Tamika, Jamaal, & Nate!

By Kate Riley April 8, 2011

Happy Friday all!  Yesterday was the airing of my design plan for Tamika and Jamaal on The Nate Berkus Show.  It’s surreal watching yourself on television, but what an honor to be given the task of designing a space for a wonderful family.  For those of you who missed it, here’s a bit of background.  Tamika and Jamaal are a happily married couple with two young children.  They were not feeling ‘House Proud’ so they submitted their family room dilemma to Nate.  The Nate Show called me and asked if I would put together a new design plan for Tamika and Jamaal to suit their lifestyle and personality.

Tamika and Jamaal were looking to add comfort and style to their bland family room space.  Tamika has been busy pursuing her masters degree so she hasn’t had the time or energy to create the colorful welcoming family room of her dreams.  If you saw the opening segment yesterday, what was clear was their room suffered from two design dilemmas: disproportionate furnishings and lack of color.


tamika before


In the questionnaire submitted to the show, Tamika’s revealed her favorite colors were orange and pink, so that became the starting point for adding color to the new space.  As much as Jamaal loved his huge TV, Tamika envisioned a comfortable space that would serve more than just TV viewing.  She wanted a space where her family could gather for not only movie nights, but also a room where she could entertain.

We were in a time crunch because the segment and room design came together mere days before the show was filmed so I had to work with readily available décor, nothing custom or special order this time.  Big props to The Nate Show for their ability to grab these home furnishings in a quick turnaround!

Here’s a clip from the show talking about the new ‘After’ design:

kates room design


In the ‘Before’ floor plan, the oversized sectional (which was much too large for the space) was blocking the flow of traffic:

jamaal tamika before

In the new design, the smaller sofa was reconfigured to sit under the windows, and colorful versatile furnishings were pulled into the space to allow for better traffic flow and entertaining.

family room after


Knowing Tamika loves pink and orange, I found a perfect 8’ x 10’ rug in the most fantastic colors.  Honestly, if nothing else worked, I really wanted this rug seen in my inspiration board below, because it’s just so vibrant and fun, exactly like Jamaal and Tamika.  Thankfully, the resourceful producers over at Nate were able to track it down in Manhattan for me!

tamika jamaal family room


Next came the issue of a functional, properly scaled sofa in a family friendly fabric.  Originally, I was thinking about this small scale sectional under the window, but it wasn’t available, so for Plan B, we turned to this loveseat/chaise combo in chocolate brown.  Deep brown is rich but also very forgiving so that was an easy choice, especially because Tamika has pale colored walls, and also because there is that same deep color in the rug.  You really can’t go wrong when you design your room around the colors in a rug or fabric swatch, pulling your hues from that inspiration piece.

Other accessories in this space from top left:  burnt orange tray tables; cream chenille pillows; flower patch pillows; orange alpaca throw; JA Capri lamp (similar version on set); tie dye pillows; tulip leather chair; narrow leg six drawer dresser (media center).

Tamika emailed me this week and asked for suggestions for the walls and window treatments.  The room would truly be complete by removing the white blinds and replacing them with interior mount woven shades on the trio of windows. Layered on top, four of these Turmeric panels to bring in more texture, color, and also elongate the space.  I insist those panels are trimmed in jute along the edges for that extra detail!  {Another great trick for customizing store bought window panels.}

tamkika windows and walls

Behind the media center, I’d add one feature wall in this Astek grasscloth wallpaper (gorgeous in person) and then paint the surrounding walls that lead to the dining room and up to the second story in Valspar’s ‘Heavy Cream’ ~ that paint color works perfectly with the tones in the textural wallpaper, plus keeps the space light and bright.

If you’d like to see the segment where the room design is revealed, it is here:


There’s no greater satisfaction than to hear from a happy client at the end of the day.  Here are a few words from Tamika:

“You really have changed the way I see my home, Kate.  Every time I walk in the door and look at the redesigned space I get really emotional because I am just so happy and I can’t believe that I actually live here!  There is a bright and sunny and positive feeling in there now.  The colors you chose really do reflect my personality and outlook on life.  I find myself spending even more time in there and in a better mood whereas before, I would spend as little time as possible because I just felt trapped by all the furniture.

I have a newfound love and appreciation for my home and family room now and it’s all because of you and the Nate Berkus Show!  Words really cannot express just how much this really means to me as it seems that “Thank You” just isn’t enough.  But please know that we are sincerely grateful.”

Even better, Tamika just completed her Masters of Science degree, and picked up her diploma this week.  I’m sending out a huge heartfelt “Congratulations!” to Tamika for her dedication and hard work.  Bravo girl!  Cheers to many happy memories in your new career and your new space!   Also, a huge thank you to Nate Berkus and his producers for this completely amazing opportunity.




  1. From the floor plan it looks like a tough room to design, definitely made for a time when we didn’t gather around our televisions. You did a nice job on the furniture layout, though. That rug is gorgeous, pulls the whole room together, gives you the perfect jumping off point and is bright without looking like it should be in a child’s room. I would have it in my own home. The pillows keep the yumminess moving throughout the space. Love what you did for this family, Kate.

  2. Dear Kate,

    Well how awesome is that!!!!!

    Well done and it is so cool to see you and hear your voice. I have a real person to go with the blog now.

    Loved what you did and you rescued them from that sea of furniture..great colors for a fun family room. You must feel very proud.

    Janet xox

  3. Congratulations on your 2nd appearance on the Nate show!! I saw your first but am so bummed that I totally spaced and forgot to tune in for your second. Thanks for showing a recap – a great transformation! :)

  4. Saw the show-great job on the room!! Hope you get to do more for Nate!!!

  5. I saw that yesterday! I record Nate’s show and really enjoyed that segment but didn’t realize that was you! LOVED that rug! Such happy vibes in it, I can well imagining them smiling every time they enter that room now! Great job!

  6. Wow! Congratulations to Tamika, and congratulations to you for another feature on The Nate Show! I missed it!!! I was at the church volunteering for a fundraiser but I am almost positive my DVR recorded it, especially if it was a new episode. So proud to “know” a designer and blogger who gets to share the stage with Nate. ;) The room is lovely, and I can’t wait to see it in more detail on the show…now if I can just get through today’s to-do list so I have a chance to sit down again!! :) Happy Weekend!

  7. Dear Kate,

    What a FANTASTIC job you did transforming this room! I am so proud of you and the inspiration you are to so so many of us! I actually got tears in my eyes watching the happiness you brought to this family! Thanks for sharing all that you do!


  8. I’m so glad that you included a clip of the show because I missed it. You did a really great job. You spoke well and seemed so sure of yourself ~ and the room was beautiful, too! Nate seemed to really like it!! :) Well done.

  9. You did a wonderful job. I love it when a space is designed for the people who live there. You really get that. I need to get on the Nate show next for my problem living room! :-)


  10. You did great on The Nate Show!!! You were a real pro and the couple seemed genuinely happy with your design- I would be! Keep up the good work!!!!

  11. I loved that you could tell that they were completely grateful and in love with the room. You did such a fantastic job and are so natural on TV, it’s scary. Ok, so my question is…where did the big TV end up??

  12. How exciting! You are a natural on tv. So fun to hear your voice! :) The room looks great!

  13. Kate, I heart you!!! You are DEFINITELY going places!!! I can see it now…Kate’s new HGTV show called, “Centsational”!! I would SO tune in for that! You are great on camera, not shy at all, and come across so professional and poised! Thanks for allowing me to tag along on your never-ending journey of DIY-ing. : )

    xoxo – Noelle

  14. I saw the show Kate, and you were great! I am so impressed. I enjoy your blog so much. I learn so many new things to try. You def inspire me to try things!


  15. Sorry for the double post but forgot to say you are a natural for television.

  16. Hey Kate, Awesome job!! Thanks for posting a clip. By the time I remembered Nate was on is was too late and I missed you. Love the colors in that room, such a positive vibe to it. Congratulations and wishing you continued success! ~Catie

  17. I thought you did such a great job!!! I loved the room and it was clear they were genuinely thrilled with the result. I love the way you added vibrant color without throwing super bold color on the wall or making it look like a circus. Very tasteful, but still super fun. Loved it!!


  18. This room is fabulous, and you did an AHMAZING job at both the design board, but even (maybe more importantly for a show) with your stage presence. You came off as knowledgeable, poised, gracious, and attentive to the homeowners taste. I’m very impressed! Way to go Kate :)

  19. I missed yesterday’s episode so thanks for sharing the clip. You are a natural in front of the camera and love how the room turned out!

  20. Great job, Kate! I love the room. How much fun was that?! You are a natural, sweetheart. ;)
    So proud of you and happy for all the blessings coming your way.

  21. Great job Kate!

    I just wish Nate would have let you talk more so you could explain everything that you did. Hopefully the Nate views will look at your blog to get the deets.

    You prove time and time again what a talent you are. GREAT JOB!!!

    P.S. I love that blouse.

  22. Great show, great room that you did for Tamika and Jamaal; this is really a terrific gift you have given this family. Thanks for including a clip in your post; I looked yesterday on Nate Berkus (online) and couldn’t find anything but your own House Proud pictures. BTW-you are a total natural on television. I think you should host your own show. :)

  23. Loved your whole segment!! The room turned out beautifully and you looked great! And I noticed you wore pants this time around…heehee! Smart! Once again, job well done!

  24. I saw the show and was sooooo excited for you.
    I felt like I was wathcing my friend, even though
    we’ve never met. What a great opportunity and
    you did a beautiful job with the room. It’s so nice to
    see someone be successful with something that they
    are passionate about. Well done!!

  25. You were a natural, Kate! You seemed a perfect fit to be Nate’s co-host! Or to have your own show – yeah, that’s a better idea! Great job on the room!

  26. Wow Kate, I really enjoyed watching your segment in the show. I like how you get to the bottom line of what to choose for color. All the best to you for future shows :)

  27. Congratulations! You did awesome! I would have been a nervous wreck! You’re such a pro! Thanks for posting the clip. :)

  28. Gosh I wish I could use your talent to make something out of my awkward living/dining room combo !! You rocked this transformation !!

  29. That was a great segment. You did an amazing job for a really sweet couple. You looked like you were right at home on TV so relaxed and natural.

  30. I loved that the couple and the room was so real of what people do in picking furniture for their space. I am so happy for them that they don’t have to jump over that sea of couch any longer to get to other parts of their house. You did a great job on pulling the room together for them. And I too loved the blouse.

  31. Would love to know when the show repeats so i can tape it. You make me feel like a proud Mamma! Great job Kate! xoxoxo

  32. Awesome job Kate! Loved it!! It’s great to see that Jaamal loved it. You are a natural for TV.

  33. I saw your segment Kate.. you are a natural !!! You did an amazing job with the room but you also did an amazing presentation job. Congrats!

  34. This is great! Congratulations! I can’t believe you are on TV. I found your blog when you first started. I first saw the room you did for your little girl and I’ve been following you ever since. I’ve learned so much from you. You need to do a book or have a TV show something. I can’t wait to see where this takes you!

  35. Wow Kate! I am so impressed both with your design and the fact that you were on the Nate Berkus Show (again)! That’s so great! Will this become a regular stint for you? I hope so!

  36. Hi Kate!

    This is great! Thanks again for all that you have done and thanks to all your fans for the well wishes. I love the additional design suggestions you posted. I will seriously try to implement those in the next couple of weeks!

    Your the Best!


  37. Love the new space. I like that made the room look so modern, warm, and comfortable all at the same time. The room looks much less crowded. I love the Nate Berkus show. As a matter of fact my last blog post is about my little crush with Nate. LOL. Hope to see more of you on the show!


  38. I love what you designed! The color scheme, space planning and furniture selection is right on! I saw the video clip too and you look great! Congratulations my friend!!!


  39. What a great design! Lots of color and comfort. Thanks for posting the clip. Nice to see Nate’s recognition of your interior design.

  40. What a natural for TV. You are so down to earth and inspirational in your design. You really are inspiring! Thanks so much

  41. Yay, Kate! It was so much fun to see someone I know in person on the Nate showing doing a fantastic job! You hit it out of the park on this one. So happy for your fab opportunity. I knew you when! :) xoxo

  42. WOW! You did a fantastic job! It’s beautiful and they love it! You are a natural in front of the camera and with your amazing talent for design.

    I’m so happy to see you with Nate! So exciting! :)

  43. I had recorded Nate yesterday and just finished watching it. You did a fabulous job, Kate! It was so fun to Tamika and Jamaal’s expression and they were thrilled with the space you designed for them. What a cute couple they are. You were a natural on TV and looked beautiful. What a wonderful opportunity for you and I know many more are on their way! I’m so happy for you!

  44. Oh! I have such fond memories of Waverly fabric. I used to live near a store that carried the traditional ones and I used to get remnants to make pillows and curtains out of. Still have some in my sewing basket!

    I would love some of this to make some tie up shades for my kitchen. I’m planning a major paint and shelving rehab in there this summer!

  45. Way to Go Kate! You did a great job on TV. You even knew how to stand when the focus was on you. Was this your first time doing this on TV? Like everyone said, you’re a natural. I was fun to see a fellow blogger and hear your voice. I love what you did for their living room too.

  46. I am really happy to see you on TV Kate! Hope to see you have your own show one day!

  47. SO INSPIRING and Centsational, YOU ARE! And for a naive domestic engineer, would you tell me how to find blinds just like the ones you have in your Windows and Walls plan???? Thank you!!

  48. Girl, you are too many things. And one of them is a supa-star. I adore the color you worked into this room. Since Ethan showed a love for orange at quite a young age–which has persisted–I’ve learned how warm and ungarish orangey tones can be when done right. Naturally, you’ve done it right.

  49. I tuned into the Nate Berkus show and heard your name and thought, “Hey, that’s Centsational Girl!” Congratulations on coming up with a great design solution. I was glad they showed pictures of your own home designs as well. Good luck with future TV gigs.

  50. You did such a good job! And you were very charismatic on screen too – much like in your blog. ;)

  51. it’s about time they’ve put you on tv-and i just think it’s too cute
    the nate and KATE show! love your style-your heart and that your talent is finding outlets and being showcased and shared! can’t wait to see what else is in store for you!

  52. I agree with all of your adoring fans “Nate AND Kate” sounds GREAT!

    {*Swoon!*} YOU are terrific, my love! XOXOXO!

  53. LOVE IT (of course)! So impressive how you were able to show their personalities. It’s time for your own tv show! :)

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