Kayla Kitts

Contributor to HGTVersus

Sep 7

Ask the Producer: Episode 9

Loren With Genevieve

Lindsey Weidhorn (Manager, HGTV), Loren and Genevieve goofing around with a cardboard cutout of Vern Yip on the set!

Each week we ask Design Star producer Loren Ruch our burning questions from the last episode. This week: What made the producers choose a tiny house challenge? Plus, what we didn’t see on the show.

How did you come up with the idea to do a tiny house challenge?
We really wanted to update and reinvent our Glass House challenge from previous seasons, and with the popularity of the tiny house movement, we thought that this would be a natural!  A member of our staff had seen a coffee table book about tiny houses, and we were sold!  The rest is history.

Did the tiny houses seem bigger or smaller than they did on TV?
Honestly, this depends on which of the tiny houses we’re talking about.  Mark’s tiny house seemed really, really small in person because of the very busy argyle print pattern on the walls.  However, Meg’s open foyer made hers seem much larger.  I’d say that Karl’s felt like it was somewhere in between theirs in terms of perceived size.

What did the designers and carpenters struggle most with in the tiny houses?
The hardest part of the challenge was what you didn’t see — pouring rain during about 80 percent of the challenge!  Battery Park was a big, muddy mess — and this wasn’t a nice cool rain, it was a warm, sticky, humid mess, where everyone was overheating.  Not sure if you saw Mark’s shirt by the end of the challenge, but I was seriously afraid that he was going to end up dehydrated due to excessive perspiration!  The other tricky part for the designers was working in such close quarters with another person (their carpenter) in addition to cameras following them.  This was a very challenging challenge for many reasons.

It looked like the contestants had a great time with the HGTV and DIY carpenters. Were there any fun moments that didn’t make it into the show?
There were so many funny moments that didn’t make it into the show, but my favorite was when Mark and Carmen spontaneously started to salsa dance in front of their house!  The chemistry all the way around was wonderful – and the carpenters added exactly what our designers needed at this point of the competition…motivation, talent, and the great attitudes.

What questions do you have about the tiny house challenge or Design Star as a whole? As in the comments below — Loren may just answer your questions next week!

Posted at 3:16 pm

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  1. Looking at his own portfolio, seeing his creative talent , and given realistic time frames and the assistance real designers have, Mark would have been so enjoyable to watch. Also we understand camera training is ongoing, and he would have been very engaging. Please, lets try to get him at least his own online show! Good luck to the other two, Karl, think your overall body of work superior.

    cheryl plato on September 7, 2011 at 11:24 am
    • Keep voting for him as your fan favorite, and he just might win a great show! Thanks for your nice message!!!

      lorenruch on September 7, 2011 at 11:59 am
    • Mark has an easy smile, and likeable demeanor, combined with creative, thought provoking ideas. He would have been a host I would have followed for sure. I like Karl's thought process on the multi function, and his aesthetic, but on camera he has struggled and blew it on the interaction with peers on group challenges. Meg has had some great ideas, but has not always delivered. I think if Mark had nailed he camera challenge he would have won if the overall body of work was truly considered.

      Susan on September 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm
  2. Loren,
    I love your star studded carpenters! They are just fantastic! Reminds me of the good ol' Trading Spaces days.
    Carpenters worked alongside their designers as partners. Created some great synergy on the show.
    Love the tiny house challenge too! Please bring it back next year.


    Jennie on September 7, 2011 at 11:38 am
    • Thank you so much Jennie! It was such a fun episode behind the scenes too!

      lorenruch on September 7, 2011 at 11:58 am
  3. Hey Loren,

    Thanks for adding the displays about each challenge and what the designers are supposed to hit this week!
    They look great. Love the tiny house challenge and the carpenter additions!

    fanfair123 on September 7, 2011 at 11:56 am
    • Thank you fanfair123! Love getting your responses!

      lorenruch on September 7, 2011 at 11:59 am
  4. Where would they take a shower in one of those houses?

    Libby on September 7, 2011 at 12:39 pm
    • I wondered that too.

      Mary Heitert on September 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm
      • The answer to your question about showering is in this video <a href="http://(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbRvsWuWNUM)” target=”_blank”>(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbRvsWuWNUM). Jay Shafer, who actually lives in a tiny house, takes you on a tour.

        Guest on September 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm
        • In 'real life' the showers do work, but for the purposes of Design Star (since we had limited time for the designers to design) we told them that they didn't need to install plumbing or full bathrooms…we did, however, ask for them to install toilets and kitchens because we thought it would make them really think about space planning…

          lorenruch on September 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm
  5. None of the houses had window treatments (other than trim paint). Why was this never mentioned?

    Rabbit on September 7, 2011 at 1:02 pm
  6. Please vote for mark before it gets too late. WHERE ARE THE VOTES?

    shalom on September 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm
    • Thank you, he was the best, soooo disappointed in the judges decision, I really don't care who wins the Design Star show now, I think you have to merge Meg and Karl to equal a Mark.

      Susan on September 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm
  7. I wish you would bring back Clive, really Tanika.

    Marlene on September 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm
  8. I was also wondering about the lack of a shower in any of the tiny houses. Where are the residents supposed to bathe?? Seems like a huge oversight. The concept of a tiny house is interesting but I don't think I could actually live in one for more than a few days!

    Andrea Canfield on September 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm
  9. Loren, what does the network do when someone's design doesn't at all match what the client wants? A good example we were all wondering about is the bunk bed that Kellie didn't give the little boy.

    Anne on September 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm
  10. Loren, To add to Anne's question…Meg kept saying the word storage in her on camera spot but she had no storage in her tiny house. Was she confused as to the meaning of storage or what? I do not want to be mean but this has stuck to me the same as when Kellie did not really listening to the client.

    Polly on September 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm
    • Hi Polly – There was actually a small closet in Meg's unit, but due to the place being so small, it was hard to shoot certain angles. Hers was actually the only one with a closet. It just didn't have much 'kitchen' storage like the guys' places.

      lorenruch on September 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm
      • Karl knocked this one out of the park….Meg….seriously? One closet was your storage? In a tiny house, a full closet is wasted real estate. OK….the back end of the place was open but all I kept thinking about was so much wasted, usable, vertical space. I had so many ideas…..all within the hour. I didn't find her house purposeful, livable or even practical. Karl completely wowed on this one. I would like to buy that tiny house.

        Candice: Really? You thought the color scheme of Karl's place was confining? I thought it was a perfect combination of sophisticated and warm. Guess the judges just can't always speak for everyone. Just cause it's in the design textbook doesn't mean it's always true.

        ruthann on September 7, 2011 at 5:12 pm

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