Brittany Zachos, of the Zachos Design Group, grew up in Sarasota and graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design in 2009. She recently returned here to open a combined interior design-real estate firm with her father and brother. From 2015 to 2016, Zachos was lead designer for the popular HGTV show, Property Brothers, working behind the scenes with brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott to turn ugly duckling homes into on-trend showplaces.
How did you get involved in interior design?
After I graduated in 2009 from Ringling College with a bachelor of fine arts in interior design, I stayed here until 2010, when I moved to New York. I worked for a couple of years for some firms and then started my own office, Zachos Design Group, in Westchester County. I knew from an early age I wanted to get involved with design. My parents were doing some renovation projects when I was in high school. They let me get involved and I fell in love with it.
What brought you back to Sarasota?
My family is involved in real estate; there’s been so much growth in Sarasota since I left, it made sense to open an office here. We want to be a one-stop shop for residential clients looking to do a renovation investment project or for their home. People are rebuilding or renovating their homes. My brother and father are heading up the real estate side of the business.
Is your New York firm is still open? What kinds of projects do you do?
I still go back and forth between Greenwich, Connecticut, where my firm is now located, and Sarasota. I’ve done a balance of commercial and residential projects, which has been fun because they’re different on many levels.
Tell us about working with the Property Brothers.
I was referred to them when they were coming to the New York area [to tape shows]. I went through their production office first, and then an interview process with them directly. I assisted with helping them decide which projects and clients will work best for the show. It’s such a tight timeframe, seven weeks from start to finish, so they have to be selective about what they can accomplish in that timeframe and tight, tight design budget.
It was definitely a lot of fun. We did quite a few homes, four or five rooms for each episode. We did a lot of kitchen renovations, because that’s what most homeowners want, and I helped them with things like color selections and furniture.
It was a fun process, too. I got to experience that reveal moment with them; it’s exciting to see the homeowners’ reaction. We got the homeowners involved in major choices like flooring, colors and kitchen countertops; beyond that they gave us a list of their wants and needs and we go from there.
I met Drew briefly, since he’s on the real estate side of it, but I worked alongside Jonathan. They’re as genuine as they appear to be on TV. They’re really, really knowledgeable and they work hard to make everything move smoothly and everyone happy.