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Philadelphia Interior Designer Susan Hopkins Reveals Secrets of Reality TV Shows in Kindle e-Book

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Interior design bloggers, hopeful design stars and amateur decorators have long wondered: "What really happens on the reality TV decorating shows?"

Philadelphia interior decorator Susan Hopkins ASID, CID spills the beans in a new Kindle e-book, called "An Interior Designer Behind The Scenes On A Reality TV Show" which shared her exploits on the popular NBC home-makeover show, "George to the Rescue".

On the show, she did a home makeover for breast-cancer survivor Brenda Jones, who creates "Hug Wraps" to help comfort cancer patients – from children to adults. She donates the wraps to entire wards of children with cancer. Her house grew into a veritable factory for making the comfy clothes with matching stuffed animals and blankets.

The custom chair and desk she designed for the show is part of her new line of furniture – Susan Hopkins Lifestyle  

"Brenda actually reminds me a little bit of my grandmother who died of cancer. And October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The story made me feel like that sixteen-year-old hopeless girl who wanted to help. I knew at that time that I wanted to do something for cancer and to just help people in the future. And this was my way of helping, while doing something that I am passionate about," said Hopkins, who likes to work on home decorating ideas with affluent clients in Philadelphia and California.

"The show is so different than how people expect it to be. They were so supportive of me and they respected my expertise. I was able to take on a lot of responsibility," said Hopkins, who describes her vision as clean and elegant. "I don't like clutter at all. My style is aesthetically pleasing with an edge."

She said the show was a great experience.

"I absolutely loved it! I've done theater before — a lot of it - and this is totally different because you're walking around with cameras following you. It was so natural without scripts. It's all organic," she said. 

Getting on the show was a bit of mystery.

"The producer called and left a voice mail for me while I was in a client meeting late one evening. The voice mail said, "Hi, Susan. This is Andy S. at 30 Rock..." I couldn't believe it was real. I believe that they found me just from searching through Google. I have a photo on my website. The producer told me that he felt that I had the right look for the show," she said. 

"The filming started on May 23rd and it finished on June 6th, so it was two weeks of non-stop craziness. I took the measurements and selected the rooms. It took a few weeks to solidify the design and coordinate the rest of the team," she said.  "It was a quick turnaround." 

The show helps people who are helping others, which ties in with Hopkins' design view of using sustainable resources and products that are made in the USA.

"My view is fresh and young. I push the limits," she said. "I'd be very comfortable designing for a beach house in California where budget is not an issue."

She was most surprised by the support of the staff.

"There weren't many rules. I kept asking Andy, the producer, "I have this budget. Is there anything else that I need to take into consideration?" He kept saying, "No, no. Whatever you want to do, we will support you." I brought in trades people that I wanted, and we had a specific budget and deadline, which we did make," she said.

The final design reveal amazed the homeowner.

"I designed a mural of the sky at different times of the day. One wall was the sunrise, and above it, a midday sky, and on the other wall was the sunset. The mural was meant to remind Brenda why she's helping with her Hug Wraps; that each patient is living moment to moment. Obviously, organization was important. The built-ins were a big part of the design and I designed custom furniture for the space," she said.

Brenda told her, "Sometimes I just walk upstairs, open the door look into the room and stare because I can't believe it's mine!"

For information about Susan Hopkins's interior design and decorating services, go to

To see the e-book, "An Interior Designer Behind The Scenes On A Reality TV Show," go to

SOURCE Susan Hopkins