September 22, 2023


Gets In Done On Time

Jasmine Roth Talks Unique Home Design

It’s Barbie’s world, and we’re all just living in it! But to make it even better, HGTV is giving one lucky fan this summer the chance to stay in an epic life-size renovation inspired by the iconic Mattel toy’s hot digs thanks to its boldest competition yet with Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge. Days before the highly anticipated release of Warner Bros. Picture’s Barbie movie, the network is releasing the first of its four-part series hosted by supermodel, designer, and author, Ashley Graham and features eight teams of HGTV superstars (and one celebrated Food Network chef), including Jasmine Roth, to transform a Southern California home into a real-life Barbie dreamhouse.

Ahead of the series premiere on July 16, Help! I Wrecked My House designer, Roth spoke to Collider in an exclusive interview dishing all about the new series, the cultural impact of Barbie, what fans can expect from the mega renovation, and the pressure to unleash creativity far beyond their usual design parameters to dream up a home Barbie would be proud of. The star-studded lineup of HGTV home design and renovation experts who will compete throughout the season continues with Ty Pennington, Alison Victoria, Jonathan Knight, Kristina Crestin, Keith Bynum, Evan Thomas, Brian and Mika Kleinschmidt, Christina Hall, James Bender, Michel Smith Boyd, and Anthony Elle Williams. Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge will also welcome a roster of celebrated designers and stars to judge the spaces, including Maureen McCormick of The Brady Bunch who has a very close connection to Barbie.

What Is ‘Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge’?

Image via HGTV, Max

In addition to a long list of HGTV talent, the show is jam-packed with surprise celebrity guest appearances, including some of the film’s marquee talent, including Margot Robbie, America Ferrera, and Simu Liu. Roth tells Collider that while designing for mega HGTV shows like her previous assignment for the network’s A Very Brady Renovation is always fun, this was one really special. “Because while so many of us host — we have our own individual shows, we don’t see each other as much as we would like to just because, geographically, we’re all over,” Roth said in an exclusive sitdown. “So, when we get to come together, even if it’s in competition, we’re so excited. And this was a friendly competition, right? Everybody won because we were all building the Barbie Dreamhouse.”

In the supersized 90-minute premiere on HGTV and streaming on Max the same day, audiences will get a chance to see Roth kicking off the fun with Food Network’s Antonia Lofaso of Beachside Brawl as they square off against Married to Real Estate’s power couple, Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson for a first-floor showdown. Each episode features a charming and nostalgic look from Barbie over the years, allowing teams to integrate daring designs synonymous with the iconic Dreamhouse throughout the home. In the end, the winning design team will have a donation made in their name to Save the Children, and the fan they play for gets to win a staycation in the home.

How Barbie’s 1960s Style Influenced Design

Image via HGTV, Max

While Roth’s rivals for the Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge premiere take inspiration from neon ‘90s Barbie for a reimagined entryway, living room, and dining room, Roth and Lafaso have to create an awe-inspiring kitchen and family room from the ‘60s. With the decade proving to be one of the most culturally significant to American history and the evolution of technology, Roth and her teammate create a gorgeous home straight out of Mad Men with space-age touches that appear with the touch of a button and sleek mid-century accents. “We got the 1960s for our kitchen, and that was exciting because that’s when Barbie started, so we were kind of tasked with the nostalgia of the original Barbie,” Roth said, revealing how the project become personal when she found out her mother-in-law not only had the first-ever Barbie growing up, but the first-ever dreamhouse too. “That’s so cool and also really nerve-wracking because I know there’s a whole generation of fans out there that this first-ever Barbie Dreamhouse — I mean, Barbie was way ahead of her time! She had her own house!” she laughed.

As it played out, the renovation was no simple feat. With Barbie being a woman of many careers and eras, there are many ways to go about a single decade like the ‘60s and there is never just one single design style or feature to implement. In terms of finding inspiration from Barbie and narrowing it down to a focused level of freshness, Roth said it took some time. “There were definitely things that we wanted to add into the design that we ended up not adding in. For example, a black and white checkered floor is such a big deal, and that was something that we wanted to have because it’s so indicative of that time period, but we also really wanted to stick with good design, if you will,” she tells Collider. “We wanted it to feel sophisticated and chic, and like you walk into that kitchen and not only is it 1960s and Barbie, but it’s also a kitchen you’d actually want to use. So that was the challenge — we wanted it to feel like a toy, but we also wanted it to feel like a good design and be a great representation of what a gorgeous kitchen can be from any era. I think that’s what Barbie would do!”

Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge might seem like it’s set out for just one intent of creating a unique design, but amid the competition, each design team must also include a “toyetic” feature in their spaces — an aspect that can be found in Barbie’s dreamhouse, like a mini elevator or a hidden compartment. This was by far the “easiest part of the design” for Roth following her years of designing on Hidden Potential. “I think just naturally — I never knew the word ‘toyetic’ before this project, but definitely my brain works that way,” she said, revealing how in her previous series “everything was hidden and multifunctional and purpose,” something she still integrates on Help! I Wrecked My House.

“I always have a hidden room. I always have something that you think is one thing, but it’s actually another thing. I also really love multifunctional spaces. Especially in the last couple of years, we’ve all started using our homes in very different ways than we did, say 5/10 years ago. Multifunctional spaces, I think, are the thing that has come out of that in a really positive way. People understand that you might have an extra room in your house, and it needs to be the guest room, it needs to be the gym, it needs to be the home office, it needs to be the playroom, it needs to be all these things. Isn’t a multifunctional piece basically something that you would have in a toyetic feature in a Barbie Dreamhouse?”

Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge’ Raises the Bar on “Competition”

Image via HGTV, Max

While the renovations are all fun and games, Roth teases it also brought out a little drama among the designers in the house and a few other “tiffs between other teams,” but at the end of the day, it’s all love. “We HGTV hosts are competitive – I think that we can’t help ourselves,” Roth laughed. “We get possessive over our space. For some reason, suddenly this kitchen and this house was the only thing I cared about, and the living room and Egypt and Mike’s area. I’m like, ‘Sorry, I’m competitive!’ The thing is, they’re just as competitive and I’m pretty sure they would do the exact same thing. So, I stand by our decision, and I know that the other teams, like, it’s all love, but it’s also all war — we are competitive!”

The Virginia native who grew up in the “middle of nowhere” didn’t spend as much time with Barbie as others in her adolescent years, but her first real experience was in going to friends’ houses and playing with the iconic dolls. In recognizing how Barbie can be anyway, Roth says it’s something she appreciates about the pop culture figure. “It was always this kind of coveted toy [for me], if you will… the idea of Barbie was always so inspirational to me. Knowing that literally any occupation or any career that you wanted to be was represented through Barbie, was something that I really connected with,” she said. “I am a woman in a male-dominated industry and never even thought twice about that, but I was like, ‘Yeah, this is what I’m gonna do, and this is the industry I’m gonna be in,’ and I think that’s very Barbie.”

What Fans Can Expect From ‘Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge’

Image via HGTV, Max

Of course, like any HGTV show, audiences get to learn a lot about the design process in Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge, and one of the things they learn early on from the premiere, “Barbie’s First Floor Face-Off” is how sometimes a specific style can be too much. Roth learned this the hard way when designing the kitchen and family room space with Lofaso. At one point, the two come up with an incredible plan with checkered patterned floors and beautiful prints straight from Barbie’s 1960s dreamhouse designs. However, when putting it all together, it very quickly fell apart and clashed a lot more than they assumed it would.

“A lot of times, things look really good on paper, they look great on a design board, and it happens,” she said. “I think part of being a good designer, or even if you’re doing your own home, is having the ability to pivot and be flexible and know that sometimes your plan isn’t gonna go as planned. You’re gonna have to come up with another option and really just say, “It’s okay. It’s okay,” she said. “I think that’s really important in design. It’s also really important in life. So many times, we make plans, we think things are gonna go a certain way, and they don’t. I think that’s something that we can learn from these types of shows and even just watching HGTV in general, is that it’s okay to say, ‘You know what? I like this,’ or, ‘You know what? I thought I was gonna like this and I don’t, my bad. Let’s pivot. Let’s do something different.’ And that’s a hard thing to do. I do it all day, every day, and it’s still hard for me.”

Teasing how the remainder of the season with the other teams over the course of its four episodes will bring the heat to the Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge, Roth admits, it’s all in good fun. “It’s so fun, I will say that. There’s definitely a lot of competition. There’s a little bit of drama,” she said. “There are some really creative spaces… it’s just all about what would Barbie do. How would Barbie want her house? If you think about all of us different hosts and the shows that we have and take that and then marry that with the Barbie brand, it’s really fun because everybody has such a different viewpoint and a different idea of what Barbie is to them. It’s like a personal take from each host as to what Barbie is, and then you add the decades on top of that. Also, the judges! The judges are something that I thought HGTV did a great job choosing our judges, and I think that was really interesting as well. So, lots of love for our judges. I think that the winner is not who you’re going to expect.”

Watch the full interview with Jasmine Roth for Collider above. Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge airs Sundays on HGTV at 9 pm EST and streams the same day on Max.