First, I have to say that I was shocked by the outcome of last night’s Design Star episode on HGTV. The judges sent one of my favorite designers home – something I really didn’t see coming even as she was standing among those with the worst spaces.
That said, I’m not going to reveal which designer went home – or in this case, which designers went home – until the end of this post.
Instead, I’ll focus first on what I found inspiring in Episode 3:
- Great rooms. I actually liked every room. In fact, it was startling how well everything fit together – so surprising that it’s hard for me to believe there wasn’t some behind-the-scenes coordination.
- Beautiful wallpaper. Just when I thought I’d gotten past my desire for some funky, graphic wallpaper, these designers get me all excited about it again.
- Tufted furniture. I know I used this one in a previous post but there were some gorgeous chartreuse tufted pieces in this episode that I loved.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
- Gray walls. I can’t believe I’m going to say this because I have been absolutely digging gray, but this year’s Design Star is quickly becoming the season of GRAY! Come on. There are other hot colors out there! Use them.
On to the recap…
This week, the designers were challenged to create a new office suite for Kris Kardashian Jenner (above) and her family. Jenner explains that she and the reality TV family are going to be moving their office out of their home and into a space that looks like it hasn’t been redecorated since the 1980s.
Enter the contestants. They are paired up and assigned a room in the suite with instructions to make the spaces glamorous.
“I don’t want a corporate feel because we’re all about family,” Jenner tells the designers. “I love blacks, white, grays and maybe pops of color. So it’s just beauty and glamor.”
Each pair will have three days to complete their rooms, the help of a handyman and what appeared to be an unlimited budget to spend in a number of stores that were given prominent product placements.
Here are the designer pairings:
Danielle & Hilari (at right) – Kitchen: Jenner tells them that in addition to normal kitchen functions, the space should also include a “makeup bar” where the Kardashian girls can get ready for their camera appearances as well as “PR storage” for their photos and memorabilia.
Britany & Mikel – Conference room: Jenner says the space needs a table that can accommodate 16-18 people. She’d like some mirrors and cabinetry.
Bex & Luca – Showroom: This is the space where all the Kadashian/Jenner products will be highlighted. I think this includes shoes, bags and clothing but I hate to admit being a little unsure what the Kardashians design.
Stanley & Rachel – Jenner’s office: Jenner says she wants a space that feels intimate with an unconventional desk, a sofa for extra seating and mirrors, of course. She wants an old Hollywood feel.
Kris & Miera – Reception area: Jenner wants something glamorous with sofa seating. She wants to highlight photos of her family.
I should mention now that the execution of these rooms was great. “In seven years of Design Star, I have never seen a more impressive group of rooms,” Vern said.
And as I mentioned above, the rooms fit together so well, I just don’t believe there wasn’t some behind-the-scenes coordination of the color scheme and wallpapers. I’ve put three of the rooms together above. The similarities can’t be accidental.
Overall, though, I don’t know if the designers were working together or there was a producer involved or Jenner was pulling the strings. Regardless, the resulting black, white, gray and silver color scheme that emerged in every space was beautiful.
Of course, it didn’t happen without some drama, mistakes and arguments. Here’s how the teams did:
Danielle & Hilari (at right) seemed to work well together, which surprised me. I’ve imagined Hilari at the bottom in the first couple weeks and Danielle at the top but they made it work fairly well.
Given the mixed missions proposed by Jenner, the space looked great. Danielle painted thin white, horizontal stripes on the walls, which seemed to bring all the areas together.
The pair replaced the ugly cabinets with new dark – maybe even black – ones with a gray tile backsplash and stainless steel appliances. Danielle picked out a nice glass top table and surrounded it with gray chairs.
But then in trying to hang paper on some newly built walls – I think they called them wing walls – that essentially created the PR closet, Danielle really messed up (see at right).
The paper was bubbling and so she tried to tear it down. Then she panicked. It was actually Hilari who appeared to keep her cool and who then painted the walls and hung curtains in front to hide the damage (though the judges found it).
When the judges came in, Jenner said the space felt “like a little restaurant” and that she loved the stripe. But Vern said the accessorizing – done by Hilari – felt last minute and was a “big miss.”
Genevieve said the problems with the wing walls made an otherwise high-end space feel cheap.
Britany & Mikel had worked together before and seemed thrilled to be partners again on the conference room.
In some ways, they had one of the easier spaces, I think, because the function was clear and simple. Mikel picked out a sleek, modern white table – two of them actually to get the length needed for 16 people – and surrounded it with black chairs. Jenner loved the table.
Britany created an amazing three-dimensional mirrored wall space. Essentially, she took mirror squares and mounted them on blocks of different heights. It was flashy and fun and interesting. The judges loved it.
“The mirrored wall is very, very smart,” Vern said. “I loved the dimensional quality to it.”
The room had a stunning black and white graphic wallpaper and white cabinetry with a black countertop. It was functional and beautiful and you could tell right away these two would be up for the win.
“The building blocks of this room are all great,” Genevieve said.
Bex and Luca seemed like a bad pairing the minute it was announced and it proved to be painful to watch them try to create the showroom.
Luca spent much of the episode talking about how he this was a great challenge for him because he only likes to work on high-end projects. But he only seemed to want to buy things. He didn’t seem to have much vision – or get the concept that the showroom was supposed to show off Jenner/Kardashian products, not stuff that’s been bought elsewhere.
Bex had a fun idea to create a gallery wall that used framed niches to highlight products. I thought the wall looked great, although I think some spot lighting would have made it even more special.
But then Bex became obsessed with some octagonal boxes she found. She painted them white, connected them and tried to use them for products. I actually really liked the overall shelving unit she created but the products were poorly chosen and displayed – a function of timing, I think.
The judges just hated those shelves. Genevieve said the products were out of proportion to the octagons and created dead space.
Meanwhile, Luca had designed a sort of island with chairs where buyers could sit around and talk about the products. But Vern said that – again – the proportions were all wrong. That produced my favorite quote of the night:
“The island looked like the children’s table at Thanksgiving,” Vern said. “It felt woefully undersized.”
Vern also said that when he walked in the room, he could tell “the vision wasn’t a united one.”
Bex seemed to understand where she’d failed; Luca just blamed everyone else.
But they seemed to get along great. At one point, they picked out a gorgeous, cherry red chest for the room, which they both loved. Then, Rachel found the chartreuse, tufted sofa and chair and they debated whether to change directions and get rid of the red chest.
Stanley was uncertain but compromised and trusted Rachel – a refreshing move on one of these shows – and they took a risk together.
In the end, the judges loved the pop of tufted green, which really did provide that old Hollywood style, and Jenner in particular was pleased.
“Love love love the couches,” Jenner said, even as she acknowledged that, “if you’d shown me a swatch of this, I don’t know what I would have done.”
Stanley created a sleek desk and what he called a “tennis bracelet,” which was actually a cool wall treatment. He used a mirror as the centerpiece of the bracelet and then cut some boxes with points (sounds weird, I know, but see the photo above), painted them silver, and hung them on the wall to the left and right of the mirror.
The judges thought it was unique and successful.
The room also included long drapes and yet another amazing black and white graphic wallpaper.
I think this was my favorite room. I’d move right into that office!
Kris and Miera actually provided most of the arguing in this episode. Kris, who just seems young and immature sometimes, talked right over Miera when they were consulting with Jenner. He interrupted and ignored his partner. It was so annoying to watch so I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be Miera.
Throughout the episode, Miera kept telling Kris that he had to stop and listen to her and compromise on their space. He would act like he was listening and then seemed to ignore her. The funniest thing about their relationship, though, was how he kept trying to high-five her about everything.
“I’m a mature woman,” Miera says at one point. “I don’t do high fives unless I have a kid to do it with.” Hmm. I’m not so sure she didn’t.
Regardless, the two of them eventually got on the same page – or got lucky or something – and put together a great space. It was another of my favorites.
It had a silver and black, very graphic mirrored paper (chosen by Kris) on some of the walls with cream furniture and gray accessories.
Miera created a gallery wall that Jenner loved. Silver framed black and white photos hung in front of strips of white molding.
Genevieve called the space “a delight” and Vern said it looked “professional.”
It was obvious these two would be safe and I thought they’d actually be up for the win, especially given the camera time the episode devoted to their arguing.
There was a camera challenge in this episode. The pairs were charged with working together to present their design ideas and some details about their spaces.
But I’m not convinced the outcome played much into who won and who went home. Most notable was Stanley, who might have gotten the win last week if he hadn’t bombed his on-air challenge. This week, Vern says he did great.
Even before the intense evaluations begin, the judges tell Miera & Kris they are safe. I’m a little surprised because I thought the space was beautiful enough to challenge for the win, but that just shows how much I know!
Of the remaining eight designers, Stanley & Rachel and Mikel & Britany have the top rooms. Hilari & Danielle and Bex & Luca have the bottom spaces.
Jenner announces that Stanley (at right) has won. They like his desk, his tennis bracelet art concept, and his work on camera.
Jenner says Stanley was “the one designer we feel really knocked it out of the ballpark.”
I was a little surprised by the choice because I thought Britany – with her cool mirror, 3-d wall piece – would probably win.
But Britany is safe, along with Mikel and Rachel.
Now the judges prepare to send two contestants home, a twist from the usual single elimination.
Genevieve tells Luca (below with Bex) that he’s out.
This is no surprise. He barely survived the week before. “Every very time we pair him up with somebody there’s a problem,” Genevieve had said earlier, when the judges were making their decisions. “You have to be able to work well with others or you can’t do this job.”
Luca, of course, is in disbelief because he believes he’s better than the other contestants.
That leaves Bex, Hilari and Danielle. At this point, I think Hilari is going home, even though she didn’t have the biggest design sins of the episode. She’d done poorly the week before and, personally, I’m not into her “bling” style.
But I’m wrong. The judges end home Bex!
I actually thought Bex, with her quirky little personality and strong camera skills, might have been able to win the entire thing. But she’s out in Episode 3. Bummer.