Monday, August 17, 2009

Design Star Challenge 5, My Thoughts

Is it just me? Am I that picky? Are my expectations really too high? Even with the rooms turning out the best of any group challenge rooms of the season, I was still left scratching my head wondering where were the designer touches, the ideas, implements, and combinations that leave you saying: "WOW, now that's a Design Star!"?

Nathan, Lonni, and Jason tackled the family room of a military family in military base housing. Vanilla to the core, this room was one that needed to provide tons of function as well as tons of style. In the end, the room turned out like this:

Not bad, right? Just, not great. Jason was in charge of the shopping, and he's a pretty good shopper, especially if you're into an eclectic mix (which I am). But being a pretty good shopper doesn't mean you're a pretty good designer. Likewise, Nathan, who had a great concept for the entertainment unit which was built to hide and compartmentalize the gaming systems and their components, didn't have the ability to complete the project in a reasonable period of time. Leaving the team ultimately out of time, with a plan that hadn't been completely executed. Lonni did a great job with her Chevron painting on the dining room wall, but, as beautiful as it was - and really spot on for the homeowners, it looked to be like too much work for the time that they were allotted. The fault in this room didn't lay in the hands of one person who mismanaged their time, but in the hands of the group - which seemed more interested in single contributions than the finished product.

What they left out:
  1. A desk, or a space for computer gaming - which was expressed as a need by the client. The reason: there wasn't enough TIME to put the desk together. Now, of course, Nathan got blamed for the desk - and rightfully so to some degree. He had volunteered to put it together, and he didn't make sufficient use of the time he had. BUT, knowing the degree of the challenge, and the time constraints, the shopper (Jason) could have opted for a desk that was not build-it-yourself.
  2. Curtain rods. Genevieve said it just when I did - "Buy a dowel from the hardware store" and then pan camera back to Jason who suddenly got it - just a little too late. Even the homeowner noticed that they didn't have any privacy (where the houses are less than 3' from each other) because the drapes were stationary.
  3. Personality. Drama. The IT factor.

Now, I like Jason, I like everyone who is in the competition at this point. Did I narrow down my choices of people to go home to include him? Yes. Did it also include Nathan? Yes. Did they send the right person home? I'm not sure.

After some on camera tussling, Torie, Dan, and Antonio finally seemed to be working as a unit to complete this space:

Which of course ended up getting many of the raving reviews of the night, and I agree with the judges. The space is interesting, colorful, textural, and it relates to something, and someone. The idea for the two televisions is genius - not only functional, but really cool! I love the clean lines of the sofa, the color, the size, the shape. It's great, and the collection of colors is really very well executed. There isn't much here: brown, green, and blue. All colors we see and feel in nature everyday - the perfect compliment to the homeowner, who wanted a "neutral" space.

What I didn't like:
  1. I wasn't so sure about the artwork hanging to either side of the smaller television. Not only was it not hung level, but it seemed to really sort of compete for attention with the other items in the space. I think without them, the space would have read more clean, and fit better into the other lines in the space. (i.e., that sofa, and the linear wall unit.)

What I loved:

  1. Well, obviously the colors, but also the way that even with some pushing from Antonio, they gave the client a neutral and inviting space without giving her tan or brown. So good for them.

What I would have done differently:

  1. Not much, actually. I thought it was the better of the two rooms, and with the exception of the two pieces of art on either side of the smaller television - I think that everything here really works well together.

Now, do I think that this room has the "IT" factor? No, not really. Many of my blogging friends have living rooms nicer than these, that they did with less money, and fewer hands helping. So, I hope I don't sound too harsh when I say, when will the design STARS emerge?


  1. Agree with everything and especially the artwork. The judges did pick the right two and then sent the correct one home. I also agree that nothing really exciting has been created on the show, other than the orange light with milk running down the walls. Last night, I decided Antonio is my likely choice for Design Star. I was cheering for his refusal to change colors. IMHO. I always enjoy reading your take......
    G in CT

  2. Artie, could not agree more, nothing like prior seasons. I am almost not interested in watching any more. I might reserve my Sunday nights for something better and catch it in reruns during the week!

  3. I believe it was time for Nathan to go I was rather disappointed in his abilities. I really can't say I'm overly excited abt any of them. My hsb and I used to love watching it, because of the time he can't so I watch it then on Mon he watches the end part since its rather boring to watch. As far as the rooms, I am a tan lover and I hate blue so if it would've been my room (my hsb retired from the AF and we lived in base housing) I would've been livid! I felt bad for Jason and Lonnie Thanks for your take on it!

  4. I love your comments on the show. You are right on.

  5. This group seems more time-challenged than others in past seasons. I'm with you--I think I could have done these two rooms at least as well. I do think it was time for Nathan to go home. I like the rest, but can't see Lonnie having her own show--she doesn't seem to have a personality that comes across on tv.

  6. I am getting really bored watching it this season, so I agree with you.

    I am so disappointed in Nathan. That dining room they did the first night had me expecting so much from him. He fizzled like a dollar store candle. In fact, my love for all of them has fizzled. Most of us in the blog world could do more with one half of the budgets that they have and we do it with a lot less help!

  7. I thought I saw a glimmer of hope there. Just a flash for a minute or two. You are right about so many bloggers that we know and love being able to outshine this group. I just saw your last post Artie, and you could do it with ease. No doubt about it.


  8. Like you, the judges, and your readers, I wait for a design star to emerge. My two favorites are Antonio and Dan. I feel that the project timeframes are a day short, and that the teams have more money to spend than is needed. Pam

  9. ...when will a Design Star emerge? When Antonio gets into high gear. He can execute well and he sticks to his convictions. He has a controversial, colorful personality, which is better than none in some cases. Having been a set designer, he can work under pressure to produce that designer WOW factor. Otherwise, he would have been in another field where the mundane is accepted. His holier than thou attitude is pretty common place in design fields where the built environment is the focus, but it may be his downfall here, where congeniality and merriment seem to prevail. Shiny, happy people make 'better' hosts.

  10. I am going to miss Nathan ..... and haven't missed any of the others who exited. Still rooting for Dan!

  11. I can say I did not watch a single episode this season. I have been tuning in to your blog Artie to see what you all think... I could not agree more....the room just doesn't say kinda reminds me of a furniture showroom...the ONLY thing that jumped out at me was the chevron painted wall.... (that, I like!)

  12. Cannot stand Antonio. Loved Lonni's comment, "arrogance and stupidity" he's definitely the arrogant one....would never want to watch his show....he just puts everyone else down.

  13. I agree with you... the art on either side of the smaller TV seemed out of sync, out of scale, and totally out of place. I would have preferred to see a nice shelf or 3 display boxes or something along those lines.

    Actually, I guess I wasn't too thrilled with the smaller TV either. What family needs to sit in one confined seating area, watching two different programs at the same time, on the same wall??? Hello... when I'm watching tv, I don't want to have a competing program interfering with mine. Size has nothing to do with it - the noise does!

    Other than that, I liked the room very much and preferred it the other.