David Bromstad: From Animation Dreams to Design Stardom

Juggling the roles of fashion designer, decorator and television personality, HGTV star David Bromstad leads a colorful life. Before delivering the commencement address to this year’s Ringling College of Art and Design graduates, the alum talked with SRQ Backlot about his own experiences with Disney, television and movies. Now a world-famous interior designer, Bromstad’s career began with a very different dream. “I actually wanted to be a Disney animator,” he said, “ever since I was five years old.” The Little Mermaid was the first film to spur him to be an artist, hooking him with the music and a new style of animation. “I think I watched it five times in the theater,” he said, confessing he wanted to be a mermaid too. But two months into classes at Ringling College, Bromstad took his first animation course and quickly realized it was not for him. After dreaming about this for 15 years, he had no idea what was next. “So I just rolled through it and said I’m going to be the best drawer and the best painter I can possibly be,” he said. “We’re going to let God figure the rest out and just go with my instinct.” He later followed those instincts, working for Disney in a different way. Crafting everything from window displays to sculptures for the Orlando theme parks, he learned the art of perfection from the happiest place on earth. “Do you ever go into Disney and see a flaw in anything?” he asked. The skills he acquired there led to the chance of a lifetime: to be a contestant on HGTV’s first season of Design Star. “I’d never planned on being on TV – It was not in the cards,” he said. “I knew I wanted to be famous for my craft; I didn’t think I was going to actually be famous.” While the first few days of Design Star were terrifying, Bromstad loved every second of the challenging show. Without their phones, TV, music or magazines, “it was like boot camp for designers on steroids,” he said. Coming from a highly competitive family, he excelled at the competition, knowing he had to reach the final four and once he achieved that goal, win the competition. “I went in a very insecure person and I came out knowing exactly what I was,” he said. “TV doesn’t usually do that to you, it usually tears you down.” After winning, Bromstad launched his own HGTV show, Color Splash, which ran from 2007-2013 as one of channel’s most successful shows. In the 11 seasons based in San Francisco and then Miami, he became known as ‘The Color Guy’ for his bold transformations and original artwork. But when Bromstad has time off, his guilty pleasure is being lazy. With a crazy schedule of television, travel, events and design, he can’t wait to stretch out on the couch and catch up on some TV. “When I come home I just don’t want to move, I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to do anything,” he said. “I just want to watch my shows, my DVR, movies.” Bromstad is obsessed with movies. A self-professed fantasy and science-fiction dork, he loves both the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series. Some of his recent favorites include Pitch Perfect and the “deliciously tantalizing” Fifty Shades of Grey, but he also loves animated movies, particularly Disney’s Big Hero Six, which he falls asleep to regularly. Now Bromstad hosts a new HGTV show, My Lottery Dream Home, where he’s responsible for finding the perfect property for recent lottery winners. “We get to find them their dream house of craziness,” Bromstad said. The show feels like the eccentric and wealthy relative of sister show House Hunters. Each episode follows a buyer like the California couple of the pilot, who won $180 million and when they found their dream home, bought the entire mountain it was located on. The first two episodes premiered in March to solid ratings, and it is now being picked up for a full season later this year.

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