Design Star, Episode 5

After catching a true glimpse of a few of the designer's actual styles last week on episode 4, I actually had hope that from there on out we were going to be wowed and inspired. I just KNEW this episode(5) would be an individual challenge that would really separate the cream from the curdles and I would have so much to talk about today in this post. So, I'd like to just say, WTH?

In Nina's interview posted yesterday, she commented that this fire station challenge was by far the most fun and her favorite and I can actually see why from their perspectives that that would be true. It must have been a bit cathartic to don that gear and get to play fireman for a bit and just the idea of seeing the inside of an iconic NYC fire house would be a thrill. Add onto that that they got to design spaces for such well-deserving people who put their lives on the line everyday and it's plain to see why it was a favorite for them. 

But, what about us...the viewers?! Well, I should say, the viewers who actually tune in to the show to see the design see who deserves a show?! I say skip all the hubbub and give these designers the tools they need to show what they can do! I know I'm becoming a broken record...but it would be soooo much better if we were told what the restrictions and budget were for the challenge. "Ok, designers, in this challenge you have $10,000 to spend at these stores and will be provided with this amount of time to do it in." We're they only allowed to shop online? At only certain stores? Were they forbidden from purchasing accessories and artwork or did budget and or time simply not allow for it?! I just want to know! Help a sista out!

Anyhoo, let me break it down for you:

Group One included Emily, Michael, Casey and Alex. After taking a risk by painting the original green floors and having to wait til day 2 to polyurethane them, they each took on some pretty great ideas that would end up making perfect statements and winning them the challenge.

Our cute little Alex actually stepped up his game last night and not only created this stellar city scene with paint but also busted his butt to take over for an injured Michael to create the entertainment/desk area. Could he be any nicer? And how refreshing to finally start to understand what his design sensibility is! I would love to have seen them do a darker wall color from about 10' and above to create a more intimate and cozy feel to the space...almost like a night sky.

Casey was responsible for the red fireman silhouette and really, this pic doesn't do it justice. She hand sketched it and then painted it and I thought the placement was good. I don't know though...this is kinda what I'm talking about when I say I'm frustrated with all the artsy stuff. Love it and boy, did this space need that bold pop of red but is it enough? I mean to me, design is of course about making statements but it's also about spreading the beauty and comfort around the space and other than these pops of genius the rest of the space falls flat and feels forgotten.

Emily created the coffee table and I loved the bold "FDNY" on it and that the red edge tied in so well to the fireman silhouette. She went a step further and wrote stories of gratitude within the larger letter which I think is a  lovely tribute to these men and women. I agreed with the judges that I think a couple of large ottomans would have been more functional for the firemen to kick their feet up and relax a bit. Had time allowed it would have been incredible to have upholstered an ottoman the size of the table and hand stitched a large FDNY on it to kill two birds with one stone.

Poor Michael shot himself through the thumb with a nail gun while beginning to construct his desk/entertainment area and had to be rushed to the hospital. I just checked out his website today and whoa...he's good. I mean, really good. Shocking then that we have seen so little of this so far in any of the episodes. Damn group challenges!

OK. Group 2 was Nina, Tom, Courtland and Stacy...the losers of the challenge. They had two spaces to deal with it seemed and Tom got quite testy when Courtland didn't approve of his idea to knock down a wall between them. I was fairly shocked he would even attempt such a thing in that situation, but in the end that idea was kaboshed.

Tom decided to take the hideous drop ceiling down to show off the gorgeous original ornate ceiling. Originally it was white and he decided to paint it black to hide the imperfections. What a shame. I would have loved to have seen it in a metallic...a gold would have been great with all the brass details they were trying to inject and personally, I think the imperfections are part of the charm in a building like this. Like I mentioned before...he really did become snarky with Courtland and it kinda turned me off. I just don't like to see such a lack of respect and professionalism. I like to think he's not proud of that behavior either.

Courtland decided to create this entertainment wall out of wood that he cut to size and stained. Yes, paneling can still be cool in the right situation, but I'm in agreement that it was a baaaad move to do this here as the wood looks scorched...ya know...kinda like it does when you are in a burning home. Pretty sure they'd like to get away from that look when they're maxin and relaxin. Also...could we hang the dart board? And put the paint cans away and arrange the frames. Big miss for me, but I'm still a fan of his.

So, Stacy was the Queen of the Damned this episode. The judges complimented her on trying to personalize the space by incorporating the #5, signifying their station number, and a couple of other brassy elements meant to be reminiscent of the pole they slide down. The lamp and the chair rail were really all I saw done in the brass...see what I mean? Wouldn't it have been great to tie that into the ceiling? Were throw pillows forbidden? Did it say in the rules for this episode..."By no means, will you create a warm and inviting space."? Cuz, if so, they followed those rules to a "t".

OK...before we get to Nina, this is a great shot to show how bad this space was. You see the workout equipment on the right and these terrible, prison gray walls. The walls are what kills it for me. Such a cold and uninviting color in this setting. Hate it.

So, Nina did the Braille-inspired art piece on the wall and is the fireman's motto. It's made out of cork and was meant to be used for pictures of their families. Why aren't there any photos on it? Believe me, I'd love to know. Were they not allowed to use any...even make a copy of a generic one off the Internet and tack it up to indicate what it's meant for? I don't know, it's a good concept but against that wall color and having to explain it really made it a hard sell. Nina was also the one who selected the furniture and she got raked over the coals for not space planning better as the recliner wouldn't actually recline because the table was in the way. Why they didn't angle it severely toward the tv so that it functioned is something I guess we'll never know. Sadly, Nina was eliminated. After posting the interview with her yesterday and really having liked what she did in episode 4, I was hoping to see alot more of her. :(

Good luck in all you do in the future, Nina!


Kris said...

Again, I must agree with you on many points! I would love to know about budget, restrictions, etc! It’s so hard to really follow along when you’re not sure how much the designers can spend and how much time is allowed for their work! Very frustrating!!! Alex, Casey, and Emily—so cute and really pulled everything together after Michael was injured! Liked their space so much more than the other group! Tom definitely should have used metallic paint on that cool ceiling! Black paint? Really?? Couldn’t believe Courtland went with what was basically wood paneling, and didn’t feel that Stacy was very strong. And then there’s Nina. I understood what she was trying to do, but the implementation was just plain awful. Add the furniture arrangement to the cork board squares, and it wasn’t that big a surprise that the judges chose to eliminate her. Honestly though, I’m so tired of the group challenges! Nina (and other designers too) might have been better able to showcase their talents if they weren’t forced to continually be a part of a team challenge! What’s up, HGTV? And next week won’t be any different. Too bad. We will still keep watching, but I miss Clive and the old format for the show!

Jen of All Trades said...

Glad to know I'm not alone in my thoughts. I really, really want to only say positive things but I feel like HGTV is killing the show. Once again, fingers crossed for next week. I'm working on another interview with one of the designers...but I'll keep who it is a surprise for now! :D

Anonymous said...

The others are correct about the team challenges. There are just too many of them. We want to see more individual challenges, so that we may see the strengths of the designers. All this about picking a flower and then trying to tie them all in with everyone elses flowers to make a cohesive, great design! Bah!! And I felt really bad when the one guy on the girls team got the boot because he worked so hard on the room, only to be kicked off because he wasn't "passionate enough" about how his flower represented his design! Garbage! And, I think Vern Yip thinks he is the new Simon Cowell, he is getting mean! Bring back Clive, and stop trying to make the challenges so ridiculous!

Erica said...

Found your blog on the HGTV website today and I've been trying to catch up. :-) I always want someone to talk about DS with!

I am so disappointed in this season. Weeks 2-4 were all the same, just with a different inspiration. I'm glad to see that they tried to change things up a little bit this week, with different teams and letting the designers choose their own feature piece. But I would still like to see some individual or pair challenges! I would also like it to be more like last year, with more of the designers shown and less of the judging. I also echo what you said about including the restrictions and budget, like they did last year. Then maybe some of these challenges would actually make sense!

I'm so glad "cute little Alex" stepped up his game last night. It was great to see the team get together and work hard to cover for Michael. And I've been hoping that Alex would finally find his footing and wow us- and I LOVED the city silhouette. I expected it to be painted in a darker color, though, but I do like the grey. The fireman silhouette was also really cool. I would have had a hard time deciding between the city and the fireman as the best, because I thought both were great. I also really liked the table, but I can see where the judges are coming from about the ottomans. However, I think this space is really more of a classroom type space so a table might be better. The firefighters can place drinks or papers or whatever on the table. I love the way she wrote stories in the letters too. I love Emily!

As for team 2... whoa. At first glance, I thought it looked ok. But when the judges ripped it apart, I can see why they didn't like the room. The more I look at it, the worse it gets too. Sad, cause they could have done some really great things with it. Even Nina's bulletin board thing could have been really cool if executed correctly. Of course, she was so cocky about how she shouldn't have to explain herself, and obviously that backfired. Even hanging up a picture or two as you suggested would have really helped her get her point across. Personally, I don't like Nina at all, even after reading your interview with her, so I was glad to see her gone.

Thanks for your opinions on DS!

Jen of All Trades said...

Welcome, newcomers! Glad to have some people to discuss all this ridiculousness with. I agree with so many of your comments and frankly, I hadn't thought about the "classroom aspect" and how that makes Emily's table make even more sense than an ottoman. So, how many episodes are left? I wonder if they'll do a double elimination one night and if they'll do a reunion show. I have to guess there will be no reunion because obviously they are cutting way back on the budget. Actually, my husband just said to me earlier that they are probably doing so many group challenges because of that very reason...budget. I mean, if they do an individual challenge they have to give them all a budget of let's say $10,000 but if it's a group they can get away with only offering that up to share amongst them. Frankly, I think they should of course be mindful of their money...but geese, I'd love to have each designer only be give $500 one challenge to design a space. That's when the true creativity comes out and separates the men from the boys. Ok...I'm done for now. :) Hope you all will continue to follow the show with me and comment away. It's waaaay more fun that way!

emily Henderson from The Brass Petal said...

nice review. i talk a little bit about the restrictions on my blog.

but i'll go into further detail. i forget that they never really spell it out for the audience.

check back tomorrow.

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