Liz Gray

Contributor to HGTVersus

Jun 5

Episode 2: The Best + Worst of the White Room Challenge

Design Star Judges and Host and Guest Judge Vanilla Ice

Guest Judge Vanilla Ice With Design Panel and David Bromstad

I like to think of the White Room Challenge as the sand trap of Design Star: talented designers go in and they don’t come out. It’s always the ones you least expect, too. Here’s what went down on this year’s iconic challenge.

The Good

Bex: Along with many of you, I’m a Bex fan. So I had a mini panic attack when she couldn’t “manhandle” the super-long lengths of PVC pipe she bought to create a screen for the front of her white box. After a chat with David restored her confidence, she settled on smaller panels with cut lengths of pipe. Her finished room wasn’t among the best white rooms of all time, but it had some nice moments (i.e., the copper silhouette with penny trim.)

Bex Hale During White Room Challenge

Britany: Her nautical-chic look was sophisticated, graphic and fun. I loved the table-turned-chandelier with hanging lengths of gold chain!

Britany During White Room Challenge

Stanley: I was a bit skeptical of Stanley after last week’s collage-gate. He redeemed himself this week design-wise with an unexpected art installation – he left the box white and created vignettes with colored light. In the evaluation room, the judges dinged him for an unenthusiastic camera challenge.

Stanley Palmieri during White Box Challenge

Danielle: Guest judge Vanilla Ice said this box reminded him of a recording studio — it definitely had a lounge-y, relaxed vibe. The off-center graphic X in bold gold made a huge statement — Danielle may have even won the challenge if it wasn’t for that last-minute dollar store lamp addition.

Danielle Colding During White Room Challenge

Rachel: I love how she mixed patterns in this space – the large-scale scroll pattern on the walls and the chevron-painted dresser mesh perfectly. Vern loved her fashion-inspired silhouette. Genevieve loved her folksy camera presence. Guest Vanilla Ice said her room had “moves like Jagger.”  She took the win for the second week in a row! The moose head approves.

Rachel Kate During White Room Challenge

Miera: I was worried for Miera when those white blocks fell of one, by one, by one, but the room came together surprisingly well. I’m a sucker for gray walls paired with bright colors, so I liked her room from a real-life decorating perspective. It wasn’t the most creative as white rooms go, but I  want my own geometric rug mural, and Vern seemed to feel the same way. Vanilla Ice wasn’t into the 3-D sculpture, though:  “It just looks like you cut some 2x4s, to me,” he said.


The (Sorta) Bad

Kris: His concept – the before and after view of a home devastated by a forest fire – was interesting, but the execution wasn’t 100 percent there. Genevieve said that the “American dream” side of the box needed to be more perfect – the half-finished look didn’t cut it.  Personality-wise, Kris was a little nicer to his fellow man this week, though he’s driving me up the wall when he calls David “Mr. DB.” What is up with that, Mr. KS?

Kris Swift During Design Star's White Room Challenge

Mikel: I was impressed when Mikel said he practiced the for White Box Challenge. As a former Girl Scout, I’m all for being prepared. Unfortunately, all that practice didn’t translate into an especially creative space. His rope walls were cool, but without them, as Genevieve said, it was just a living room.

Mikel Welch During Design Star's White Room Challenge

The Ugly

Luca:  He seemed to miss the spirit of this challenge, still stuck on the judges’ criticism from last week that he “didn’t design enough.” His room was just too conventional and had some really odd details, like the weird accessories and faux wood floors. On a good note, I did love his custom light fixture.

Luca Paganico

Hilari: Am I alone in thinking Hilari’s room was the worst of the night? (Sorry, Hilari!) The judges didn’t love it, but they did like her chain-link trim on the sofa.  To me, it was a mish-mash: The too-bright turquoise walls, the weird plants and, ugh, the turtles just didn’t work. At all.

Hilari Younger in Design Star's White Room Challenge

Jordan:  I knew Jordan was in trouble the minute he said “Japanese garden” and he knew it soon after that, too, when David challenged him to do more than “turn a table into a table.”  Alas, he pretty much did turn a table into…a painted table. The bright red arch was nice, but it wasn’t enough to make the judges give the resident Aussie another chance and he was sent home. Jordan, I’ll miss your accent and funny quips! I’ll leave you with some of his words of wisdom:”Some people curl up into a ball. I paint.”

Jordan Cappella on Design Star's White Room Challenge

Update: Miera’s been added. Also, you can now get Meg and David’s reactions to this week’s action.

Now it’s your turn: Did the right person go home? Which white boxes were the best and worst? Tell me in the comments below.

Posted at 10:00 pm

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  1. Bex & Danielle ~ either could have been the winner, Bex for her silhouette art; Danielle for the wall art; Brittany ~ okay design reminded me of last week; Miera ~ okay design, rug art was a pop of color;
    Stanley ~ not a fan of contemporary but it was out of the box design; Chris ~ not a fan of weird contemporary design; Mikel ~ okay design, ropes and rug designs show individual style; Rachel ~ is it fair to give her "best" again? like fashion mural, didn't like chevron colors; Luca ~ okay overall, light fixture best creative element; Hilary ~ okay design, creative sofa design; Jordan ~ the red trellis was creative, no worse overall than some of the others, sorry to see him leave; why didn't we see more of the TV spots?

    cheryl johnson on June 5, 2012 at 6:41 pm
    • lets go to episode one with Vern saying a moose head on black wall is brilliant they need to get talent on this show and judges that can judge

      bill on June 6, 2012 at 6:26 am
    • Since when does glueing pennies on the wall (which made a mediocre look, that much worse) get you a top spot? Even the simple purple wall was poorly painted in comparison to all the others. When you look at the amount of creativity, ingenuity, and execution, Bex's room was near the bottom with hardly anything in it. Jordan simply painted some furniture and placed it in his box without any real rhyme or reason. Boring Luca's looked like my living room with no originality or creativity, just another family home. I watch for inspirational and bold design ideas, not to just see which designers can get by or repeat the same designs again and again.

      TopGun on June 6, 2012 at 11:15 am
  2. Mikel's was far better than Stanley's.

    TwoViewers on June 5, 2012 at 7:01 pm
    • In terms of an actual space to live in, I totally agree. But creativity-wise, I think Stanley's was more surprising.

      Liz_HGTV on June 6, 2012 at 6:44 am
      • Art Star or Design Star? I would rather see interior design. Go Mikel!

        TwoViewers on June 6, 2012 at 10:33 am
  3. Stanley should have gone home. His white box is still WHITE! Exposed cords and all…ugh.

    DecoratingHobbyist on June 5, 2012 at 7:10 pm
    • I agree Stanley should have gone home… regardless of his creativeness, it wasn't really a "useful room" and his camera challenge sucked, at least Jordan used color on his walls and items in his room

      Anglstampr on June 6, 2012 at 2:59 am
      • the only rule was to repurpose one item; the judges specifically said it didn't have to be a functional space. Thank goodness! Stanley is all about modern "art" and I'm not, so his room didn't do anything for me. So I tried to think of the judges perspective: specifically that it didn't have to be functional. Fine. But wtf???? The time saved in painting and designing should have made it easy to hide those cords. You don't even see THAT in a Griswold Christmas!

        Pet on June 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm
    • Oh come on — ever heard of contemporary? or art?

      skeptic on June 6, 2012 at 8:20 am
  4. I'm not sure I really "loved" any of the designs, Stanley's was creative and I give him that but….. he drives me nuts and I don't think I'd ever be excited enough to set my DVR to record his show. I like Bex's personality. I think Britany is going to surprise us and really shine in the next few episodes. My vote for next off…. Hilari

    Gabbergirl on June 5, 2012 at 7:38 pm
  5. I do not understand why Jordon went home? Luca and Stanley go to the next challenge? Sorry HGTV I will not be watching anymore.

    DesignLove on June 5, 2012 at 7:47 pm
    • Jordan said he loves to paint. Fine, but he should have done it in a more creative way. He painted his walls and floor a solid, unembellished gray, then painted some furniture and arranged it against the walls. What was his repurposed item? A painted table? The room didn't exactly look bad, but there just wasn't much creativity. It did not look like it was designed by a professional, let alone a design star ….

      P@P@ on June 6, 2012 at 4:33 am
    • Stanley's was by far the most creative — people hire decorators to do something THEY can't think of themselves. Jordan and others did room decor — not design.

      skeptic on June 6, 2012 at 8:21 am
    • I have to mostly agree with skeptic above. People look to designers to do things that they never would have thought of or never could do themselves. They want inspiration and something they haven't seen before or have seen and don't know how to make it work on their own. I hope the designers on the show can keep new and innovative looks coming, and show they are talented across the board, not just in one way.

      JstPnt on June 6, 2012 at 11:35 am
  6. Britany, Danielle and Rachel all used tape to produce painted graphics on their walls. And the judges loved it. But as Rachel said in her camera challenge, as she explained how to do it, "It doesn't take a lot of talent to do." It sure doesn't Rachel!

    Nothing to write home about on this season's WRC. Really mediocre efforts this year. Hilari's was the worst.

    erikcreature on June 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm
  7. I loved the pvc pipe in bexs room. I'v actually had the same design in my house 4 a divider between my living room and the stairs to go upstairs I've had it for about a year and a half now so I'm glad to see that my design are now something I can be proud of

    Aaron wike on June 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm
  8. of all of them, I only liked one…Danielle's. Everyone else's fell short. Stanley's was a waste of time. I can see a teenager doing as good a job as that…no intended slam against teenagers.

    Mike in denver on June 5, 2012 at 8:20 pm
  9. I may be biased toward sweethearts with charming personifies, but I just think Rachel and Bex had fabulous designs. It takes a lot these days to show us something we've never seen before on HGTV, and they managed to inspire me! Thanks HGTV for showcasing kind people with mad design skills and killer creativity!

    KellieD on June 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm
    • I liked Rachel's a lot. The dress picture seemed like an afterthought and out of place, but did incorporate the life theme as they were supposed to. Bex's looked more thrown together in my opinion, and seemed much less intricate than the others with no cohesiveness. There was also no incorporation of her life into the design, which is what I can only imagine makes coming up with a design that much harder for each of the challenges they're given and should have been pointed out in everyone who didn't. Saying that these two are the only kind people with charming "personifies" or personalities on the show seems a bit bias unless you know the entire cast personally, but that's just me.

      Jacob T. on June 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm
  10. Just send everyone home but Danielle and Rachel and pick the winner next week.

    design freak on June 5, 2012 at 9:08 pm

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