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
This week begins with the red team returning to the apartment without Nina, and Stacey could not be happier: “This is probably the best outcome of any elimination to date. She’s gone. Like, do you know what a relief that is?” Meaning Stacey read the note I slipped her WORD FOR WORD.
The contestants meet Vern in the lobby of Trump Tower to meet Donald Trump, Jr. who is going to help judge the challenge this week. Each team has to design a model apartment in the brand new Trump property, The Trump Plaza Residences in Jersey City. Don, Jr., explains that the Trump look is consistently about luxury, but that it has to be contextual, which in this instance means it should reflect Jersey City. And since the Trumps are all about New York, each contestant must choose a New York City souvenir package and physically incorporate it into their designs. Uh, Design Star? Have you ever seen a souvenir? About as luxurious as an ingrown hair.
Casey takes the architectural package, Stacy grabs the yellow taxi bag, Alex selects the Big Apple package, Tom takes the Statue of Liberty, Emily gets the subway bag, Courtland takes the Times Square package, leaving Michael with the Broadway souvenirs. They head out to their apartments and the blue team immediately decides to apply crown molding. Emily worries it’s going to be a time suck. These designers have to realize at this point that if their gut is telling them TIME SUCK, then the reality is going to be TIME BLACK HOLE.
Read the rest of Dooce’s review»
We begin with the men returning to the apartment without Trent, and there seems to be a sigh of relief from everyone. Alex admits he’s disappointed with his performance so far, and he plans to step it up this week. I think that’s one refrain you always hear in these kinds of competitions: “This week I’ll show them!” Along with, “I’m not here to make friends.” I’m just waiting for that one.
This week’s challenge starts outside a flower shop when Candice announces each designer gets to choose the flower that inspires them the most. None of the contestants know which flower any of the others are choosing, and finally Vern walks out with a bouquet made up of each team’s combined choices. They must design a studio apartment based on the overall team bouquet and also incorporate their own individual floral inspiration.
The men’s bouquet is, as Courtland describes, “easy on the eye.” Clean, minimal, soft and fresh, made up of ranunculus, tulip, calla lily and snapdragon. Whereas the women’s bouquet is much more overtly romantic and whimsical: orchid, daffodil, carnation, hyacinth and wax flower. Immediately Dan starts to try to fight for himself and warns the women that in the last challenge they tackled too many construction-heavy projects, meaning ALL HIM. Can they please shop a bit more this time? Does he really have to say that to a car full of women? IN NEW YORK CITY?!
Read the rest of Dooce’s review»
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
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.
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.