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Star Worthy

In a universe of emerging design talents, HGTV Star’s newest judge shines.

Sabrina Soto, surrounded by her signature colorful, modern designs

Who better to judge the current season of HGTV Design Star (now dubbed HGTV Star) than long-standing network luminary Sabrina Soto? Perfectly at home in this orbit, this tastemaking daughter of a decorator does not mince words. “I make sure to tell it the way it is,” she assures.

Although currently bicoastal, Soto gushes about the prospect of permanently planting her flag in SoCal soon. “I love Los Angeles,” she exuberantly offers, touting the cafe at Studio City’s Aroma Coffee & Tea Company and Fryman Canyon as faves, and even confessing to once owning a health store on Ventura. 

Credit signature California style, which Soto describes as “colorful and carefree, yet sophisticated and chic,” the perfect foil for her own high-low design ethos that finds her “mixing modern lines with casual textures.” She also mixes it up with functionality, having put her bed on hydraulics to easily access under-storage and rigging her coffee table to moonlight as both a bookshelf and dance floor.

Of her many involvements—from authoring Sabrina Soto Home Design: A Layer-by-Layer Approach to Turning Your Ideas Into the Home of Your Dreams ($20, John Wiley & Sons) to designing home products she hopes to launch—Soto ranks reviving The Children’s Library in Fort Meade as her most rewarding effort to date, but cites “hosting a dinner party with Martha Stewart, redesigning all the DMV offices, and any Make-A-Wish and St. Jude project” as dream gigs.

Luckily for Soto, almost all her dreams are already reality.

Soto’s Hots   
Hiking and running, dark chocolate, Ryan Gosling, a fantastic glass of cabernet, The Golden Girls, peonies

Soto’s Nots
Fake flowers, decorative toilet lid covers, cottage cheese, clutter and dust, talking on the phone in the gym