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.)