When Genevieve was asked to audition for Trading Spaces (after making a name for herself on MTV), she didn’t react as positively as you’d think. “I was like, ‘No! Interior design is so lame.’ I had an idea of who that lady was, and she was not chic. I had watched Designing Women, and I wasn’t that girl. I wasn’t Dixie Carter with the big scarf and frou-frou hair, holding a mint julep. Interiors didn’t feel cool back then. And I didn’t want to get into something uncool,” explains Genevieve. “But once I saw how creative it could be and how much you could do with an approachable amount of money, I was very interested.”
As the head-turning statuesque Gorder appealingly prattled on with the hilarious Randall Tang, her longtime hair and makeup stylist, she seemed to be as unprepared for me as I was for her; and by that I mean she didn’t have her guard up. Not even a little. She was instantly familiar—sarcastic, playful, real. This casual/chummy drop-by feeling in the air had the makings of becoming a very interesting, memorable day. I wasn’t wrong.
As I continued to assess why my game face wasn’t on, I realized that it felt as if Genevieve and I were already old friends. After all, I’ve been aware of Gorder’s telegenic existence for at least a decade, and not once did she come across as phony. In that magic box in my living room, Gorder seemed to be completely herself; exceedingly comfortable in her own skin. And she appeared to be—wait for it—nice. At least “celebrity nice,” you know? The kind of nice that makes you think that if a famous person got to know you, you’d be BFFs in a snap. I didn’t come prepared to grill/seduce/conquer Genevieve Gorder because why would I have to grill/seduce/conquer such a “good friend”?
“Bebelle has a beautiful bedroom. I put in a bunch of furniture from my grandmother,” says Gorder. “My grandmother’s bed that I slept in as a kid is now my daughter’s bed.” The designer wasn’t reusing the furniture to cut down on costs, though it’s always a plus. “[It’s important] to have things from family so she knows she’s part of something bigger, and she respects older furniture and techniques that just get ingrained into their visual memory,” explains Gorder. To avoid looking outdated, Gorder spruced up the piece. “I painted the bed with a gorgeous black oil paint so it makes it look more contemporary and give it a new life,” she says.