My husband and I escaped to a ranch in Moab, Ut., over the holiday weekend, and while we paid for the whole “ranch” experience, I don’t think we were prepared for how much this theme would take over every aspect of decor in the room, from the knotty pine of the walls to the horse-themed paintings. I was enjoying it, and giving it the benefit of the doubt, until I saw the toilet paper holder.
And I thought, they really mean it.
Design Tips + a Style Board
We’re down to the final four — Courtland, Emily, Casey and Michael — and Vern invites the contestants to brunch at Aarón Sanchez’s Centrico. He wants them to take the morning and relax. Everyone is exhausted and so happy to indulge after all the pressure leading up to this point. I mean, I’d need some rest after being subjected to all those wall murals, am I right?
First course is a tropical fruit salad, second is huevos rancheros, third is an elegant corn tamale and fourth is rice pudding empanadas with a mango chutney. They gulp it all down while patting each other on the back. Suddenly Vern walks in with the chef. Like I’ve said before, you never want to see Vern walk in. It’s almost always bad news.
Turns out chef Aarón Sanchez has one of the biggest hits on the Food Network, Chefs vs. City. The contestants are to choose one of the dishes they’ve just devoured as inspiration for this week’s challenge: to create a dining room space. Casey chooses the tamale, Courtland goes with the empanadas, Emily chooses huevos rancheros, which means Michael is left with the fruit salad. The twist is that they have to start with a very lived-in space and must repurpose furniture and materials to create their designs. As if deriving design inspiration from the taste of a meal isn’t hard enough.
Read the rest over at the Design Star Blog
Is it episode three already? It is, and as Nina points out very wisely as the men celebrate their win, “The fall from the top is a long way down.” She was on top the first week, in the bottom two last week. Already Design Star is saying to the contestants, WE EAT EGOS LIKE YOURS FOR BREAKFAST.
Immediately the contestants walk out onto the rooftop of Trump International Hotel and Tower where a jazz band is getting down. Oh, jazz. You cute little acquired musical taste. Like hot, diluted beer on an uncovered patio in the desert. My husband loves you. I love him despite this.
Vern tells the ladies to choose one guy to join their team since the numbers are lopsided four to six (women being the first two eliminated). After a tiny bit of whispering they choose Dan, they say because of his skills and his nice energy, an infusion the women could really use. Really, it’s not because he’s so cute and has that adorable Southern accent? Those things come in handy when you’re sewing curtains.
This week’s challenge is to design a 200-square-foot outdoor terrace inspired by music, what Vern describes as one of the most difficult Design Star challenges ever…
Click over to HGTV Design Star blog for the rest
It’s episode two of HGTV Design Star, and before the credits even roll I’m having a hard time not wishing that someone would accidentally spill their beer all over Nina’s head. Because then maybe she would stop using her mouth to dig her own grave.
Emily Henderson, Nina Ferrer and Tera Hampton from HGTV Design Star
Also, for a second there before they flashed the name Casey on the screen, I thought Reese Witherspoon had suddenly joined Design Star. How awesome would that be? GET YER STUBBORN SELF DOWN HERE AND GET ME SOME BROCADE.
This week! The first Design Star fashion show. Contestants are challenged to design an apartment based on the design of an outfit, and among the choices are an elegant evening gown, pajamas, suits, even a wedding gown. Nina grabs the evening gown, Courtland grabs a suit, and so on, until Genevieve drops the catch: two teams. Men vs. women.
And every outfit chosen by each designer has to be incorporated into the design. That’s five completely different looks per apartment… um… Design Star? I think your rules are cute and all, but I think they may have a methamphetamine problem.
Click over to the HGTV Design Star blog for the rest »
Welcome to the new season of HGTV Design Star where the competition has moved back to New York City, what Vern Yip refers to as the “epicenter of design.” I don’t know what he’s talking about, because last I checked Jasper, Alabama was on the tip of everyone’s tongues. But I guess New York will do.
HGTV Design Star judges Candice Olson, Genevieve Gorder and Vern Yip
Twelve new designers, all with varied backgrounds, some formally schooled, others who found inspiration building pig troughs (those things are darling), under pressure to impress the judges — Vern Yip, Genevieve Gorder, and Candice Olson — to become host of their own TV show. And already I get the sense that Vern means business. Like, yes, the two women beside him are taller by three feet, but who’s doing the voice-over?! THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT.
HGTV Design Star contestant, Nina Ferrer
First competition: Each designer is paired with another designer, someone they have never met, and they have to design a white-box bedroom for that person, based on their personality. Budget: $500. The catch is that it all has to be spent at an Asian market. OH MY LOLA. Is it just me, or do I sense a glut of Kimonos, geisha umbrellas and paper lanterns? Seriously, if someone glues kimchi to a wall I may have to leave the room.
Click Over to HGTV Design Star for the rest
My mother owns a country cabin out in the middle of the high desert of Utah, a five bedroom, two bathroom, pine-clad space that she has decorated from floor to ceiling with second-hand furniture and gorgeous antiques. I remember thinking she was crazy to buy a cabin in the middle of nowhere until I went with her to visit the property. This is her backyard:
I have joked that she likes to scatter ceramic farm animals here and there, but I haven’t given her enough credit. She’s got a great eye, especially for playful vignettes on a dresser or in a corner, and last week she and my stepfather renovated the kitchen at the cabin, by themselves, in four days, for less than a thousand dollars. My mother is 65 years old. My stepfather, 66. When she told me they were planning this insanity, I asked her if she had a death wish. She said, “Death wish? Honey, I grew up in a one room shack with eight brothers and sisters. This is a vacation!”
When we bought our house three years ago we hired a skilled painter to go in and change the color in every single room. It was a huge job, something we didn’t have the desire or skill to handle, and I wanted the end product to be something much brighter and more neutral than the dark colors the previous owners had used. Not that the dark colors were bad, necessarily. I mean, I bought the house from a friend who might be reading this. And in that case, the dark colors were lovely!
I chose a warm beige color called Architectural Cream from the Ralph Lauren collection, and had almost every room in the house painted in this shade. It catches light in different, beautiful ways depending on the time of day, and it’s the perfect backdrop for furniture and accessories in brighter, flashier colors. For instance, my six-year-old Leta loves pink princesses like so many other girls her age, so I gave her the pink and dialed back on the princess.
One of the biggest design challenges I face as a mother of two young children is clutter; more specifically toys, books, diapers, art supplies, DVDs, and every electronic gadget imaginable. I remember in the months after my first daughter was born thinking that our living room was slowly succumbing to bright plastic overlords, objects that got progressively bigger, louder, and oops! Mommy accidentally took a hammer to that one!
It has only become worse with two kids, and now every night as we corral the kids to bed, every corner of our living room looks like this:
Last night I experienced Cirque Du Soleil for the first time when Alegría came to a venue here in Salt Lake City. I’d been told to expect the unreal, the unbelievable, the mind-blowing. But what they didn’t tell me was that I would come away from this…this…adventure having been transformed. My minimal aesthetic just got a huge kick in the butt.
Yesterday the heavens parted, a giant ray of light illuminated my sister’s basement, and out fell a couch. A very large couch. I was hoping it might land on the people who sold it to me, and I’d watch the pointy boots on their feet shrivel up beneath the ottoman. And then my nephews would cheer and clink their giant lollipops with joy!
I told you it was huge. In fact, I think I once lived in an apartment half this size.