Kayla Kitts

Contributor to HGTVersus

Aug 10

Ask the Producer: Dream Kitchen Challenge

Loren Ruch With Paula Deen

Each week, we ask Design Star producer Loren Ruch your most-asked behind-the-scenes questions. This week, Loren shares the funniest moments from the shoot with guest judge Paula Deen. Plus, what really happens during the judges’ deliberation process?

What was it like being on set with Paula Deen? What was the funniest moment of the shoot?
Being on the set with Paula made me wonder, “Is it really fair to call this ‘work’?  I’m having far too much fun to consider this part of my job!” She was a bundle of fun energy and kept the entire crew laughing from start to finish, especially during moments when she’d say things like “Cat Fight!” during a tense moment in evaluation. However, my favorite moment with Paula happened behind the scenes when I saw her looking very ‘seriously’ at her iPad. I thought that something important must have been happening to her at that moment, and I asked “Are you okay? You look concerned. Do you need anything?” She replied, “Darlin’, I’m not concerned about anything…I’m in the middle of a tense game of Angry Birds!” I started to crack up…and so did she. She’s a burst of fun, positive and insightful energy!

How long is the actual time the designers wait for the decisions and how much of their conversation while waiting is edited out? Have the judges ever been deadlocked about who to send home?
Excellent question! Deliberation can run anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours or more. During that time the Design Panel talks through the camera challenges, design challenges and any thoughts they have — and eventually come to a conclusion on their own. There have been disagreements on a particular decision from time to time, but they have never ultimately been deadlocked.

What happened to the kitchens after the challenge?

In a challenge like this (which took place in a studio rather than a real home) the items are either returned or donated. However, if we were doing a challenge at a real home, the homeowners get to keep all of the furnishings that were part of their makeovers.

With the next kitchen challenge, next time, could you do a challenge using a small kitchen done efficiently, incorporating lighting new counters ,eco-flooring and material choices and types so we can learn from the kitchen designs?
We’re in the very early stages of discussing challenges for next year, so I will definitely add this to our suggestion box. I think that it’s a wonderful, relatable and interesting idea!

Do you have a question for Loren about the inner-workings of Design Star? Ask in the comments below and he may just answer you next week.

Posted at 6:24 pm

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  1. For a show called Design Star, there's precious little design being featured. This year's show might as well be called "Shopping and Camera Challenge Star," because that's all we ever see. People in vans, people in (multiple) stores, people on camera–but no designers sketching and executing full concepts, a hallmark of every show from the professional panel. We've yet to see one of these contestants sketch, discuss design possibilities, and make adjustments to a final design except for the white box challenge, and there was precious little in that episode. Plus, the WBC provides little that can be incorporated easily into an actual home. Basically, put the DESIGN back in Design Star!

    And don't even get me started on Cathy.

    mimi on August 11, 2011 at 2:50 am
    • Now that you mention the van and the shopping and the constant Cathy antagonist……are we watching Design Star or The Apprentice? Hmmmmm……….I boycotted TA for those reasons…..and more. We don't watch for drama.

      We that watch are serious about our design. We want substance…..David Bromstaad is the ultimate example of a wonderful blend of talent, charisma and …..talent!

      I'm just sayin'…….

      Ruthann on August 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm
  2. Nebraska on August 11, 2011 at 5:11 am
  3. Mimi is correct! They need to show their talent by working alone and have more time to create a whole room
    like real professionals do.

    Nancy on August 11, 2011 at 5:51 am
  4. I'm hoping that with a blog titled "Ask the Producer" that we'll really get some answers. This season's D.Star seems to be a bit of a set-up to get Cathy off to a head start on her new show on HGTV., since "Nebraska" has pointed out that she's already on HGTV.Canada. How wrong they are! What it's done is made us loyal D.Star viewers distrustful. Plus, with the panel being our favorite designers, it's THEIR reputations on the line too. Were they instructed to give her an edge? If so, that's called a FIX. I sure hope we're wrong.

    kate on August 11, 2011 at 7:03 am
  5. I thought it was interesting that on this episode all of the teams consisted of one male and one female contestant, and the male contestant was always solely responsible for the backsplash tile work (or in the one case, the flooring used as backsplash). I know that women can and do install tile, but I don't recall a woman ever installing tile on any season of Design Star. Tile work does not require strength so much as finesse and it is not difficult to learn. Come on, female contestants, if you want a tile backsplash in your kitchen then at least offer to help!

    CplusE on August 11, 2011 at 7:29 am
    • To be fair to the contestants, I want to first say we don't know what the HGTV producers cut out for the final take for this episode. I'm unsatisfied with what I am seeing from the designers but I DON'T TRUST THE PRODUCERS that we are seeing the whole picture. Having said that, I thought the same thing when Mark decided he only had time to do one side for a backsplash. If it was me and I had wanted that badly I would figure out away to do it myself and help Mark. But hey we don't really know what truly went on. Do we? Just what they want us to see… Ahhh… the markings of a true reality TV Show. LOL! ;)

      fanfair123 on August 11, 2011 at 10:39 am
  6. I loved Tyler's table and bench with the zebra rug, the paint style, the mirror and the lighting all was so great!!!! I agree with all said about Kathy. Karl got railroaded!! Kelly was great on camera and easy to relate with and great design.

    Kathleen on August 11, 2011 at 7:47 am
  7. Is the whole idea behind the show is to discover a talented designer so he or she would become a part of the HGTV family with his/hers own successful show? Or is this just a fake entertainment with a very low taste and endless shameless set-ups? This doesn't look like a show dedicated to the design anymore. It is so disappointing. When you read the blog it is quite obvious that the viewers are losing the respect to the judges ( who used to be our favorite designers, by the way) and the interest to the show. It may very much lower the ratings of shows the members of the panel host themselves. I absolutely agree with the others – put the DESIGN back in Design Star! Acknowledge the mistake with Tyler and fix it, give the designers the chance to show their own work. Please DO NOT add the shows like Donna Does Dallas to the HGTV, please NO! And yes, replace the host, she is unbearable.

    derien on August 11, 2011 at 7:57 am
  8. Why don't the judges first view all the rooms WITHOUT being told who designed them? As it is now, the emcee tells them right away, "This is so-and-so's room." It would be more interesting to hear the judges' comments before they know who designed something.

    JP59 on August 11, 2011 at 8:37 am
    • I like this idea very much JP59! It would be interesting to see if each contestant's so-called defined style was recognizable to the judges and/or if that would or would not have a direct effect on their opinions. Perhaps it could be a 'blind' challenge at some point in the show.

      Susan on August 11, 2011 at 9:56 am
    • That would truly add an element of objectivity and impartiality in the judging process. It would be an improvement. Then after they make all the critiques in the room, the designers can be revealed for each room and their camera challenges can be reviewed. It might not changed the end result of the challenge (if HGTV has their own agenda) but at least it would look like the judges were being sincere in their commentaries of designs.

      fanfair123 on August 11, 2011 at 10:44 am
  9. I was so glad that Mark Burnett was no longer producing D.S. But now it seems as though HGTV is promoting Cathy Hobbs" new show on Canadian T.V. at the cost of D.S. Any comments?

    CharlesD on August 11, 2011 at 10:15 am
    • So tired of the Cathy drama. I just want HGTV to stop playing games and maintain the quality, intelligent programming and improve on that. THEN the probability of Cathy-like situations wouldn't even exist! I say squash the agenda and you squash the results from it.

      fanfair123 on August 11, 2011 at 10:48 am
    Can the contestants see and talk to their families during the weeks of the challenge?

    Maryann on August 11, 2011 at 11:15 am
    • Nay. Not according to some of the comments expressed by the contestants on TV. It does not seem so.

      fanfair123 on August 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm

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