Liz Gray

Contributor to HGTVersus

Aug 2

Ask the Producer: Design Star All Stars Ep 1

Each week, I chat with Design Star All Stars producer Loren Ruch about what you didn’t see on the show. This week: How were the cast members chosen? Plus, who changed the most since their season on the show? Read on to find out.

Design Star Producer Loren Ruch With Judges

How did you assemble the cast of DS all-stars? What qualities were you looking for?
We wanted to find the Design Star cast members who made the most lasting impressions over the years. A few of them were fan favorites like Dan Vickery and Kellie Clements, and others had incredible support online and through social media like Sparkle Josh, Leslie Ezelle, and Tom Vecchione so we knew our die-hard fans would love to see them again. In the case with Hilari Younger, as soon as she was eliminated from Design Star we just had a hunch that her humor and talent would resonate with our viewers so we took a chance and slotted her right into All Stars.

Filming the show, which designer did you think changed the most since their season? Or, alternately, was anyone exactly as you remembered?
That is a great question, and honestly quite a few of them changed dramatically. In episode one I was blown away by how much Leslie improved on her camera challenge. She was all over the place in her season, and somehow pulled it all together in All Stars. Tom was another one who surprised me. Many people associated him with that crazy blue bathroom that got him kicked off during his season, but he knocked it out of the park on our first episode of All Stars. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Dan Vickery always was, and still remains a fabulous designer, so his gorgeous room didn’t surprise me at all. And Sparkle Josh and Hilari also stayed true to their signature looks in the first episode. I was a little disappointed in Kellie’s room because I think she is a spectacular designer, but unfortunately it seemed like she was trying to recreate a ‘white room’ instead of using all of the incredible resources at the Pacific Design Center – so I don’t think we had a good chance to see just how talented she really is.

Could the public check out the white boxes as the DSAS cast created them? If so, what were the reactions like?
Yep! They were on display in the Pacific Design Center. We honestly kept the area free of onlookers while they were working so that no one would get injured. It’s a war zone when designers are mid-process! However, once the rooms were finished, we had many onlookers gasping at how beautiful the spaces were. We literally had more than a million dollars worth of furnishings featured in the spaces, so they were pretty darn spectacular!

What was your favorite on-set moment from the second-chance White Box Challenge?
It was an absolute race to the finish on the set for this challenge, so I just remember the designers literally running through the PDC to finish their rooms. They were so out of breath that you would have thought we made them run a marathon that day! I also loved working with Emily Procter who was FABULOUS to spend time with. She is one the most salt-of-the-Earth celebrities I have ever had the pleasure to meet or work with.

Have a question for Loren? Ask away in the comments below.

Posted at 6:56 pm

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  1. I'm pulling for Hilari or Leslie! Can't choose between them :)

    Stephanie on August 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm
  2. So very glad to see Dan on All Stars. And so glad he won the first week! I hope he wins the whole thing, I think he should have been the winner in his original season!

    Guest on August 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm
  3. Kellie was the right choice to send home. She was so rude to Hilari, so belittling. Little people, belittle people.

    Jane on August 7, 2012 at 3:07 pm
  4. Love Sparkle Josh. He makes fantasy attainable for us all.

    J in Tucson on August 7, 2012 at 3:37 pm
  5. What was the snarky comment Kellie made to Hillari and why? Glad she was first to go.

    Lynn on August 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm
  6. I love Sparkle Josh and Hilari! What she said last week about Sparkle and Darkle….that would make an AWESOME show with the two of them.

    Deborah on August 7, 2012 at 5:58 pm
    • LOL! I thought the same thing when they said it…what a fun concept!

      loren on August 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm
  7. I so disagreed with tonight's Design Star All Star decision in choosing Sparkle Josh to go home… IMHO, since both Josh and Leslie were in the bottom two, I would have chosen Leslie to go home for railroading Josh and Hillari and primarily for doing all the mirrors that the client said they weren't interested in. If a designer overrules the client I believe that to be a much bigger "misstep" than raising a lamp off the floor or hanging a fixture a bit low (?) (I would have hated it set any higher…) all personal opinion I suppose. (the lamp would have looked fine imho if the bench had not been moved in front of it – also Leslie's misstep…)

    Nancy on August 7, 2012 at 6:21 pm
    • Yes I agree with you. I think Vern and Genevieve didnt care for Josh's camera challenge whereas they liked Leslies. Personally I think they also didnt care for any of Josh's designs. Remember last week Vern said Josh's couch looked like running shoes. I dont think they like the amount of bling he brings. My opinion.

      Wayne on August 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm
    • I completely agree with this comment. These were my same thoughts while watching the program on tv. And what about the blue paint color on the guy's room walls. Dan was cut down for it, but (whatever his name is) the guy whose room was decorated, well, he specifically said that he liked the blue shade and wanted it to stay. Just as the client asked that there not be any mirrors. So the judging is NOT looking fair to me and definitely not judging in relation to what the clients want and ask for.

      Wolverina23 on August 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm
  8. Dan Vickery's first loss was a huge misstep. I still remember his suspended boat sculpture in Tiffani Theisan's baby room – genius. He may have needed some polish in front of the camera, but his skill and talent can't be taught. (And that season's winner was a sweetheart, but how many real people graffiti in their bedroom?)

    I'm rooting for Dan and also think Hilari is gifted, funny, and has extraordinary composure. They both have a lot to teach the HGTV audience. And we need more new shows!

    Mia on August 7, 2012 at 8:04 pm
  9. I caught Danielle;s show and it was pretty good but I did not like the crowded kitchen with those Moroccan shutters. Too busy, too much going on, too crowded, would have left out the island entirely. Needs more thinking outside the box but a good first attempt. Love Tom and Dan. A great two-some. They both have real talent and can think on the fly.

    Guest on August 7, 2012 at 9:37 pm
  10. One more thought – Hilari is too set in her ways. Needs to lighten up. And, needs to learn to be more cohesive in her designs. Why in the world would a designer like Leslie deliberately put mirrors in a room when the clients specifically asked to not have them. That is a big no-no.

    Guest on August 7, 2012 at 9:40 pm
    • Why did Hilari and Josh let her buy the mirrors? They didn't have much money and they let Leslie spend it on something the client didn't want. Leslie was out of control at the end but the other two just stood by and let her do what she wanted to do.

      Corvette Lady on August 8, 2012 at 5:34 am

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