I envisioned lots of arguments as the group worked as a whole on some big space.
But actually, the episode was essentially another white box challenge – although one without walls.
And because the white box is one of my favorites, I really enjoyed the episode.
- A great floor can change the entire tone of your space.
- Metallics and mirrors can turn an otherwise average room into something special.
- Space planning can make or break a room.
None of those things are surprising but these designs reinforced the ideas.
Here’s something else cool I learned. If you want crazy cool stuff, find a prop store. Well, at least find a prop store in Hollywood. The designers went shopping in one and it was absolutely packed full of great, interesting furniture and accessories.
Unfortunately, I don’t think we have a lot of prop stores in Indianapolis.
David Bromstad tells the designers that they will indeed create a party – a celebration of the 125th birthday of Hollywood – but each will be in charge of their own lounge area.
Each space will represent a design style or era, which the designers choose randomly. And here’s a twist: There’s no camera challenge. Instead, the designers will present their ideas and inspiration live to the partygoers.
Here are the styles the designers draw and their initial thoughts:
Danielle: Art deco. She seems particularly pleased. “For me art deco is dark colors, metallics,” she said. “I’m really happy. This is right in my wheelhouse.”
Rachel: Victorian. She calls the style “traditional but stuffy” and I couldn’t agree more. “It’s my least favorite time period,” she said. She plans to use Victorian shapes but modernize the space with color.
Mikel: Mid century modern. “To me mid century contemporary is all about minimalism at its finest,” Mikel says. “White, sparse color.” He’s envisioning the look of an “amazing house in the Hollywood hills with a sleek fireplace.”
Britany: Hollywood regency. Kris remarks right away that this is Britany’s signature style and so she’d better “knock the job out of the park.” Britany says that Hollywood regency is marked by luxury and glamor with bold graphic patterns. She plans to create some wall panels to make her space feel more secluded.
Hilari: 1980s. “This is the year I was born,” she explains. (I assume she means 1980.) She describes the 80s style as “bold, bright, punchy colors.” She plans a PVC pipe wall so people “who lounge in my space can feel closed off and also see everything going on in the party.”
Kris: 1970s. I think Kris has the best line of the night with his description of the style:“The 70s to me was pure tragedy in design and pure brilliance. So I have to instill the brilliant aspects of the 70s.” He wants to use vintage pieces with bold colors.
Stanley: Futuristic. Stanley is focused on Star Wars and – of course – building a piece for the room. He’s planning a funky starship coffee table, or something like that.
The guest judge is actress Marg Helgenberger (second from left above), who recently got her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which I guess is the reason she’s the pick for the show.
Marg starred on CSI, which leads to this campy line from Kris: “I hope she just doesn’t find any design crimes.”
Shopping, designing, etc.
So the show goes into the usual shopping montage and I am – as usual – a little jealous of all the fabulous California shopping.
Right away, we get a sense of who will be in the top and bottom. It’s not obvious which is which, of course. But based on their camera time and comments, you can almost tell who’s going to be in the mix in some way in the end.
Britany is struggling. The entire first day goes by and she gets virtually no furniture – just a cool, round, geometric bookcase that does indeed scream Hollywood regency. But David reminds her that sometimes things fall together and indeed she has a great second day of shopping.
Rachel just can’t seem to get excited about doing a Victorian room. Of course, I don’t blame her. Ugh! But she seems to get a little inspired when she finds some incredibly ornate and oversized armchairs that are painted with white lacquer and upholstered in white. Very cool and modern – but with all the right traditional lines.
Kris (at right) finds some vintage pieces, particularly a cool, sleek orange sofa. But the orange seems off to me for the 70s. It’s way too bright.
Danielle is feeling the pressure. She started the competition strong but in recent episodes has been on the chopping block. So she seems nervous.
I love when we get to see rooms that the designers work on entirely by themselves. I know that in the real world – and on HGTV shows – the designers have to work with teams of folks who are helping them realize a vision.
But on this show, I want to see what the individual designers can do. And here’s what they did…
Art deco lounge by Danielle:
There is a geometric pattern painted on the floor, light brown velvet furniture and accents of a pinky-peach color that reminded me of the first dishes I ever purchased.
There is a striking jaguar sculpture and a couple interesting lamps that feature arching figures holding globes. I would never put these lamps in my own home, but I must admit they just scream the art deco period.
The room is a hit.
Genevieve really likes the peach. “I love the colors she’s mixing in,” she says. “The floral and hints of pink.”
“It reminds of a Parisian hotel,” Marg says.
Vern calls the room “very professional” and says the lamps are his favorite accessory in the room.
Victorian lounge by Rachel:
The room feels like Rachel wasn’t in love with it – as she wasn’t.
There are some interesting ideas. She had her carpenter cut out huge wooden Victorian-style shapes that she uses to make the room feel cozier and give a nod to the style without overdoing it.
She’s got those fabulous white chairs, black and white wallpaper on the back wall, and a “tufted” paint treatment on the floor.
She’s used it on a coffee table and to paint some traditional sconces that are hanging at the back of the room. Rachel wanted the color – particularly on the sconces – to serve as the modern update for the Victorian design.
Vern doesn’t like that at all.
“The color palette is so off,” he says. “It’s like the Victorian version of Papa Smurf’s house or something.”
Genevieve thinks the “tufting” on the floor – which is actually a paint treatment – looks cheap. (I actually thought it was kind of interesting.)
But Genevieve does compliment Rachel for successfully enclosing the space and Marg likes some birds she’s used to accessorize the space.
70s lounge by Kris:
I really thought this room would be outstanding. The 70s is a period so full of inspiration and it could be so fun and even kitschy.
But Kris’ version is just too bright and uninteresting.
The best note is probably the hanging bubble chair, although one judge notes that he hung it too high for anyone to sit down in it.
The room also has that bright orange sofa, a purple rug and purple accents, a mirrored table and a disco ball.
Kris also created walls for his space out of paneling, which were then painted tan and lavender.
The judges seem perplexed. Marg says it has some “amusing touches” and points to a vintage orange typewriter.
Vern is incredibly frustrated by the furniture arrangement. Kris has pushed the sofa into a corner, which Vern says doesn’t create any good conversation areas. I have to agree. Even though I thought it was the wrong orange, I loved the sofa and it really needed to be a feature.
The judges still seem unsure what to make of the room until Genevieve says, “This feels like a replica of someone’s basement that we would come over and change on one of our shows.” Ah-ha, everyone’s face seems to say.
“It does have a basement vibe,” Marg adds.
“It’s the paneling,” Genevieve says.
Mid century lounge by Mikel:
Here’s another room that should’ve been a homerun. I mean, maybe the trend is totally over in California, but midcentury modern is everywhere these days. It would be so easy to find fabulous mid-century style pieces – and they lend themselves so well to the lounge look.
But somehow, Mikel goes wrong.
He plans to have a fireplace as his focal point and buys an electric one that doesn’t look too bad. But when he mounts it on a huge back wall, it just feels tiny. During a walkthrough, David worries aloud that it might not be a strong enough focal point.
So as the room comes together, Mikel panics. He moves a huge Rothko-esque painting from the side of the room – where I think it was serving as a divider – to the back wall. Although it looks great, he covers up the fireplace.
Otherwise, the room’s walls are white, as is most of the furniture. He’s got a couple Barcelona chairs (one of my favs!) and some other tufted pieces.
Mikel painted the floor red and then covered much of it with an ivory shag rug. There’s a fantastic tufted white bench down the middle of the room. The room has a great midcentury style chandelier and some red and orange pillows.
Genevieve says the painting “sets the scene immediately for what era this is.” She also said she understands the room’s simplicity, but “it’s reading a little flat.”
“The color palette feels a little incomplete,” Vern says.
I can’t totally disagree with the assessments. But I do think the judges overlooked one major fact: The room was great for a party.
The combination of some armless chairs, the sofa and a long bench made for lots of seating space and conversation areas. The space might have been simple but it was open enough that it would be easy to move around in.
But the judges rarely mentioned anything about the party in their observations of any of the rooms.
Hollywood regency lounge by Rachel:
This room is a great example of what I mentioned above about the judging. The room is fabulous. I’d move in there in a second. But would I want to have a party in it? No way. Too little space, too many things to break.
The room’s floor is painted to look like black and white tiles and there is a huge swatch of yellow fabric that swags across the open “ceiling” and then hangs like drapes on the sides. I loved it.
There is a mirrored geometric wall hanging, fantastic black tufted sofas, pretty mirrored tables and ivory lamp shades. There are metallics throughout and that great round, geometric bookcase I mentioned earlier.
Plus, Rachel has her carpenter create what look like black and white, paneled doors that she hangs in the corners to give the room some definition.
It’s quite a turnaround from the near panic attack Rachel was having when she couldn’t find furniture. And in fact, she calls it the best room she’s ever designed.
The judges approve too.
Vern calls the panels “smart” because they suggest a little privacy.
Genevieve says the room is “one of the best shows of accessorizing we’ve had.” She said the bookcase “feels sculptural.”
The future by Stanley:
I’m drawn to Stanley’s room, even though futuristic design is not at all my thing.
He found these crazy chairs that he refers to as meteorite chairs or meteor chairs (I’m not sure which). They are essentially metal, oddly shaped chairs with little holes in them. They are quite funky.
He’s created a coffee table out of layers of plywood that he’s painted red and a tall, red glass vase. Stanley is absolutely crazy about this table, which was inspired by something in Star Wars, though I think it was the episodes that came after I grew up because I don’t have even a flicker of recognition.
The chairs are a hit. “I love the sculptural quality to them,” Vern says.
Marg says they have “a bit of a Blade Runner vibe.”
But Stanley’s handmade table – the one with the glass vase inserted in the center – stops the judges cold.
“The question is: Would you all want to sit around that,” Genevieve says.
“No,” Vern says. “It looks like it’s going to hurt you.”
And then later, during the evaluations, Genevieve finally says what all the judges have apparently been thinking (but never honestly occurred to me):
“It was so incredibly phallic,” she said. “And it was so vertical.”
Oh. I get it now.
80’s lounge by Hilari:
OK. I admit it. I’ve been a little tough on Hilari in the past. But she absolutely nailed this challenge.
This room was so fun and interesting. And it was 80s without being the 80s I remember as ugly!
What I also loved is that Hilari got pretty far along on what was supposed to be a major project for the room – a colorful rug woven out of spandex – and she had to abandon it. It was just ugly, she said. And so despite all the work, she started over.
Isn’t it great to know that professionals have those moments too!
So instead of the spandex, Hilari paints her floor to mimic the look of a Piet Mondrian art piece, which was so popular in the 80s. It’s bright blue and yellow blocked.
She has white leather sofas, a dark metallic coffee table and some colorful globes hanging from the ceiling.
She created some very light dividers out of PVC pipe, which she accented with little studded black leather cuffs.
Genevieve loved those studs. And Marg liked the floor.
“I remember having a dress with that on it,” she said.
Vern said he thought the dividers needed more PVC pipes to provide more privacy. But Genevieve disagreed.
“I like it a bit more open,” she said. “The 80s were a voyeuristic time and I think that works.”
The winners and losers
So before I tell you who won and lost, I should mention the live presentations that replaced the camera challenges.
And Rachel – who just appeared defeated by that Victorian space – started her presentation by saying how happy she was to be done and how “totally exhausted” she was. Not good.
It’s clear from the judge’s comments that Britany, Hilari and Danielle are on top.
Britany “hit it out of the park,” Vern says. But the fact that she was a little bit lost on her presentation bothers the judges.
Hilari (at right) “may single handedly be responsible for bringing 80s back into design,” Vern says (oh, I hope not!) but she doesn’t get the win either.
The winner is Danielle (below), whom Vern said “killed art deco this week.”
Danielle also learns that her win means she’ll have an advantage in next week’s challenge.
Of course, Britany and Hilari are safe. So are Stanley and Mikel.
That leaves Rachel and Kris in the bottom. It’s an interesting pair, given that Kris has been in the middle for the whole season and Rachel started on top with two wins.
“You’re both truly gifted designers,” Genevieve says.
“But you each also had some unsuccessful moments and we do have to take someone out of the running tonight,” Vern says.
Kris (below) is out.
“I wasn’t anticipating going home this evening,” he says.
It reminds me of his foreboding quote at the top of the show:
“I’m so tired of being safe,” Kris says as the episode opens. “The seven people left are extremely talented and I will do everything in my power to be on top.”
Next week: Kitchen designs.