Take a risk, change
your space . . . and
change your life?
By Judi Ketteler
DESIGNER AND TV personality Angelo
Surmelis is on a mission. The host of HGTV’s
Rate My Space knows how to wow. But it goes
way deeper for this Greek immigrant, who
believes that good design changes lives. “I
want to help people redefine their lives
through design, without spending a fortune,”
says the Costco member.
When Surmelis was a boy, his family
came to the U.S., and they didn’t have a lot in
the way of material possessions—or space. “I
knew that our surroundings were a reflection
on how we lived,” he says. “I couldn’t move
the walls, so I thought if I moved the furniture, maybe we would feel different in our
space.” As a young designer, he had two big
insights: First, good design was far too
undemocratic and there was a whole community of people not being served because they
couldn’t afford good design; second, when
you change your space, you change your life.
“Changing the room you live in is the
impetus to feeling like you can almost do anything,” he says. Still, you shouldn’t have to take
out a second mortgage to reimagine your space.
After all, the fashion industry has done a good
job of distilling the best designer looks into
affordable clothes. But the home goods industry still lags. That’s why Surmelis created his
angelo:HOME furniture line—to offer updated
classics that are big on style, not on price.
With the accessibility problem out of the
way, his next task is to help people take the
risks they really want to take. “Even people
The Costco Connection
This month, Costco warehouses will have
an expanded selection of furniture and
décor items to help members change their
space. angelo:HOME products are available
who are conservative secretly want to take a
risk. But they are afraid they are going to get
it wrong,” he says. The catch is that change
(and confidence boosting) happens when you
step outside your comfort zone.
Here are Surmelis’ five tips for venturing beyond “safe” options when shopping
Can it fit in the car? Don’t start pushing your comfort zone in terms of color and
pattern with big-ticket items, like sofas. Take
risks with smaller pieces first—things that are
easy to swap in and out of rooms, such as mirrors with bling, chairs with colorful upholstery, throw pillows, area rugs and lamps. “If it
can’t fit in your car, it’s probably too big of a
risk,” he says. A fun, bright print on a chair
isn’t such a big risk when you can move it
around in a room (or to another room altogether) and blend it with a neutral sofa.
Know why you love it. “I’m not
opposed to looking at trends, but don’t let
them dictate your style,” Surmelis advises.
Ask yourself: Do you love the style—whether
it’s Hollywood glamour, midcentury mod-
ern, vintage chic or Asian-inspired—because
it’s what everyone else has, or because
you are truly drawn to it? It’s easier
to take risks with things you truly
love, versus pieces you think you are
supposed to love.
JANUARY 2012 ;e Costco Connection 33
Judi Ketteler (
www.judiketteler.com) is the
author of Sew Retro: A Stylish History of
the Sewing Revolution + 25 Vintage-Inspired Projects for the Modern Girl