Liz Gray

Contributor to HGTVersus

Jun 9

HGTV Star Premiere Recap: First Impressions + First to Go

It’s finally here! A brand-spanking-new season of HGTV Star. Tonight, we got the first look at the new crop of hopefuls vying to win their own show on HGTV.  It’s a good-looking group, right? (David’s not bad, either.)

Host David Bromstad With HGTV Star Designers

Each designer started the challenge with a blank vignette (think white box without the walls) and was asked to create a space that showed off their unique style. Simple, right? No awkward team dynamics, no crazy decorate-this-space-with-cake-decorating-supplies directive, no serious budget constraints — just designers showing off their best work. Well, almost. Let’s talk about the good, the, um, less good, and yes, the drama. (Warning: Spoilers beyond this point!)

First up: Native Texan, kids’ room expert and ball of energy Abby. She showed off the adult side of her design work tonight with a space she called “saturated bohemian.” Rorschach ink blots were the inspiration for this layered, colorful space.  Another focal point? The dripping crystal chandelier, which Vern loved.

Abby Vasek in her Finished Vignette
Floridian and mom of two Anne went with a bright, vibrant color scheme and a retro vibe for her bedroom vignette. (Maybe designed to match her pink hair?) As a midcentury design fan, Anne’s wallpaper was one of my favorites. A little drama went down with what I’ll call “bedding-gate.” Anne asked Boris to pick up her bedding, and, lo and behold, it never arrived. Anne was furious, saying, ““I left too many things up to chance. I have a good chance of going home this week.”

Anne Rue in Finished HGTV Star Vignette
Speaking of Boris, the native of Germany and longtime LA resident created a sophisticated vignette despite the bedding debacle. His goal was to create a room that represented “comfortable luxury” and he definitely succeeded. Genevive was impressed with his wallpaper designs, while Sabrina loved the mix of patterns in the space.

Boris Eckey's HGTV Star Vignette
Brooks’ aesthetic could be defined as “design, mad scientist-style:” The industrial design professor, product designer and trained architect admits he doesn’t have much experience styling and decorating interiors, but he treated this design as yet another experiment. He combined the feeling of a French bistro with a camouflage-inspired wallpaper motif and lots of other curiosities to create a space that was both interesting and put together. (Another mad scientist quality: His crazy mane.)

Brooks Atwood's HGTV Star Vignette
Cris, a native of the Dominican republic, set out to create a space that was bright and contemporary. She designed a graphic wallpaper, but had trouble filling the space with the right pieces: She struggled to find the right chaise and ran out of time before finding accessories that really spoke to her style. “I’m worried because I don’t have enough color in my space, and everyone knows how colorful I am,” she said.

Cris Mercado - HGTV Star Vignette
It’s no surprise that graphic designer and project manager Jerabai excelled in the wallpaper design and personal branding challenge. He created his wallpaper motif using a slickly-designed version of his initials, which was smart. “Branding is Jerabai’s job, and you can see that,” Genevieve said.  The judges weren’t as keen on his last-minute squiggle art piece, though.

Jeribai Tascoe HGTV Star Vignette
St. Louis native Jessie Miller defines her style as “urban regency,” and based wallpaper design on her favorite pattern, leopard. (Notice how her outfit matches the finished space?!) “I’m elegant, luxurious, but I also have a wild side,” she says.  The judges liked her bold space, but thought there was a little too much happening overall.

HGTV Star Contestant Jessie Miller's Episode 1 Vignette
Mom and design business owner Tiffany Brooks created an office space with an ikat-inspired wallpaper. She added in a hand-painted silhouette, a signature she includes in almost every client’s space.  The judges and David agreed that the space showed a definite level of taste.

Tiffany Brooks' Finished HGTV Star Vignette
Next up: Tobin, a Tampa-based designer and artist who strives to create comfortable industrial spaces. He spent much of the time on this week’s show building his vignette’s wooden backdrop, and chose furniture pieces that he thought were a little too modern. The finished result? Tobin thought it only represented about “90 percent of his vision.” Vern thought it looked cheap. “I don’t think it told the story he wanted to,” Sabrina said.

Tobin Green in Finished Space
Last, but certainly not least, we have Tylor, an interior designer from Grand Rapids, Mich., who defines his style (and this vignette) as “Midwest modern.” Tylor’s wallpaper featured a subtle tribal design, which paired perfectly with the geometrics and paisleys he peppered throughout the space.

Tylor Devereaux on HGTV Star
In the end, the judges loved Brooks’ creative take on the challenge, and they named him this week’s winner. Anne, Tobin and Cris were the bottom three designers, but ultimately Tobin’s unfinished space sent him home. (Did you love Brooks’ winning wallpaper? Buy a print of it now at

Brooks Atwood - HGTV Start Season 8

Now, it’s your turn! Who was your favorite designer this week? Whose work surprised you? Did the right designer go home? Shout out your opinion in the comments below.

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