Have you ever thought about what it’s like to actually build eleven 12X15 spaces, furnish them with transformable pieces which can be further enhanced decoratively with raw food and/or restaurant supply items, then break them all down in just a few days? I hadn’t before working the shoot for episode 2 of HGTV Design Star — the infamous White Box Challenge. But from the looks of anticipated exhaustion and lack of enthusiasm on my co-design producers, Sam and Shannon’s, faces, it was obviously not the most fun task.
Roughly two weeks before filming episode 2, the three of us had to conceptualize exactly how big each white box should be, choose pieces that could be repurposed for different room functions, assemble those pieces and paint them all white to ensure the designers all had level playing fields. When I say the three of us assembled all the furniture, I really mean Shannon and Sam, since I hopped on a plane for an HGTV event in Orlando only two hours into assembly. Saved by the bell? I’d say so.
In addition to the white box build-outs, we also did a mock-shopping day where we thought of all the possible things designers might consider using from a restaurant supply store as decoration, then ensured that there was enough stock for the eleven designers to choose from. Now take a look at what goes into creating the White Box Challenge, then take time next season to think about the tired souls behind the scenes who were kicked off before the challenge even started.
As far as what the designers had to work with in their white boxes, we supplied them with the following: a white futon, two white side tables, a pine dining table with pine chairs and a white melamine chest of drawers. Why? With an assortment of items which could be used for different types of rooms, it wouldn’t pigeon hole anyone into doing one specific type of space. In fact, their design concept is supposed to be the main star. Therefore, none of the white boxes needed to be actual functional “rooms”, per se.
Something I predicted weeks before the actual episode was the likelihood of a designer turning paper bags into wallcovering or floorcovering. I think it’s safe to say Kevin Grace nailed that idea and perfected it. And the mops make clever rugs. PS – Lime green is a TV design gold mine; regardless if you hate or love the color, it’s so electric that it definitely causes viewers to stop and look whether for a full episode or just a few retina-intensified minutes. Bravo Kevin!
I think the level of precision that went into Mark Diaz‘s room speaks for itself. One word: free-handed.
If you tuned in for Monday night’s show, click through these episode 2 photos for a refresher. If you missed it, watch the full episode 2 on our website. Then share, of eleven white boxes, which one stood out the most for you? And which one can you picture adapted for actual residential use?
Tell me in the comments below.