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. Leslie's final design was The worst of the 3. Why did she win?
    The blackboard??? Who wants to look at that? Just text me if you want to do something.
    We could all learn a lot from Tom. I love his drawings, cannot believe how brilliant his final design was. Look how collaborative he was compared with irritating Leslie.
    HDTV needs Tom. Hillary is young but amazingly gifted and I like her. Leslie , Meg…poor choices.

    Katalina on August 26, 2012 at 11:11 pm
  2. Hilari's final design challange was the most impressive. Hilari's personality was the most engaging. A show with Hilari as the host would pull in a large audience. I have watched the shows from the 2 previous design star winners (Meg and Danielle) and neither have held my interest. Please consider a show featuring Hilari

    Design Star Fan on August 27, 2012 at 11:06 am
    • I never watched Meg or Danielle. I liked Antonio's personality in his series, but either it isn't on anymore or my schedule changed and I haven't seen it. The blond winner from a few seasons ago, whose name escapes me… had a good personality, but I hated her designs in almost all of her shows… Antonio, I expected not to like his series, but I loved it.

      Deb on August 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm
  3. I like knowing how the decision was made, but… Hilary and Sparkle Josh were both such good personalities that I want them both to have shows… I have never been so impressed as I was with their personalities and moral character. Tom… grew on me… He seems sweet, but I would get bored with his style over and over again. Leslie… tried to get better, but her personality still bugged me even in the last episode and that made her camera challenges seem less real to me. They all were good designers – so to me, it is about who is likeable enough to actually watch.

    Deb on August 27, 2012 at 1:56 pm
  4. It was Genevieve who seemed so down on Hilari (plus, Genevieve's arrogant style can be pretty abrasive). I found Hilari's color choices lovely and not at all overdone. When Vern has a criticism, it usually makes sense to me; ditto with David's criticisms — though honesty, Vern's critiques often seem more insightful. On the other hand, Genevieve's criticisms often seem arbitrary.

    The problem for the judges in the finale seemed to be, which one would win, Hilary, or Tom? Leslie's room was cluttered, her colors were uninspired, and her murphy bed didn't look as though it would be comfortable for more than one occupant. Either Tom's day bed for a single occupant, or Hilari's bed for two occupants, seemed better solutions. Less cutesy, but more livable. (Especially, when I thought about Antonio's murphy bed in one of his recent episodes — now THAT was a well-designed murphy bed!

    Vicki on August 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm
    • I personally preferred Tom's designs all the way through, but I think for choosing someone to appear as a TV personality (and possibly have their own show at some point, because although this was never part of the prize, I'm sure it's something that HGTV wanted to have as an option), they made the strongest choice. What they ended up going for was the person who was by far the strongest in the camera challenges — so much at ease, yet still able to deliver great content — remember that the winner must also be an entertainer of sorts. Leslie is a decent designer, with some good ideas, but more importantly, she's personable and wonderful on camera.

      It's the same reason why Genevieve is a star — her designs on Trading Spaces were wacky as heck, and I often found myself cringing at what she'd done, but she has an extremely bubbly personality, which is what works on TV.

      Vern's designs on TS were always amazing and chic and elegant, so I value his judgment far more than anyone else on the show. But keep in mind, it is still a "show". ;-)

      D.J. on August 28, 2012 at 12:03 am
  5. I would neeeeeever watch Antonio–he was awful as a design star hopeful. His horrible attitude turned me off. I guess he had a few viewers besides Gen and Candice.

    maria on August 28, 2012 at 7:06 am
    • I can't believe he is still on.

      Rickapolis on August 29, 2012 at 11:14 am
  6. Hilari should have won!!! I think it was rigged. I love Hilari, she is really a Star!!! She nailed her camera challenges and gave practical advice that people like me are looking for. What a bummer!!

    Denise on August 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm
  7. I totally agree! Hilari is a fresh face for HGTV. Her personality and design instincts should have won her this challenge.

    Polly Ames on August 29, 2012 at 9:07 am
  8. I want Tom's container. Please let us know the paint colors used.

    Jan on August 30, 2012 at 5:02 am
  9. Hilari was robbed! I finally had the chance to sit down and watch the entire season on my DVR….Hilari was vivacious and entertaining. Her design was on-point, and her camera tips were spot-on. I am so confused and disappointed.

    Leslie had a gimmick–the bed…okay…those pull out beds were pretty standard in my college dorm–nothing special. That chalkboard on the reverse side was also a staple in dorm decor…Frankly, her crate looked like a display for the IKEA catalog. Hilari's room and outdoor space was vibrant, airy, and relaxing…Hilari, you were robbed!

    Meri on September 2, 2012 at 7:26 am
  10. It'd' be great to have a list of the sources used to furnish the containers, as well as the paint colors used; thx!

    guest on September 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm

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