It’s time for the Dream Kitchen Challenge, so who better to step in as a guest panel member than my very favorite firecracker foodie from the South, Paula Deen. The designers were thrown into the frying pan with their most challenging task yet: Turn a totally empty space into the most utilized room in the house, the kitchen.
How did they do? Here’s my take on the action.
Last week’s winner, Meg, teamed up with Kevin, who barely skated by (who can forget those floors?), and these two had much to prove. Meg wanted to show that she rightfully earned her first-place status, and Kevin was eager to overcome his next-to-last-place finish.
Overall, this kitchen was successful, a functional layout flavored with industrial elements, especially Meg’s smart pegboard pots and pans wall and the tool cart storage chest — both brilliant elements that really drove home their chosen look.
However, the cluttered styling of kid games and papers makes me feel like Kevin needs a time-out in the naughty chair; unfortunately yet conveniently, it’s close by. The choice of a bar-height stool for a counter-height table would surely make even Suzanne Somers’ Thigh-Mastered legs feel like they were being pushed through a pasta maker — yeeeeouch!
I’ll bet Karl was having flashbacks to the Room Repurpose Challenge when he was paired with Cathy this week. Actually, I think this worked in his favor because he already knew her unique approach to working as a team. She definitely puts the “I” in team — it really isn’t there but Cathy says it is, so it is. The two seemed to start out on the right foot, but this kitchen had the good, the bad and the over-styled. Karl did make an excellent call changing up the paint color, but admitting his inspiration was Buffalo wings and celery sticks seems a bit contrived. Frankly, the orange enhanced the warm tones of the wood cabinets — ‘nuff said.
OK, let’s talk styling, Cathy’s self-professed forte. I think the overboard use of food props resembled more of an all-you-can-eat salad bar than a contemporary kitchen. We need to see more creativity and restraint from Cathy going forward. Kudos to the fact that the bones of the kitchen were good; you both have a genuinely good eye and it shows. Not to mention Cathy’s spot-on camera challenge. She’s a pro, which both helps and hinders her. I can’t help but envision her one-woman show: “News, weather, traffic and Cathy’s design tip of the day coming up after the break.”
Kellie and Mark are simply in it to win it. This country kitchen had all the right ingredients for success — Paula loved it more than butter and that’s saying a lot.
Mark’s tilework was gorgeous (and yes, I agree it would have been great on both sides), but I loved that he at least found a way to finish off the space. The cabbage candles were a last-minute, unexpected touch that proved that a simple idea, executed well, can be simply great.
Kellie is not only a designer but also a mom and I felt that really helped her in this competition. She completely understands the needs of a busy family and her table and seating configuration were aesthetically and functionally spot-on. Mark’s light fixtures personified a country kitchen in the best possible way. This dynamic duo is high on my favorites list.
Leslie and Tyler teamed up again and their kitchen was less than appetizing. They seriously needed about three more days to come together.
In her usual way, Leslie added great shopping elements like the chandelier, but Tyler, come on — if you know you’re under the gun time-wise, at least start your tile backsplash on the most important wall, the one behind the sink! A better choice would have been to ditch the wall detail (which didn’t work anyway) and focus solely on the backsplash because it would have been beautiful. And that purple bench — let me count the ways. Unless you’re 8 years old or a size 0 (anyone, anyone?) you aren’t fitting nary a cheek on that bench. Not to mention — purple? Even Prince would be nauseated.
In the end, I think the panel made the right decision in sending home Tyler. Although if Cathy hadn’t been so strong on her camera challenge, I think that she may have been the one sent packing, perhaps with a year’s supply of groceries from this challenge as a consolation prize.
And Paula Deen, get my Savannah peach cocktail ready — I want to come hang with you!
What did you think of episode five? What questions do you have about the Dream Kitchen Challenge? Tell us in the comments below; Design Star producer Loren Ruch will answer the most popular queries on Wednesday.