Sara Zofko bursts onto the set after a voice-over introduction from host Brett Waterman.
“I found a cabinet to put here in the entryway,” she tells Waterman, “to really bring you forward and help make this look like a separate room.”
She shows him an image of a tall cabinet, pointing out details that echo the architectural features of the Arts and Crafts home that is being featured on this episode of Restored, the most popular program on the DIY Network. He likes it.
“It feels like it was built into the house,” she says to him, “but it’s a vintage find.”
Zofko, an interior decorator with an MFA from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, and clients around the country, has appeared in almost half the 24 episodes of Restored aired over two seasons. But this is just a little TV moonlighting. Her day job is working as a top-selling account executive in DWR’s West Hollywood Studio.
“I don’t sleep much!” she says in an interview.
Her next item for Waterman is a Cross Extension Table from Design Within Reach in solid walnut, which makes a complementary nod to the Arts and Crafts tradition while remaining thoroughly modern.
“So often when you think of Arts and Crafts you think of a having a heavy rectangular table,” Zofko tells him. “What if we did a round?”
“Cool,” Waterman says. “I like it.”
Finding those appropriate complements to a home is central to the mission of the program. Along with peeling away previous bad remodels and paint jobs, the restorations aim to freshen the liveability of homes while staying true to the spirit of their heritage. Architectural styles have included a modern ranch, Victorian farmhouse, Spanish eclectic, Mediterranean revivals and a number of Arts and Crafts.
“Brett is extremely knowledgeable,” Zofko says. “I learn something new about architectural history and the history of California every time we work together. His enthusiasm is also very contagious!”
With the emergence of maker culture, the rise of small-batch production and a focus on materials, Zofko believes a new Arts and Crafts movement is upon us and had that in mind when selecting the old-new combination of vintage cabinet and modern, solid-wood table.
“I wanted to showcase items designed and produced from both the original era and also in the modern eras, where skilled handiwork is highlighted in the construction.” she says.
A native of Warren, Ohio, “the epicenter of the Rust Belt,” Zofko credits her decorating eye to her mother, who worked in real estate. “We went to open houses and house tours together all the time,” she recalls. “My mother has exquisite taste. She really knows how to use texture in decorating and taught me so much about color.”
Zofko grew up wanting to be newscaster and then a film director and did go on to write, produce and self-fund a short film. That experience came in handy when she was introduced to Waterman by a mutual friend and invited to audition for the pilot of Restored. She appeared in the first episode of the program and then 10 more so far, including Episode 8, 1922 Arts and Crafts, which was shot in Redlands, California.
“I have a tiny budget to work with for each house,” Zofko says. “l am so very grateful for the partnerships I have with DWR, antique dealers and rugs shops in town that work with me to create the magic needed in each house. The homeowners’ delighted reactions to the finished houses provide a real sense of accomplishment, too.”
Both seasons of Restored are in regular rotation on the DIY Network or can be seen through its on-demand platform. Whole seasons and individual episodes may be purchased from iTunes, Prime Video, Google Play and YouTube.