Have you ever watched DIY network’s Bathtastic! or Bathcrashers? You know, the one with the charming host? Yes–that one! Well, that cutie pie contractor/designer made a special appearance at the 2014 Birmingham Home + Remodeling Show where the VIP had the fabulous opportunity to sit down and chat with him about things you fangirls probably didn’t know *wink*
Now, before we delve into the interview, let’s learn a little bit about Matt and his background…
Licensed contractor Matt Muenster sees every house project, whether he’s ripping apart dated bathrooms using the latest construction technology or completely gutting his own kitchen, as a chance to use his clever ideas to achieve great design while integrating earth-friendly elements. Matt earned his degree in interior design from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He initially got his feet wet designing restaurants and casinos and even worked on the Angolan Project in Africa. Eventually, his fervor for design shifted to the residential sector. His professional experience includes high-end interior design, and he gets an adrenaline rush every time he transforms a boring bathroom into a fantastic one on DIY Network’s Bath Crashers and BATHtastic! Series. (link here)
VIP: What would you say is your favorite power tool?
Matt: Oh! I like expensive stuff…
VIP: That’s okay! I like expensive shoes…
Matt: There’s a German company called Festool, and they make AH-mazing things! One of their tools I use religiously is called the Domino.
VIP: What does the Domino do?
Matt: Well, the Domino is kind of like a biscuit joiner–which is a tool that allows you to plunge a hole in one board and another board then stick a little dowel rod in between the two boards.
VIP: Oh, yeah! I’ve seen that done.
Matt: Biscuit joiners are great, but in my personal opinion, Festool’s Domino does it better than anyone else. I literally use it as often as I can because it makes getting the job done so much easier.
VIP: What color would you say best describes you and why?
Matt: Blue, and I do not know why! It’s been that forever.
VIP: I totally get that! Blue is my favorite color, and I am strangely attracted to it.
Matt: Yeah! Whether it’s eyes or a shirt or whatever–I just tend to lean toward blue-colored things.
VIP: What advice can you give to people who are looking to start a bathroom renovation?
Matt: Definitely watch and take notes from the television shows.
VIP: Hint, hint *wink*
Matt: Yeah–hint, hint!
VIP: With that said, how did you actually get involved with bathroom renovations as a designer?
Matt: The TV show happened. I did not seek the show out, they found me. To be honest, I wasn’t even really that interested in doing such a specialized job because I was really happy with the diversity of doing restaurants, casinos, and special commercial design. My design work kept things interesting, and I thought that if I specialized I would get bored, BUT the TV part keeps me from getting bored. So, now, I can just focus in on this [bathroom renos], and try to make it interesting and entertaining.
VIP: What is your favorite part about being the host of Bath Crashers?
Matt: Hm…I don’t know! It’s definitely interesting. I really like the idea of being someone to go to for this information–that’s kind of empowering, but it’s also a lot of responsibility because I want and need to make sure I get it right. I also really like the opportunity to “get it right” because I used to watch shows like this [Bath Crashers] all the time growing up, and they were not often hosted by real designers. And I would watch these programs as a designer and get frustrated because the renovations and such were being portrayed in a way that I did not feel did the design community a favor…kind of worked against us a little. So, I think it’s really cool to have the opportunity when on camera to use the correct terminology and show people the correct way to do things while making it an entertaining show.
VIP: Is there a specific aspect or area of the bathroom that is your favorite to renovate?
Matt: Every episode is its own thing. Demo is fun because I get to smash and grab stuff, which if I’m having a bad day that’s a great way to blow off steam. Other times, my favorite part is the reveal, or it’s a specific project that turned out way better than I thought it would. As I drive away after day three, the things that stand out to me are not necessarily the things I thought would be great going into it. It’s really cool and really fun because my favorite part is always different every time, every episode.
VIP: Recently, my parents and I renovated a 1980 time capsule from top to bottom with three full bathroom redos. By the time we had the house finished, my dad hated bathroom renos! haha
Matt: Oh yeah! Bathrooms are hard and scary because there is so much that can go wrong. That’s one reason I really love bathroom renos–I like the challenge. The challenge is the difficult part, but it’s also the opportunity. The hard part is getting the job done, but the room [bathroom] offers so many awesome possibilities that its unlike any other room.
VIP: I know that when we were working on the renovation, we watched your show a lot. One thing I really love about it is that you are always incorporating cool design aspects.
Matt: That’s one thing I really love to do.
VIP: And I think that’s what makes the show so special and appealing to so many different people.
Matt: Thank you! The adding of cool design really puts a challenge on us, but it’s so awesome figuring it all out and making it happen. The hard work definitely pays off. We always love to add in the unexpected.
VIP: I think that’s so great because it would be so easy to get stuck in a rut with such a specifically themed show.
Matt: It would make life much easier to do the same thing in-and-out on every show, but that’s not what we are about. It’s hard coming up with new ideas all of the time and sometimes we take really big risks, but that part is really fun for me. I look forward to bringing something new to the table for everyone to see.