Monday, September 14, 2009

Design Star Recap, FINALE!

OK, I wrote this on Monday - and haven't found time to search out pictures yet. I'm posting sans pics - or I'll never get this thing up!)

Welcome to the final Design Star recap for the season. Tonight we feature the wrong two designers competing for the prize.

Antonio was destined for a spot in the final two. He was the only one that had his own niche from the beginning - he stood out in that crowd, visually if nothing else. The other men in the group? Gay designers. Were they good? Yes, some of them were very good - but all were what we expected. The ladies in the group? Well, there were a couple of good ones, and others that were just women who were artists and decorators because they thought they had impeccable taste. I think among the women this year there wasn't a serious "designer" among the lot... although there were some good decorators in there.

Why do I think the wrong two ended up here this week? Simply put, because Dan should have been cancelled on the backyard challenge. He's the one that took them way off budget, he's the one that lied about it, and if Torie had made a stink about this during elimination the judges would have to have given it serious consideration. Maybe Torie did make a stink, maybe it was edited out so they could keep Dan in the race - - because let's face it, if they HAD cut Dan when they should have they could have simply given Antonio the television contract right then and there, as there was no way Lonni or Torie were going to beat him. So, my thinking is that Dan should have been cut during the backyard challenge, which would have left Antonio, Torie, and Lonni for the celebrity challenge. Antonio still would have won this challenge (although I found his design sort of mainstream)... and I'm pretty sure that Lonni's room would have come in second. (It is wrong to punish her for her focal wall ideas. They are her "thing"... and they WORK - what is wrong with having a signature move?) I still think that her elegant guest room was a better finished room than the nursery Dan did... and I know that Dan is greater than Torie as a designer, and Lonni would have then won because Torie wasn't as good at presenting. (Dan could also have been knocked out over the celebrity challenge, but I think the judges knew it would be a better final show with Dan than with Lonni.) In my opinion, the finale should feature Antonio and Lonni.

However, I am not - as I stated in my "about me" - even remotely qualified to comment on this kind of stuff... so what do I know?

On to David vs. Goliath, I mean Dan vs. Antonio.

We open NOT with Dan in the bedroom, but after elimination last week. Clive (Pearse. Just Pearse. It's never in a million years going to turn out to be the sexy Clive Owen, so I just need to get over it) tells them about their big, huge, throwdown final challenge. They each get a house where they will redo a living room two bedrooms, and a kitchen. They are appropriately flabbergasted (gob smacked for my UK fans, who haven't found me yet - but I'm sure they will someday when they run this show across the pond). They have 44 hours over 4 days, assistance of a team of carpenters and $50,000.00 to complete the challenge. Sears is also throwing in appliances and electronics (Go SEARS!!!!!), and Lumber Liquidators will provide flooring. That helps out the budget by about $10K yes?

Ready? Set? GO!

They get to meet the families that night.

Antonio gets the Starr family. Mom likes splashes of color. She isn't in love with her kitchen - no counter space - wants it light and airy with contrast. They have the most boring bedroom I've ever seen and the layout is tough.

Dan gets the Goldberg family. Mom is getting divorced, and they are looking for a new beginning. A home for the two of them to continue on. I like her, she's pretty funny, making a joke about the kitchen / laundry room. Daughter's bedroom is way little girl, needs to grow up. The master bedroom is bad.

OK, Good Night to the clients.

Dan says out loud that he sees his house as being a fairly feminine space. Really Dan? Because you're designing for two girls. Dan may announce later in the show that the sky is blue.

Antonio is concerned about the flow. See, that is more "design" work like I expect during a challenge like this. (although I predict he's going to blow the kids room, sort of by overlooking it? I'm not sure yet.)


Dan waxes poetic about Spring representing new beginnings. It's nice.

Antonio is pondering how to change the layout of that house to work better for the clients. He could use a little more warm fuzzy.

They both meet the crews, and it's going to work well.

OK, both kitchens are horrible. What are builders thinking when they design kitchens like that? Dan could throw up in his kitchen and it would look better than it does right now. Did you see those skinny cabinets they put on the bottom? They used upper cabinets as base cabinets. Bwa Ha Ha! How that house ever sold is a mystery.

Basically we're just going though the houses with the crews, outlining the basic plans for demo and reconstruction. The carpenters will demo while the designers shop.

Pick out cabinets.
Then to SEARS for appliances. (Go SEARS!) Dan's soliloquie about Sears is basically a paint commercial. Did you know you could buy paint at Sears? I didn't. Antonio also waxes about the paint. (Sears executives comment; "Push the paint.")
Dan is getting a print done for the ladies' house that will be sweet.

Back at the neighborhood, the houses are unrecognizable. Good job un-named carpentry guys! This works so much better than bringing former contestants to help. Qualified help? What a wonderful idea! (Seriously, Antonio would have blown an artery if his "carpentry crew" had been Nathan, Tashica, Jason, and Torie - right?)


More carpentry, more shopping.
Hate the back splash tile Dan is looking at, but his cabinets are pretty awesome.
Too bad Antonio doesn't have time to really re-do that master bathroom. I think it could be much cooler if he did that.

Carpentry and Shopping? Don't mind if we do!
We're starting to see projects coming together. It looks like Dan's back splash is finished... and I don't like it.
Antonio is dealing with some ugly paint in the kitchen, but can I tell you how wonderful it is that he used beadboard? LOVE beadboard!

(Do you guys watch the commercials they play during broadcast? What would that girl, Tattiana of the Property Shop, look like with her hair straightened? It would totally change her look. And? Mike Aubrey from "Real Estate Intervention"? So sexy. Such a crush on him. The voice, the way he moves... it works.)

Back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

The day of chaos. 11 hours left, 24 hours worth of work left (always).

Antonio decides to repaint the kitchen. MUCH better.
Dan has to modify the cabinet for washer dryer. LOVE his cabinetry.
Think the Moroccan cabinet that Antonio chose is going to impress the judges. Who wouldn't want that?
The guys go shopping.
Dan's print of Jackie and Gail is a lovely idea.
Antonio's stars in Mile's room will be cute.
Dan is mirror crazy this episode.
Love the panic when they load in the room.
Antonio's master bedroom bedding is BEAUTIFUL! Where did he get that???

FINISHED! They should be really proud of themselves, they each just redid a house in four days. Four. Incredible.


Clive, blah blah blah, it's a good thing you have an accent or I couldn't listen to any more of this. Get on with it.


Dan, please step forward.
Inspired by Spring for new beginning. Fresh and new for their new life.
(insert picture in your mind HERE)

I like the living room! That bench by the fireplace is boss. Love the way he hid the tv, it's just lovely. Pretty chandelier in dining room. The kitchen is very nice... HATE that back splash. Pretty flooring. Jackies room? DARLING! Gails room? HATE that it looks like a water bed wall. (Almost like an Oak Express weekend ad picture.) I like the mirrors on the closet doors, and I can't believe I'm saying that. Dan's presenting has improved, not one giggle.

Vern: you have improved significantly.
Candace: likes unexpected touches.

Living Room:
Vern: so many beautiful moments in this room. TV cabinet is favorite.
Gen: Purple is all you've got?

Gen: It's sophisticated, it's what girls want. You gave it to them. Good job. (probably my favorite comment all season.)
Vern: back splash is a mistake. Looks unfinished at top.

Jackie's room:
Candace: She loves the palette. Lilac, cranberry, fuscia, pulled together with black and white.

Master Bedroom:
Vern: Not crazy about the built in. Vern is OK with covering the window.
Candace: likes that all the cabinetry is outside the box.

The family was overcome with joy. When Gail saw the picture of her and baby Jackie it brought tears to my eyes. Gail is absolutely overcome with delight. Hugs, tears, smiles, more hugs. Success! OK - STOP!!!!! DID YOU SEE THAT??? Dan used her old bedding!! That bed cover was on when we first saw the room in the client meeting! I remember it, because I love blue and brown together and I thought, 'I like that comforter.' He reused it. THAT? Should NOT be allowed. Loss of snaps for Dan.


Antonio, please step forward.
The Starr family wanted little splash of color and prints. Went with eclectic modern.
(again, conjure up that photo in your head....)

Living room, Amazing! I love this room - that cabinet is beautiful - but is it fire safe? Also, he removed a closet. That part I hate. I wouldn't want a house that didn't have an entry closet. The kitchen looks SO MUCH BETTER! He changed the layout and it works so much better. It's pretty too. Miles room is cute, but the bed is nothing. It's boring. But the room is cute. (the judges are LOVING his presentation. He's so in.) master bedroom looks 100% better, but it's still a really long, awkward room. The bathroom works, although they lost a sink.

Living room:
Candace: loves wooden blinds. The patterns work, but she doesn't know why.
Vern: your space plan is off. Long narrow room, sofa makes it look longer. (Where else is he going to put it? It's a NARROW room?)
Gen: disagree with Vern. Likes the space plan. Likes Antonio!

Candace: The white contrasts with the black. (She's been hanging around with Dan. They are charter members in the "What is it about that obvious fact that makes you think you need to point it out to me" Club.)

Kids room:
Vern: not enough storage.

Master Bedroom:
Gen: Just shy of being offensive, which she likes.
Candace: Likes that he tempered the bold color with cream and black.
Vern: likes that he changed the layout of the bathroom entry.

The homeowners LOVE LOVE LOVE! They are so excited about the color. The kitchen is a dream come true for them... and the floors. Mile's room they like. He seems excited. The master bedroom... he's funny about making them think he took the bathroom away. Antonio is crying.


And the winner is???
It was always Antonio.

Thanks for enjoying Design Star 4 with me!!!! Meet me back here next Summer?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Design Star Recap, week 8: Celebrity Homes

Again, missed last week. A dog that ran away on Sunday evening (whom we recovered at a local shelter on Monday, thank God) pretty much set the tone for my week - which included stomach flu and finishing up some painting in the living room. I didn't even watch the show until Tuesday... hence, a week with no blogging. Let do a quick overview of the backyard, shall we?

Torie wanted to be the project manager. Torie must never have watched "The Apprentice," or she would know that you only take PM jobs at the BEGINNING of the season. PM jobs are your ticket out unless everything goes perfectly - which wasn't going to happen this late in the season since we all knew that at least one person was going to sabotage this for Torie... narrowing down the field. PM almost always takes the fall on the losing team - and HEY! There was only ONE TEAM! There was no winning team! (They should have worked in teams of two, HGTV Design Star. Please take note.) I have to fault the judges here, because - as much as I like our little Noddy / Drummer Boy / Pinocchio character, Dan, he was the one that took this episode South. We all saw him lie. I wonder if the judges watch this episode in hindsight, see the footage they never saw before, and think they made the wrong choice? I liked the montage of presentation at the end, and Torie was a way better presenter than Dan - who is still channeling a misguided geisha when the "on-air" light is turned on. The backyard was pretty, but the homeowner could have put in a lawn themselves. It was a lot of work, don't get me wrong. However, it was merely decorated and not designed.

OK we're caught up! Let's dish.

Have you noticed that the only person they show getting out of bed seems to be Dan? Maybe that is why they picked him last week? (The certainly couldn't show Torie first thing in the morning. Nobody - especially Torie - wants to see Torie without makeup.)

There are those paint cans again! This is how they are assigned the celebrities they will work with this week. They get extra time this week, 2 carpenters, and $20,000. (do you have any idea what I could do with a room if I had 20K and two carpenters?????)

Dan is gushing WAY to hard about Jason Priestly. I guess it would be pretty exciting, but 90210 was a while ago. Wow, looks like Jason married Kelli Taylor after all - he certainly has a type! His wife is a beautiful girl, Naomi, and their daughter is darling. Dan will be decorating a nursery for their unborn son.

Lonni draws Tiffani (Amber) Thiessen. Also of 90210 fame, but more widely known for her courageous thespian challenge as Kelly Kapowski on "Saved by the Bell," Tiffani is now married and has a lovely home. We meet her husband, Brady. They are a gorgeous couple.

Antonio gets Kathy Griffin. Bwa Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Kathy loves the gays... I mean it! Kathy LOVES the gays! Getting the only straight designer is not going to please her at all. (Me either, Kath. I always want the gay designer - unless they're re-doing your kitchen. Then? ALWAYS pick the straight guy! See my Kitchen episode recap for more on this subject.) She goes for this right away, mentioning her worry that a straight guy cannot get the design job done. Sadly, I'm not feeling a love connection here - and I think Antonio was assuming Kathy would fall for his swarthy good looks and very pointy teeth.

I am loving the room that Lonni is going to decorate - that built-in cabinetry is beautiful! They want a contemporary, eclectic, traditional, not modern guest room. Lonnie can probably nail this, and as long as she stays away from her "signature" focal wall treatment she'll be fine.

Jason and wife want a beachy, nautical, cape cod, California beach house theme. Nursery / toddler room / guest room? Did I hear that correctly? I also don't think they have a nanny - because that 18 month old daughter of theirs seems to be in every shot with them, and it's distracting. But, it gives the message of "hands on parenting", as opposed to the message I send out to the world, which is "ears closed parenting." I think theirs is probably a more effective parenting style.

Kathy needs an office for her three employees. Hating the straight guy, she dogs on Antonio's camo shorts, which are strangely reminiscent of his camo man-pris that he wore a couple of episodes ago. Did he re-purpose them? She is willing to let him design away - whatever color and style he wants. Her house is pretty "less is more," in that it's not cluttered. I think he has the hardest room - because if he's not careful he'll just end up with cubicles against walls.

As we start the projects we are with Dan. Discussing things that go in a nursery.
Lonni is doing a sustainable, eco friendly guest room.
Antonio is trying to measure out the desk units.

OK, Dan just told the sales girl that he is "doing a nursery for an expectant young boy..." Ha Ha ha! And he picked out totally girly furniture. Blech.

Antonio is picking out flooring. Do they have to rip that tile out first, or level it out? Will this floor be glued to it? If so, won't that be awfully high compared to the flooring in the hallway? Inquiring minds want to know! (Inquiring minds who just happen to be obsessed with flooring right now, and let me tell you what a bitch it is to fit flooring in to a bay window area that has heat ducts... huh? Oh, right. The recap of MY life is being written on a different blog. Sorry... back to Design Star...)

Lonni shops for what I imagine is organic bamboo bedding.

Could someone please stop Dan? He's picking out GIRL FURNITURE! That trundle bed is totally Pottery Barn for Kids in the GIRL section! How is a white scalloped sleigh daybed nautical and boyish?

Antonio and his big chunky silver bangle bracelet are picking out a purple color palette.

This morning Dan gets a visit from HGTV's John Gidding! Who even Dan doesn't know, as this guy has to introduce himself! The name John Gidding means nothing to me, even after I google him. He is a designer on "Design to Sell"... which doesn't help me at all since the only designer I know from that show is Lisa Laporta. (Who has darling on-screen chemistry with Clive Pearse-never-going-to-be-Owen.) Don't have someone we might know show up for commentary - have some random guy walk in. That will be effective. I wonder if Dan even knew who this guy was? Did he have to google him too before his confession cam entry? John doesn't love Dan's ideas. John thinks light blue is an overpowering color. John is kidding, right?

Now John Gidding is with Antonio. Generic conversation.

We see Lonni shopping - and STOP! The words "Focal Wall" just came out of her mouth. Lonni? Is going home if she throws out that focal wall idea again - no matter how beautiful that wall covering is, and it is. Beautiful. John Gidding visits Lonni. You can see that she has no idea who he is, but he's cute! Please tell me that those matchstick blinds are going away?

This is the day where it all has to come together. They have 8 hours left. We see them finishing up shopping, finishing projects, getting things on the walls.

Dan has a flat screen TV over the changing table. Why? Who thinks "television" when they are decorating a nursery?

Big push to finish.

Enter Clive: "times up!"

Time for Elimination!!
(Side note: When Clive introduces the judges I have to stop. Doesn't Candace look beautiful tonight? Her arms rock, and that color on her is lovely. Vern and Genevieve look OK, but Candace is shining.)

Who is up first? Dan, please step forward.
(Who, can I tell you, I cannot picture watching for 30 minutes in a shot. Ever.)

First of all, the clients loved it. Naomi called it Delicious.
I liked it, I didn't love it. I think it didn't really have enough whimsy for me to think "kids room" when I saw it. The patterns, fabrics, and furniture (aside from the crib and top of the dresser/changing table) did not look like a kids room to me. Why would a baby / toddler want a sitting area with a television? That said, it was very pretty to look at, and the colors were soothing. It did have a coastal feeling about it.
Genevieve thought it worked on many levels. And she liked the curtains.
Candace loved the sculptural quality of the boat mobiles.
Vern liked the painting. Vern still hates Dan's giggle.
Genevieve thinks he is still a stiff presenter.

Lonnie, please step forward.

The clients LOVE LOVE LOVE this room. They want to hire her again - which I think is so cute.
I like this room, a lot. I think it's very pretty.
Vern thinks Lonni is gorgeous on camera.
Genevieve said she had a nice temperament, and Candace thought that made her sound like a labradoodle - which is funny.
Candace likes the big bang statement walls that Lonni does, but Genevieve thinks they are too repetitious.
Vern wants to know why the headboard is low. OOPS! But, overall he likes the room.

Antonio, please step forward.

Kathy isn't overwhelmed, but she likes it. He's the first straight guy she ever liked.I like the custom workstations - but WAIT!!! (and I had to rewind to see this...) The paint is not finished! Behind Kathy is the french door... if you look carefully you can see they didn't cut in around it. He didn't even finish that room!
Vern likes that Antonio has his own hosting style.
Candace just has it bad for Antonio. He's her "bullet point guy." Ha Ha.
Genevieve likes it, Candace is all over the color.
Vern said that the items might not be properly scaled.
Genevieve is waiting for something unpredictable from him.

The judges have a hard time choosing.

Dan: You designed an absolutely gorgeous space. BUT, your presenting - while energetic, feels forced. You need to relax. Perhaps watch a few episodes of Noddy, or "the Little Drummer Boy" to get your groove back.

Lonni: You gave the client what they wanted and are relaxed in front of the camera. However, even though your room was beautifully decorated, your headboard wasn't attached to the wall. We feel that since you only gave your delivery and installation people 8 hours to install that headboard and they couldn't pull it off, you can't multitask. Shame on you.

Antonio: You are unique and authentic as a host. Your color choice was fresh and so pretty we question that you are actually straight. What set us back on the right path was that you totally missed opportunities in this room to accessorize - which no gay man would have missed. Also, that rug sucked.

Lonni, (because we had the least amount of negative things to say about you this week) your show has been cancelled. Please exit the studio.

(My thoughts on this will be posted later this week. This is the third time this season that the wrong person has gone home... and it has affected the outcome of this game.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Design Star Recap, week 6: Kid Clients

You may have noticed I missed last week, there just didn't seem to be time to get in any recapping... so lets do a quick overview? We divide in to two teams: Nathan, Lonni, and Jason (affectionately referred to as "Lonni's nightmare team") and Antonio, Torie, and Dan ("Team Which way will Antonio turn for love?")

Design and decorate the living room / dining room area for two military families.

We notice sexual tension between Antonio, Torie, and Dan - in no particular order. I'll only be surprised if Dan and Torie end up together - other than that all bets are off with that little love triangle. They clearly have the winning room, and we get to see Torie's bitch face for the first time. Nobody gives bitch face like a pissed off Southern Belle.

Nathan is out - a week premature. Should have been Will Farrell Jason. I know Nathan spent 21 hours making that HIDEOUS storage unit from 1972, but at least he rocked the individual white room challenge. Jason hasn't rocked anything yet. At all. He's a flaming ball of tchotchke love. Which might be fine in real life, but "doesn't translate well to TV," as the judges like to say. And isn't that why we're here?

Does that about catch us up

We're down to 5 designers - which seems awfully sudden doesn't it?

We open with a shot of Dan waking up. After breakfast Clive (Pearse, still not Owens, damn it) calls for Paintcans in the workroom! Torie is sporting heavy duty make up today, wow. Girl must not want to lose her man.

Confession cam of Antonio... Good Lord, how did I not ever notice his incisors before? They're even more pointy and sharp looking than mine. If he and I ever had children they would look like vampires. What? Random tangent? Where? Oh, right, Antonio likes the thought of doing a kids room.

Lonni and Jason are both excited about having a carpenter. Methinks for different reasons

Dan looks handsome today, except for that hat. So, about Dan... can we talk? You know that nagging feeling that you have where you feel like you've seen him before? Design Star isn't Dan's first foray in to entertainment. Dan is MUCH much older than we first thought, which I figured out when I discovered that Dan has been in the entertainment industry since he was a child! I suspect pictures of him in two of his more famous roles might help clear up the mystery for you:

Glad I could help.

In the van on the way to the houses they discuss decorating kids rooms. They all want someone young. Well, sure they do. Young kids are impressed with a cardboard box in the middle of the room. "FORT!" "Dollhouse!" They don't care if it's rope on the walls or sandpaper flooring (although Vern might give them creativity points for that)... it's all about the cardboard box. You get someone over the age of 8 and things get a little trickier.

Lonni gets a 17 year old sports fan Nicco - not what she wanted. His interests include baseball, hanging out with friends, and being 17.
Antonio gets 5 year old Connor. Antonio is trying to talk to Connor like he's a person. Honey, 5 year olds aren't people yet. They have mom's to answer their questions... all you need is a cardboard box and you win.
Dan gets 11 yo Helena. Eco Friendly, earth colors. She's the recycler in the family.
Jason screams like a girl on prom night when he gets Paulina ,17, who wants a princess room. Talk about typecasting.
Torie's client is Carina, who is 8. Carina is artistic and wants an artists loft.

This is where I must come to a SCREECHING halt. Do any of you have daughters? Quick - what is missing in the girls' rooms? Nothing? Well, I have two daughters and we practically need a guest bedroom for all of the stuffed animals around here - there are three girls are on this show and I didn't see any. The authenticity of Design Star has been compromised. These aren't their real bedrooms at all! These are the works of the Haverhill Stagers that always advertise on this show. "Make it look like a little girls room, make it look lived in." I'm giving Design Star an eye roll here - I'm on to you!

OK, back on track...

Dan meets Paco the carpenter. Dan is excited to finally be the one going shopping.

Antonio and Michael the carpenter are going to make a dinosaur cave.

Jason meets Eric the carpenter. Princess Puff Jason needs 'big help'. No kidding. Now, whereas the other designers have noted their carpentry notes down on paper, Jason feels the need to tape off the design on the wall. WTF? Good thing he's not designing eco-princess's room, right? All that wasted tape! Seriously, what is he doing, trying to figure out scale? Dude, you don't have time to waste taking that damn tape back down... plus is the carpenter supposed to build to fit inside the lines? Can't you hear Jason in his pink tux shirt? "Build something that fits in this blue space."

Nicco's room is a disaster area. Chair rails are still nailed up in places... the walls are all scuffed up.... is that a hole by the closet? If your kid was going to be on Design Star as a client wouldn't you at least have him hang up his clothes? Run the vacuum? Oh, right - not if you were STAGING it to look like a lived in teen bedroom!

Torie is going for the fabric wall. That could be pretty. I think she's going to rock this challenge. Torie loves that she is designing a room for a little girl. Torie has a Steal Magnolias feeling about her, right?

Antonio gets the mom vote, under bed storage! I've decided he's not really "shame f%$k" material (although Lonni and Dan obviously don't share my clear vision)... but you gotta love that he thought about where to put the toys.

Jason gets back to the room and the carpenter has been doing what? Nothing? What is wrong with him. He's fired.

OK, Lonni? Can we talk? LOOK at that room - I suspect that back half might be an addition. You can see a wall seam right about where the floor changes in one shot. Stop moaning and go get some flooring. Like it's hard.

Antonio is doing the most construction wise, he's making a little cave.

Jason hires a new carpenter... perhaps this one isn't an obvious homophobe. (Tell me you didn't notice that about Eric? He HATED Jason!)

Day Two, and here's David Bromsted!! Torie would totally be his hag if he'd have her.

He talks to the designers. Wow! Dan is so much taller than him, I didn't realize Noddy was that tall. 'I'm challenging you Dan!" (wink wink)

Day two is looking pretty rough for the designers... don't they look tired?

Jason's chandelier is darling.

Dan is thrift shopping. (Ewww.)

Jason is not finding a rug. Why does it have to be a pattern, can't it be black. IS HE CRYING?

Dan is re-purposing a gumball machine. Does that make is sound important? To REPURPOSE it? How about "re-objectify", "re-function", or "re-create"? I sort of hate the word re-purpose.

Lonni is freaking out about the paint. She should, it looks like hell.

WTF is all over Jason's window? He was talking to carpentry boy v.2.0 about doing cutouts around the wall - which would have been cute - and now it looks like Tashica snuck in there and had her way with the craft paint.

I like what Torie is doing with the girl's name. Her cut out is cute, and the lights are great.

I like the gigantic dino stickers Antonio is using, but will the judges think he's taking the easy way out?

Day Three! We see them grabbing breakfast to eat in the van. I wonder if Torie had time to reapply the makeup this morning? (Can you even look at Dan now and not see Noddy??)

OK, Jason's "headboard" is ghetto. Do we envision that Princess Diana would have thumbtack and place mats above her bed? No, Jason, we don't. You can't
just hang up a chandelier and call it Royal.

Torie just screwed up - that fabric is hideous. ONE fabric, maybe two, pleated would have been SO elegant and creative. All those pieces stapled up? No.

Watching everyone throwing things out the door as they say "times up" is hilarious! Seriously chucking stuff out the doors!

Ahhh, the judging!
Who's room is on the chopping block first?

Antonio: Dodi said Cute cute cute bed. It's good. Good little boy bedroom.
Candace said he is the Tony Soprano of design. (Is that a compliment?)
Genevieve points out what was missing in his presenting. (Intelligence?)
Vern likes the storage ideas under the bed.
Genevieve thinks the room was successful.

Dodi said: I like it mostly, the fabric blows.
Genevieve called her presentation style "roboto". (I'm guessing, that's not positive?)
Candace likes the "risk" she took with the bed. How is an ordinary loft bed a risk? I want to look at Candace and say, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
Genevieve is being a little bit of a bitch tonight with her creative criticism. "I'm so tired of the client saying a color and the designer putting it on the wall." THIS was the time for Torie to step up and bitch slap back with, "The client said she liked green, blue, and red. CLEARLY I've used HELIOTROPE in place of normal green - so back off you uninspiring wretch."
Vern is mentoring her on pulling back with the colors. (and maybe the attitude! In my imaginary scenario Torie did seem a little out of control.)

Dodi said: Wait, I thought the room was going to be hot pink. What's shocking about leaving it the same color?
(During the televising of the finished design, Genevieve flashed a bitch face... ha ha.)
Candace calls him a cream puff, and then tried to make it sound like it was a compliment.
Vern hates the room. Vern said it was for the Princess from the Kingdom of No Imagination! HaHa!

Dodi says the home plate wall is cool, tool chest is cool. It's nice, but the painting and trim work is awful! (Lonni's finish work often has all the charm of an unfinished basement.) However, Lonni is a good presenter.
Vern said he liked it, but don't get used to being the feature wall girl.
Genevieve liked it.
Candace thought Lonni was a good presenter.

I like this room, it bright and fun. The window seat, desk, dresser combo worked for me. So cute. Client loves it!
Vern points out the giggling. (Dan giggles like a school girl when he's nervous.)
Candace loves the gumball machine light.
Vern hates the headboard. Said it reminded him of day-after-garage-sale refuse.
Genevieve thinks it's too bright. Maybe that looks different when it isn't on my beautiful HDTV? Because I think it's not too bright. The girl has vision problems, after all.

And it's time to deliberate!I wish we knew whose rooms they were talking about?

Antonio and Lonni, good job.

Dan, Torie, Jason please step forward.
Dan, we only saw fragments of your ideas and your nervous giggling makes you sound like an unskilled Geisha.
Torie, the judges think you are unimaginative and have cadaverous presenting skills.
Jason, blah blah big idea blah blah horrible room, but good hosting skills. Too bad you suck otherwise you big, gay windbag.

Jason, your show has been cancelled.

So, I guess we'll never know what Will Farrell's face would look like if he won Design Star.Or maybe Will will make it back to guest host on Saturday Night live and we'll all find out!?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Design Star Recap, week 4: Think Inside the Box

Episode 4. Lets get started...

Hello cast! Must be nice to wake up in such a beautiful house every day! Everyone is wondering, "what is the challenge going to be?" Jany wants to know if it's another kitchen. God help us if it is, Jany, that would get boring quickly. (Maybe Jany wants to complete her backsplash and be vindicated?)

Time for Clive Pearse, and here he is. "People in these economic times are not moving - they are improving." (Yes, got some of that going on myself lately.) You are to divide in to two teams of four. (I must note at this point that my oldest daughter prefers the paint can assignments instead of this way of dividing into teams.) I love how they all run for one team. Tashica is the new Torie, nobody wants her on their team. Everyone wants to be on Antonio's team. He looks cuter this week. Lonni makes the sacrifice to head on over to Team Doesn't Really Stand A Chance, and the teams are now even.

Each team will be assigned a garage. No one looks at all excited. The news that they get 10K seems to help their enthusiasm.

This week is a double elimination - and we see on confession cam that Tashica doesn't think she's going home this week. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!! That's a good one!

Dan, Nathan, Lonni, and Tashica are assigned the Lang's Garage. Let's call them Team Disaster Waiting to Happen... or Team Disaster for short. They want a rec room, entertainment area. The house has a Spanish style, so incorporate that. They point out that the garage door doesn't close all the way, nor does it lock. I'm guessing where we start is a new garage door - the client is always right, yes?

Jason, Torie, Antonio, and Jany are assigned the Caswell's Garage. Let's call them Team Beach. They want a grown up, quiet space. Bright, think "beach." Not "mexico beach", "Hamptons beach". (Honey, the last time I saw a movie with a Hampton's beach house in it I was looking at Grey Gardens... and your garage is pretty much there already!) So, to reiterate: "No" to Mexico and small children selling Chiclets and bracelets outside on the driveway, "Yes" to the Hamptons well-monied look with heiresses drunk driving down the street. Got it.

(Looking at both of these garages, one might get the idea that we need to bring in Peter Walsh from TLC for a little de-cluttering.)

It seems that Antonio is taking charge, so I'm sure Torie will be taking him aside later to "consult" a bit. He's much sexier when he's in charge. I have my doubts about the plywood flooring idea. Plywood just doesn't scream "chic" to me. Someone wonders if they should use green, and Jason makes a face and mentions she'll probably like it because she likes Colonial. He actually physically winces when he says, "Colonial." Do gays not approve of colonial? Is it Louis XVI or nothing for them?

Tashica is going on about how she's part of the team. OK, lets get real. They tolerate her presence... she's like that cousin you are forced to play with and include in your games at the family reunion. It's not a love connection.

Dan speaks of incorporating a bar. In a garage with no locking doors? The neighborhood teenagers are certainly excited about this development!

OK, NOW Tashica is whining that no one is listening to her. She says "sectional", no one responds. Dan says "sectional" and everyone loves the idea. Again, I must point out that there are certainly students at the Haverhill School of Home Staging that are more qualified than Tashica to be on this program - and everyone BUT her seems to be aware of this fact. She could shout, "Naked Neon Buddha Statues!" and Lonni would simply look past her and blink. Nathan needs to turn around and say, "Hey, have you forgotten that your entire team on the kitchen challenge voted you the weakest link? And that some of us are sleeping under shredded comforters every night might have slipped your mind... but I'm tired of pulling lint out of my hair in the morning. Shut. The. Hell. Up."

Team Beach is wondering how to create a beach theme without any windows. Good point. They're going to buy a garage door!

Team Disaster? Has also decided to buy a new door. Everyone will be so happy!

Lonni and Dan are going shopping.
Antonio is going shopping.
Lonni and Dan forgot the cash. Whoops.

Newsflash! Team Disaster has a new development - Now they're going to nix the new garage door! BAD BAD BAD. Their door doesn't close all the way, and doesn't lock - and this isn't a problem? No. Because people don't steal high end electronics or liquor. Ever.

Lots of construction going on, the teams seem to be working well together. Team Disaster is a little behind. As in their floor isn't done at all, but I'm sure it will be OK. After all, Tashica is known for being on the team that rallies at the end, right?

Day two, and that is a rough lookin crew.

Ahhh, Team Beach got their new garage door. GOOD JOB. Too bad the other team didn't take the same initiative.

Jany and Torie are going shopping. They have differing opinions. (to say the least!) Torie blurts out "I love SEARS!" That's one way to get extra time on camera this season. They haul through the shopping and set a world time record getting back to the team to help out.

Dan is teaching Tashica how to screw two boards together. Yea, you'd hate to tell her about pre-drilling something like that, right? No point in getting that very long ass screw going in the right direction before watching her send it out the side. I smell another unfinished room!

While Dan and Tashica build the Taj Mahal out of two by four kiln dried lumber, Nathan and Lonni are going shopping. Nathan and Lonnie are knocking the shopping out so fast!! Good for them. Except now they seem to be stuck in traffic. Dan has basically been working alone all day.

End of day two. The Hamptons room is coming together nicely. I don't understand the floor - but I'm sure it'll all make sense. I mean, who wouldn't put a white floor in a garage? It just makes good sense.

Frantic painting finish for Team Disaster. They are going to have to bust a hump tomorrow. They only have TWO HOURS to finish that mess? Holy cow. Because that is what homeowners want - one coat of paint, bad corners, and a ghetto garage door left in place. That'll make them smile!

Lonnie is resigned.
Antonio is confidant.

Morning hits, and we're at day three.
Two hours left to knock out the finish details, or (in the case of Team Disaster) the entire challenge except for the shopping. (And? When did SEARS become the international house of tchotchkes? You can accessorize a room with everything SEARS? Really?)

Team Beach is already loading in the room. The idea of wrapping the elliptical machine is great... why can't I ever think of stuff like that? Like before company comes... instead of vacuuming at the very last minute because I'm out of cleaning time? I could just wrap the vacuum cleaner up with a bow and the guests would know that my gift to them was the IDEA of vacuuming the floor. Brilliant! (I think I'll pull that one out at Thanksgiving for sure.) The judges are going to scorn this little side step, mark my words.

Team Disaster is nothing short of chaos. I love it! It makes my heart pound like I'm part of it. I'm nervous, and I can't wait to throw Tashica under the bus in front of the judges! Wait until you hear my speech! I'm thinking of hiring a children's choir to highlight the intensely shameful parts...Oh, wait... I'm not actually on this show? Crap.

With a half an hour left the rooms seem to be coming together... and I think they both finished.

Clive Pearse will now be showing the families around their new digs. He'll see the contestants at elimination. (He should mention that he'd like to see them showered and cleaned up, because with his British accent that would be hilarious!)

And suddenly here we are: ELIMINATION

Team Caswell: the Hamptoms Beach room

The homeowners love the new garage door! (which you can't see in the picture, but it has windows and is very nice.) They seem pleased with the room, and I think they really do love it - but they're in shock. They're pretty reserved people you can tell from their reaction.

Vern likes the homeowners reaction. Asks, "Who is responsible for the design?" They all had a part. Teamwork. Good stuff.
Candace thinks this room is unbelievably predictable and unoriginal. (Which, coincidentally, is what I'm beginning to think every time Candace opens her mouth.)
Vern notes that the Hamptons are more lush than this. AND Jany just threw Torie under the bus about her lack of style! ha ha! (Jany is obviously still bitter about the backsplash.) Did you see the bitch face Torie threw at Jany when she dogged her? Ha Ha!
Genvieve likes the floor solution.
Vern wants to know what Jason did. He did the color scheme and the wainscoting idea. I guess the judges think it's at a weird height, but why does it matter where the wainscoting ended... it looks good. Vern wanted it white... but lets face it, Candace would have called out WHITE wainscoting as "predictable". Lose/Lose situation there.
Vern was a bit peeved at the boxed elliptical machine. (See?)

Team Lang: Spanish Fly Entertainment Space.

Wow, they like it. Is it me, or is someone is going to kill themselves on the platform / garage door accident waiting to happen? Homeowners liked the interior, but were massively disappointed with the garage door. Gosh, did anyone see that coming??

Vern: Who is responsible for the garage door. Tashica hesitates not one second before she starts throwing people under the bus. Lonni stands up and says it was a group decision.
Dan pipes in with, "I did a lot of construction."
OK, I want to reach out and slap Tashica. She's nodding her head in sad agreement with Vern every time he says something negative - like she tried to change anything at all in this space. Please, bitch. Go home.
Candace doesn't like the mural, although I don't think it looks that bad.
Loni and Nathan shopped for furniture and styling...and Genevieve likes it
Tashica talks about how she physically labored, primed, and painted but was basically a worker... not an idea girl. Dan is doing a good job of saying Tashica really has no original ideas, but wants to think she does. I'd be mad if I were Dan, Lonni, and Nathan. Really mad. I love that Candace is lecturing her. Vern puts her on the spot... "just tell us what you did..."

Vern is up to something... side whisper to Candace, then Gen, then Clive.... He is kicking her out without deliberation!!! WOW. That is the slap I was looking for. Good for you Vern. So much more effective than "shut up."

Deliberation is going on... Vern doesn't like Nathan, Jany is pissing off Torrie, someone thinks Antonio is going home... what a mess this all is. I would think Tashica leaving would have brightened the mood more than this. Plus? I'm confused, because the judges don't seem to like either room. THEY ARE GARAGES, for goodness sake. Go with it.

Antonio and Dan: you guys always tend to be the anchors... Good job. Go wait in the green room.

Lonni, Jason, and Torie... all 3 of you have one thing in common, none of you take the lead. (ouch) Please go join the others in the green room.

Jany and Nathan, you are the weakest.
Jany your design style is textbook, you're not a star.
Nathan you always seem to have big ideas but lack confidence.

Jany, your show has been cancelled. (Lonnie will be so happy!!)

And.... finally... Ciao Tashica!

(Pictures can be found at, and are the property of HGTV Design Star.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Design Star Recap, week 3: Are you ready for your close up?

I’m not so sure what that title had to do with out first White Wall Challenge… but I don’t get paid to think about that.

This week we have our first individual challenge, and I might add it’s about time. The designtestants get $1000 to shop at a grocery store in order to find enough stuff to decorate a 10x10 room. They are each provided with one (identical) sofa, coffee table, side table, ottoman, five-shelf bookcase, and a table lamp. All white. Walls are white. Floors are white. Why don’t they start them with black? I think that would be more challenging… but again, I don’t get paid to think about that.

The designers seem excited, and we get to hear some of their ideas. Jen wants to use recycled products; cardboard, burlap, plastic wrappers. Nathan is already thinking about making a chandelier out of oranges (to hang from the non-existent ceiling). Tashica wants to mount the coffee table on the wall, and she’s talking about doing a “3D transfusion from the wall down in to the furniture.” Not a transition or a transformation… a TRANSFUSION. Like with blood - only with furniture. Torie intends to design a teen hang out room that is vibrant and trendy. Jason… well Jason is Jason.

Speaking of Jason, I have to share my thoughts. All I can think of when I look at Jason is that if Will Ferrell were to play a fictional gay male southern-ish design contestant? He would BE Jason. I can’t get this thought out of my head – it’s all I see when Jason talks to us on confession cam.

Sorry, I digress…

Suddenly we are at the Grocery Store (no SEARS product placement this week?), and the designtestants are lined up with their carts. Clive (Pearse not Owens) gives them the old ‘ready, set, go’… and they’re off! Jen heads to the Asian food aisle and starts waxing poetic about the noodle wrappers. Lonni looks lost, she’s looking for the plastic cups (which we’ve already seen in the previews pop off of her wall), Antonio is loading up on pool noodles, Jason is going for the matzo crackers. Jany is planning a lemon area rug, Torie seems like she knows what she is doing, and Dan is having visions of an orchard.

Once the shopping is done we’re back at the soundstage, and Dan is busy at the saw already. Nathan is dehydrating sliced oranges? Lonnie is crumpling up flower napkins, and Jen is gutting a stuffed bear. Lovely. Will Ferrell Jason is working on a weaving project of some kind.

On confession cam we see that Dan is going for a lux look, and wants his design to look like it cost a lot more than $1000. Antonio has his grid all laid out and ready to paint, Lonnie’s cups are popping off already, and Nathan accuses everyone who has a focal point comprised of painted graphics of copping out. Nathan has already mentioned letting milk run down his painted walls like a glaze… so I’m not sure he’s one to be trusted here. At this point Lonnie calls Tashica’s room unoriginal. OK – Lonnie’s room is either going to be gorgeous or hideous because the focus in really on her tonight. I have the same feeling about Dan. Jen’s colors are ugly, they look bad on even my beautiful HDTV… and nothing looks bad on my beautiful HDTV! Tashica, once again, is going to design a room that is a mess in the details. Her black lines are uneven.

On day two, the designers have 5 hours to finish up.

Dan has matched his lip color to his walls – a deep, dark red. Very nice. This color works well on him – whereas Nathan’s lip colors tend to look better when they are more neutral. Antonio’s walls are confusing to me. They remind me of that blue crashed room a couple of seasons ago. Will Ferrell Jason? I need to tell him that the yellow is very ugly, and my 9 year old’s pot holders are woven better than his wall hangings. He’s so proud of them – can he really not tell they suck? I don’t think he’s a very strong designer.

Jen is explaining to Clive (Pearse, not Owens) that her room is “Japanese Eco.” I think it’s not impressive, and unfocused. I’m not proud – I don’t get her artistic vision. (But then, I don’t get a lot of people’s “artistic vision.” As someone who majored in Visual Arts, I think “artistic vision” can be over rated.) Dan’s room is looking very interesting – I think the wood on the wall is very cool, although I can’t tell what it is yet. Nathan is dripping something down the walls that CANNOT be milk as it is waaaaayyyyy too thick.

Torrie – I just love Torrie! I love the swirls on the back wall. I wonder, as each week goes on and she gets better and better, if the team every wishes they hadn’t voted for her to join them? She’s very good. Jany’s room may work for me. I like the colors a lot, but she may get called out for too much paint, not enough groceries. I think if she had painted a lemon slice on her back wall the judges would have LOVED it.

By now you know how I feel about Tashica… but I think her pillows are a good idea. Actually, I think Tashica probably has some great ideas – it’s her execution that messes her up. The bedroom COULD have been good, the kitchen COULD have had nice accessories, the white wall challenge COULD turn out nice… but she’s got no attention to finish detail. Plus, is she ever going to get that table to hang correctly on the wall? Are she and Lonni using the same glue?

(When you see Clive standing in front of Antonio’s walls, doesn’t he look like a Superhero??? Oh, and the “Antonio thing” I was going on and on about last week? Was ruined by his showing up this week in camouflage man-capris. RUINED. There is not one hot thing about him this week.)

Jen walks over to Lonni (as Lonni pins some artichoke leaves to a lampshade) and notes; “You’ve got great texture in your space.” And, Dodi adds, FANTASTIC sound effects as those cups pop themselves off the wall over and over and over again. I’m sad, really, because I know now that Lonni’s room sucks and I like Lonni. I think Lonni is better than this and I hope they don’t send her home.

Do you see Torrie’s floor???!!!! AMAZING.
Do you see Jen’s disemboweled bears???!!! Not amazing.

Oh, Antonio is helping Lonni… and so is Torrie. I love that! They know Lonni is better than this room, and they’re going to help her out so she has a chance to stay. Good for them.

And it’s time for judging. They’re going to go through each room individually.

Nathan is first. Nathan calls his room style, “Organic structure with maximized contrast for a big concept.”

(...and with that explanation, Nathan just revealed himself as that guy who could bullshit his way through any high school essay exam.) Walls look cool and that chandelier is very cool. I like the couch, hate the table, and like the floor. The judges seem to like it. The orange slice chandelier is an absolute hit.

Jany calls her room style, “Very cool modern, yet happy beach house.” OK, I actually love the flower artwork… and the room really works for me. Candace thinks the design is too textbook, and Vern doesn’t like what she did with the graphic message on the wall. It didn’t make a statement.

Torrie, “Young, eclectic, electric hangout.” I love this room, I love the swirls, I love the colors, and I love the floor. Genevieve is amazed (her dress matches the pattern Torrie did on the floor) Vern likes the mural, and Candace thinks it is crazy good.

Lonni – you know what I like about Lonni? She’s going in to this elimination knowing her room sucks. She’s not trying to sugar coat it, isn’t delusional at all (some of the other rooms suck too, but their creators seem to not know it), she’s honest. She knows. She does explain her problem with the cups, and Candace says, “Things go wrong all the time on my show… and I always have a backup plan.” Which is easy to say when you have longer than 15 hours to complete a whole room and have assistants to run and get the stuff for Plan B should it be necessary. These contestants don’t have that option, and this was unfortunate. Genevieve asked her if she gave up, and Lonni gave props to Antonio and Torrie for helping her finish.

“The Garden of Eden” inspired Tashica. It’s not a horrible design, it’s just sloppy. Her colors are good, and Vern likes her sofa. Genevieve notes her raggy black lines (which remind all of us of her performance on Episode 1). When Vern mentions that she ripped off another designer with that table on the wall piece, I can’t really tell by her face if she knew before hand that she did it or not. She might have known it was a rip off all along and just hoped nobody noticed.

Will Ferrell Jason (is that getting old yet?) calls his room “simple, clean, bright, and cheerful.” I call it “really ugly yellow and mushy brown.” I have to look away, the yellow is burning my retinas. (Wouldn't you love to hear a judge blurt that out during elimination?) Vern likes the space plan, but hates everything else. Candace hates the colors, and Genevieve says, “I just think you’re more fun than this”, to which Jason responds, “I am.” Genevieve counters with, “This is the second beige room you’ve given me.”

Dan was “inspired by an orchard, tear it apart and reinterpret it.” It is lovely. The back wall with the apple design is beautiful, and the wood areas are completely unique. Vern declares it the best execution ever! Genevieve loves that it is finished, full, and looks expensive. Candace is charmed that it gives the appearance of being effortless.

Jen wanted her room to be “Green and recyclable, organic pop art with a Japanese twist.” Again, I don’t relate to her artistic vision. To me it looks random; although the composition is nice it doesn’t sweep you away at all. It’s all on the same visual level – with no focal point. The palette confuses Genevieve. Candace mentions that it isn’t cohesive, and (invokes for the second time this season) it's obtuse! Vern is disappointed with the color, Jen has not delivered.

Antonio talks about his design as a “Design Star Tribute.” It’s fun, but it’s cartoony. Besides the paint there isn’t really anything else worth mentioning in the room. Candace says the room is successful, but that Antonio didn’t embrace the challenge. Vern said that the paint was cool, but the sofa is nothing and it’s not enough.

The judges deliberate, and it’s not looking good for Lonni. But I can’t tell for sure, it’s all very cryptic.

Dan, Torrie, and Nathan are the stars this week.

Jany, Antonio, and Tashica are safe… not great designs, but not horrible.

Lonni, Jason, and Jen disappointed the judges.

Jen, your show has been cancelled.
Overall I think this was a weak episode. I’m confused that Tashica is still there, and am looking forward to next week’s episode. I think I prefer when they work together this season, which for me is different from previous seasons. See you after the garages!!

(all pictures can be found HERE, and are property of HGTV)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Design Star Recap, week 2: Dueling Kitchens

OK I missed the first five minutes this week, so I missed Clive (Pearse not Owens) recounting for us what happened during week one. He could have just popped you over here for a quicker recap.

The second I tune in I ask myself, “Who’s that girl in the kicky beret?” (I never do find out the answer to this – but she did seem so fashionably put together on Confession Cam that I thought I’d mention it.) The only thing I know for sure is that it wasn’t NataLee!!

This week is kitchens. They choose team leaders with the old star-in-the-paint-can trick, and it’s Nathan and Amy! (Side note: Nathan has gone with a more natural shade of lip stain this week and it totally works on him.) They’ll be picking their teams “playground style”. I’m telling you what – no matter who I am right now, I’m killing myself at this point to get Antonio on my team. Even if you don’t like him, this is the episode when it pays to have a straight guy on your team. A gay man might have a better idea what looks nice, and I’d certainly rather have a gay decorator… but I don’t tend to think of them as “handy.” There are cabinets to install and heavy work to be done – ANTONIO is the man here people! No matter what, you pick him!

Amy goes first, and she picks… not Antonio. Dumbass. She ends up with a team of all women and Dan.

Nathan’s first pick? ANTONIO! Someone knows the secret, am I right?

OK, are we shocked that Torie got picked last? No, they have no faith in the contestant they themselves voted on to this particular island, as they think they voted in a loser.

Amy meets her homeowners with, “We’re Team Love…” STOP. I can tell you that if my husband were greeted with this line he’d be like, “Team Love? No. What I want is ‘Team Get It The Hell Done or you can turn your ass around, Missy.’” Even on a free kitchen makeover she needs to tone down the touchy feely.

The question of the day seems to be; “ How do you see yourself using this room?”
“We entertain.” “We spend time in the kitchen.” “It’s the command central of our home.” OK, OK, we get it; if it had a bed you’d never leave. Did they expect anything different? “Oh, I like to quilt around the spaghetti sauce,” or perhaps, “We like to carry out Civil War battle re-enactments over by the window.” It’s a kitchen. People hang out in the kitchen. You already knew that.

At the end of that engrossing conversation we have it that Nathan’s team likes “Italian and Moroccan”, whilst Team Love has homeowners that want people who see the new kitchen to say “I’ve never seen anything like it before.” Which, in both cases, leaves a hell of a lot of gray area they they’re going to wish they’d filled in.

I’m going to throw in here that Clive (Pearse, not Owens… is that getting old yet?) is giving each team $20,000 for the makeover. This is not a lot of money when kitchens are involved… and it doesn’t buy them any extra grouting time for that tile backsplash that has never once been completed on any of the kitchens they’ve done in the past three years. Just a warning.

Oh, and why is SEARS not taking this opportunity to advertise its amazing kitchen cabinet re-facing program on national television? I get a mailer weekly, and yet when they’re sponsoring a prime time reality show they leave that part out? Frankly, I’m questioning SEARS’ commitment to making sure the homeowner’s needs are met.

WOW! Nathan’s team demo’d that kitchen FAST. These guys are needed on those flipping shows!

Wait, the girls JUST got back from shopping, and the cabinets are already there?

Why is Amy crying? (Why do I have the feeling that I’m going to be typing that question a lot?) I hate it when they cry.

Is anyone worried that we’ve not heard the word “backsplash” yet, and it’s day two? Get that project going – have they never seen this show? Time is lost in the backsplash!

(I’m going to take a moment here and say that I’m disturbed by how hot I’m finding Antonio this episode. That 40-year-old homeowner persona with the glasses is turning me on, and this is not a happy place for me. Remember in college when there was that one guy that, if the chance ever came up, you’d totally jump – but you knew you’d regret it the next day? We called that guy your potential “shame f**k”. Antonio? IS THAT GUY!)

TORIE! You are the GIRL! That backsplash idea is the bomb – if it looks good I might steal her idea! I’ll bet she’s not picked last next time!

Antonio announces to the Confession Cam that he doesn’t think Nathan is a good leader. I’m going to agree with him, and not just because he is my potential “shame f**k.” I think Nathan has been pretty good, but it’s probably Antonio that is driving the project home. (Gosh, I’m all hot again now.)

Amy is an idiot. You NEVER let them drop a fridge off in the yard. They always offer to bring it in, it’s called DELIVERY, and they’ll even plug it in for you. Why those two girls are struggling with it I’ll never know… but they don’t want to disturb Dan – because he’s the “guy” on the team and is installing the cabinets. (Remember gay man = not handy?)

As we leave the teams tonight, they announce that the floors will be installed, and the countertops will be put in as well. Who is that girl on Team Love (Jany?) who isn’t finishing the tile backsplash tonight? She’s going to install it AND grout it in one day. No, she’s not. We all see that coming, right?

Now it’s the next morning, and I’m going to have to pat myself on the back here for just a second…. The team with the (shamefully hot) straight guy installing the cabinets has a beautiful counter top. The team with the (confident but not as handy as he might think) gay man installing the cabinets? Improperly installed countertops because the cabinets are not square. So again, students, in the kitchen challenge YOU ALWAYS WANT THE STRAIGHT GUY on your team. (I wonder if Torie had to restrain herself from dragging him in to the pantry for a little “brainstorming” session?)

(Is it warm in here?)

We see Jany lamenting her bad tile job. Ha Ha. Its OK Jany – that traditional kitchen wasn’t ever going to be good enough for Mr. I Want Something Original anyway.

SHAWWWWWW, did Team Love not accessorize? Amy is SO gone. Or maybe the tile girl. Or maybe Tashica – who is on the show why? Because I’m sure there are Haverhill Staging students out there more qualified to be on this show than her.

Time to see the kitchens!!

Team Nathan’s kitchen:

The judges don’t love the colors, and Jen – the “color designer” is to blame for that. They say “less is more.” I think the colors would have been less overpowering if they didn’t have all those mismatched pendant lights all over the place adding even more color to the design. When one of the daughters says, “It looks like my mom designed it herself,” is that a compliment? AND? I DIG the backsplashes!!!!! Candice complimented those, “Congratulations on not getting bogged down with tile.” (Did you notice that Candace thought they were tin, not vinyl? I’m totally going to go looking for that stuff when we get to the kitchen in our house.) I actually think if they had stuck with two colors and kept the accessories to a minimum (less Buddha, more edibles), Genevieve and Vern would have been happy.

Amy’s Team Love:
They call it “Warm Modernism.” Let me tell you that this is THE AFTER SHOT… not the before shot. This kitchen had no accessories whatsoever. The Judges notice EVERYTHING that is wrong. They hated the styling. They hated the shoddy workmanship, the unfinished tile (Candace: “Have you ever SEEN this show before?”), and the countertops. Tashica is weak and whiny. Candace thinks Tashica has blown it two weeks in a row. Candace it right… Tashica SHOULD be the one to go, but Amy was project leader and will be chopped I’ll bet.

OK here we go! The results are in and Dan and Antonio? The judges think that clearly they were the leaders this week. Please wait in Green room.

Jany, Loni, Jason, & Torrie: Good work, please go join the others in the green room.

Remaining designers, will you please step forward.

Jen, your choice in color does not reflect well on you.
Nathan, you lack of leadership (but you do not lack overly blushed cheeks). However you are safe. You may both wait in the green room.

Amy and Tashica. You were both unable to focus. You left the family with an unusable kitchen. Amy is scattered. Tashica, you are not clear on what you could and could not execute.

Amy your show has been cancelled.

My thoughts on this decision? Tashica screwed up two weeks in a row. It’s a bad decision, and the other contestants aren’t happy with the fact that Tashica is still there. No one was happy when she walked through that door.

Next week is the white room challenge. I LOVE those

Monday, July 20, 2009

Design Star Recap, week 1: Design Your Hollywood Home

As this season opens, Clive Pearse (who you know loves this gig so much better than that sell-your-house show he also does, and who I keep calling ‘Clive Owen’, so bear with me…) does a montage of the grueling season that is coming up. Yep, there will be bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms… you name a room and they’ll decorate it this year. And they’ll do it bigger and better than ever before!

We see the house. Pretty house. So much better than that bullsh*t last season about making them think they’ll build their own house. Improvements are already being seen, keep it up Design Star!!

Now we meet the contestants:

Jason. Who doesn’t want to carry his own luggage. Poor Jason. Perhaps NEXT year they’ll have bellboys?
NataLee is a cutie – but her name is the worst. Nata. Lee. NataLee. Her parents watched the Electric Company before she was born.
Dan. Young, adorable, reminds me of David Bromsted, who won season one. Do they need two of those guys on air?? Maybe he could be David’s understudy.
Jany Lee is passionate!! Because probably no one else is, and that’s why they’re here! Good to set yourself apart, Jany. You’re Passionate!
Amy is overcome with emotion at being here. I hope she isn’t a crier. She seems OK except for the tears.
Nathan is sure of himself. Which means he’s cocky and will step on toes. Won’t care that he steps on toes, won’t apologize – will say things like, “If they can’t understand my vision they aren't thinking outside of the box!”
Lonnie is afraid of having to do the work herself. I’m guessing Lonnie probably grew up listening to her mother yell at the help.
Antonio. Token straight guy. Will reference his heterosexuality many times during the season. (I don’t like him any better now than I did when he played “Kevin” on Project Runway two years ago.)
I must have blinked and missed the entry of the other two contestants. Jen and Tashica are also part of the crew.

Here comes Clive!! Welcome contestants to your new home. He is wondering if anyone had noticed that there are eleven planning tables, and only ten contestants?? The big wrench in the works surprise is that the contestants that got in on their own merit get to pick eleventh competitor… who they get to meet for 20 seconds. Why? Like they’re going to pick someone who will give them a run for their money? They’ll be fair at all? They are going to pick the one they think is the biggest loser. They pick a woman named Torie and her big Texas hair! (I’m not knocking big Texas hair – the higher the hair, the closer to heaven. Amen.) It isn’t even important that I tell you about the other two, as you will never see them again. (Well, that other girl might end up on Rock-of-Love if she really desires a career as a reality television personality. I can see that. Bret Michaels would hand her a back stage pass and ask her, “Will you stay and Rock my world?” It’s very touching.)

Clive (Pearse not Owens) announces the competition for tonight is to decorate the house. Dining Room, Living Room, Master Bedroom, Second Bedroom & Third Bedroom. They have a HUGE budget, the largest they’ve ever given them to work with: 50 Large. Nice. Someone just squealed that they don’t make that much in a year. Why would you share that?

OK, I’m going to point out here that Nathan is wearing way too much lip stain. He is so gay. He needs to blot that stuff before stepping before the confessional camera.

ANNNNDDDD, here it is: Bring on the SEARS product placement! SEARS sponsors us this year, ladies and gentlemen! Which can only mean that we’ll see blatant product placements from not only SEARS, but from Kmart, The Great Indoors, and maybe even Lands End if they can work that in! (Which is cool, my sister gets her paycheck from Sears. I’m down with The Great Indoors in a big way, too.)

Next we zoom around watching everyone plan his or her rooms, shop, and try and finish up in not quite three days. It’s challenging, but most of them seem to be handling it OK… except who are the two girls painting their bedroom floor on DAY THREE??? What idiots, if that gets messed up they are sunk. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. What a nightmare. Ohhhh, I love the wallpaper in the living room!!! I don’t, however, like Antonio. He is a DICK. Antonio is a dick. Will gleefully go for the fist pump in the air if his pink geese get him sent home. Back in the master bedroom I have to note that I love a good harlequin pattern as much as the next Ballard Design fangirl – but that floor sucks. At the end of the third day (second full day) NataLee almost passes out from exhaustion – she has to tell us she has poured her entire self in to that room. I’d not be bragging about that right now… everyone else looks almost done. Your floor would have looked better if you’d freehanded the damn thing.

Final morning, they have like two hours to finish up and those master bedroom girls are NEVER gonna be ready. They are cutting comforters in half. (Note to self: it seems that SEARS doesn’t sell twin sized comforters, as they are cutting king sized comforters in half. Ha Ha Ha. That looks EXCELLENT, ladies. No way the judges will notice those unfinished edges!) These two must be on the chopping block – because the focus is really on them.

And….. the reveal!

I think the Dining Room is ugly. The table is cool, the walls are strange. That wood wall looks like a sauna in the corner. Genevieve likes the wood. Genevieve is wrong. Candace likes the whole concept. The girls and I are going to have to agree to disagree on this room. (Really looks like a sauna in the corner.)

NataLee and Tashica’s master bedroom is next. Ummmmm, it looks OK from far away. You can see what they wanted. … don’t look too close, it’s a hot mess. Genevieve‘s mouth is on the floor when they start doing close ups. How is it that they didn’t finish one project except painting the walls? They had almost three days, right? When they tell Vern their budget was $10,000 he actually said “No Way!” He was aghast. Candace is embarrassed for them. Such a bad unfinished room. NataLee is playing the sympathy card, ‘I worked so hard I was shaking and sick.’ Gen saw right through it. "You didn’t eat and you got sick." Done. Also I’m noticing that evidently SEARS might not sell curtain rods, either.

Jen and Jason on one of the other bedrooms. Ummm, it’s OK, the animal heads are funny, and I LOVE the letter wall. The room looks unfinished? Vern wants to know “Where did the money go?” The Astroturf rugs were $700. Gen exclaims, “You’re foolish”. Ha Ha . Candace called them obtuse. Ha Ha. Vern doesn’t want excuses. Jen looks defeated, Jason looks misunderstood.

Third bedroom. I think it’s pretty. At least it’s finished. The beds are made with real bed linens, the walls look pretty cool, the curtains are actually hung properly (maybe SEARS does sell curtain rods?). Candace loves the lush quality. Gen thinks the focal wall is unbalanced. Vern doesn’t seem to like it too much.

Living room. Antonio and whoever. I actually like it and I didn’t think I would. Huge Room. Candace likes it. Gen doesn’t like the composition, window seat by itself, chairs by themselves. Wants conversational area. Time for Antonio to fess up to the geese, and Vern LOVES THEM. The girls who worked with Antonio are pissy over those geese you can tell. Hey, I myself thought they would look like ass. I have to say, it looks WAY better than I would have thought.

Now the judges deliberate. I kind of hate that we don’t’ know who they are talking about.
When the contestants come back out, Clive announces that the Living Room and Dining Rooms were the best. Please go wait in the green room.
Jany and Torie (the bedroom that I liked)… you executed well but played safe. You may also go wait in the green room.
Jen and Jason (the overprices Astroturf rugs) you are safe, just barely.

Which leaves NataLee and Tashica.

NataLee‘s show has been cancelled. Really, thank God. She should go.
Tashica is happy happy happy she gets to stay.

Next week is kitchens! Kitchens are usually awful, so it’ll be good!

(all design pictures property of design star, and can be found HERE)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Selective Reality Introduction


I plan to concentrate on two shows on this blog: Design Star and Project Runway.

Season 4 of Design Star (which I mostly like) will premier on July 19th.
Season 6 of Project Runway (with which I have a love/hate relationship) begins on August 20th.

I have followed these two shows since their inception. I think they encapsulate what "reality television" should be:
1) they are contests, like long drawn out game shows. I like that.
2) there is unscripted snark. I love that.
3) they are edited, so it's not like watching home movies - - they only show you the stuff they think will entertain you. I thank them for not wasting my time on boring stuff.
4) they have a creative bent. I have a creative bent. I am not qualified to DO either show myself, but feel entitled to share my own untrained opinion with the world. I think that is what the internet does best.

I'll see you after the premier of Design Star!