At Home Tennessee article with John Gigging from Curb Appeal
John Gidding is not only articulate but, passionate about his work as an architect and designer, creating personal spaces reflecting an interactive and user friendly aesthetic for institutional and residential occupants. As host of Curb Appeal:The Block for the past six years, he has been instrumental in its success of becoming the number one rated HGTV show on Saturday nights.
Behind the Scenes With HGTV's John Gidding of Curb Appeal:The Block by Howard Wiggins of Howard Wiggins Interior Designa John Gidding is not only articulate but, passionate about his work as an architect and designer, creating personal spaces reflecting an interactive and user friendly aesthetic for institutional and residential occupants. As host of Curb Appeal:The Block for the past six years, he has been instrumental in its success of becoming the number one rated HGTV show on Saturday nights. Born in Istanbul, Gidding attended American schools in Turkey and Switzerland before eventually earning his B.A. Degree in Architecture from Yale and a Masters Degree in Architecture from Harvard. Through his early exposure to international cultures, he chose to embrace a global versus specific approach to define his use of various styles in which to improve the home. Its also his belief that, through his involvement with HGTV, he's evolved his design approach even further through the personal thought process he specifically developed for his work on Curb Appeal. To the viewer audience, the design process can appear relatively simple in terms of the visual. However, Gidding has broken it down into a science, taking into consideration a series of logical steps to complete any project he undertakes. Visiting the targeted home and neighborhood one month in advance, Gidding executes a drawing in order to understand the project better, identifying problems to come up with innovative and viable solutions. The project is then carefully measured, creating a mental map of the space to determine what contractors and tradesmen will be required to facilitate its completion. The third step is a mental process of asking questions and finding answers. Then, a plan is drawn, using elevations for a three dimensional effect, to give shape to the design scheme. And, finally, a time line is determined to execute its plan of action. Aside from the precise technical details involved, though, Gidding believes that its always important to have a good time while working with the homeowner and to make them feel at ease during the filming of the program. Many of us aren't lucky enough to be selected for a costly home makeover on a television show, so, where do those of us begin? According to Gidding, the most effective and inexpensive ways of improving the curb appeal of one's home is to do three simple things which are: Select complementary finishes for the outside of your home;create a proper pathway for pedestrians in order to form a visual arc to the entrance of your home;and, choose an attractive mailbox. By placing seating, whether a chair or bench, outside the home's exterior, one can also invite a sense of community into the neighborhood. What more concise way to create such impact than that, so, I found myself asking him some further questions: Howard: How did being raised in Istanbul influence your design aesthetic? John: Istanbul has always been a melting pot of east and west, of different cultures coming together. This has made me appreciate both modern and traditional styles. This has been particularly the case with my work in Atlanta, where each neighborhood has its own feel, its own sensibility, its own sense of style. Howard: What influenced your decision to study architecture? John: In school, I was both good in math and art. Art, especially, touched me in terms of being creative. I thought of architecture as a profession of being able to create artistic things. Howard: Your style seems modern with some transitional flair. John: That does describe me. I'm a modernist. But, I take a modern approach combining natural materials and materials that are familiar. My design style is warm, comfortable and functional. Howard: Are you going to be a part of the new HGTV magazine that has just been launched? John: The current issue coming out on the news stands will be featuring an article about Curb Appeal:The Block and the challenges the program deals with. The magazine likes to ask me for my insights on what typifies certain kinds of architecture and how to identify and enhance it. Because I do a lot of research for Curb Appeal:The Block, I've become somewhat of an expert on what to look for and what to accentuate in terms of the style of the home. Howard: Can you tell me a little about the costs involved with each project you undertake? Are these costs realistic? John: The budget is realistic for projects. What you see is what you get. This has been the easiest way of making the show resonate with viewers, by adhering to typical market price on labor and materials. Howard: Once the exterior renovation of the home and landscaping has been completed, are the homeowners inspired to make further architectural changes to the interior of their home or to seek the services of an interior designer? John: Absolutely. In many cases they do. In some cases, the homeowners have already redone the interior before deciding to address the landscaping and outward appearance of the home. Howard: Considering the challenges of the present economy, particularly with the housing industry being flat, how would you advise persons in your profession and mine and, those wanting to enter it? John: Do whatever interests and fulfills you, even if the jobs are fewer and the pay is less. Even small clients and small projects present an opportunity for design creativity which can help offset the bottom line. Also, many times, you can leverage your career to new places by doing what you love. I've seen a lot of people start their own business. If you care about what you do, you will do good work and the effort eventually pays off. John Gidding Design, Inc. has been involved in projects worldwide and has offices based out of New York City, Atlanta and San Francisco. A furniture line is currently under development for JGDI.