We’re down to the final three: Casey, Michael and Emily. The contestants walk out to Foley Square to greet the judges in front of three giant glass structures. Please let this mean they get to design their own spaces. Please? Design Star, I’ll give you a shoulder rub.
Genevieve reminds them not many people get to be in their shoes right now, and then she introduces last season’s winner, Antonio Ballatore, someone who knows exactly how they are feeling. Oh, and before I go any further, is Michael wearing suspenders? COULD HE BE MORE ENDEARING? I mean, Larry King is retiring, so someone has to take up that post. Who better for the job, am I right?
Antonio advises the final three to be themselves and go big, and then Vern asks the designers to create sunrooms that reflect their individual styles. YAY! YAY! YAY! YAY! What we’ve been waiting for all season! Except maybe for a giant squiggly mural to fall and crush a wall of faux finish. Or is that just me?
In addition, each designer must use their own show idea as inspiration for the room. Michael’s concept is to help recent graduates repurpose dorm room furnishings and flea market finds to make a space that inspires them to achieve their dreams. Casey wants to help people achieve a designer look on a budget through items they already own, plus a few new pieces. Emily would like to take a client’s personal fashion style and transpose it into the room so that their home looks like them. I like all three ideas almost as much as I want to snap Michael’s suspenders. That is not a euphemism, by the way.
The designers get to work, picking out floors and shopping, shopping, shopping. Emily starts lining one wall of glass with beautiful fabric. And then there’s Casey who has no idea what she’s doing, trying to drill a wall of wood into her room. Michael is starting on something much simpler: a cocktail table made out of a tire rim. Then he makes the obvious joke about the whole challenge: “People who design in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
Does anyone have a tomato I can throw?
The second day rolls around and the designers are feeling the crush of working alone. Then Vern shows up. Emily expresses what I’m feeling: uh oh. Vern showing up is never a good thing, right? He’s going to throw something awful out into the mix, like, didn’t we mention? You have to design these rooms while riding on the back of a lion! It’ll be fun!
Except this time he has good news: the designers get help in the form of their closest friends. Even though they are all on the verge of tears getting to see a familiar face in the midst of all that stress, they hop back into their sunrooms and get to work. You’ve got Emily going totally bohemian, Casey going a bit vintage with frames and spray paint, and Michael trying to build a Murphy bed. And it doesn’t sound good since you hear him stripping screws as he tries to assemble it. I HATE THAT NOISE.
Antonio shows up to Emily’s room and they commiserate about losing their voices during taping. While Casey adds sheers to the top of her room to make it feel like a tent, Antonio stops by and compliments the bold color she’s chosen and reminds her that her show idea needs to come through. And when Antonio sees the task Michael has taken on, he’s like, I don’t know, man. Are you insane? He thinks you shouldn’t get too crazy on technical stuff that could potentially blow up in your face.
As they add finishing touches to their rooms, I love what I’m seeing. Casey has such a sophisticated sense of design, especially considering how many second-hand pieces she’s repurposing. Michael is actually really whimsical, and that’s a side of him I don’t think we got to see much of this season. And Emily really is just so Bohemian, combining so many different styles expertly, so that it doesn’t look like a furniture store threw up.
The judges show up for their walkthrough and go through Casey’s space first. We see a combination of older items, some which have been altered, some key newer items set against a vibrant coral wall. Michael’s room looks very young and hip with a cool yellow couch and a functioning Murphy bed. He did it! Emily’s room is a Bohemian paradise, with different textures and colors juxtaposed elegantly. My favorite? Emily’s. I just love the combination of all that “stuff” and the fact that she pulled it off.
Now for hosting presentations. This should be interesting since both girls are on the verge of losing their voices. Casey is nice, casual and easy as she takes us through various vignettes in the room, describing an old lamp, the frames and a chair she painted bright yellow. The judges like her movement through the space, but want her to be more engaging, and Candice doesn’t seem to understand her show concept.
Michael is just as playful in his presentation as he is in his design, discussing the cocktail table, couch and bed. The judges think it’s a vast improvement and they can feel his passion, although they think he lacked a crazy, bold Michael statement piece.
And then Emily, who basically only did one take, starts off with a bang, and then you can see her struggle with her voice. Vern agrees, says she started by sitting on the sofa but he wanted her to get deeper into the design aspect of things. Genevieve says the room looks rich, which is exactly how I felt about it.
It’s final judgment time and Vern expresses just how difficult the decision is. Michael is given the immediate green light to take a deep breath — he’s on his way to the final two. And then it’s down to the two adorable blondes… nail biting… nail biting… and Emily makes it through!
I think some people are going to be upset by this, especially since she was one of the first two people in the bottom two, and let’s face it, Casey doesn’t lack for male fans. But I think it’s a good choice. Emily’s design sense is truly unique, wild and playful. Hopefully, Casey can get some much-needed rest and some cough drops. She’s going to go far no matter what.