Laurel & Wolf Interview: HGTV’s The Cousins!

By: Casey Gerber

April 22, 2015

We’re googly-eyed for HGTV’s The Cousins, a family duo dedicated to improving the lives of others with beautiful and functional design. You may have seen them revitalizing outdated homes on Cousins On Call, surprising deserving individuals with massive renovations on Cousins Undercover, or you may have seen one of their many guest appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. We’re kind of obsessed. Anthony and John Carrino have sat down with Laurel and Wolf to share their design secrets and inspiration.Laurel & Wolf Interview: HGTV’s The Cousins!, Laurel & Wolf, John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino| Laurel & Wolf


Anthony describes his personal design style as Industrial Chic, “using industrial and raw elements in refined and unexpected ways.” With a passion for photography, Anthony draws his inspiration from the world around him. “I love it because looking through a lens challenges you to look at the world you see everyday in a new, or different way…to change your perspective.”

Laurel & Wolf Interview: HGTV’s The Cousins!, Laurel & Wolf, Anthony Carrino | Laurel & Wolf Check out our complete interview with him below – we LOVE his 5 most important design remodel rules!

Laurel & Wolf: Do you have any design guidelines that are an absolute must to follow?

Anthony: Your heart. At the end of the day your house becomes a home when you inject yourself into it. Yes there is always good and bad design, but that is where a good designer can come in and help you shape a space. It is up to you to share your life within that space.

A few tips for keeping things simple and focused:

  1.     When it comes to color in a room, I like color on the walls and to stay neutral with furniture, pillows and throws or create a stark shell with white or gray on the walls and then bring color in through furniture, pillows and throws.
  2.     Create a focal point within the room with one piece or area that you want to draw attention to and design around that.

L & W: How do you differentiate yourselves from other designers or contractors?

Everyone has their own style, so inherently we all bring something different to the table.  My biggest strengths as a designer is space planning, which allows me to see a space as it should be, not how it currently is, and create the most efficient floorplan that speaks to the way my clients use their home. Also my use and mix of materials in unexpected ways, this creates unique and inviting environments. Lastly, listening to my clients and paying attention to the details. At the end of the day it is our job to help our clients realize their vision, after all we are in their home.Laurel & Wolf Interview: HGTV’s The Cousins!, Laurel & Wolf, Kitchen Cousins Remodel | Laurel & Wolf


L & W: In general, would you say you work more on gut feeling or careful calculation?

It is a combination of the two.  When it comes to space planning you can’t just go with your gut, dimensions are finite; furniture needs to fit and flow needs to work, so it is very calculated.  Once we transition to overall aesthetics, while I like to have a plan in place you have to be open and receptive to those gems you might find along the way, or if a space presents something during demolition that can be incorporated. Problem solving is what we do.Laurel & Wolf Interview: HGTV’s The Cousins!, Laurel & Wolf, Kitchen Cousins Remodel | Laurel & Wolf


L & W: Do you have a room that you enjoyed designing the most in your own spaces?

The shipping container I converted to a rooftop cabana is amazing.  It was my first time through the process, and I designed it from top to bottom; from the steel cutouts for windows and doors through to the furniture.  I already have plans to do more with it, and ideas on how to make my next one even better!  I love the process.Laurel & Wolf Interview: HGTV’s The Cousins!, Laurel & Wolf, Outdoor Dining | Laurel & Wolf


L & W: Can you give us the “Top Five” tips for remodeling a kitchen or other space in the home that The Cousins would like to focus on?

  1.     Create a focal point
  2.     Don’t forget the importance of lighting
  3.     Splurge on the backsplash, small area = big bang for the buck
  4.     Bring color to the space – think colored appliances
  5.     Don’t forget about your cabinet hardware – great place to make a statement (check out Anthropologie’s selection)

The other half of the duo, John, favors a contemporary rustic style in his designs, and loves to blend the new with the old so he can create something one of a kind. John also draws his inspiration from travel, and appreciates the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. John says that Wright’s “designs have truly inspired [him] to design the unexpected.”

Laurel & Wolf Interview: HGTV’s The Cousins!, Laurel & Wolf, John Colaneri | Laurel & Wolf L & W: Where are some places that you draw your inspiration?

I love to travel whenever possible. Getting out and seeing the unique design from different cultures and areas of the country makes you think outside the box.


L & W: Do you have any design guidelines that are an absolute must to follow?

Design is personal, and you shouldn’t be held back by guidelines! Always design for yourself and what you like.Laurel & Wolf Interview: HGTV’s The Cousins!, Laurel & Wolf, Hard at Work | Laurel & Wolf


L & W: Where are some outside of the box places people can source building materials?

Look to using material that people would never expect to be seen on a house. For my home, I used corrugated metal to wrap the exterior. This material is used for concrete pours when doing floors. When you use materials that are seen in a different application in makes them really stand out.Laurel & Wolf Interview: HGTV’s The Cousins!, Laurel & Wolf, Corrugated Walls | Laurel & Wolf


L & W: What are some of your favorite projects on your show?

We’ve done so many at this point it’s hard to choose! I would have to say my parent’s kitchen and my aunt and uncle’s kitchen were my favorites.Laurel & Wolf Interview: HGTV’s The Cousins!, Laurel & Wolf, Turquoise Kitchen | Laurel & Wolf


L & W: Can you give us the “Top Five” tips for remodeling a kitchen or other space in the home that The Cousins would like to focus on?

  1. Plan, plan, and plan more.
  2. Always have a 15% contingency for cost overruns.
  3. Splurge on one item that will be a focal point.
  4. Try and do as much as you can in one renovation. Doing it in stages will cost  you more.
  5. Design for yourself and think outside of the box.

Laurel & Wolf Interview: HGTV’s The Cousins!, Laurel & Wolf, The Kitchen Cousins Spills with Laurel & Wolf Despite their divergent tastes and approaches to design and construction, both cousins can agree that splurging on the focal point of your room is a no-brainer. The redecoration of your space requires a trusting your gut, but also completing sufficient planning with a designer who can help you successfully bring the space together. We hope that the tips of these design gurus has helped you prepare for the renovation of your space. We’re so excited to get started on your project with you!

XOXO, Laurel and Wolf

P.S. Check out The Cousin’s new show, America’s Most Desperate Kitchens,  premiering on HGTV July 1 at 8pm EST! 

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