Monday, July 18, 2011

Design Star from a Regular Blogger's Perspective

So, I must know...after last week's post on the Design Star Season Premiere on HGTV, did any of you watch?

In honor of the show's second episode airing tonight (set your DVRS: 9 pm/8c on HGTV!), I thought it would be fun to recap a few highlights from the premiere.

It is important to note that while I read a lot of blogs, many of them home decor related, and I am pretty good at spotting things I like, I am not an interior designer. Words like "scale", "cantilever", "budget", and "texture" are out of my range of expertise...which falls somewhere between colors in the lines and in love with Nate Berkus. 

At any rate, the show started with a bang in New York, New York. The contestants' first challenge was to pair up and make over the penthouse in which they will be staying. Partner and group challenges are always full of dra-ma! because you always end up with a looney or two who just can't seem to work well with others.

I did very much like Kellie and Karl, who teamed up to beautify the Bonus Room.



Karl's focal wall mural was much better than anything Nina created last season, and Kellie's little nook under the stairs was a nice use of space. My kids would probably love to live there. I think I would like that very much.

Meg is another designer I liked. Some might wonder if she comes across as a little cheesy, but I thought her idea for a show about "Design Crimes" sounds like something I would watch, or (at the very least) DVR with intentions to watch. She was perky without resembling a hyperactive poodle (something her fellow cast-mate, Leslie cannot claim), and although the room she worked on with Tyler was a bit plain, I liked the color combo with the purples. Maybe this is because I currently have purple toenails. Either way, I liked it:

Leslie and Cathy's room didn't stink, but their personalities kind of did. Leslie gave cheerleaders everywhere (including the one who writes this blog!) a bad name with her ENTHUSIASM! over everything. She seems nice enough, and made some good choices, but she needs to tone it down a little. Indoor voice, maybe? Cathy, who would like everyone to know that she won an Emmy for broadcasting, was bossy, and snobby, and very snippy. I don't think I could watch an hour of her all by her lonesome on the screen.

Here's their room:

It's not hideous at all. Just kind of a snooze. Reminded me of something I'd see at a corporate retreat center. That was my main beef with the first episode. The designs weren't terrible, but they weren't fantastic either. Sometimes I wonder if, to be really fantastic, you might just have to take some risks.

A few teams took risks, but not in a good way.

Kevin and Bret's tangerine bedroom would be perfect for a teen, but not a pair of grown men. The fact that they had to create a sign that screams "RELAX" is sort of the first hint that maybe the room is not working. I'll give them props for taking a risk with the color...just didn't pan out here:

Mark and Blanche took on a bit too much in their room, which led to an unfinished bed and weird (to quote Vern Yip) "grandma doilies" made from tea lights screwed into the wall. Again, props for taking risks and shooting high. They just missed the mark:

To be quite honest, what annoyed me more than any other thing during the whole episode was the new host, Tanika Ray. She is very beautiful and smiley, but 99% of her lines came across as if she were answering questions in the final round of the Miss America pageant. I kept waiting for her to say "world peace." I'd rather see more mentoring from David Bromstad or more input from the judges, who seem much more cheerful this season. I like cheerful.

So combined with the fact that this season's Bachelorette is a complete pyscho and whiney and immature and I don't care to watch it live, Design Star now has my full attention on Monday nights this season. I believe that tonight marks the introduction of the dreaded "White Box" challenge, so you're going to want to tune in if you haven't yet.

You can find all the info. on the designers, judges, and last week's episode here on the Design Star site.

What do you think? Any favorites yet? Anyone you want to see get the boot already?

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign by HGTV Design Star and Crafterminds. All opinions are my own. 


  1. I haven't watched yet. I have a regular meeting on Monday nights, so I wouldn't get to watch it live, but I should DVR it. I can see myself watching the show while I exercise. Or while I sit and eat a bowl of popcorn--one of the two!

    The judges must have been very gloomy last season; glad they're more cheerful now. But it sounds like the host lady needs to tone it down a bit. Who is she, by the way? Her name doesn't ring a bell with me.

  2. I'm so excited that Design Star is back! It's too early for me to tell which designer I like, but I can tell you that I think Cathy and Leslie both have to go (for reasons you mentioned). I'm excited for the white room challenge tonight!

  3. I liked Kellie the best for sure, and Cathy was my least favorite by far! I loved the bonus room and I actually liked the orange Relax room...though I think the color must have been worse in person than it looked on tv!

  4. Ha, yes! Karl's wall was SO much better than any "mural" Nina tried to do. She drove me crazy...and Cathy has definitely filled those shoes this season. Ugh! I liked Kellie a lot though! Can't wait for tonight! :)

  5. I pretty much agree with you about the personalities. But the only two rooms I that I thought looked "finished" and adult were the bonus room and the great room.
    I didn't think any of the bedrooms looked remotely professional. There were okay elements about each (well, except the orange room)but I just didn't feel that any of them came together well. I thought the bedrooms were all pretty cold and impersonal; they just didn't feel like a cozy, comfortable, relaxing place to go at the end of the day.

  6. Oh yeah, and bring back Clive! Or have David Bromstad host and instead of just "mentoring".

  7. Hey, Amanda! You know, I think reading blogs about DS is more fun than the actual show! Did you read Julia's (hooked on houses) take? We're all pretty much in agreement.

    But I have to really chime in with you on the ex-cheerleader thing. How old is she? Younger than me, yes, but still, Let It Go, girl. Let it go! The only time cheerleading comes up in my life is when I see someone from school.

    You're in L.A. area, right? So do you see it at 6 PST or 9 PST? I'd tweetchat but I don't know how to see it at 6.

  8. I think I disliked more of the designers than I liked. Nobody knocked my socks off. What was with the orange bedroom and all the unfinished elements in several rooms?
    Maybe tonight with the white room challenge someone will stand out. I wonder where they will get to shop? That's always fun.

  9. I can't believe I'm not watching this! I totally need to!

  10. I am usually allergic to reality TV, but this has me intrigued. What turns me off about most shows is the made-up drama and tension -- especially the contrived deadlines. Sounds like there's some of that here but maybe it's a little more substantive?

  11. I think Karl will win...I have to say I reallly liked the mural, especially the fact that anyone could easily recreate it.

    But I'm not as into it as I have been in the past, I'll watch, but no one sticks out as super amazing, and Tanika is annoying - I was totally waiting to hear "world peace, " too!

  12. My DVR will be set just in case my tv just happens to be occupied with the military channel or something like that.

    I loved Karl and Kellie's room and was glad that they won.

    The only designer who turned me off was Cathy who came across as a know-it-all. I predict she'll be booted off before too long.

  13. I totally agree with you about Karl and Kellies room. I also really liked their personalities. I am sure all of these designers have talent (or they wouldnt have made it on the show) but i ont think many of them know how to execute their plans, maybe they are used to contractors doing all of the work. What in the world was up with that bench seat in the great room?? it was horrible and the fabric she picked for it looked like something in an old folks home, not my style at all. I actually liked the orange room, I could see it working in a loft or dorm... he should have gone with his gut and painted the blue color instead, but at least it looked finished. If I were the jusdges I would have sent home all the people who attempted the upholstered headboards and failed. how many of us bloggers have successfully pulled them off, and we arent pros. no excuses! excited for tonight though... sorry for rambling

  14. How awesome is that suitcase?

  15. I love your take on the show! Especially coming from someone who isn't an interior designer because it gives a whole new perspective what you see in the room verses what a designer sees. I agree with you on the host, she does sound like a Miss American pageant announcer. Your writing once again makes me want to read more! Great job Amanda!

  16. I love this show and I have to say I'm right there with you...the host is unbearable to listen to. All the rises and falls in her tone of voice is making me crazy. She just needs to be more natural!! I LOVE Kellie. I think Mark has some good innovative ideas, too.
    Amen to Ashley being the worst Bachelorette contestant to date. I don't remember another contestant every whining this much!

  17. I haven't ever seen this but maybe I need to check it out. I love Food Network Star and they sound pretty similar except for one deals with food and the other interior design. ;)

  18. Pretty much agreed with your assessment, down to the personalities! I'm glad the nice team did well (bonus room).

    My 11yo son, by the way, is a big fan. He watched our DVR'd episode on his own while I was at work! Budding designer? (I actually think he just likes the competition aspect!)

  19. Hey girl! Catching up on some post-vacation blog reading AND I've been catching up on Design Star. I'm not blown away by anyone yet...kind of ho hum for me too. So far, I love Kellie because she's a mom and she seems so relatable...LOL at Miss America Tanika


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