Well, miracles do happen! Design Star episode 9 aired last night and not only did we finally get to see an individual challenge...but, drum roll, please....I LOVED IT!!!!!!
I really loved it! I am a huge fan of this glass-house style challenge and though I had my doubts going into it based on how excruciating the previous challenges have been, I was thrilled to see the remaining designer's personal styles finally emerge, but in one case...and maybe two...shine! Ok, so if you didn't get to see the show, the final three designers...Casey, Michael and Emily:
They were each provided with a smallish glass "house" that they were challenged to turn into a sunroom that not only represented their personal style, but more importantly, the style of show they would like to host.
Vern finally asks the designers what kinds of shows they each would like to have and low and behold...each of them is a fairly interesting idea and viable. It sure would have been nice to have this info, oh, say...5 or 6 challenges ago. So, anyhoo...the designers are sent off shopping as part of this two day challenge and then before you can blink they're back to their little houses and are off to the races.
I'm completely biased, by the way. I was rooting for Emily to the point that I thought I was jinxing her and just knew that she would be the only one who would hold my interest throughout the episode. I was glad to see I was wrong about that. They each did some really great things and at the end of the day, I didn't know who would win and who would go home.
Ok, so let's take a look!
Of course, we start with Emily. Oh, Emily...how I love you...not in a I-think-I-would-leave-my-husband-for-you kind of way. But, more in a why-can't-I-be-so-cute-and-quirky-and-so-darn-nice kind of way. Until this episode, I had only seen tiny little glimpses of her style and just kinda ran with that assuming she was fabulous. And, boy, she did not disappoint. As soon as she pulled out that blue vintage dress of hers as inspiration....oh, by the way, her show would basically be about taking someones personal style...how they dress...and use that to help them determine their decorating style...I knew we were in for a treat. She brilliantly decided to cover the back wall in a bold blue and white fabric that she simply used spray adhesive to adhere and gave us the great tip that while it won't last forever, it would certainly last a few years. Nodding my head and making a mental point of remembering that one, I thought..."You, go on with your bad self, Em!" Great job!
After that back wall was done and the floors went in...she just went for it. What an incredible and inspired mix of old and new...textures were varied and spot on...the palette was fairly neutral allowing that fabric wall to shine and she popped it with verdant green in the sofa and some well-placed plants. Loved the layers and the varied heights of her tables. Loved the use of those stump stools with that more formal brass/gold based coffee table.
Above you can see the fabulous green of the sofa. I literally just want to bite it it looks so fresh and lovely. Also, note the way she layered the rugs (similar to how she layers her outfits and accessories)...it makes the space feel so interesting and thoughtful and she said she used the cow hide to represent how much she loves and wears leather. That bookcase is so simply constructed out of plywood and cinder blocks that it just further proved to me that she has a plethora of ideas that viewers could easily and inexpensively incorporate into their own home. Doesn't the space feel warm and inviting? Don't you just want to curl up with a book on that sofa? Here are some other views:
Design is subjective. I know this. I share that tidbit of knowledge all the time when I hear someone say, "Oh, I HATE that room! How could ANYONE like that?!" To which, I feel it necessary to explain that there's no right or wrong in the world of design...only what we deem as beautiful or not. Having said that, I really have a hard time believing that anyone could not love this space. I know that's preposterous. I know many of you might not care for the mix of color, pattern and the stylized nature of it. But she nailed my style. She had me at "hello". The one thing I knew for sure...if she was eliminated for this room...the judges were out of their gourds. I would have sent them a straight jacket and a one-way ticket to the nearest looney bin. Period.
And then there was Michael. Michael who I have to admit, I don't care for all that much. At least I didn't. I am not a fan of mean. I don't like people who talk down to others, feel superior, are judgemental or unkind. And I saw him, at one point or another, exhibit all of these traits. I know they're stressed out. I know I don't get the pressure they're under and I also know that editing plays a part. But, I still saw it. And I was hoping he would fall on his perfectly dressed arse and be eliminated. There, I said it.
He ended up spending the majority of his time on a murphy bed and while I know they're great space savers and the idea works beautifully with his show idea, I couldn't help but wonder why he was spending such a large chunk of time on it. He used a tire rim as a small coffee table base...average idea...and worked in some vintage finds. The one part I thought was pretty great were his decals he used on the glass. One was a coat rack with an umbrella and I thought they were whimsical and a great, inexpensive way to add a bit of flair.
His use of the pop of yellow in the sofa brought the space to life and I feel like anyone just starting out would love the look of what he did. It's just not a show I would watch. I liked him more last night, but his previous behavior still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I'm sure he doesn't care what I think...and frankly, that bugs me too. He should care. Nice people care. Mean people suck.
Moving on to Casey. She doesn't interest me so much and frankly, I don't even remember what her show philosophy was. I remember thinking it was kinda similar to Emily's but watered down. I don't think I could have listened to her voice on a show...and that's saying something after listening to Emily's whittled down voice that she essentially had lost. She had a few great ideas, though. I loved her "tenting of the ceiling" and I really liked her poppy colored focal wall with the gold frames. Anyone and everyone could take a tip or two from those ideas.
However, at the end of the show and as eliminations began...I really was hoping that it would be Emily and Casey in the final two. I would have liked to have given her one more shot to go all out and I think she would have showed us another layer of her depth. But, it wasn't meant to be. Casey went home and we're left with Emily (Yay!) and Michael (Boo!) and I must say I am really excited to see the final show. If you didn't read it yet, you can find an interview I did with Emily a couple of posts down. And now I'm off to bedazzle my "Team Emily" t-shirt. Bet you think I'm kidding. ;)