Well, I'm glad Michael S was sent home. I just can't stand the kind of childish behavior he was showing. And if I had to listen to another contestant spend a season saying "Ferosh", I was going to scream. Or change the channel. Michael was trying so hard to be the next Christian Siriano from Project Runway that he forgot to bring the skillz.
One thing I dislike about Design Star is the incessant need to do the cutesy things - such as lead the contestants to think they are going on a trip - when in fact it's just to an airplane hangar with their imaginations.
Anyway, they are randomly assigned countries to take their design inspirations from - Thailand, Mexico and Italy. One contestant gets to select his/her own country.
Time: 12 hours in one day
Budget: $500 at Michaels Arts & Crafts; a set of LoveSac beanbag furniture. 2 gallons of paint.
This is an individual challenge and each are given a white box to call their own.
Eh... I would agree with the judges that there is little feeling of Mexico on this space and it's pretty blah. I like the white covers on the furniture - very snappy and cool feeling. I also like that she tried an interesting floor treatment, although it didn't go well with the more modern vibe of the room. The walls are pretty bad - the muted dark blue with the chartreuse blocks doesn't work too well. And I really didn't get the bamboo sticks on the lounge chairs. This was deemed "satisfactory" by the judges.
Stephanie's room - Mexico
Stephanie definitely has an interesting eye for shape - although I thought this room didn't show her best work. She was quick enough to point out that she meant it to be night time - once Martha suggested it was a little too dark. The blank canvases on the side walls really ruin the space and take away from the interesting shape of the branches above the daybed area. This room was deemed one of "the best we had this week". Not really a ringing endorsement.
Jennifer's room - Italy
Jennifer did a beautiful job on the wall treatment of this space - the scale of the pattern is perfection. She referred to Vietri pottery as her inspiration and I think she did a nice job of capturing the style:
The blue furniture covers were a little too pale and not vibrant enough for the yellow walls, but I imagine they had a limited selection of covers. Clearly, this room was the winner and once again, I do with they would actually name an Episode Winner.
Tracee's room - Italy
Well, this room was very cartooney, which was basically what she was going for. Something dramatic to pop off the tv screen. I like the pink and black combo and the chandelier was quite a nice feature. I think if she'd done more of that kind of shadow painting on the walls - including the mirror - it would have been much more successful and eye-catching. I thought the gondola was a good idea that didn't come to fruition well. Tracee ended up in the bottom group - although this was better than...
Matt's room - Thailand
Matt is totally the sweetheart of the show. He's gracious, mature and self-aware. He knew this room didn't come together: "It's like swabbing the deck of the Titanic. This ship is going down!". Yet he didn't blame anyone else or whine. He accepted the criticism like a grownup and was luckily kept in to give it another shot.
Mikey V's room: Thailand
Tacky restaurant. I said it out loud before Vern said "Thai fast food" restaurant. Really! I did like the ottomans in the middle and the banners above them. Otherwise, too literal. Mikey was in the "satisfactory" group.
Michael S's room - Spain - Michael got to select the country of his choice and because he says he's been there several times, he selected Spain. He did say he wanted an updated look, I think. Really, there's nothing wrong with this room - it's just a little bland. The floor treatment looks good to me and made the space a more interesting. Event though I said above I was happy to see him go - I actually don't think it was worse than Mikey V's or Matts. But, he was missing the Spanish feel which was the essence of the challenge, so off he goes.
Overall, Jennifer did the best. But none were mind-blowing design. I think David Bromstad is still the overall winner when it comes to putting together these white box spaces. I still remember the room he made from Pet Store finds - including the hamster shavings rug. He really got that the rooms are fake - they just need to look good on tv.
My problem with HGTV in general is that there is so little exceptional design. Most of it is "do this in two minutes for 2 bucks". It results in too much compromise. I'd love to see a show where they pit Vern Yip, Candice Olson, Lisa LaPorta and Michael Payne (please HGTV, bring him back!) against one another and see what they do with a low budget white box challenge. I think they'd be surprised at how hard it is, but viewers would still be treated to some interesting work.
Click here to read all Design Star posts.