Designer Crush Q&A: Cora Sue Anthony of HGTV’s Real Estate Intervention


Desperate to have Cora focus her design eye on your space? In honor of her book release she’s also launching the Epic Homes of the East Bay Contest. The grand prize is a design consultation with Cora, professional photos of the winner’s home, and the chance for the home to be featured in her book! The contest runs until July 15th, so enter now and then hurry back to read Cora’s answers to our Designer Crush Q&A

1. Where do you currently live in CA and what’s special about how you’ve designed your personal space?  

I live in Oakland, CA on a hill. Out of my front door I have beautiful views of the Bay Area, and out of my back door I have a ravine with giant Redwood and Eucalyptus trees. I love using accessories like pillows, throws, area rugs, curtains and vases to reflect the change of the seasons in my home. For instance, in the spring I incorporate colors like yellow, tangerine, turquoise and raspberry, and in winter I go all out with red and green, and touches of sparkle with silver and gold.

2. What’s your dream design project? Who would it be for (dead or alive)? 

My dream project would probably be decorating rooms for Malia and Sasha Obama at the White House. I love to do rooms for younger people because I can go outside the box. I can express what they want without being so conventional. Young people have incredibly open minds!

3. In real life, what’s your favorite design project you’ve completed to date?

My real life favorite project is Rooms That Rock 4 Chemo where I make over hospital chemotherapy units. People receiving cancer treatment can’t usually go outside, so I try to bring the outdoors in to them. Two recent examples are a beautiful zen garden space and an African safari room I created for Children’s Hospital Oakland. My next project at Children’s Hospital is turning one of the playrooms into a tree house. To give the illusion that you’re sitting in a tree, I’m going to sneak in little stuffed squirrels, raccoons and cats! 

4. You’ve been gifted a fabulously furnished dream home but can only bring one item from your current space. What would it be? 

If I could only bring one thing it would be my baby grand piano. It was a gift to me from my father. My children grew up playing on that piano and I’m hoping their children will as well.

5. What’s your creative process when designing a space?  

My creative process when designing a space may sound strange, but I simply listen to what the house is telling me. The architecture will tell me what it needs. The walls will tell me what colors it wants to be and the floors will tell me what they want to be done. The windows reflect the outside, so they tell me what aspects of the environment to bring inside (if any). Some windows just want curtains.

6. Where do you score prized interior design items? Any shopping tips?

I score treasures everywhere I go – my eyes are always looking out for things. I love going to salvage yards – you can reclaim old items and make them something new. I love furniture outlet stores (almost every city has one) where you can find discontinued items from major department stores that are still totally in style. I also like to utilize local artists and craftsmen, since you can get things customized exactly how you want it. You’d be surprised! One handyman I met makes gorgeous Adirondack chairs- I love that kind of find. 

7. Ever had an epic DIY disaster? What project would you never take on again yourself?

I don’t know if this counts as DIY, but I was taping an episode of my show Real Estate Intervention on HGTV, and I realized I was working with terrible painters. What’s hard about decorating and designing for TV (and in real life) is that time is crucial! You have no time for mistakes, and the painters got paint all over the floor and then disappeared for a a few hours. It was not exceptable, and I ended up firing them on camera. 

8. What new design trend are you excited to integrate into your next project?

I am always excited to play with new trends, colors and styles in general. Specifically I can’t wait to work with a company called Wall Monkeys that takes photographs and blows them up to wallpaper size. It’s very easy to install, easy to remove, and totally transforms a room.

9. Lightning round!

Beach or mountains?


Twitter or Facebook? 


Architectural Digest or Wallpaper?

Architectural Digest. 

Should you spend money on a fabulous bathroom or kitchen?


Would you rather shop new or vintage?


SF or LA?

San Francisco. 

10. What’s one tip you wish someone had told you when first starting out in the design world?

I wish someone had told me to be absolutely confident in my designing; never to second-guess myself and to always believe that what I’m feeling about a space’s design is right.


Want More Cora:

Facebook, Twitter, Website, Epic Home Contest 

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