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Are you watching Ellen’s Design Challenge? We’re going behind the scenes of the show’s second episode with carpenter Chip Wade to find out what you didn’t see on TV. Read on to see Chip’s surprising answers, and ask him all your EDC questions.

HGTV's Chip Wade

HGTV’s Chip Wade

The judges mentioned that the piece you and Tim created was very masculine. Did you guys talk through that challenge during the design process at all?

The judges did comment that are piece was masculine. Saying it was “too” masculine would not really make any sense, as our goal as designers/builders and competitors is not make ever piece gender neutral and safe. In fact, what you don’t see in the cut of the show is that very conversation. The piece did have a bend toward weight and warmer tones, but it was thematic for the piece we were making (a bar).  The judges had a comment in the show about knocking the glasses with you knees when you sit.  What did not get covered for everyone to see was our rebuttal, the glasses are stored on the service side where you stand, not the bar side where you will likely pull up a chair.  Tim and I were overwhelmingly on the same page for this piece, we both loved it and believed it showed innovation and craftsmanship, especially fro the 2 day build time. We were very confident about the form of our piece against all the other designs.

Chip + Tim's Checkerboard Tabletop in Progress - Ellen's Design Challenge

Chip + Tim’s Checkerboard Tabletop in Progress

Can you tell us anything more about the construction of Katie and Karl’s winning piece?

Katie and Karl’s piece was certainly iconic looking (and quite feminine looking) if that is a criteria, haha. I think Karl did an amazing job of putting this piece together with the materials he had to work with. Katie was adamant about using acrylic again in challenge 2. Acrylic is a very difficult material to machine very cleanly in compressed time frames.  Difficult machinability, coupled with being a large scale and an irregular geometry made this piece more of a “prototype” piece, like a concept car, than a full production piece.  They did get it to a point that was good enough to wow the judges and take home the win on challenge two. Well done!

Designs From HGTV's Ellen's Design Challenge - Katie's Wardrobe

Katie and Karl’s Winning Wardrobe

Leslie’s piece had one big design flaw — no rails on the changing table. Did others on the set try to warn her before judging?

There was definitely discussion about this matter prior to judging.  Having a piece that functions well for its purpose was the core of this challenge.  The designers are always having to weigh the balance between form and function.


Ellen's Design Challenge Judge Christiane Lemieux

Judge Christiane Lemieux Critiques Leslie’s Piece

There must have been a lot of waiting on elimination days! What were some of the favorite ways to pass the time among the carpenters and the contestants?

You have no idea! The judging time and other times when the designers and carpenters were separated on set often reached periods of multiple hours in a row.  The carpenters got to know each other very well. We told jokes and tried to be creative in order to pass the time, time we wished we could be working on the next challenge.

Ellen's Design Challenge on HGTV - The Carpenters

The Carpenters Wait for Judging

How many cameras were typically filming each scene? How many crew members were there on set?

It would really blow your mind to feel what is was like to experience all the cameras and crew that were present for 3 weeks. On a typical HGTV show, most shooting days are just 1 camera or possibly 2 camera days with occasional extra production horsepower at a reveal.  The Ellen’s Design Challenge set, we could go nowhere without being seen and heard by multiple cameras! If I had to guess, the most production crew and executives I saw on set must have easily reached 75 to 100 people beyond the contestants and carpenters.


Do you have a question for Chip about Ellen’s Design Challenge? Leave a comment below — and don’t forget to watch a new episode tonight at 9 pm | 8c.

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In case you’ve lost count, I’m proud to share that HGTV recently celebrated 20 years of being on the air.  And it’s no exaggeration to say this ‘home’ was literally built from the ground up, by a handful of people with an incredible vision.  One of those HGTV pioneers was Susan Packard.  Susan was the second person hired at HGTV, after founder Ken Lowe.  A co-founder of the network, Susan left an influential mark on HGTV’s history and a legacy of excellence in the cable programming industry.

Now Susan brings her wealth of knowledge and experience to a brand new publication, New Rules of the Game: 10 Strategies for Women in the Workplace.  A DIY guide of sorts, New Rules sets forth a series of principles that women in any business environment can apply to their own career paths.

Susan recently took a break from a promotional tour to chat with me about the book (plus I had the priviledge of getting a sneak peek before it hit stands). In New Rules of the Game, Susan compares the workplace to team sports:

“You get a sense that the workplace is much larger than just you and your boss. If you see it as men typically do-a big playing field- you see at times you’re collaborating and other times you’re competing. There are a lot of people that can impact your career, not just your boss.”

New Rules of the Game is rich with stories from Susan’s life and that of 10 other executives she’s interviewed, including Ken Lowe and another co-founder, Frank Gardner. The book provides tips to create better self-awareness and perception, form your fan club, rediscover passions, and build a game plan to succeed. Plus, Susan suggests simple ways to deal with the higher standards that women are often held to (yes, meditation can help you keep your game face on).

And if you’d like to know what it was like to work here in the early days, Susan has included some great inspirational stories from her many years spent helping grow HGTV into a top ten cable network.

But don’t take my word for it, add New Rules of the Game to your reading list now. Whether you’re trying to learn more about how to navigate work and life, or curious to see how one woman helped hit it out the ballpark with the launch of the first (and best) home lifestyle cable channel, you’ll want to get your hands on this book.

New Rules of the Game is on bookstands now, or you can purchase it here.  Susan can also be found at www.susanpackard.com.

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Are you a fan of Ellen’s Design Challenge? So is Scandal star Scott Foley. He talked about his favorite contestants and his own reclaimed wood projects this week on Ellen. Check it out:

YouTube Preview Image
A tool belt for dad and baby = one more reason we love Ellen. Hey Scott, why not try your new tools out on a reclaimed wood wall shelf?

Want to see more of Ellen’s Design Challenge? You’re in luck – you can check out this week’s episode on Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m.

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Are you watching Ellen’s Design Challenge? We’re going behind the scenes of the show’s premiere with carpenter Chip Wade to find out what you didn’t see on TV. Read on to see Chip’s surprising answers, and ask him all your EDC questions. And don’t forget to tune in tonight at 9 pm | 8c for a brand new episode.

Chip Wade on Ellen's Design Challenge

Carpenter Chip Wade on the Set of Ellen’s Design Challenge

How was shooting this show different from when you shoot your other HGTV show, Elbow Room

The biggest difference between this show and a normal HGTV show is that we shot 6 episodes straight with no breaks, no weekends, no down time. I was in LA for 21 straight days and worked from early until late, sometimes until after midnight to get the jobs done. It was the same rigor as Elbow Room in terms of effort, but just with no days off, which creates a tired group of craftsmen and crew.

Behind the Scenes of Ellen's Design Challenge

Monitors and Camera Dollies on the Set

How were the carpenters and contestants paired? Did you have any say in who you were partnered up with?

We found out who we were paired with as our names were called. The designers did not know, either. I am so glad I was paired with Tim…I think it was obvious that some of the other teams lacked the chemistry and teamwork feel that Tim and I shared.

Chip and Tim Work on Their Design
Yikes…it looked like there was some crazy tension between David and Leslie during the design process. Was it that tense in real life?

This tension was totally real, and I heard all of it from both sides (as they were in the workshop setup right behind me.) There was mainly just not good communication between them. This slight misunderstanding gets amplified with insane time frames mixed with the desire to make great things. When you are not on the same page as a team, its impossible to make magic.

Leslie and David Work on Ellen's Design Challenge 1

Leslie and David Work on Challenge 1

Mark’s design really didn’t show his personality, but based on what you saw in episode 1, do you think the right designer went home?

I personally think Mark had more to offer. I would have liked to have seen him back in episode two to create something more indicative of his style and portfolio, which actually is very nice and impressive. Mark is a smart guy and very dynamic. I would have made a different choice as a judge, but hey… maybe that will happen next season!

Mark from Ellen's Design Challenge Works in Workshop

Mark in the Ellen’s Design Challenge Workshop

Tell us about a fun behind-the-scenes moment we didn’t see on TV.

Well, we all had plenty to keep us busy for the 2 days we had to build challenge one. What I loved seeing is the support the carpenters extended to one another, helping give advice and lend a hand to make all the pieces of furniture come to life. While this is a competition, it is also a group effort to create amazing pieces with anyone willing to receive some assistance. What made this rigor of work tolerable was the cheerful attitudes and willingness of all the talented folks there to help setup and teach others along the way. This was a learning experience for all.

HGTV Stars Chip Wade, Jeff Devlin and Matt Muenster

Chip Takes a Break Alongwisde Carpenters Matt Muenster and Jeff Devlin

Tell us more about the (winning!) piece you and Tim collaborated on.

Desk Sketch from Ellen's Design Challenge Episode 1

Campaign Desk Sketch

This piece showcased an undeniable level of craftsmanship with the hand-cut, giant dovetails, which took me quite awhile by the way!

Tim and Chip's Design - Ellen's Design Challenge 1

Tim and Chip’s Campaign Desk

A great collaboration between Tim and myself was the addition of the removable briefcase crafted from a plexiglass bottom for the drawer (with show logo CNC-milled on reverse side to leave the inner surface smooth,) raised panel walnut faces on 3 sides, with a removable handmade steel pin to lock the briefcase in transit.

Desk Drawer Detail from Ellen's Design Challenge

CNC-Routed Drawer Desk Detail

Have a question for Chip? Ask him in the comments below. He may just answer you next week!

Tune in tonight at 9/8c for another week of amazing furniture design on Ellen’s Design Challenge. Tweet LIVE along with Ellen DeGeneres, Chip Wade + more HGTV stars with #EllenDesignonHGTV.

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We woke up to a dusting of snow here at HGTV headquarters, but it’s nothing compared to the snowfall in the Northeast. (Stay safe and warm, you guys!) HGTV stars in snowier parts of the country took full advantage of the winter weather.

HGTV designer Genevieve Gorder took a break from organizing her stunning knife collection to head outdoors with her daughter…in matching jackets, of course.

HGTV Host Genevieve Gorder in the 2015 Blizzard

HGTV Host Genevieve Gorder & Daughter Play in the Snow

John Colaneri is traveling for his new HGTV show (details soon!,) but posted this Instagram reel from his wife of their amazing modern house in the snow.

HGTV Host John Colaneri's Home In 2015 Blizzard

Kitchen Cousin John Colaneri’s Home in the Snow

HGTV.com host and Design Star fan favorite Dan Faires enjoyed the weather on foot with his adorable children in tow. Aren’t those hats the cutest?!

HGTV Host Dan Faires With Kids During 2015 Snowstorm

Dan Faires + His Adorable Children

Once you’re safely indoors, head over to Design Happens to get a rundown of fun snow day activities you can tackle in your PJs. (Take advantage of this, people.)

6 Ways to Spend a Snow Day

Is there snow in your neck of the woods? What’s your favorite snow day activity?

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Let’s pause for a minute for a dance party: Today marks another year around the sun for daytime TV darling and new HGTV star Ellen DeGeneres. Happy Birthday, Ellen!

Ellen DeGeneres on HGTV
So, how are we celebrating? We’re tuning in to tonight’s premiere of Ellen’s Design Challenge on HGTV at 9 pm | 8c. Use #EllenDesignonHGTV to tweet along with the show’s stars. Join us! Cake is optional (but highly recommended.)

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Television’s hottest husband and wife duo, Chip and Joanna Gaines, may not act or sing, but after the record breaking performance of their hit HGTV series Fixer Upper helped the network score its highest rated night overall since 2010, it’s clear that they know how to make home renovations sizzle. The series, which features a beautiful and successful couple who balance their renovation, restoration and remodeling business with parenting four young children, once again helped HGTV achieve its highest-rated Tuesday night in the network’s history. HGTV also ranked as the #2 cable network among A25-54 and W25-54 on Tuesday night and was the was the #1 cable network among upscale viewers W25-54.

“This level of performance for a relatively new series can only be described as spectacular,” said Allison Page, general manager, HGTV and DIY Network. “HGTV fans have a deep connection with Chip and Joanna because they are relatable, fun and have a distinctive and appealing perspective on space and style.”

Fixer Upper has attracted more than nine million viewers since its premiere on Tuesday, January 6, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

See why Chip and Joanna are attracting so many viewers – you can steal some of Joanna’s best design ideas and tour their amazing home transformations at HGTV.com/FixerUpper.

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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 HGTV.com to take a photo tour and enter for a chance to win it.

Get more information at HGTV.com/New Year. See you there!

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HGTV’s All-Premiere New Year is back! Join in the fun on January 1, 2015 starting at 11 am/10c with the Rose Parade, live and commercial free, hosted by Jonathan and Drew Scott and Josh Temple. Then, start the new year right with a day of dream programming – enjoy hunting for islands and beachfront bargains and finding the perfect Alaska home.

In addition to a day of all-new shows, HGTV will be celebrating on our social networks with #HGTVNewYear. HGTV stars will be hosting Twitter parties throughout the day and will be sharing their New Year’s Day festivities on HGTV’s Instagram account. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks and check out some of our favorite pictures from last year’s big day.

New Years Day 2014

New Years Day 2014

New Years Day 2014

New Years Day 2014

New Years Day 2014

New Years Day 2014

New Years Day 2014

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