05/17/2012 03:04 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Bravo's 'Top Design' Alum Carisa Perez-Fuentes Talks Pinterest Addictions, Life After Reality TV

For those of us who live and breathe design, we watched all two seasons of Top Design. (Kelly Wearstler's eccentric ensembles were enough to keep us tuning in.) So, imagine how excited we were when former contestant Carisa Perez-Fuentes got in touch with us after one of our "Hot On Pinterest" features. Turns out she's just as addicted to the "Pin It!" button as we are...and has a thriving career following her reality show days. We caught up with her to talk about all things design.

"Pinterest is my favorite thing about life right now," says Perez-Fuentes, who used to spend hours manually cutting hundreds of images out from magazines. The avid pinner wants to use the social platform to create shared boards with clients for a more interactive experience.

But what if you're not exactly a pro designer? You can still use Pinterest...like a pro. Perez-Fuentes feels that the best benefit of the site is that it exposes you to plenty of pictures and plenty of different styles. The result: Your personal taste becomes more refined and you're better able to discern what you love versus what's just trendy.

That debate (what you love vs. what's "in") can be one of the biggest challenges to any home project, oddly enough. She's found that worrying about what's "right" in design leads to frustration. "The [design] rules are sort of meant to be broken," explains the modern designer, who adds that the major problem she found when working with clients is that they are afraid to commit to what they love. "My number one design rule is have no fear. Go with your heart, train your eye and then you can go in with confidence."

But after years of designing for clients and splitting her time between New York and Miami, Perez-Fuentes is trying to gain back what she loved and lost on the show -- a balance between television and interior design. "What I discovered on the show, what stayed on me, is how much I love interior design and how I love production," says the designer. "I was doing exactly the two things that I love at the same time." This realization lead to a new career path in set design. (Makes perfect sense!) Perez-Fuentes also hinted at a big business venture in the works, but was coy about revealing any details. Consider us intrigued!

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