Liz Gray

Contributor to HGTVersus

Jul 5

Ask the Producer: Episode 6

I’m chatting with producer Loren Ruch about what happened behind the scenes of the often-dreaded kitchen challenge. This week: The best Kitchen Cousins moment on set. Plus, do the designers get to reunite after the season ends?

HGTV Design Star Judges With Kitchen Cousins and HGTV Magazine Editor Sara Peterson

HGTV's Kitchen Cousins, HGTV Magazine Editor-in-Chief Sara Peterson, Genevieve Gorder, Vern Yip, Producer Loren Ruch, David Bromstad

I love the Kitchen Cousins! It looked like they had fun on set. What was their best moment on the set?
We had many fun moments on the set with them, but the favorite for me was a behind-the-scenes moment that they probably don’t even know about! During evaluation, the producers (including myself) are in a control room watching the entire process. We have a director whose job is to call which camera he wants to use at any given moment to capture the drama and tension of what is going on. He originally had one camera allocated to John and another to Anthony so that they could each have their moment in the spotlight, but every single time our director would call for John’s camera, Anthony would end of finishing his sentence and we’d miss the shot. Then he’d call for Anthony’s camera, and John would end up doing the same thing and we’d miss that shot too! We were cracking up behind the scenes because they literally seem more like twins than even cousins. It was like a synchronized swimming routine! Finally, our director opted to just use one camera as a two-shot for both of the cousins so that we wouldn’t miss any more moments!

This week, the designers painted their own walls, but the cabinets and floors were installed overnight. How do you decide what the contestants get help with and what they have to do on their own?
Since this challenge had so many technical installs, we let the experts be the experts and the designers be designers. So, our cabinets and flooring were installed by Cabinets to Go and Lumber Liquidators, and the countertops were installed by professionals, too. However, since those are such large components in the space, we decided that instead of also giving them painters, they should do that on their own. Otherwise, it would have been primarily a shopping challenge rather than a design/build/decorate challenge, which was what we were looking for!

I imagine the designers get closer and closer the further they get into the competition. Do all the contestants get to reunite after the season ends?
I don’t want to share all of our secrets, but you may see a few of your favorites appear again in the finale! Once the show is over, it’s up to the designers to decide if they want to remain friends, and hang out, but HGTV doesn’t facilitate any reunions.

Where were this week’s kitchen boxes located? What happened to the materials after the show?
The kitchen boxes were located in a studio in the San Fernando Valley. Many of the materials were returned after we wrapped, because they were not used in a real homeowner’s home. If we were doing real kitchens, of course all of the materials would remain in the location we were making over.

When will we see Britany and Danielle’s kitchen in HGTV Magazine?
The winning kitchen will be featured in the October/November Issue, which is out on newsstands September 18.

Have a question for Loren? Ask him in the comments below — he may just answer you next week.

Posted at 12:21 pm

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  1. Missed you last week! I thought this was a really good episode with some great designs. I'm very pleased with the final four and can't wait to see more. I'm so disappointed that Rachel wasn't able to pull through – she almost seemed to be self sabotaging in order to go home – best wishes to her. I'm really interested in watching Mikel's and Hilari's shows right now, because they are such fun people to watch. I love it that Hilari already treat the camera / audience like a best friend who she "lets in on secrets", much like David Bromstad does. Britany and Danielle are tremendously skilled and talented, but Danielle is a little boring and Britany a little stiff. Do the judges ever get to see the contestant's camera commentary? They seem so personable during those, even though they may freeze up on a camera challenge.

    jo c on July 5, 2012 at 9:16 am
    • I love your enthusiasm for the show!! I so appreicate that…The judges do get to chat with David about his impressions at the camera challenges — so that is as close as they get to actually being there. Hope you like our remaining episodes — one of my favorites TO DATE is still to come :)

      loren on July 6, 2012 at 1:17 pm
  2. It seems like some of the designers get more air time than others. How do you work that out so it is fair? We seem to see a lot of Danielle and Hilari but not much of Brittany or Mikel. I would love to see more of Brittany and her creative ideas becuase I want to try them at home! And I would like to hear more about the design process!

    DS Fan Debbie on July 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm
    • Good note, Debbie…honestly we don't 'count minutes' or anything like that, but it just seems like in certain episodes some of the designers have bigger storylines than others…but I love that you want to see more of certain designers, so I'll see if that's possible in the next few episodes. Thank you for watching!

      loren on July 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm
  3. Do the designers who are told to leave the evaluation room before the end of the judging get to hear the rest of the judges comments later? That feedback seems as important as being mentored during the challenge.

    Also, could more of the judges deliberations be shown rather than hearing each week, "Have we reached a decision?".

    DSWatcher on July 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm
    • Hello DS Watcher – that's a fabulous idea to share the notes from the panel from the first released designers. I will consider that for next year for sure! Also, I have often thought about putting longer deliberations on-line for our die hard viewers since we literally have hours of footage of deliberation. Is that something you'd be interested in watching?

      loren on July 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm
      • I would love to see more of the deliberations. I think we'd all like to see the complete camera challenges too.

        Corvette Lady on July 6, 2012 at 9:42 pm
      • yes!

        laura on July 7, 2012 at 5:04 pm
  4. Always love the kitchen challenge and they made the right decision with the win going to Britany and Danielle. Their kitchen looked so great, although I didn't like the back splash area with the photos near the stove. The heat would have warped them. I think varying shades of gold, pale yellow and ivory on the little glass tiles would have done wonders and given a great pop of color to tie in with the door.

    Stanley and those cabinet pulls…they were a kitchy idea, however I saw the problem with the functionality immediately. I'm in my kitchen a LOT and those just won't work. I didn't really mind the blue necessarily because it was very bold, but it just wasn't my style. We have had a kitchen with blue and black accents before (not our choice, and not really our taste, but it was ok), but the blue was a sapphire blue, not the turquoisy color.

    Oh, Rachel. I agree with the other poster–almost seems like she was sabotaging herself so they could let her go home and she wouldn't have to quit. It seemed like she was getting further and further out there.

    Final four are the right four. Can't wait for next week!

    juliebug04 on July 6, 2012 at 4:56 am
    • Forgot to mention…I really like Mikel and Britany. I think their sense of style is great and they can get great style without spending a fortune. I like Hilari's style, but sometimes she spends too much, and that isn't realistic for me. I like Danielle also, but she can sometimes be a push over and she needs to assert herself a little more. Quite frankly though, I would likely watch a show with any of these four as a host, so it's a win for me no matter who gets chosen as the 'winner' of the show.

      juliebug04 on July 6, 2012 at 5:00 am
      • Thanks Julie!! I am so happy you like our final four…I, too, think any of them would be great hosts!!!

        loren on July 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm
  5. I really don't care for any of the designers this season. None of them "stand out." In this week's episode, all three kitchens were lame.

    Danielle and Britani kitchen was boring with the only pops of color coming from flowers–that to me is not designing; and those frames on the backsplash are just unrealistic. Does Britani ever cook? She should know that those would get dirty very fast.

    Stanley and HIlari forgot that if you do one bold look and color, keep the rest more simple. The blue and red clashed. It would have been so much better if the kitchen had been painted a neutral color. The "soup" graphic was too large. And the hands were just too much. One or two would have looked great.

    Rachel and Mikel got the most interesting sinks. And they messed it up with a wallpaper that should never see the light of day. And the table and island were just too much. In such a small space, do one or the other. Or find an island with an overhang for dining.

    I don't think any of these designers deserve their own show and I probably won't be watching them.

    rumtmtiger on July 6, 2012 at 7:03 am
    • You are ignoring the time constraints of a competition show. Danielle and Britani realized the lack of color in their kitchen but didn't have the option to make changes due to the time factor, which would not be the case in a real life situation. All of the designers by and large have to make their first thoughts work.

      Marty on July 7, 2012 at 10:30 am
      • I agree with you to a certain extent but this IS a competition and no one has the option of changing their mind. Go with your first ideas–and make them good. I just don't care much for these designers. Just too "ordinary." Except for Stanley, of course, and he is gone.

        rumtmtiger on July 7, 2012 at 10:42 am
  6. Hello, Loren! I was wondering if the countertop installation is limited to just an edging under the cabinets or if the contestants have the option to use the countertop material as a backsplash. We have done two kitchens now with quartz countertop material as the backsplash and have loved the look both times. It would be a real timesaver for the kitchen challenge and is definitely a practical option.

    In Hilari's and Stanley's kitchen, who was responsible for the glass backsplash? Theirs was the only kitchen with a backsplash that could be cleaned relatively easily and whoever came up with the idea should get credit.

    And who made the color choices for the cabinets, paint, flooring, and countertops in Rachel's and Mikel's kitchen? They were all very similar shades of "greige" and were a missed opportunity to add more color to this kitchen. I think if more color had been added in these areas the massive amounts of wallpaper would not have been needed just to add color. Also, were there more color options available for the cabinets? For example, could Rachel and Mikel have chosen blue-painted cabinets instead of the color they picked?

    I know that the designers had some limitations on the items that were installed for them, but am just curious as to what some of those limitations were!

    C&E on July 6, 2012 at 7:53 am
    • You ask great questions! are my quick answers :)
      The designers can do whatever they want with the countertops, however, they know that as a 2 day challenge time is of the essence. Remember last season when Tyler and Lesie started their glass tile background and then never finished? So I think many of them are a bit gunshy about trying to be too elaborate…but they absolutely can if they'd like to! I agree with you that they should have gone for a quartz backsplash – it would have been more practical and prettier than nothing at all!

      Hilari and Stanley picked theirs out together — However, if I remembe correctly (and I can't promise this), I think it was Hilari's initial idea…

      For Rachel and Mikel they made all of the big decisions together! I honestly believe that the panel ultimately let Rachel go because the one thing she was single-handedly responsible for was the wall paper – which literally hurt my eyes in person! They could have picked from a large sleection of cabinets, floors, counters, etc. We had many, many choices for them in this particular challenge…

      Hope this is helpful!

      loren on July 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm
  7. In the photo, Sara Petersen appears to be levitating. I'm sure she produced other Linda Blair type special effects, after seeing those kitchens!

    erikcreature on July 6, 2012 at 11:51 am
  8. LOL!!!!! I'll ask her if she has been practicing magic in her downtime!!!!

    loren on July 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm
  9. Where did Britany and Danielle buy their chandelier? Love it.

    dintx on July 6, 2012 at 5:03 pm
  10. Okay, so I have Mexican Pavers in my Ranch House Kitchen..and they have been here or 30 years…yikes. I can clean the surface…but there are some stains…any tips?

    Cynthia Richmond on July 6, 2012 at 5:36 pm

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