The editors of Creative Influences are interrupting our regular programming to bring this special HGTV Star review, Episodes 1-3. HGTV Star, formerly known as Design Star, is in its eighth season! The wait for the new season of Design Star is always too long! I'd be jonesin' if it weren't for Project Runway, my other favorite. And what's up with their lousy programming? Too many real estate shows - but that the subject of another post.
This is going to be a short season, because there are only 10 designers, but they've really upped the bar. The challenges thus far have been fascinating. The editing is much improved over past seasons, there's not much drama between designers so far. And thank goodness for that. I watch design shows to see design. Not drama. There's enough drama going on with the almost impossible challenges they give them. I don't care for the meanness. That said, I am a little suspicious, however, wondering if one designer has been sabotaged a couple of times, but we'll get to that.
Not only is the editing improved, the judges seem a little nicer. That's cool. Makes me feel like they've read some of my comments on their blog. I like to feel like I'm participating. I love the addition of Sabrina Soto as a judge, she brings a much needed gentle warmth. Genevieve seems tired to me (as I stated last year). I'm not sure why she keeps doing it.
I'd like to speculate for a moment on the name change. It fits a little better. It used to feel a little odd to me that a stylist or a decorator could be a "Design" Star. Just didn't seem right. Seems like the designer is the more talented of the two. But that's just my impression. Also didn't seem right that some contestants were educated, and some were not. Didn't seem fair that some were expert carpenters, and that some were not. There are so many factors that go into winning a show of your own, the biggest being that you have a point of view the judges haven't seen and that is that you have a certain je ne sais quoi. David Bromstad has it. Antonio Ballatore has it. To a lesser degree, Emily Henderson has it. I adore Emily's quirky personality, just not her style so much. IMHO it seems a little overdone. I always want to edit her rooms, though she does fascinate me.
Also, design is fun and shouldn't be taken so seriously. My opinions are just that. Mine. Don't take them to heart. Design and art is all about fun and freedom. I admire these artists so much. I'd never have the courage to do what they are doing, and I am grateful they are doing it. I get attached to them. I understand their passion. And I cry when they are eliminated, even if it's not someone I'm rooting for.
Episode 1 was similar to the White Box Challenge, which has been my favorite challenge in past episodes. I prefer to see the designers work alone. I did an exhaustive review of the White Box Challenge, Seasons 1-6, if you are interested, click here. For Season 7's review, click here. (BTW - anybody know what happened to Danielle?)
The designers' first challenge was to create a vignette, rather than a whole room. Great, that's not so hard. The challenge was all about branding. What would you want your brand to say about you? Again, this is a fairly easy challenge. As an artist, you should know who you are.
One of my favorite moments was when Professor Brooks Atwood walks on to the set the first time. Look at this guy! He looks like a nerdy professor, I thought. I love me some nerdy professor types. Indeed, he IS a professor. I had to look him up on facebook. Yep, he's fascinating. I'm in love. I'd love to take one of his classes. He's all about letting go of the inhibitions that stand in your way. In addition, he's the principal designer behind POD (a New York design laboratory). I haven't spent enough time on the site yet, but it looks fresh and inviting of participation. Can't wait until I have more time to review it.
Anyway when the Professor walked in, I started rooting for him immediately, even before I'd even seen his work. Isn't it odd that I'm talking about the show like it's in present tense? He may have already won. Amazing how they keep a secret.
Okay, yuck. He went for the taxidermy. You know how I feel 'bout that. I'm hoping it's faux. I had to crack up, though, the poor beast actually looked little him.
Here's his room. What impressed me is the combo of masculine and feminine. The walls are pink, but they are painted with a treatment influenced by military camouflage. I dig those purple curtains and that hanging light. I'd edit the chicken on the table, but...I still wanted him to win. And he did. He made his brand a total sensory experience by leaving a smell-me-card with his cologne on it. Genevieve fell in love. I don't often agree with the judges, but I believe he deserved the win, hands down. Genevieve did say his pink walls were a juvenile, which pissed me off. I've said it many times, pink can be edgy. I've proven it many times on this blog, and Brooks has proven it here. His room (sans taxidermy) is the perfect mix of hard and soft. I loved that Sabrina disagreed.
He had the honor of having his wall art reproduced by One Kings' Lane. I'm a little concerned the show has become so commercial, but that's the topic of another post. Sorry, folks I couldn't find his art on their site. Their site is a huge disappointment to me, in that it is so unwieldy.
Other designers that interest me are:
Abby Vasek. She's adorable and quirky. The artists had to design their own patterns for this challenge. Abby used a Rorschach inkblot for her pattern. And, unbelievably, she rocked it.
The challenge was to show your brand, and she did just that. Is this a room that I'd like to spend time in? Probably not. It's too OTC for my taste. But it is fascinating, and her personality is all over the place. I adore Abby, but I'm not sure I'm ready to watch a show with another quirky blond. And what is it about Texas? A bubbly, pretty blond Texan woman appears to be part of the formula for this show. Or maybe Texas just has a lot of talented artists.
Jeribai Tascoe is the professor's biggest competition. He's good looking, charming, disarmingly gentle and kind and a helluva talent. He can build or make anything. And he's fearless. The judges weren't happy with his splatter painting, but Jeribai knew it had been a hasty after thought. But there is no denying his skill at creating graphic branding. His initials were all over the space, on the clock and on the wallpaper. One of the best uses of branding I've seen. Very sophisticated.
I was really disappointed that Tobin Green was the first to go home. His style is industrial, which is a fascinating genre. HGTV needs this style of show. Industrial is hot, hot, hot. But Tobin wasn't that day. He didn't show his brand and he knew it. He was unable to stand behind his work. Hated to see him go, but understood the judges' decision.
I was a little torn, because I also thought Cris Mercado could have been sent home. She did buy a fabulous chair, however. I wouldn't mind having that chair. Cris stated she was all about color, but she really didn't bring it.
For Episode 2, the designers had to decorate an empty loft. I was drooling. I was really excited for this challenge. I mean look at this fabulous space. How can you go wrong? They had to make sure their designs were cohesive, because the space is open.
What a great space.
Abby did the entry way. The rug is fab, but the space is not as welcoming as you'd think her space would be. That's because she made the cardinal mistake - Abby, honey, haven't you ever watched the show? HGTV wannabe-stars, never, ever become a laborer. You are not there to labor, you are there to design. Abby spent all of her time painting. Poor baby. And she trusted Boris to do her shopping. Another mistake, his eye is no where near as keen as hers. This space needed a really grand chandelier and table. I was worried she'd go home.
I love David Bromstad, but he pissed me off. He called this color scheme juvenile. That's right - Color Splash David, the king of juvenile color called this color scheme juvenile. Now, I could do a whole post demonstrating some of David's less successful uses of color, but I won't. I love him. He's very talented. But he's become a tad arrogant. Don't take my word for it. Watch the first Season of Design Star. To see his humility is refreshing. Every time I get pissed at his arrogance, I watch his much deserved win again. I loved David's show because I love color, and because David was so kind to his clients. But when the show moved to Miami it lost its charm for me. Don't take my word for it. Watch his show. All the episodes are on HGTV's site. I must say I am jealous of his painting skills. I wish I could paint like he does!
As you know I'm a lover of color. I think the color scheme of purple, hot pink, turquoise and black is fabulous! Also, I'd like to remind the judges of something architect John Gidding told Emily in Season 5. You need to be careful not to offend your audience. Someone in your audience may have done something you've just said was bad. Or in this case, juvenile. Since when are colors juvenile? This was the second reference to juvenile color, in only two episodes, and it's offensive. End tangent.
Here's the gorgeous kitchen in this loft. Talk about an easy challenge. The kitchen is perfect as it. No design work whatsoever, just shopping and styling. I was shocked that Jessie Miller totally blew this challenge. Jessie bragged that she is a loft queen. That's another thing Design Star wannabees - don't brag too much because you might eat crow. She even left those open shelves - which were begging for beautiful dishes - empty. Wow. When I saw that I knew she was packing her bags. The judges made the right decision. But, I felt bad because I love her personality.
The bedroom was designed by Anne Rue and Tiffany Brooks. I love the purple chairs, but that's about it here. Tiffany wanted dress dummies, which I think are fab. Anne nixed that. Anne is very bossy, I adore her hair, but would never watch her show. Tiffany did the head board. It's cool but I wouldn't want to sleep under that heavy ass thing. So sick of animal skin rugs. Wish PETA would get all over HGTV. Anne won the competition, and totally did not deserve it. They made a big deal out of the fact that she can make a bed. Yawn. The reason Anne won was her camera challenge.
These poor artists are falling apart at the camera challenge. Even my beloved Professor. It's a mystery to me. You'd think they'd practice before the season starts, or go to an acting coach. But hey, I don't want to fault them. There's no way I would be brave enough for this competition. Nor would I have the stamina. Their time crunches are ridiculous! Like I said, I'm grateful they do what they do.
Brooks and Jerebai worked on the den/office. They were robbed. Their room deserved the win. Much more rich and interesting than the bedroom.
Jeribai did this amazing corrugated metal wall. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a good picture of it. He deserved the win. He was a little shy on his camera challenge. But hey, I'd rather watch an amateur at the camera with good design, than a camera wiz with poor design. And Jeribai is so easy on the eyes no one will really care what his delivery is like. Judges, please go for the design talent.
Brooks did an amazing hanging light installation. Love it.
Brooks also painted a vintage record player hot pink. It looked hot pink on the episode, even though this picture doesn't look hot pink. Notice the pink player with the yellow chair. Pink and yellow, one of my favorite color schemes. I'm on the hunt for a vintage record player to paint pink.
And, oh yeah, Brooks, I need the t-shirt you were wearing in this episode. Here is one that is similar. From his facebook page, number 8 of 20 design tips.
Tyler and Cris did the underwhelming living room. Cris didn't like the VW hood on the wall, nor did she like Tyler's treatment of it. She thought it looked cheap, and she was correct. Cris is a bit shy, and doesn't speak up which will cost her dearly in the next episode. I love the hood, but would have preferred to see it a pristine silver, like the lamp. I love that the purple and turquoise are repeated, as well as the yellow.
Ya'll know I love me some funky lamps. Cris made this lamp from a vintage camera. It was enough to keep her in the competition. The judges loved it and had never seen anything like it.
Tyler made this coffee table out of a vintage cigarette machine. Interesting. It was enough to keep him in the competition.
This was another great challenge. One couple, unsure of their style. Four identical, small, open apartments. Designers are in teams of two. They interview the couple to ascertain their style and needs. The couple will choose the apartment they'd most like to move into, and the designers who completed the room will be the winners. Brooks and Tiffany are paired up, and I can tell by their questions they are going to nail it. They do. Wasn't easy because dude hates pastels. Chick loves Tuscan. Dude rides a motorcycle and loves black. Chick doesn't want too feminine.
They do indeed nail it. Perfect combo of masculine and feminine, with a little global flare. Fabulous graphic on the wall. These pictures do not do the room justice. I like Tiffany's style. She's a little reserved on her camera challenge, but I kinda like it. The judges keep encouraging the designers to bring their energy levels up. I'd rather see low key than manic. I could watch a show with a mellow, low key and rather humble designer. I think Tiffany may surprise us.
Anne and Jeribai also created a beautiful room. But, the lack of window treatments may have cost them the win. The plan was to do a wall of beautiful gray curtains. But the curtains went missing. I'm suspicious of this. Is someone sabotaging Anne? Lost bedding in Episode 1, and now lost curtains in Episode 3. It's shameful. I don't care for Anne's bossy personality, I wouldn't watch her show. But I can't deny she's talented, this room is gorgeous and I love the art she chose. She does not deserve this kind of sabotage. It's shameful, HGTV should be taking better care of their brave designers. The producers should have run out and got her a new set of curtains when hers were stolen. Genevieve was really taken with the skill and execution of Jeribai's stripes on the wall. He said that was a signature move for him. He has to remember not to become a one trick pony, nor a laborer.
This was a double elimination. Abby and Boris were paired up. Tyler and Cris were paired up. I hated both rooms. Any of these four could be eliminated, but I wasn't ready to see Abby leave. There's something very endearing about her. Cris is just too shy, again she didn't speak up and it cost her. Tyler and Cris were eliminated.
The show airs Sundays at 8:00 pm ET. Unfortunately, I can't watch it until Monday, when it is on their website. It's tricky not to see spoilers. As of this writing, I haven't seen Episode 4, which airs tonight. Please don't leave spoilers in my email or comments. Thanks. :)
Here's my prediction for the final three - Brooks, Tiffany and Jeribai. I'd watch any of these shows. My prediction for the win - Brooks. I'm a member of Team Brooks.
Can't wait to see Episode 4, unfortunately I won't be able to see it until late afternoon Monday. Thank goodness for modern technology. If interested in my other critiques of Design Star, click here.