Frank Fontana knows
how to design on a dime
BILL WILLET TE
Frank Fontana is a dime-conscious designer
who values creativity
By Judith A. Stock
FRANK FONTANA WANTS to change your concepts
about interior design with his low-cost, high-design home
decorating ideas. As the lead designer and host of HGTV’s
Design on a Dime show, he gets the chance to do just that
on a weekly basis.
“People are looking for function and form, so multi-
function everything is the trend of the future,” Fontana
explains. “The days of just getting a piece of furniture or
décor because it looks cool doesn’t flow with today’s tough
The show’s design team makes over one room for
design-conscious homeowners who are short on funds.
Their challenge is to complete the makeover for $1,000
and do it in a day. The longest-running, highest-rated,
low-budget design show, Design on a Dime has been on
the air for 11 years, five of those with Fontana as the host.
His relaxed and easy charm, along with the ability to
deliver information in an entertaining fashion, makes
him well suited to be the do-it-yourself design guy who
offers tips and makes affordable design come to life.
“I had that creative flair and artistic ability as a child,
which came through as an adult with home design,”
Fontana, a Costco member, tells The Connection.
“Through lots of summer jobs painting houses, laying tile
and being a carpenter’s assistant, I honed my hands to do
the work I do today.”
www.frankfontana.net) started on HGTV as
host and designer of another show, Takeover My Makeover.
When that show ended, HGTV wanted him to take over
Design on a Dime. Living in Los Angeles at the time,
Fontana jumped on a plane for Chicago, where the show
is taped, and shortly became a resident of the Windy City.
Asked about his design philosophy, Fontana calls it
“Quantum Design Element,” or QDE for short. It’s designing for the feeling first. “I can’t go anywhere without being
aware of the nuances that make up the energy in room
flow,” Fontana says.
CON TINUED ON PAGE 50