Liz Gray

"In search of Eames-worthy style on a Craigslist budget. And pie."

Liz is a Senior Editor at She lives in a midcentury tri-level that’s stuck in the ‘70s…for now. When she’s not working on remodeling projects with her boyfriend and mystery breed puppy, Miles, you can find her buying impractical hats, scheming mad scientist-style in her overworked kitchen and drooling over Danish modern furniture.

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We all know that comedian and daytime TV host Ellen DeGeneres loves to dance, but did you know that she’s also a huge fan of custom furniture? That’s why she dreamed up the idea for the new HGTV competition show, Ellen’s Design Challenge, which premieres Monday, January 26 at 9 pm | 8c. I chatted with show producer Loren Ruch to get the inside scoop on this all-new series before we see it on TV.  Read on to find out about the show…including how they made furniture “sexy” and whether Ellen’s dance moves have a spot in the show.

Ellen's Design Challenge on HGTV

HGTV’s Courtney White and Loren Ruch With Ellen DeGeneres

I Heart HGTV: How did Ellen get involved with the show? Did she come to HGTV with the idea? 

Loren Ruch: Ellen is a HUGE lover of furniture, so when she pitched this concept to her we jumped at the opportunity. Not only is it something new and different for HGTV, it was also an amazing opportunity to work with the beloved and talented Ellen DeGeneres.

How did the team come up with the challenges? As a custom furniture enthusiast and funnywoman, what did Ellen bring to the challenge development?

Ellen assembled a production team that had as much enthusiasm for furniture as she did.  They came up with a variety of challenges that will give our viewers the widest variety of reveals you can imagine.  As crazy as it sounds, our goal with this series was to make furniture development ‘sexy’ — and boy oh boy did we live up to that!

What can viewers expect from this new series? How is it different from HGTV shows past?

It’s really different than any of our other competition shows because you get to really see the amount of time and energy that gets put into an individual project.  We’re used to seeing entire rooms get transformed, but the process of seeing a highly complex piece of furniture is just as interesting in its detail and design process!

Clue us in…does Ellen dance on the set?

I’m not going to give away all of our secrets!  But what I will say is that she kept us in stitches both in front of and behind the scenes!

Funniest moment on set?

This was a really fun show to be on set for because we had amazing contestants, talented carpenters, and of course Ellen! All I can say is that there was a ‘klutzy’ moment that made me do a spit take on set!  I’m not going to say more than that…

Most nerve-racking moment on set?

Any time you have tight deadlines and real stakes you’ll find some very tense moments — especially between the contestants and their carpenters!


Tune in on Monday, January 26 at 9 pm | 8c to see the show, then come back here for exclusive behind-the-scenes details after every episode.

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Can you believe that the new year is almost here? Start 2015 on a high note by spending day one with all your HGTV favorites. You bring the mimosas, we’ll bring a day full of premieres and a live Twitter party featuring Jonathan, Drew and lots more stars. Here are 6 reasons to spend the day with us this January 1.

The Property Brothers - HGTV All Premiere New Year - #HGTVNewYear

1: Live Coverage of the Rose Parade
The fun starts at 11 am/10c with the Rose Parade, live and commercial free, hosted by Jonathan and Drew Scott and Josh Temple.

2: Escape to Paradise
It’s a little cold and gray outside, right? HGTV has the cure — all-new episodes of your favorite getaway shows, from Beachfront Bargain Hunt to Half-Price Paradise to Caribbean Life. Check out the TV Schedule for a full rundown.

3: Have a (Twitter) Party With Your Favorite Stars
From Chip and Joanna Gaines to HGTV’s Cousins Anthony and John to Flip or Flop‘s Tarek and Christina, all your favorite hosts will be tweeting along with the day’s premieres. Join in the fun by following and using #HGTVNewYear on Twitter. See the full guest list here.

4: See Your Tweets on HGTV!
Remember that #HGTVNewYear hashtag? Use it while you watch and you could see your tweet on the air. We’ll be sharing favorites from HGTV fans all day long.

5: See Exclusive Photos on Instagram
Follow HGTV on Instagram to see exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from the Rose Parade, HGTV stars’ New Year’s Day traditions and more.

6: Step Inside HGTV Dream Home 2015
After a day full of dreamy premieres, it all culminates with the HGTV Dream Home 2015 tour. Tour every inch of the Cape Cod-style home on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts with host Matt Muenster, then visit to take a photo tour and enter for a chance to win it.

Get more information at Year. See you there!

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How would you like to cozy up on the couch between the Property Brothers? Now you can (kind of): Jonathan and Drew’s flagship show, plus more of your HGTV favorites, are now available to watch instantly on Netflix.

Watch Property Brothers on Netflix

Catch full seasons of Property Brothers, Buying and Selling, Cousins on Call, Flea Market Flip and The Brian Boitano Project, plus select episodes from Color Splash, Holmes Inspection, House Hunters, House Hunters International, Income Property, Love It or List It and Selling New York.

The only dilemma now: Which show to watch first? Hey, Jonathan — pass the popcorn!

See All HGTV Shows on Netflix >>

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Did you catch the season finale of Brother Vs. Brother last night? (If you missed it, you can watch the full episode here.) Before the show, our convergence director Abbi chatted with Jonathan and Drew about the season’s most dramatic moments and what really happened on the set. Plus: Jonathan brings out his adorable dogs and Drew sings some classic Britney Spears. See the entire Google Hangout right here!

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