Liz Gray

Contributor to HGTVersus

Jul 24

Recap: The Final Challenge + The Winner Is…

Design Star Elimination Panel

All the drama and design of season seven came down to the final moment of truth: Britany and Danielle made their TV pilots and then stood in front of the panel for one final elimination. Wanna know what else happened? Read on.

Major spoiler alert: If you don’t want to know the winner, don’t keep reading. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

I have to admit, I was feeling a little angst before this week’s episode. Why? I like both of the finalists. Britany’s geometric patterns and trendy rooms look amazing week after week, while Danielle brings a little more personality and some seriously great design taste. But alas, one has to be the winner…here’s what went down.

Design Star Contestants Mikel Welch, Rachel Kate and Britany Simon

First up: Britany. Her pilot concept was Picture Perfect Spaces — using photography to create a personalized space. Because she’s a photographer! Okay, I can see being kind of interested in that. We got to see some familiar faces this week: the last four designers sent home came back to work as design assistants for Britany and Danielle. What up, Mikel? I’ve missed you!

Britany’s clients: the DaBell family and their adorable son, Luke. He’s so adorable, the parents let him have the entire dining room for his toys. Seriously, here’s what it looked like before:

So, understandably, they wanted a more adult space…fewer dump drunks, more dining chairs.  Here’s what Britany’s finished dining room looked like:

Britany Simon in her Finished Dining Room

The wallpaper and wainscoting create a high-end look that nods to Britany’s trademark graphic style.  (However, I did wonder: What happened to all of Luke’s toys?) And she decorated the walls with her own photos of the family:

Design Star Finalist Britany Simon's Photography

She brought the same muted gray, black, white and orange into the family’s living room. Here’s what it looked like before…

Britany's Living ROom Makeover - Before

…and here it is after.

Design Star Contestant Britany Simon's Living Room

I am in love with this orange-and-black wing chair she nestled next to the fireplace:

Design Star Finalist Britany Simon's Living Room

Overall, Britany’s space was beautiful, but not very personal. Other than the framed photos, I didn’t get  a sense of the family’s style from the space.  And her pilot seemed the same: She was good on camera, but didn’t seem to really connect with the family.

Next, we have Danielle. Her pilot concept? Shop This Room, which will show viewers how to shop of one-of-a-kind pieces and build a curated home for the artsy Keller family. Hilari and Stanley worked as her design assistants. She seemed to do a better job directing her “assistants” and playing to their strengths — Hilari sourced furniture and accessories, while Stanley helped build homeowner Lois (an artist) a new-and-improved studio. Here’s the uber-traditional dining room before…

…and the funky and functional space after.

Design Star Winner Danielle Colding's Dining Room

In the living room, the family’s bulky sofa hid the room’s original fireplace, and the all-white walls didn’t let the architectural details stand out.

Design Star Living ROom Makeover - Before

I absolutely love the contrast Danielle created with the turquoise walls and white fireplace trim:

Danielle Colding's Living Room

Overall, the space just has that curated feel. Danielle took the family’s existing pieces, like Lois’s artwork…

…and designed the room around them. Seriously, look how excited homeowners Allen and Lois Keller are at the reveal!

The panel was equally pleased with Danielle’s pilot — which was just plain fun to watch — and they loved her fun and funky design.  It was enough to earn her the title of Design Star!

Design Star Winner Danielle Colding

Congratulations, Danielle! Her new show, Shop This Room, premieres Sunday, August 4 at 8/7c.

Check back tomorrow for video reactions from Meg and David.

Do you think the right designer won? Weigh in in the comments below.

Posted at 10:00 pm

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  1. I definitely think that Danielle deserved to win. She had so much personality and I appreciate anyone that second guesses themselves and is willing to change their mind. Brittany just felt a bit too rigid to me, both in her personality and in her design. Love the show.

    Karen on July 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm
    • Your comment is rigid.

      Wait, I didn't mean that. Actually, yes I did.

      You can appreciate that, right?

      Mollie on July 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm
  2. Britany deserved to win. This will not be the last we see from her.

    Mollie on July 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm
  3. Damn! I was hoping to add another hgtv show to my DVr… I just can't listen to danielle's nasally voice and ceiling eyes. This was the only time her room was better…. But talk about setting that up… Danielle's family had great art to work with… Britany's family seemed boring and had nothing there to even help her, and when you only have 2 days, it must be hard to give a home so much character. Boo to hgtv for picking the wrong winner. I know some people think Genevieve wants to continue being the pretty girl with pretty hair on hgtv so she got blackballed.

    Wanderlust on July 24, 2012 at 6:34 pm
  4. I agree!!! Britnays room was far superior!!!! The past few season finales have been disappointing and the winners shows have proved it. I think it was another big mistake by HGTV :(

    Brianna on July 24, 2012 at 6:36 pm
  5. This show is HORRIBLE. Do the judges even think of who America would want to watch? My wife and I couldn't stand Danielle's grating voice for more than 2 minutes, especially her squeals. I would never watch her. Yet they got rid of a great designer with a better personality…Hilari and then got rid of the one designer who did work I'd want to see in my home. It's like they picked the worst person possible.

    CMiller on July 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm
  6. I am SO THRILLED she won! They were both great designers but Danielle was just a bit better overall. She comes across SO down to earth and real and she truly seemed like she was genuinely listening to her clients and designed a room for THEM, not for just HGTV. Way to go Danielle! I will DEFINITELY be watching for your new show!

    Lori P. on July 24, 2012 at 6:37 pm
  7. What a shame Britany did not won..she was the better designer, a plus with her photography. I could not believe Danielle's room…Pathetic!
    I know another channel will pick up least I hope.

    Lynne on July 24, 2012 at 6:39 pm
  8. Yay Danielle! Was rooting for you from the beginning!

    Rachel on July 24, 2012 at 6:42 pm
  9. Danielle did great, but Brittany was my favorite! I loved her personality, look, voice and talent. What everyone else thought was a lack of confidence I thought was cute and genuine. I hope we see her again on tv. I think she has a lot to share, and the more she does, the more she will shine. Good luck to Danielle. Have fun shopping!

    Tracie on July 24, 2012 at 6:42 pm
  10. Britany NEEDS A SHOW! I would watch her every week, so she can take my sense of design to a different level….Danielle was good, but that was the FIRST TIME she was good…..Britany rocked it all along….PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, HGTV, can you given Britany a show too? I watch HGTV all day Saturday and Sunday, every single show, but I can't worry about Danielle "not finding something and I'm aware I'm running out of time" :::sigh:::: make us happy, HGTV!

    @GoddessKnowsAll on July 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm

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