Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Design Star Recap #2

Designed to Sell

This is a show that is getting better and better. I can’t emphasize enough its similarity to Project Runway. In this episode, the nine designers are split into three teams of three and given $2000.00 dollars (each team) to revamp a room in a Long Island tutor style home. That is a generous budget compared to the show Designed to Sell. This home has been on the market for eight months and desperately needs an intervention in order to sell. The three rooms are Kitchen, Living Room and Master Bedroom. I don’t remember how it was decided which team would get what room. (It’s been two days!)

The designers each opened a paint can and the three designers with a star on their paint can lid are made the team captains. Donna, Joseph, and Tym get stars. The team captains chose their teams, playground style. The designers were chosen in this order: David, Vanessa, Teran, Teman, Alice, and Temple. Donna makes a production out of her pick by giving a speech telling Teran how much she enjoyed working with him on the last challenge. He thinks he has been picked—but, oops…she was just trying to say she liked him but wanted David. (I cannot hide it…I do not like Donna.) The edit immediately shows Donna making a snarky remark about Temple being difficult. I do not know what she is basing this on—Ramona was the horror story in the last episode, not Temple.

Team Kitchen consisted of Donna, David, and Temple. The kitchen is a horror show with weird yellow wallpaper covered with teacups. The floor is a very rustic and assertive rust tile. The counters are black granite and the cupboards are a dark cherry. There is an ornate breakfast set of wrought iron.

The team plan in the kitchen was to tone it down. They elected to paint the wallpaper (I hate that) and chose a color called latte. Temple suggested antique-ing the cupboards to lighten their shade. Temple threw out many many, many ideas that were ignored and disregarded by Donna. She and Temple clashed right away. I can’t speak to whether or not Temple’s ideas were good or bad but at least she had ideas. Donna seems to have no design philosophy except mediocrity. While Temple and David worked in the kitchen, Donna shopped. She made five separate trips back and forth to the store in one day, as Temple pointed out in their big argument. She and Temple fought about how little Donna did in the room. Donna was indignant. She shopped! She managed to cattily taunt Temple for her beauty queen background. Apparently Temple prances around acting like a beauty queen in Donna World. Frankly, that’s the pot calling the kettle copper, because they are both dressed to the nines and wear heels.

Team Master Bedroom consisted of Tym, Teran and Teman. As a twin, I was annoyed that Tym chose both Teran and Teman. He made some remark about wanting to see them working together or something, but they deserved to be picked because of some positive quality about themselves not because they are a side show of similarity.

The master bedroom has a horrible mural all over the walls and ugly carpet on the floor. The bed is set up in the middle of the room. The team plan was to redo the floor and walls and reset the room so that the furniture isn’t plopped into the middle of the room. Team Master Bedroom got very lucky, because the mural was overwhelmingly horrible and just painting over it made a huge difference. That said, the team had time management issues. Tym was gone most of the day—getting wood? It appeared that Teran and Teman had to do the bulk of the labor. They didn’t finish priming the room in the first day which put them behind. They pulled up carpet and made their own wooden floor which had to be polyurethaned in 15 minutes. (I have NO idea how to spell that word, thank goodness for spell check!) Other than the time problem, this team agreed on most things and got along well which was a nice change.

Team Living Room consisted of Joseph, Vanessa and Alice. Joseph picked Vanessa because he thought as the winner of the previous challenge she would be an asset. Unfortunately, Vanessa isn’t a team player and isn’t really capable of following another person’s lead. She also is a liar, but more about that later.

The plan for the living room was to make the space work better. The long narrow room had a blah sectional, which the team said was too big for the space and some other oddly placed seating areas but overall the space is awkward. None of the furniture matched. For reasons known only to them, the team wanted to make the challenge MORE challenging by using only half of their budget. Stooopid. They cut the sectional down (can a sectional be too big for a big room? I question that) and recovered it. There was some disagreement about the fabric. Vanessa insisted on a gold lame which she contrasted with burgundy brocade. When Alice didn’t agree with her choice of fabric, she hauled Joseph out to the store. He rolled over and agreed with Vanessa, who very smugly told the camera that she knew she was right about the fabric. There is a lengthy crisis for this team involving the painting of a table which was supposed to be left alone according to the contract with the homeowners. Everyone is upset. Vanessa cries in the bathroom. They got the paint off the table without any injury to the piece. At first, everyone took responsibility for the mistake but gradually, Vanessa began to try to distance herself from blame. It was smarmy.

In the judging—

Team Kitchen spent $1500.00 of their $2000.00 budget. Donna claimed that their design strategy was “simple, rustic”. They wanted to tone down the room. They painted and bought new breakfast furniture. They changed the accessories. Cynthia Rowley said that while they staged the room very nicely, they didn’t change the design very much. Vern Yip thought that the big problem was the floor didn’t change much. Even though the judges didn’t rave with joy, they didn’t bash the room either—still Temple and Donna elected to argue like three year olds in front of the judges. Their behavior was bizarre and I think they both effectively lost the HGTV job in that moment. Don’t forget—these people are trying to get a design show--if we don’t like them, in the end, we won’t watch them. I’m figuring the producers know this.

Team Master Bedroom spent an unknown amount of money. They probably flashed it on the screen but I didn’t notice it. The judges all agree they made a major improvement in the room. They win kudos for the floor that they put down. Vern Yip thought they could have done more with color…painting the fireplace wall a slightly darker shade. If that’s the worst they say, Team MB will take it.

Team Living Room spent $1057.00 of their $2000.00. The judges felt the room looked emptier than before and that they ruined the couch. The new upholstery was not a hit. They complimented the addition of drapes to the room. They focused on the “eating” area of the room. The team salvaged the wrought iron breakfast set that the kitchen team discarded and put it at one end of the living room. They decorated the wall with three plates. Those three plates came under a lot of fire from the judges. They are too small for the space and they made Vern want to play connect the dots. Vanessa, again, shot her mouth off. She interrupted the judges. She could not control herself AND she used bad grammar. “Him and I” was the notable way she began one sentence. When the story of the table that was painted but shouldn’t have been came out—Vanessa defended herself saying “I’ve been a designer seven years and I’ve never done that.” Okay—you’ve never done it BEFORE—but you did do it this time so what’s your point? When Vanessa was criticized for the plates, she immediately said, “The plates weren’t my idea!” in a loud whisper. Okay—what’s with the whisper? Is it because she was interrupting the judges again? Or did she think that the rest of her team wouldn’t hear her throw them under the bus if she whispered?

The Decision—

Team Master Bedroom won the challenge. Team Kitchen had been ‘good enough’. (Although they told Donna her work was mediocre and she had barely scraped through to another round.) It was clear that Team Living Room lost the challenge and one of them would go home. Alice made a tearful speech about how they succeeded in the challenge in two of the three areas—they stayed under budget and they got along. She commented on how Team Kitchen fought the whole time. She felt they all should go since they acted as a team. She did make a remark about Vanessa telling Joseph where to put the plates so that the judges would know that Vanessa was involved in the debacle of the plates. Cynthia Rowley appeared moved by her comments. Alice was told that her work on the team was solid (she was against the fabrics Vanessa chose, remember) and she left the room. It came down to Joseph of the big sideburns and Vanessa motor mouth. Joseph went home, I think, because as team captain he had greater responsibility. Also, Vanessa because of her previous win, had earned some credit with the judges which allowed her to survive this round.

After the judging, the designers gathered in the green room. When Vanessa returned, she approached Alice. Alice was cold to her and Vanessa wondered why, apparently. Alice told her that she was mad at her for her comment about the plates not being her idea. They had agreed before the judging that they would represent everything to the judges as joint/group decisions. Vanessa denied that she tried to squirm out of that deal with her comment about the plates. Temple and Donna began fighting again. There was annoying weeping, as Temple said, “I don’t want to be portrayed this way.” I was thinking—then girl—SHUT UP! They can’t show you saying things that you don’t say, after all.

Next week—individual challenges. I’m looking forward to this because the weaker designers have been able to skate on the ideas of the stronger designers with the team challenges.

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