Happiness is a Warm TV

HGTV star and ‘Rachael Ray’ regular headlines this weekend’s Downtown Raleigh Home Show

Taniya Nayak
Taniya Nayak

You’re likely used to seeing interior designer Taniya Nayak on a variety of HGTV shows, or on ABC’s “Great Christmas Light Fight,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” or “The Rachael Ray Show.”

Now you can see Nayak in person at this weekend’s Downtown Raleigh Home Show.

Nayak, who has worked on programs like “Restaurant Impossible,” “House Hunters on Vacation” and “Designed to Sell,” will present three programs at the home show, which runs Friday through Sunday at the Raleigh Convention Center.

“I talk to people about a million different things,” Nayak said in an interview on Tuesday. “How to get their projects started, how do you create budgets, how do you merge your styles together. Where it’s important to put your money and where it doesn’t matter.”

Nayak’s method is a little different from typical home show presenters in that she tries to tailor each talk to the specific audience. She walks around and chats with people who show up for her talks to find out what they’re interested in and goes from there. So each presentation could be different.

“In one we could talk more about paint and DIY and getting started, and in another one we might talk specifically about tips and renos, bathroom renos – the big stuff.”

A Raleigh restaurant hop

Nayak said she has spent a lot of time in Raleigh with all the episodes of “Great Christmas Light Fight” that have filmed here in recent years.

“I was there enough going back and forth that I did get to spend more than a night or two,” she said.

For this trip, which happens to take place on her birthday weekend – “a big one, at that,” she said – Nayak and her husband, Brian O’Donnell, who is a restaurateur in Boston, plan to celebrate with good food.

“We are just gonna do a big, major restaurant hop,” Nayak said, before asking for recommendations and taking notes on downtown Raleigh hot spots. “We’re gonna make a little bit of a weekend out of it and really just bounce from one place to the next.”

Nayak and O’Donnell own eight restaurants in Boston, and Nayak said it’s vital for them to get out and explore different spots. Nayak said even though her background is in residential design, about 90 percent of her design clients right now are restaurants.

“I always tell him how important it is for us to get inspired,” said Nayak. “For me, I travel all the time so I’m always getting fresh ideas for design. ... It’s important that we keep going and trying new places.”

Nayak on ‘Rachael Ray’

Nayak is currently a regular on “The Rachael Ray Show” and has an upcoming segment that she says shouldn’t be missed.

“We do makeovers all the time, but we actually have a huge make-under that’s airing on the 28th. This guy is something else,” she said. “The word ‘over-decorated’ is just a super understatement for this guy. Rachael finds him so fascinating. We did his bedroom first and then she said ‘I can’t just do your bedroom and leave it like this.’ We just did a room that’s aptly named ‘The Halloween Room,’ and I tell you there were dummies that looked like dead people, there were coffins in this room – and this was his guest bedroom!

“But he’s such a nice guy!” Nayak said. “He’s super nice and he’s so likeable that that’s why Rachael said, ‘We have to do this again.’ So now in April we’re going back to do his living room area because it’s Christmas 24/7 in there.”

And speaking of Christmas, Nayak confirms “The Great Christmas Light Fight” will return on ABC – perhaps opening up another shot at a trip back to Raleigh.

Downtown Raleigh Home Show

▪ Taniya Nayak will appear on the Fresh Ideas Design Stage at 1 p.m. Friday and 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday.

▪ DIY Network’s Sara Bendrick will appear on the Fresh Ideas Design stage at 3 p.m. Friday and at noon and 3 p.m. Saturday.

When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25

Where: Raleigh Convention Center, 500 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh

Cost: $10 for adults at the door, $7 online; $5 for ages 60 & up; free for ages 12 & under. Save $4 off adult admission with the promo code NANDO at raleighspringshow.com. Get 50 percent off adult admission online with the promo code NAYAK.

Info: raleighspringshow.com

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