Kayla Kitts

Contributor to HGTVersus

Aug 24

Ask the Producer: HGTV’d Challenge

Kellie's Loft Bed

Kellie's Loft Bed

Each week we ask Design Star producer Loren Ruch your most-asked questions. This week: Did the little boy ever get his bunk beds? Plus, he dishes on how much the judges really see of the behind-the-scenes drama and how much the contestants get to talk to loved ones.

This week’s #1 questions was: Did the crew go back and do any updates after the HGTV’d challenge? Did the little boy ever get bunk beds?

Although we don’t usually go back to a location after the fact it has happened from time to time.  In fact, we chose to do it a few weeks earlier in the bed and breakfast episode because the white floors weren’t sealed properly and didn’t ultimately reflect the caliber of work we’re looking to represent on HGTV.  In this case of the bunk bed, we didn’t go back to the Bashkoffs’ home because they were happy with the makeover.  Although Kellie’s bed wasn’t exactly what they had wanted, it was well-built and done with the best of intentions on her behalf.  However, between you and me, I wouldn’t be surprised if they go out and buy a bunk bed on their own!

What was the couple’s favorite room of the house?

We recently received an email from the Bashkoff family and they told us that they absolutely love the master bedroom and the living room — and I would have to agree!  I think that Karl and Mark both nailed this challenge.  They also love the chandelier in the foyer!

Do the judges get any clues as to the dynamics and personality conflicts on the show? If not, why not?

They don’t, but this question has come up a lot, so it’s something I will really think about for next year’s show because it seems like our viewers are asking this a lot.  In reality, there’s virtually no way for the design panel to know about the dynamics other than from the evaluation studio (where they can ask away with as many questions as they’d like).  We have always chosen not to influence the panel in any way on their design-decisions by sharing personality issues that occur along the way.  It’s very important as a network that we leave the decisions up to our expert design panel – and allow them to judge our designers on the camera challenges and design challenges.  Since personality conflicts and dynamics are so subjective, I would hate for a producer to influence Vern or Gen by saying that someone is being “difficult”  to work with, especially when there are two sides to every story.  But since this question does seem to come up a lot, I promise to really think about it before we head into next year’s show – because your opinions do mean a lot to me!

From Annabelle: I am considering to try out for Design Star and have a question for you. If I am selected to compete, will I have any communication with my family? If not, could you explain why?

Hi Annabelle – we would love for you to try out for the show!  Our designers do have the opportunities to Skype with their families a few times a week, but they are so incredibly busy that that’s about all of the free time they have.  Also, in order to keep things fair, we ask that the designers don’t talk about the ‘show’ when they talk with their families. Instead they should focus their time just catching up with their spouses and children and enjoying good conversation.  Get more information about Design Star audition dates and requirements >>

What questions do you have from episode seven or about Design Star? Tell us in the comments below — Loren may just answer you in next week!

Posted at 5:30 pm

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  1. Please, please tell me that other than Karl's master bedroom you redid all those horrible rooms!..The entry was was empty and unwelcoming..The upstairs loft looked like someone was cleaning out closets and just threw everything in the hall to sort at a later time. The kids rooms..well…awful..one looked like the child himself had organized the decoration..and the other had none of the requested items..To have shopped at Pottery Barn and not found the lockers was IMPOSSIBLE! And while you seemed impressed with the living room and dining room, I felt as though the reclaimed wood divider looked like the decor of a trailer park not the beautiful home the designers were given. While seating may have been an issue, the family room looked better than the living room.Very happy I wasn't HGTV'd by that group!!

    designstarnana on August 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm

      danny on August 24, 2011 at 3:05 pm
    • As always it is very easy to play Monday morning quarterback. Maybe you should try Kellie's blog at Modern Whimsey.com. It's really easy to sit in the quiet comfort of your home and pick apart the designs, since you have none of the constraints or pressures that the designers have to work with.
      Design Star is great show and all the contestants do good work. Some are better than others, but then personal taste plays a huge part in what any one of us thinks is good. Your comment about "decor of a trailer park" speaks volumes about you and not in favorable way. Many people who live in trailer parks have lovely and loving homes.

      Design star fan on August 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm
      • I didn't catch the rating. I'd say a 7.

        .netstar fan on August 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm
    • Here's pottery barns website, no lockers or at least what a kid would consider a locker! http://www.potterybarn.com/search/results.html?wo

      DS Fan on August 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm
      • Kellie had a carpenter. Why didn't he build one for the little boy? She designed a dangerous bed, why not a locker? Theme rooms are difficult because you never know what's out there. maybe she should have asked him if she wasn't able to find sports stuff, was there another thing he was interested in. My wife and I have changed our son's room 3 times since he was born and he's 9. Kids are kids only once. Give them what they want.

        Trevor on August 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm
        • A back up plan would have been nice, but there wasn't one, so she had to go with the flow. The bed was dangerous, didn't the carpenter wonder about the rails too, I'm curious if he brought it to her attention. Kellie said she had a creative block on this challenge and she could not get into the sports themed room, the bunk beds, lockers, etc. and from the results, I have to believe her. Competition is hard and draining for most people. Some people cannot handle stress and fast paced situations, while others work better under pressure. Design Star is to find the designer who keeps their cool, produces a great finished design within a short time-frame and can host their own show. If the producers didn't think Kellie was capable, she wouldn't have been chosen to compete in the first place.

          Tina on August 26, 2011 at 5:18 am
    • I am just replying to comments on my opinion of this Design Star episode. I was raised in Boston..We did not have trailer parks. I have never been in any trailers..but have developed my opinion since moving to the South. The general areas of most residential (not retirement or vacation trailer parks)seem run down, have poor residents and poorly educated people.The reclaimed wood looked inappropriate in such a lovely home..The room divider concept was excellent,however since there was already a family room, I expected a more formal "lounge area. As far as the comment of judging from the comfort of my home..absolutely correct..I made no pretense of being a "decorator star" and applying for consideration on the program..Hula hoops..really..really! Poor seating in the living room and disconnect from the dining room do not promote cohesive large gatherings,…This season has been a real disappointment. When I see the beautiful rooms Candice Olson designs, I expect that the staff has selected something better than this group if they are to star in their own production.David Bromstad was an excellent designer even as a contestant. It took 2 seasons of poor quality episodes of Survivor to cause me never to watch again. Another design group like this and I will probably not view Design Star again.Criticize me all you want..I am entitled to my opinion as well.

      designstarnana on August 25, 2011 at 9:43 pm
  2. How can I find out the name of the paint color Karl used in the master bedroom?

    katie on August 24, 2011 at 1:55 pm
  3. (1) Did you offer to buy bunk beds, or did you just let it go because the homeowners were to polite to say anything about lack of bunk beds. It's different if they turned down your offer than if HGTV didn't offer. If you review the comments on the various DS blogs on this website, you will see overwhelming outrage at Kellie's having ignored both the request for bunkbeds and lockers.

    (2) IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for judges to see the behind-the-scenes squabbling among contestants, and I'm glad to hear you're considering it. Too often a contestant is reprimanded by the judges for not being more diligent in enforcing his or her own design vision, when in fact the judges don't see how completely "steamrolled" that contestant was by another contestant and may have given in just to avoid the bloodshed it might have come to otherwise.

    I just tonight discovered this portion of your website wherein you answer our questions and give us a chance to communicate with you. Much appreciated.

    Moonbeam on August 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm
  4. Time management seems to be an issue with a lot of the designers. So what is a typical breakdown of time allotted to the designers for different tasks? How long do they have to interview "clients"? How much planning time do they get before they have to get to work? And how much time to they spend stuck in traffic?

    originalTQ on August 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm
  5. The Bashkoff's seemed a bit overwhelmed when all was said and done. And who wouldn't be? Six rooms to be made over. Six interviews with six different designers. Six reveals. (I'm exhausted just thinking about it!) So how long did it take to set up and get through all six interviews? How long did it take to get through all the reveals? And were they as exhausted as they looked? (OK- and I suspect that the reveals with the boys must have been past their bedtimes…. am I right?)

    If they could, would they do it again? Or was it more than they'd bargained for?

    originalTQ on August 24, 2011 at 3:59 pm
  6. Hi Loren.
    I understand people's concerns about the time alotted for these challenges. 3 days goes by really fast. So if you could answer a few questions, that would be great.
    First, does the time start before the client is interviewed, or after? Also, why are the designers responsible for clearing out items in homes? Shouldn't the homeowners be doing that? Is the clock ticking while they're clearing the spaces?
    I realize this is a challenge and I do think 3- twelve hour days is ample time to create and execute a design. BUT, if the interview and cleaning is included in that time period, then that could be why we are seeing very mediocre work. I think once the designers find out what their challenge is, meet with the clients or what have you, they should go back to their penthouse, work on their designs and start the following morning. Especially if they have to get rid of existing items. Just my 2¢ worth. Thanks!

    Lori on August 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm
    • Great questions Lori!! It's a little sticky in terms of how I answer it because each challenge is a bit different. Often times, we'll have a crew behind the scenes clear away the spaces so that it doesn't get in the way of our designers limited time. That being said, it's still tough because we only have so many cameras and vans, etc. available to everyone so you'll sometimes see our designers shopping together even though they are on opposite teams, etc. Our goal is to try and give them as close to 3 true days to do their assignments (which is what Genevieve works with on Dear Gen) so that we're testing them with timelines similar to our real shows. The hardest thing with doing a 3 day cycle on a show like this is that they can't order anything in advance, so everything that they buy needs to be in stock. That's one of the toughest things I've faced as the producer because I'd love for them to have endless options…but we try each year to make it a bit better and more design-centric any way we can :)

      lorenruch on August 25, 2011 at 9:44 am
      • I would enjoy the show so much more if the designers got to design and shop and place the items while someone else did the grunt work. We saw a bit more of that in this episode but making them do the painting and the tile work seems unrealistic. Sure David and Genevive help out from time to time but you don't see them painting the whole room or nailing up their own woodwork. I'd like to see more of the designers directing the work. And the fact that they have to run off and shop before starting their challenge probably leads to problems like Kevin's sectional having one end that faced the wrong way of Leslie having too much stuff for her room. If he didn't have to "do" everything he would have time to exchange the sofa or have assistants like David has return it and order a different one. For once I would like to see them have the luxury like Candace of simply perusing fabric samples and putting together a design board that they would then have help to carry out. It would still test their design skills without treating each challenge like such a physical ordeal.

        Tommyrey on August 25, 2011 at 10:19 am
      • You're doing a great job. The designers had nice stores to shop, from what I saw, it's just some of them made bad choices. It sounds like having an organized, well thought out plan, once the challenge is announced, is what would give someone the edge in this competition. I like that the designers have phones and computers to communicate with one another and order items online.
        I'm preparing for my Design Star audition tape and finding out all this information is invaluable. Thanks for taking the time to answer questions.

        Tina on August 26, 2011 at 4:32 am
  7. I second the request that the judges see some of the personality dynamics among the designers. It's difficult, as a viewer to continually hear a judge say, "You have to stick up for yourself and make your imprint known in the design," when the designer being lectured has done exactly that. I'm a supervisor of several and I can tell you that a big question I have-when hiring-is "How will this person fit in with the team I already have?"

    chaosinblue on August 24, 2011 at 4:33 pm
  8. So I've been thinking that the show could really take things to a new level by chosing to do designs like this in a women's shelter, or a hospice. I really enjoy watching the work the designers do but would love to see the benifit of thier hard work and HG TV's cash go towards a good cause as opposed to a fairly well off family who could likely afford to purchase this service. People who are in hospice or women's shelter are in special need of the kind of joy that comes from work done by this caliber of designers, and I believe these platforms would still allow the designers to showcase thier talets.

    Scott Tingey on August 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm
  9. Obviously the skill level of the designers selected for this season of Design Star was very weak at best. Having said that, I question weather HGTV is legally to produce a show and air it if none of the designers meets its standards.__
    Another question would be how long HGTV will continue to air episodes which damage its image of
    before looking for a new vehicle to showcase its product.
    The other thing that one has to wonder about is how much damage the reputations of the judges is suffering. Obviously they are contractually bound, but they certainly can't be ecstatic about having to be associated with this klunker.

    rapidrobert on August 24, 2011 at 7:19 pm
    • I wonder about Candice. She has only appeared once this entire season. Why? The guest judges are nice to have, but not on every challenge. Please, bring back Candice next season. She is a class act and elevates the show. People love her, seeing her judge, not reading her comments after the fact. Candice we need your expertise-you're the best on HGTV.

      Delores on August 24, 2011 at 8:12 pm
      • I'd like to add, that if Candice had prior commitments, couldn't she have had a vlog like Emily and David do?

        Delores on August 24, 2011 at 8:18 pm
        • Hi Delores – Just wanted to let you know that Candice is coming back for a few new episodes this season (she would have been around for more if her production schedule wasn't so busy), and she has also been writing a blog for us at hgtv.com with all of her thoughts and opinions on each week. I have really enjoyed reading her thoughts since I respect her so much!

          lorenruch on August 25, 2011 at 9:40 am
  10. Who is the artist of the awesome painting over the new mantle? I love it, so interesting…so many different images within images.

    Tamara on August 24, 2011 at 10:01 pm

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