Liz Gray

Contributor to HGTVersus

Aug 23

Ask the Producer: All Stars Finale

Each week, I chat with Design Star All Stars producer Loren Ruch about the best behind-the-scenes moments from the show.  Read on to go behind the scenes on the judges’ final decision. Plus, find out where you’ll see Leslie on HGTV!

Design Star Producer Loren Ruch With Contestants

How did you decide to use shipping containers for this week’s challenge?
Our executive producer mentioned to me that shipping containers were a hot new trend for second homes and even some primary residences around the country, so we thought “why not?!” We’ve already done glass houses, tiny houses and yurts, so it felt like a natural transition to try shipping containers!

From a guest on the blog: How did the judges’ come to the final decision for Design Star All Stars? Do they use a numerical rating system, a checklist, a compilation of before and after photos, what is the criteria they use to come up with the winning design(er)?
I wish it were that simple! It was a plain and simple long (and I mean looooong) and drawn out conversation comparing pros and cons, camera challenges and design challenges and the scope of work from the entire season. We also have a big notebook prepared for the panel featuring each designers photos of each challenge, and we show them the camera challenge from the current episode. This episode was not cut and dry at all, so it was a very heated conversation. Hilari had been such a dynamic and fun personality with great designs, Tom was such a class act with an upscale taste level, and Leslie was a bundle of energy with great designs to match — but ultimately I think that in the end, Leslie’s Murphy bed is what threw her over the top!

Can you give us any clues about which HGTV show or episode Leslie will appear on?

Sure! Leslie will be a judge on an upcoming episode of The White Room Challenge, and my hunch is that you’ll also see more of her on another HGTV show in the near future.

Design Star Producer Loren Ruch With Design Star Judges

Best on-set moment from the shipping containers episode? That location was ridiculous!
There were gophers EVERYWHERE and all of us kept falling into the gopher holes. I saw at least five crew members trip and fall – it was like an episode of Wipe Out behind the scenes. It had also rained the day before we shot so it was muddy, critter-filled and holey! Need I say more?!

Have a question for Loren? Ask him in the comments below.

Posted at 6:19 pm

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  1. Thanks, Loren, for clarifying how the judges came to their decision. Sounds like a lively conversation was had by all!!! What's next on HGTV's agenda?

    guest on August 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm
    • You are so welcome! Now, time to move on to next year!!! We're already starting to plan for the new season, believe it or not…let me know if you have any challenges you want us to attempt next year!

      loren on August 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm
      • I do have a few ideas (and questions!): Where will the new season be headquartered? An avenue such as an empty house for sale that needs to be staged, could feature the designs representative of various architectural styles from around the country, ie craftsman, Frank Lloyd Wright, mission, colonial, etc. OR, have each contestant decorate a room of the house they live in during the show that is representative of the region of the country they're from, right off the bat. Somewhere along the lines I'd like to see the designers re-do an old Victorian, updating it to today's standards but still keeping its architectural integrity, then selling/auctioning the house and giving the proceeds to say, Habitat for Humanity. It'd be fun, for the little house challenge, to have each contestant design the interiors of a log cabin. Or give them each a studio apt, $2K, and see what they could come up with at a big box store. You know, put them in the mindset of the client, the everyday consumer, and see how their design styles integrate with those of the clients, on their budget. And I've always loved the idea of having to design a whole room/condo around one color (drawn out of the paint can, yes! bring them back!!!). I think all of the 'teams' ought to be chosen the same way, so we can see how the designers interact with each other. Another idea is since people are downsizing today, show how to integrate some of their favorite pieces (perhaps inherited) in today's smaller spaces, like an antique armoire in a modern condo, for instance. I really like the white room challenge and it'd be fun to have two of them, one non-functional, the other functional. I'd definitely like to see practicality, form, function, color, design, and comfort that is budget-friendly and geared for everyday life incorporated into their design challenges. Can't wait!

        guest on August 24, 2012 at 7:24 am
        • Speaking as an atheist, god forbid that anyone on HGTV touches a Frank Lloyd Wright house! We seen these idiots trash many Craftsman style houses, painting finished wood, brick and stone.

          Let them stick to "restoring" mid-century "gems."

          erikcreature on August 24, 2012 at 7:34 am
      • I thought the all-stars show was a great idea. It was fun to have it to look forward to after the regular competition ended. And I remember all the featured all-stars so well from past seasons. There's one challenge from Season 7 that I'd like to see reworked on Season 8. Remember that funky "country" sink from the kitchen challenge? It really wasn't incorporated well into Rachel & Mikel's kitchen. That made me wonder what other competitors would have done to it — I wished the challenge had been built around that one sink rather than several different sinks. Perhaps you could find other, slightly offbeat, products — and see what different rooms could be built around that one thing.

        lori on August 24, 2012 at 4:32 pm
  2. HGTV did a great job with Design Star Allstars! The judges made the right choice with Leslie! I'd love to see her on her own show!

    kk66 on August 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm
    • So glad you enjoyed it! I did too…it was such a fun season!

      loren on August 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm
  3. Question for Tom! I love your wall colors you chose for your shipping container, what are they please!!!

    Patricia on August 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm
  4. I would have much rather watched a show hosted by the talented, bubbly Hillari! She really extended the space with continuity and style! She is so witty and relates to everyone! I do not see how Leslie won, since she has such a nervous energy, clearly her last design challenge was cramped and cluttered and she didn't work well with others. My daughter and I are very disappointed and believe you made the WRONG DECISION!

    deecee2012 on August 23, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      Jill H. Baudhaan on August 24, 2012 at 1:29 am
  5. I am still shocked by how Leslie won. I am very disappointed , specially after seeing the last challenge when the only good thing was a murphy bed. Tom's container was lovely and Hilary's was incredible. I strongly believe is time to change the judges and bring new faces into this show.

    Nydia Reyes on August 23, 2012 at 7:04 pm
    • Genevieve Gorder was the only one to dislike Hilari's space, the others loved it. I think she changed their minds. I agree that Design Star needs some new judges, but should keep David Bromstad (and maybe Vern Yip).

      Jill H. Baudhaan on August 24, 2012 at 1:31 am
      • I like David as host and mentor but Vern and Gen should go. I still can't believe that Leslie won because of that Murphy bed. If they look at the whole season then how do they choose Leslie? I think we need all new judges.

        Corvette Lady on August 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm
  6. I was wondering what happens to the finish containers? Are they available for purchase?

    ckk on August 23, 2012 at 7:14 pm
  7. Hilari should have won. She has the best on camera personality and is just a fun person to watch. I loved her indoor and outdoor spaces, beautiful and thoughtful. Tom's indoor space was also special. Leslie's indoor space was a mess. The outdoor space was just some chairs and an umbrella. This was as bad as when Meg won Design Star. I think it's time to get some new judges, they are getting stale. David however is fabulous.

    Kate on August 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm
  8. i'm so disappointed that hilari didn't win. she has been extremely consistent, clearly has range in her design ability, and she's fabulous on camera. further, not only was the inside of her space beautiful, she really put a lot of thought into her outdoor space. i don't think i have the heart to watch design star anymore.

    hilarishould've on August 23, 2012 at 10:20 pm
  9. um, leslie's positive critique has primarily that she'd be a great coffee table-chooser. i found both leslie and tom's designs to be beautiful but dull and done before (over and over). hilari is interesting because she brings in a new aesthetic. hgtv judge comments about tom's work after hilari's viewing were all about his level of taste. let's just take a step back here. what we're really favoring is an upper middle class, white aesthetic. is hilari's bling and bold aesthetic too much for hgtv? just what is the breakdown of hgtv's host demographic? i'd venture to guess primarily white. and i'd venture to guess that primarily all their work is oh so "tasteful." let's break down what that means, which aesthetics (and implied class/race categories) are favored and which don't make the cut.

    huh? on August 23, 2012 at 11:01 pm
    • I don't see that at all. Did Hilari describe her style as Hollywood Glam? I would compare her with Candace Olsen, a white Canadian. The designers seemed to be working with a substantial budget, so class definitely comes into play–but it applies equally to designers on the same show.

      JWB on August 23, 2012 at 11:31 pm
  10. I must agree with all previous comments, Hilari should have won, hands down 100%, and if the problem is the judges then get new ones, but if its because of the white aesthetic factor then shame on you HGTV. Why can't you be fair? Leslie had no personality on her final camera challenge, the content was incomplete, she didn't even smile and we saw her back more than anything else. The murphy bed was the strongest piece in the container and the outside area was a total flop. Hilari reach far and beyond, her container was perfectly design and very functionable. The way she extended her creativity to the outside area was precedent. Hilari HGTV cheated you twice. HGTV's Design Star programs are becoming a little bogus and I don't care how the producers try to justify the judges decision, it is apparent that there is some deception to fool the audience on these types of programs.

    LadyL on August 24, 2012 at 12:04 am

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