Stephen Fanuka calls himself a “glorified blue collar guy” in his Instagram bio… and that’s just one of the reasons I love him. The closet he built in my old apartment is another (see it below – it’s a complete work of art.)
You might know him from his DIY Network show, Million Dollar Contractor or his book What’s A Homeowner To Do?. But what you really need to know about Stephen, to understand his true appeal and genius, is captured best by his answer to my question about his signature style. “It has to be perfect and it has to be different.” Now THAT, my friends, is why top designers and celebrities are falling all over themselves to work with him. His sense of humor doesn’t hurt, either.
Check out Stephen’s answers to our questions below and then head over to his Instagram for a more up-to-the-minute guide to what he’s up to.
Photograph courtesy of Stephen Fanuka. Interior photography of my Manhattan townhouse featuring Fanuka’s beautiful work by Roger Davies for The Things That Matter.
When it comes to decorating “rules”: Is there such a thing and if so, is there one you constantly break?
There are guidelines, yet no rules. If there were rules we would never see or create new things. I’m a bad boy. I break rules all day long.
What is the most unexpected thing in your home?
I’m building it right now. After 20 years of my wife, Lisa, putting up with me, I built her a 600-square-foot walk-in closet. Complete with a refrigerator, espresso station, and an island that has two banquets for seating. I will officially have a sneaker station for my collection of suede Pumas. You’ll get to see it on the new season of Million Dollar Contractor!
What does your dream house look like and where would it be?
My dream house would be on Star Island in Miami. Overlooking the Miami skyline on the water. I would need to take another nap to tell you what it looks like, but it would be nice, that’s for sure. Definitely 10-foot ceilings. Even in the basement.
What’s your signature touch in your home or your personal style?
It has to be perfect and it has to be different. I don’t like to be normal and I bring that into everything I build. I believe each room can be a chapter of your life. Like your own personal autobiography. Lately, I have turned toward a sleeker style… yet I still love panels on walls.
What color/pattern/texture/style are you currently obsessed with?
Lately, I’m loving cabinetry with white painted exteriors and walnut interiors. And I’m nuts about 3-dimensional tiles that pop out of the wall at you. Geometric patterns, adding metal to wood finishes. I could go on and on and on…