Liz Gray

Contributor to HGTVersus

May 29

Episode 1: First Impressions + Bad Collages

HGTV Design Star Season 7 Designers

HGTV Design Star Season 7 Designers

You can get to know a designers’ style from their portfolio, but it’s not until you see them under pressure (read: the first challenge in a potentially life-changing competition) that you really see what they can do (and what makes them tick.) Here’s what went down on tonight’s premiere. (Spoiler alert!)

Bex and Kris
Bex and Kris worked together (or should I say…near each other) on an oddly-shaped master bedroom with a massive black marble fireplace. Kris came off a bit bossy, but I loved his playful, modern inspiration piece — a glass table striped with neon tape — and the way he paired it with the oversized matchstick. I wasn’t as passionate about the passionate plum wall color, and the judges weren’t too keen on the reddish-purple hue either.

Kris Works on Neon Table Vignette

As a fellow pun-lover, I have to give Bex props for creating not one but two pun-inspired art pieces — a constellation-bedazzled daybed (Since all the contestants are stars…get it?) and a gear-shifting art piece she came up with while “spinning her gears” for ideas.  Tee-hee-hee.

Unfortunately, too-large holes made the constellation a bit too blinding to be effective, and the judges agreed that overall the daybed was too clunky. “Whoever gets to sleep on that bed is the one who chooses last,” quipped Genevieve.  The neon gear piece added a fun touch to the room and did a nice job tying together the two designers’ styles. (Side note: Did anyone notice Bex’s hat in the elimination room? It looked remarkably like the plum paint swatch!)

Miera and Jordan
This odd couple (Ms. Coastal Casual and Mr. Clean and Modern) seemed like they were headed for conflict at first, but in the end their bedroom space came together pretty well. After a small hiccup with their upholstery fabric, they managed to create a polished, cohesive space.

Jordan Miera After Bedroom

Danielle and Luca
After being assigned to work together on the biggest room ever, Danielle took the design lead while Luca took more of a project management role. Vern dinged him for that at evaluation, saying “It’s Design Star, not ‘logistical manager star.’”  The judges loved the color and artwork Danielle chose for the warm, gray great room. I’m curious to see more of Luca’s style on the next episode.

Danielle and Luca's HGTV Design Star Great Room

Britany and Mikel
Britany came into the bedroom space with a vision — geometric walls, bright colors and lots of contrast — that left Mikel’s “vintage glam” aesthetic playing second fiddle. But he did eventually find and reupholster an ottoman that spoke to his style well enough that he gets to live another week. Britany’s geometric feature wall was a highlight for me, and the judges agreed.

Mikel and Britany - Design Star House Bedroom

Rachel and Hilari
Rachel and Hilari worked together on the lounge area, and the judges loved its glam-and-natural vibe overall.

Design Star House Den - Hilari and Rachel

Hilari was determined to have a TV in the space (“We can’t talk all the time. Plus, I’m addicted to reality TV,” she said.) but the budget only allowed for pint-sized one that looked even more puny when surrounded by layer upon layer of black molding. Not a good look.

The judges loved Rachel’s custom cocktail table and moose head vignette, and they named her this week’s winner. Her easygoing, girl-next-door personality doesn’t hurt, either. Let’s hear  a couple of moose…er, grunts?…to celebrate!

Congratulations, Rachel!

Yuki and Stanley
Is it just me, or do about half of eliminated Design Star contestants go down either A) choosing off-color hues they “stand behind” or B) throwing together last-minute artwork?  Unfortunately, Yuki made both fatal mistakes tonight and was the first to go home. Yuki, we’ll miss you!

Yuki Northington Collage

Vern was full of quips when he saw this space — he said he hope the green and purple walls would “go away when he closed his eyes,” and he wished the “wind-swept collage” would just “blow right out the door.” Stanley may have been saved by his handmade metal sculpture, but his contribution to the collage (empty frames and what looked like trash) wasn’t much better.

Stanley and Yuki's Lounge

Now it’s your turn! Who is your favorite designer so far? What room did you love? Hate? Be heard in the comments below.

Posted at 10:00 pm

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  1. The judges proved that they are clueless. All of them saying how great that white moose head on a black background. A "Designer" that used painted animal heads, should find a genuine horse head in their bed!

    erikcreature on May 29, 2012 at 6:22 pm
    • I'd have to agree with you Erik. I just don't ever get it. I absolutely hate the animal heads and painting one does not a designer make.

      decoratinghobbyist on May 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm
    • I agree. We have seen those heads turn up on one design show or another every season for the past half dozen years or so. In 2040 those will be the go-to props whenever a movie (or whatever video-type entertainment is available) is looking to create an early 21st century styled room.

      transient1 on May 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm
  2. Love some of those rooms and it was a good start of the season.

    I wonder why none of the "gay" designer (and one of the blond chicks) got any background on their intros. No family history, nothing .

    Dani on May 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm
  3. I agree with erikcreature. The moosehead was a total do-over of A) David Bromstad himself, and B) Antonio's pink doves, which were much more unexpected. Definitely not something to win over.

    llxt on May 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm
  4. Love your show. I am currently in the process of painting my apartment. I was very overwhelmed yesterday looking for a shade of grey at my neighborhood Home Depot.. I fell in love with the gray color on the wall.. Can you please share the brand and color of the gray paint that was used on tonight's episode!!

    Terry on May 29, 2012 at 6:49 pm
  5. Nice start to the season…hated the moose head…loved the free form Chevron paint…no one seems nasty…yet!

    Mercia Weyand on May 29, 2012 at 7:24 pm
    • I didn't appreciate Luca's cross armed defensiveness in the evaluation room. Not sure he'll be easy to watch this season.

      Ry33 on May 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm
  6. Yuki, Best of luck to you. Remember that first off doesn't mean dead last. This coming from the first designer voted off last year, to becoming the designer for Travel Channels "Hotel Impossible" on every Monday night.

    Blanche Garcia on May 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm
    • I love this!!! Yuki is so talented, and I was sad to see Stanley take over her collage…. So sad!

      Heather on May 29, 2012 at 9:41 pm
      • I agree, he made a bigger mess of it with the cruched paper and spray paint. Weren't the frames his idea to begin with?

        HGTV Loyal on May 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm
  7. BTW, I miss Candice!

    @Mercnatliz on May 29, 2012 at 7:29 pm
  8. Blanche your a sweetheart! xo

    Jordan Cappella on May 29, 2012 at 7:29 pm
  9. I'm sure this post will not be posted considdering it isn't GLORIFYING continued "CONTIVED' show. Season after season endless comments spoke of getting back to what WORKS with Design Star from the past and the ONLY thing from the past is Vern And the first winner David. For MANY seasons now loyal viewers have stated how they feel and this new premier only PROVES those comments were never taken into considderation. Once again the network is about SHAMELESS CHEAP 'manufactured' drama and call it a design competition. COME ONE HGTV get serious!

    todd on May 29, 2012 at 7:51 pm
  10. it should be called "Paint Star on $0 budet and only 10 hrs. to do the job (but with trivial drama thrown in)

    todd on May 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm

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