Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Trading Spaces and Stay Here star Genevieve Gorder partnered with Jam City on the renovation-themed mobile app Vineyard Valley because it is a new medium by which to share her interior design expertise.
She also is an avid gamer.
"I started on Pong, moved to Atari, Ninendo, and then I took a couple-decade break. Once I became a mom, I got into all of the mobile-app games," the 45-year-old New Yorker told UPI in a phone interview.
"It was great because you have all those awkward pauses in motherhood -- whether it's when you're up at night and no one else is, or you're sitting in a playground."
She was thrilled to embrace her "inner nerd" and collaborate with programmers to develop Vineyard Valley, which challenges players to fix up a dilapidated resort. The game was released Tuesday.
"I was brought in as a consultant for the aesthetics of the game," Gorder said. "I was so honored and so excited to work with people who thought so differently -- that left brain being so mighty when it comes to tech, and I come in with a big, fat right side. To dance together was such a different experience for me."
With so much negativity online these days, Gorder is happy to focus on a project that is fun and aspirational.
"We need these escapist moments that calm us down. Whether we are meditating, watching escapist television, playing a game, we need these activities," she said, adding that there are 2 billion gamers worldwide who support a $75 billion-a-year industry.
"There are so many women in my demographic -- in their 30s and 40s -- who game because we grew up playing games, so it's not a weird thing to pick up a game and want to win it."
Players also might be inspired to update their real homes, possibly using items from Gorder's fabric and wallpaper product lines.
"People can really imagine it in space without the commitment," she said. "It's like: 'OK, if I painted my living room black, what would that feel like? How would I do that?'"
Keeping an open mind and adapting to new platforms have been crucial to Gorder's success.
"Without diversity, life is boring in general," she said. "In my own career, without being able to really dive into the big, flower bouquet of what design is, I'm limiting myself. Why not be an octopus? I can! Television isn't every single day. You go really hard for a season and then you lay off," she said. "In those layoff moments are some of the most beautiful moments of my design life."
Last year, she reunited with her Trading Spaces family for a reboot of the iconic makeover series, which initially ran 2000-08.
"We're all grownups now. I started that show when I was 24, and so we have all this experience and knowledge," she said. "We're this big, absolutely dysfunctional family just like every family on the planet and we love each other."
While home-improvement shows and websites help educate the public, interior design clients don't always understand how long tasks take to complete in real time or how complicated or expensive they can be.
"People think things are going to happen in an hour and they really take several months or a week," Gorder laughed.
"I think Pinterest is a really dangerous and wonderful place for people to learn their aesthetic and gather ideas. At the same time, there are a lot of things on there that are very fictitious that really can't be done. ... You have to be careful."
The information available has given everyday people the vocabulary and inspiration to create better spaces for themselves.
"To that, I can say this is, all in all, a huge win," she said. "It's my job as a designer to pick through it and say: 'OK, what did you really think this was? And how did you think it was going to work? And what did you think it was going to cost?'"
Generation Z homeowners -- who are settling down in smaller, more eco-friendly houses -- are impacting the interior design industry.
"No one wants to make their own curtains anymore. They don't know how to buy fabric in yardage. They want everything ready to go. There is a lot of instantaneous need because of the digital age," Gorder said.
"They want everything to be smart, so you can talk to your curtains, talk to your headboard to turn on the light, you can talk to your thermostat. ... They don't want a long-term commitment, and that speaks to home, as far as buying it, as well as what they put in it."
They are interested, too, in how and where items are made and if they are crafted using sustainable materials, meaning Gorder has more interview questions to ask and answer for clients regarding home products.
She thinks most of the new ideas are fantastic.
"I do miss people knowing how things were made, but that just comes as our country moves into not making as many things anymore. Making just digital [products,]" Gorder said. "So, is that bittersweet for me? Yes."