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)


  1. I love how torrie doesn't boast or whine either...
    normally i wonder why tashica is still there but so glad jen is off...her color choices for a color expert are dismal! and her scale is so wrong....those tiny little things all over the place arggggg
    i so loved that antonio and torrie helped lonnie, no one else did, the funny thing is they are the most confident in themselves and thy're get it done people and that's another reason they're strong contestants....

    ended up loving nathan's walls....of course no one bothered to mention that milk as a glaze medium has been around for a long time...his being original about it is bringing it back...

    as usual, fantastically funny
    oh and! will farrel YOU ARE SO RIGHT!

  2. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often. is a one-stop shop when it comes to living room sets. You can find any furniture ranging from classic to contemporary designs from all over the world. If you are looking for sectional sofas, loveseats and sleeper sofas, they are all here.


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  3. Thank you, neilina... I'll check out that site as we'll have a living room to decorate this winter!

    Tracey - I no longer see Jason at all. He's now Will Ferrell in character to me. It's odd.

  4. See, I though that Antonio would have gotten another shameful roll with you for his kindness shown towards his competition. Oh well...

    Patrick and I totally loved this show. He kepts saying "I'm really scared" when they would show clips of Jen and with the milk he said "But Mom, haven't you always fussed that milk stinks when we spill it?".

    Oh yeah, he could SO be your guest blogger some day! :)

  5. Martha - that's not a half bad idea!!!! I, too, was thinking about the milk potentially smelling bad. (Under those lights? Please!)