Candice Olson, the star of HGTV’s “Divine Design” and “Candice Tells All,” will be fielding questions from the audience as part of her presentation at the 11th annual “Fresno Fall Home Improvement Show,” which runs Friday, Nov. 4, to Sunday, Nov. 6, at the Fresno Fairgrounds.
Olson will talk about the basics of design, such as what elements she looks for when she walks into a room. She will speak at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.. The seminars are free with show admission or you can purchase reserve seats and a place in the meet and greet.
While the questions should be generic enough that the whole audience can use the information, don’t worry about stumping her. After 12 years of being on TV, decades doing interior design and multiple books, she’s prepared.
Over the years, she’s had some interesting challenges. She had to incorporate a 10-foot gilded lion into a new design. On another job, the family had a grand piano – that had been spray painted gold – she needed to make fit with her new look.
“One man had a beer bottle collection that he had been putting together since college,” Olson says. “My job, just like in retail where they make a $10 blouse look like it is worth $2,000, is to make what the client wants look its best. But, in this case, it was beer bottles and not an art glass collection.”
She’s learned to adapt to projects over the years.
“I go into a job with a master plan for a residential job but as soon as you start ripping things apart , you find asbestos, lead paint or raccoons living in the attic,” Olson says.
Having a good sense of humor helps. Olson says she began working in design when “the Earth started to cool.” It hasn’t been that long, but viewers first saw her when she appeared on TV in Canada in 2001. Two years later, “Divine Design” debuted in the United States. “Candice Tells All” joined the HGTV lineup a decade later.
Along with being a TV host, she has the Candice Olson Collection that features items for the home decor market, including upholstered furniture, fabric, lighting, rug and wallpaper lines.
Olson will talk about what to do when taking on home improvement projects, and will tell you what not to do.
“The biggest mistake most people make is electrical work and they learn what they’ve done wrong quickly,” Olson says. “Also, everyone thinks they can finish off a project with paint. It depends on the craftsmanship to that point. You can hide some not great work with professional paint. Unprofessional painting added to bad work only makes it worse.”
The only way fans of the designer can see her work these days is either through the reruns of her shows or at live events.
“One thing, after 12 years of TV shows and 15 years of my own business, I’m not going to do TV again. And, I don’t miss it. I miss the crew and the people, but I’m old and have kids,” Olson says. “I feel fortunate to have been on TV when design shows on TV was something new. I felt we were on at a great time. The trends on are going in a way I didn’t want to go with the emphasis going off design and to more real estate shows.”
Olson pauses, laughs, and then adds that she’s 52 and no one wants to see someone that old on TV.
Fresno Fall Home Improvement Show
- 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4; 10 a.m - 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5; 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6
- Admission is $8 for adults, kids 12 and under are free, seniors 62 and over $4