A Passion for Design
HGTV host urges couples to cooperate with homes' design

Culver City, California (August 18, 2006) - Abilene gets some big names in town for concerts, golf tournaments and dove hunting. Fans of home design: It's your turn to see an icon. Michael Payne, host of ''Designing for the Sexes'' on cable television's HGTV, pops in to town Saturday to speak about his furniture line, his show and design in general. It will be Payne's first visit to Abilene and he said he's excited about it.

I have this romantic vision of Abilene, he said in a telephone interview from California. He got visions of Abilene, El Paso, Tucson and other locations because they were mentioned in cowboy movies and sounded so foreign and interesting to him. Payne said he enjoys what he does and it's clear as he talks that he has a passion for design. He's able to express that daily on Designing for the Sexes. I am a designer. Nothing could give me more pleasure, he said. Essentially, I'm doing what I have been doing my whole career. It is unscripted, I can say whatever I want. It is entirely pleasurable and it is easy. The words that come out of my mouth are the way I talk - I'm not an actor.

Payne's show focuses on design problems between couples. Payne works with the couple, giving them both equal time as he comes up with a plan that will make everyone happy. He remembers one show where the wife told Payne that he didn't need to consider her husband's taste, and that it was her job to decorate the home. I was completely convinced men had never been given equal time, Payne said. It was as much his space as hers.

Traditions set years ago made the home the wife's responsibility and bringing home the money the husband's, he said, but things have changed a great deal and spousal roles aren't so easily identifiable today. Payne remembered one show where the wife was most unhappy about her husband's hunting trophies all over the house. Payne worked out a compromise and moved the deer heads, etc., to the garage, hanging them on the back wall so that every time the husband drove into the garage, not only did he see them, but they were lit up by his lights. This way he was thrilled because he saw them twice as much and she was so thrilled that she didn't have to see them anymore, Payne said.

He travels across America, speaking to fans wherever he is invited. He said there are many states he has visited multiple times, such as Kansas, Florida and Texas. The heartland of America seems to have me clutched to their breasts, he said. The way a person's home is decorated can say a lot about a person, he said. A person's choices may range from comfortable to pristine. There are homes where you walk in and think, wow, I'm home, Payne said. With others you walk in and think, wow, incredible interior design, like an art gallery, but it's not home.

Homes need to evolve as much as the people living in them do, Payne said. What was once new and exciting can become boring. But a complete renovation isn't always the way to go. One of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to change the look of a room is paint, Payne said. Paint can take a room from neutral to bright and warm or cool and refreshing.

New furniture also can make a difference. Payne began working with Powell Furniture about two years ago to develop his own collection of furniture. The furniture ranges from the sleekly elegant and modern 7Series and Sloane lines to the more traditional Hampton and Mayfair lines. He called the 7Series his first born. It was really the essence that came out of my design mind - incredibly clean, very minimal, pushing all ornamentation off to the side, Payne said. It was purity, the way it was executed, the construction. It's sturdy so someone would know when they bought it, it would last a long time.

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