Liz Gray

Contributor to HGTVersus

Jun 30

Episode 4 Recap: A Tale of Two Kitchens

This week, our designers headed to Northridge, Calif., for the dreaded kitchen challenge. For HGTV Star newbies, every season’s kitchen mission brings its share of issues for the designers: Countertop decisions! Time constraints! And especially…tile backplashes! Every Star kitchen challenge so far has resulted in half-baked tile jobs. In other words: Mo tile, mo problems.

HGTV Star Designers Season 8 Episode 4

This time around, the final six also have to create a functioning space for two families — no white boxes here. They divided into teams of three, and each set of designers got help from two carpenters.  Two groups met, and two kitchens were completed. But were they any good? Take a look.


Brooks, Abby and Anne teamed up to create a new kitchen for the Paz family. The homeowners’ main requests:  A kitchen that’s warm, modern and stylish enough to be the true heart of their home. With lots of urging from experience kitchen designer Anne, the group settles on an extremely neutral color palette. Brooks isn’t exactly on board, but as he says, “I’m going to try to be confident in her confidence.” Love him!

HGTV Star Designers Season 8 Episode 4
With a plan in place, they got busy with the tear-down. Can we pause for a second to think about how fun this demolition looks?  As a homeowner living with a sad ’70s kitchen, I’m ready to grab my own sledgehammer. But I digress.

Demolition Sequence
Here is the team’s finished kitchen:

Finished HGTV Star Kitchen Design

In what turned out to be his first serious misstep, Brooks decided that an asymmetrical countertop would give the relatively traditional kitchen a modern twist. Genevieve summed up her disappointment with this sentiment: “The kitchen is the most functional space in the house. When you start getting cute, that’s when the cook starts getting p****d off.”  Yeah, true enough, Genevieve. It does have an odd, early ’90s quality to it, don’t you think?

The judges loved Brooks’ stainless steel, apron-front sink choice, but they were less keen on Abby’s backsplash-and-countertop combo. Okay, “less keen” is a bit of an understatement…Vern called her choices  a “flesh fest.” Ouch.

Anne’s neutral dining room got rave reviews, however.  She managed to pick a taupe that doesn’t look fleshy, and she added character and color through accessories, tableware and flowers. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have dinner here? A strong design showing plus the best camera challenge of the night made her this week’s individual winner. Bonus points to Anne for keeping track of the napkins and Abby’s lovely handmade window treatments.

Dining Table Detail


The other three designers worked nearby at the Lawrence family home. The family’s main requests:  A warm and inviting dining space that’s suitable for family dinners, a solution for their dated dining room paneling and a modern-meets-traditional kitchen design. Ready, set, go!

HGTV Star Team 2
Tiffany and Boris focused on the dining room. Tiffany selected the lovely, if not kid-friendy, hammered steel dining table. As Sabrina said, “It’s almost a careless choice in a home with children. It’s already scratched up!” Boris chose the warm gray grasscloth wallpaper — a brilliant solution to cover the room’s dated paneling. Here is the finished space:

HGTV Star Dining Room Makeover
The room also featured a wooden buffet that plays off of the kitchen cabinet color. “The warmth of this buffet needs to happen in more places throughout this space,” Sabrina said.

Boris Eckey's Dining Room Buffet on HGTV Star

The designers painted the brown chimney a coordinating warm gray, and Tiffany topped it with a gallery wall to balance the off-center fireplace and turn this wall into more of a focal point.

HGTV STar Gallery Wall
Here is the team’s finished kitchen:

Kitchen Design on HGTV Star
Jeribai’s spent much of the challenge selecting and hanging tile, and his efforts paid off. “It was the best backsplash I have ever seen done on the show,” Vern said. “It was executed to perfection and looked great with the cabinets.” He used a mix of glass and ceramic tiles to create dimension. From last week’s stripes to this week’s tiles, we’ve seen that Jeribai can flawlessly execute construction tasks. But I’m still waiting for him to show the same overall design vision we saw during his week one vignette.

Kitchen Backsplash From HGTV Star

Boris removed a covered storage corner cabinet in favor of this open shelving meant for wine storage, but the too-short shelves missed the mark for Genevieve.

Built In Kitchen Bar From HGTV Star

So, who went home? Abby’s kitchen design insecurity and poor camera challenge sent home. I loved what she did on her own, but her vision got a bit lost in the team challenges. I’ll miss her eclectic style and ball of energy personality. Good luck, Abby!

Now it’s down to the final five. Who are you rooting for? Did the right designer go home? Which kitchen did you prefer during this week’s challenge? Sound off in the comments below. 

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