in their house. But, seasons 1 and 2 people were a little less trusting of me because they hadn’t really seen what I could do.


What is one design trend that you hate?

I don’t think there are any that I hate. I mean, there are a lot of trends that just aren’t for me. But I can appreciate the beauty behind them. Different things spark joy for different people.

Do you have a favorite project from the show?

They are all my favorites, but in terms of my style being reflected in the project I would say AJ from season 1. I would totally live in that home because it was designed with my aesthetic.

What is your best advice for working with small spaces?

Go up. Don’t just think about the space from left to right, but work with the vertical space as well.


What advice to you give people before you leave them in their new homes?

Just like Ru Paul I say, “don’t f*ck it up.”

You know, I do leave them with the thought that a clean house effects your mental health. If you wake up to the laundry you kept telling yourself you were going to do, then the first feeling you will have in the morning is disappointment. But, if you wake up with a house that is tidy you can them focus on goals and things that make you happy. I really teach the heroes that your home is like your charger, you have to plug yourself in to recharge.

How long do you get to remodels a hero’s home on the show?

I get the home on Tuesday afternoon and I have it done by Friday morning. We do a lot of preplanning. I fill a warehouse with furniture before the season starts so that I can pick things out for the hero’s home within that time frame.


“Investing a few minutes a day to keep your space tidy can go a long way.”


*Fan Moments*


Thank you Figure!

A special thank you to Figure in partnering with LAB and bringing Bobby to Minneapolis! We appreciated learning about the most efficient way to finance a home remodel.

And another HUGE thank you to Bobby Berk for spending time with the LAB community. You made us smile, giggle and have an inspiring Friday afternoon. Cheers!



Ugly Kitchen Contest

Figure is hosting an Ugly Kitchen Contest where you can enter for a chance to win your dream kitchen makeover. All you have to do is snap a photo, describe your design dreams, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win $25,000 to put towards a kitchen remodel! Use hashtag #figureuglykitchen. Post away!!


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Written by: LAB Intern & Contributing Writer Madeline Wichterman. Photography by: Kathryn Eurman, Grace Vo, and Karlie Place