Exclusive Interview: Nathan Thomas, Winner of ‘Top Design’ News

  • Nov 7, 2008
  • Buddy TV

On last night’s season finale of Top Design, Nathan Thomas crowned the winner, beating out finalists Preston Lee and Ondine Karady.  For their final challenge, the designers were given a $60,000 budget to furnish a Los Angeles condo.  They were only given two days to complete their designs, proving to be extremely challenging for the final three.  Throughout the season, Thomas stood out for his unique looks and last night’s finale was no exception.  As the winner, he receives the grand prize of $100,000 and a spread in Elle Decor magazine.  Today, he spoke to BuddyTV in an exclusive interview.

Below, you will find the complete transcript and mp3 of the interview.


First of all, congratulations. I’m so happy for you.

Thank you. Thank you. Me too.


Tell me a little bit about your background in interior design, and how you first got started.

I had a pretty strong interest for it when I was very young. My mother worked in an architectural firm for a large portion of my life, so I was exposed to blueprints, architecture, design, and things like this. But then I took a different path. And then I transferred schools and moved to New York and interned at interior design programs at Pratt in Brooklyn. And from there, moved onto another school, the Fashion Institute of Technology, where I graduated. And I started working in hospitality design and from there, I moved to residential where I think a lot more creative freedom existed. I was able to express my ideas and thoughts through design a lot easier.

Your style is “out there” sometimes. Did you ever think about toning it or trying to change it to please the judges? Or were you just determined to be yourself the whole time?

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You know, I tried to just be myself most of the time and do something that was very expressive and very Nathan Thomas. I think the one time I did try to tone it down, it backfired in my face. That was in that bedroom in the second to last episode. I think I learned, I don’t do good with toning down. I don’t know how to do it, but I think I still have a lot to learn with going all the way out there, full force.

Who did you perceive to be your biggest competition this season?

I would say Eddie. I think he and I were both each other’s biggest competition because we were so opposite. He’s very well-versed in a different look that I don’t know how to achieve. And vice versa, I think I did work that was very competitive to his.

Do you leave the competition having formed personal relationships with the other contestants?

Absolutely. Without a doubt. I’m very close with Eddie and Andrea, as well. I think the three of us have a pretty tight-knit friendship.


In the last challenge, I saw how stressful it was for everybody, and I know you struggled with the Indian chest. Is there anything you would have done differently if you could have gone back and started it over again?

I wish I would have gone back into that bedroom that I was raked over the coals over, and maybe done something more drastic to the bed. Maybe I would have painted it, or wrapped it in painter’s paper. Something to make it a little bit more extreme and more along the lines of my personality and how I look at design.

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Did you go into the final judges’ panel being confident? What did you think the outcome was going to be?

I felt very confident in my work and very proud of my work. But you know what? I thought Ondine’s work and Preston’s were both really well done and very well put together. So I hoped for the best. I really had no idea. And the outcome was exactly what I wanted.

And what’s in the future for you now? Do you have any plans already?

Yeah, I’m just in the midst of launching my company. It’s called Nathan Thomas Studios. And I really like keeping involved with textiles, setting, lighting, products. And then also focus a lot on interiors as well.


– Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer

(Image courtesy of Bravo)

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