Liz Gray

Contributor to HGTVersus

Aug 23

Ask the Producer: All Stars Finale

Each week, I chat with Design Star All Stars producer Loren Ruch about the best behind-the-scenes moments from the show.  Read on to go behind the scenes on the judges’ final decision. Plus, find out where you’ll see Leslie on HGTV!

Design Star Producer Loren Ruch With Contestants

How did you decide to use shipping containers for this week’s challenge?
Our executive producer mentioned to me that shipping containers were a hot new trend for second homes and even some primary residences around the country, so we thought “why not?!” We’ve already done glass houses, tiny houses and yurts, so it felt like a natural transition to try shipping containers!

From a guest on the blog: How did the judges’ come to the final decision for Design Star All Stars? Do they use a numerical rating system, a checklist, a compilation of before and after photos, what is the criteria they use to come up with the winning design(er)?
I wish it were that simple! It was a plain and simple long (and I mean looooong) and drawn out conversation comparing pros and cons, camera challenges and design challenges and the scope of work from the entire season. We also have a big notebook prepared for the panel featuring each designers photos of each challenge, and we show them the camera challenge from the current episode. This episode was not cut and dry at all, so it was a very heated conversation. Hilari had been such a dynamic and fun personality with great designs, Tom was such a class act with an upscale taste level, and Leslie was a bundle of energy with great designs to match — but ultimately I think that in the end, Leslie’s Murphy bed is what threw her over the top!

Can you give us any clues about which HGTV show or episode Leslie will appear on?

Sure! Leslie will be a judge on an upcoming episode of The White Room Challenge, and my hunch is that you’ll also see more of her on another HGTV show in the near future.

Design Star Producer Loren Ruch With Design Star Judges

Best on-set moment from the shipping containers episode? That location was ridiculous!
There were gophers EVERYWHERE and all of us kept falling into the gopher holes. I saw at least five crew members trip and fall – it was like an episode of Wipe Out behind the scenes. It had also rained the day before we shot so it was muddy, critter-filled and holey! Need I say more?!

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

Posted at 6:19 pm

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  1. Hilari should have won. Yes Leslie is good at choosing coffee tables, but Hilari excels at couches. I am continually amazed at her ability to pick couches that I hate, and integrate them into the space so well that I end up loving them. That takes some serious talent, and it happened continually throughout her season, as well as through the previous all star challenges.

    I also noticed that not one of the judges commented on the fact that she managed to put a full sized bed into that container, and it still looked great, airy and open. That takes more talent than putting in a murphy bed, which is a pain to use, and only had room for one person to sleep in, which seemed odd considering she kept putting kid touches in there. I guess the kids and your significant other get to sleep on the floor. Also, normally I'm a huge fan of beachy style, but Leslie's container was cluttered and cramped, and I absolutely hated it.

    This is twice, now, that Hilari has been passed over, and I don't get it. I would have watched Hilari's show. Heck, she's the first contestant I've seen on any of the design stars where I would have searched her out to make sure I caught her show. I guess HGTV wants boring and done before rather than fresh, new and stylish. Maybe we should start calling it the snoozer network.

    Louise M. on August 24, 2012 at 5:30 am
    • I totally agree. I love Hilari. Just to let Hgtv know I am a baby boomer and watch hgtv all the time. Hilari brings a fresh approach and a smart talent. So are the judges too threatened by someone who may get higher ratings? If hgtv ignores Hilari's talents and all her fans, it makes me wonder about those who make the investment decisions at the network. I could see Hilari drawing in a younger family as well as fun sophisticated market. Plus I love her too…. bingo! All markets would love her! Let's see if hgtv makes an intelligent decision and gives Hilari a show! Hilari you rock girl! I know we will see you on tv, but it may be on the major networks first! Your fans won't let you go away.

      Mary on August 25, 2012 at 10:21 am
  2. Hilari should have won! I don't see how Leslie has a better camera presence than Hilari, she seems like every other suburban interior designer to me (and I've seen and met a lot). Hilari would have been such a refreshment! She's such a great personality and has beautiful taste. Maybe you guys should listen to the viewers more!

    Leigh on August 24, 2012 at 7:16 am
  3. Hi, Loren, I don't think this has ever been addressed that I recall but I would like to see a condo/apt decorated/outfitted as if the resident is in a wheelchair. This presents all kinds of unique design challenges and wouldn't it be great to have the designers integrate not only their design style, but that of the disabled client, in a functional and joyful space? Talk about form, function, color, design, space-planning all coming together. It would provide the designers the opportunity to really show how they work with their client and integrate their needs/desires into a functional space. Think about it………..!

    guest on August 24, 2012 at 7:47 am
  4. I totally agree with Hilari should have won! Each challenge her spaces were well designed, she's great on camera, she showed great sportsmanship with whomever she partnered with and list goes on and on. Hilari is very talented as well as the others are, but I just think she would be GREAT on her own show. Her designs were amazing on the regular design show AND allstars. I absolutely love HGTV but it's clear they are not about Diversity, which is very disappointing.

    Ms. Madden on August 24, 2012 at 8:02 am
  5. Hilari was the best designer by far!

    I missed the finals, and had to watch it online. But did I have to watch the same 30-second commercial (Blinds to go) TEN times???? Five minutes wasted…

    Celine on August 24, 2012 at 8:09 am
  6. When is someone going to say "Genevieve, we will not be producing your show"? She lacks style, taste, creativity, and a winning personality…………everything Hilari has and had during all the challenges. She was definitely the winner. Leslie's porch chair was getting ready to fall off the edge. Hiari's was thoughtful, useful, and safe. Let Hilari take Genevieve's place.

    J. Nan on August 24, 2012 at 8:31 am
    • I agree. She used to be the warm fun designer on trading spaces now she is Miss Snooty Pants. Time to change up the judges. You need to bring in fresh ideas and personalities! It is becoming too predictable.

      Mary on August 25, 2012 at 10:31 am
  7. There is a whole spectrum of the population that is being overlooked with design, and I'm talking about the spaces such as assisted living facilities, retirement homes, waiting rooms, community centers, hospitals, and even public parks are not often user-friendly. How about challenging the designers to freshen up the public spaces in some of these areas? They're often dreary, old, tired, out-of-date, and uninspired, and could definitely benefit from a designer's point of view. A win-win all the way around!!!

    guest on August 24, 2012 at 9:17 am
  8. Thanks for a very interesting show. I loved the all-stars. And I hope that even though Hilari didn't win either contest this season you keep her in mind for her own show. Her personality is infectious. I would not miss her program.

    Rickapolis on August 24, 2012 at 9:24 am
  9. I am from the caribbean, and I enjoy HGTV, and I love watching design stars all the time. But like some of these bloggers, I too am very surprised that the judges choose Leslie, the only bad thing said about Hilary's place was the pink colour did not match ..she actually changed they way she does things showing she can diversify…just what the judges keep looking for. Leslie does good designs, but she really does not work well with others, and this last design, was cluttered, the only thing right was the use of that bed, everything else, even the outside had no camera appeal….judges you really choose wrong this time. Tom's room was great, but he does the same thing over and over.I hope you find a space for Hilary on HGTV. I still love you and will continue to watch.

    yasmin on August 24, 2012 at 10:04 am
  10. Last summer by the end of Design Star 6 you were soliciting applications for DS7 – haven't seen anything about applications for the next season … Are you planning one?

    Tom on August 24, 2012 at 10:13 am

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