Long before Claire Zinnecker was renovating kids' rooms on television for Get Out of My Room, her new show on NBC's Universal Kids, she was a kid herself — growing up in Austin, decorating dollhouses, building tree forts in the greenbelt, and painting (and re-painting) her own childhood bedroom. “I have always been building and designing,” she says.
A graduate of UT’s School of Architecture with a degree in design, Zinnecker has been designing residential and commercial spaces in Austin and elsewhere with her own firm, Claire Zinnecker Design, since 2013.
Like many self-made entrepreneurs these days, she’s also become somewhat of an online celebrity with a well-followed Instagram feed and her own YouTube channel. When she started all these projects, the road to small screen stardom was a lot closer than she realized.
“It happened so quickly,” she says of her newfound television career. “I had done DIY projects for a YouTube channel [for] a year or so before the New York film company, Departures, found [me] online. They emailed, we set up a call and within two weeks —and no face to face meetings — the contract was signed.”
Get Out of My Room is the first home makeover show focused entirely on kids’ spaces. Every episode, siblings who had once shared a bedroom will finally be given their own rooms. The only catch: They have to help design and build a new space for their siblings.
The kids participate in the entire process, from helping conceptualize the design of their sibling’s new dream room, to picking up power tools and paint brushes and getting their hands dirty constructing the new space.
“I want to instill confidence in the kids,” says Zinnecker. “Some [kids] don't think of themselves as artistic and crafty, some have never held a drill, and some have never taken the time to really think about what they would want in their dream room. We get to do all of [this] with these kids. They learn that they are fully capable, that anyone can be artistic."
The spaces are a bit of a departure from the work Zinnecker is known for in Austin, which include One Eleven East and Adelante Boutique, among others. Most recently, she designed downtown creative co-working space The Refinery, and just completed work on the newly opened Windsor Park restaurant Hank’s.
“I would consider myself a more minimal designer,” says Zinnecker. “These rooms are definitely anything but minimal. They are wacky and colorful and fun. They are the ultimate kids’ rooms.”
And the contrasts don’t end with style. “The difference between this and my normal clients is that kids are not filtered. They will say what is on their mind whether they like what you are doing or not. These kids are unedited and speak their minds for better or worse — and it is hysterical.”
Get Out of My Room airs Mondays on Universal Kids at 5:00 pm CT.