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7 Things Bobby Berk Has Learned From 9 Years of Designing New Builds

Including where to splurge during construction.
Lydia Geisel Avatar
man in brown jacket
Photography by Viby Creative for Tri Pointe Homes

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Bobby Berk has a hot take to get off his chest: New builds are the most fun to design. “They get a bad rap because they’re a blank slate, but I think they’re the most inspiring because I get to do whatever I want,” says the designer. For nine years, Berk has been a Tri Pointe Homes collaborator, most recently debuting a series of 10 different models that will be implemented across all of the company’s communities by 2025, from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Rancho Mission Viejo, California. 

kitchen with brown cabinets
Photography by Kara Mercer; Styling by Teressa Johnson for Tri Pointe Homes

Buyers will not only be able to tour a Berk-designed space, they can also personalize their very own Tri Pointe home with his curation of finishes and furniture. “At the end of the day, every home at one point was a new build,” says Berk. “This just means you get to put your stamp on it before somebody else.” Ahead, Berk shares his top tips for getting creative with a blank slate. 

The Trick to Adding Character 

Paint is always going to be the way to get the biggest bang for your buck. We actually used paint [in the Tri Pointe homes] to create murals. And no, it doesn’t have to be cherubs in a nursery—it can be slight differences in colors to create a pattern. I also love doing the trim one shade darker than what’s on the wall. It has this cool effect where everything looks monochrome and cohesive, but still different.

Where You Should Splurge During Construction 

They always say the kitchen is the heart of the home, and it’s especially true for more modern, open-concept houses. Using a really cool material for your countertops is a great way to infuse some uniqueness. I like dark countertops with a lot of movement in them.

The Cabinet Style That Will Always Be Timeless 

I like using light wood cabinets as a way to bring warmth into a space. Because I [tend to] use darker countertops, I prefer those warmer woods or else it’ll feel too overpowering. 

blue bathroom with wood vanity
Photography by Kara Mercer; Styling by Teressa Johnson for Tri Pointe Homes

The Best White Paints for a Fresh Feel

Snowbound by Sherwin-Williams and Snowfall White by Behr

The Decision You Can’t Go Wrong With

Carpeting in a bedroom is one of those things that’s like, are you a toilet paper over-the-roll or under-the-roll type of person? I personally don’t like carpeting in my bedroom because I have bad allergies, plus I just like the same flooring throughout my house, whether it be hardwood or tile. But some people who live in colder climates want it to be warm and cushy. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. 

gray-taupe bedroom
Photography by Kara Mercer; Styling by Teressa Johnson for Tri Pointe Homes

The Simplest Way to Break Up a Boxy Design 

I love putting pocket doors in bathrooms. It’s a great way to not only save space but make it a little bit more interesting. I also think doors are a great place to add paint. I love a black door. 

A Quick Upgrade You Can Make Post-Construction

One of the very first things I would always do in a new apartment was go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and buy different switch plate and outlet covers, either brass or stainless steel ones. It made the space feel special.

Lydia Geisel Avatar

Lydia Geisel

Home Editor

Lydia Geisel has been on the editorial team at Domino since 2017. Today, she writes and edits home and renovation stories, including house tours, before and afters, and DIYs, and leads our design news coverage. She lives in New York City.