Thursday, September 10, 2009

Design Star: Episode 8, Narrowing it Down

Well, we finally got back from our quick, but wonderful 4-day vacation that I so desperately needed after a long, exhausting, and laborious couple of weeks at my office. With renewed spirit, and a much more energized body, I plan on getting back at the blog full steam, while finishing up a few "lost" projects around Casa de la Vanderdogan starting, in the Master Bedroom. Stay tuned for more.

And for those of you who were interested in my thoughts of this past Sunday's Design Star Challenge, here they are:

My second favorite of all the spaces for a few reasons:
  1. Lonni did exactly what her clients wanted. She gave them a comfortable, eco-friendly, eclectic, transitional-traditional space that read expensive and designed. The biggest part of that look, the wallpaper, was a great find - one that she was incredibly lucky to have screen printed at the store, and have so expertly installed. Magnificent.
  2. The scale here, on a lot of the things that Lonni used is right on target. The chairs are great, as is the shade on the floor lamp. The space really came together nicely.
I suppose the thing that drew my eye more closely than the unfinished headboard installation, was the sort of non-designer display of the wall-unit to the right of the bed. It's messy, non-cohesive. The pillows feel displaced here. Like there were too many of the same shape. It needed bolsters, euro's, and the traditional 18x18.

Overall, when the room was complete and the proud Lonni took the screen to introduce the space, I felt confident that I'd be blogging about her next week.

Then there was Dan, my favorite. For a few reasons:
  1. The organic boat frame that he constructed/developed/tasked was superb. It made full space of the awkward 1/2 cathedral ceiling, and made an interesting and textural art piece that was sure to grow with the young boy that would soon be calling this home.
  2. The colors are fantastic, and did you take notice of the chairs he picked for the sitting area? The detail of the hollow arm is spectacular. It's this attention to detail that I've missed from Dan, but he came through this week with buckets of talent and inspiring bits.
And even though his custom art piece for the wall felt a little "David Bromstad" I still felt that it was the perfect solution for art in the space, and the way he installed it was incredible. An interesting and clever solution.
The overall look, nursery - but designed to transition nicely. I felt the beach theme, but it wasn't overboard, in fact, it was so subdued that you almost forgot about there being a "theme" at all. For that reason, and that reason alone, I knew he was a definite finalist.

Then came this space, an office for 3 which included a lounge space for K. Griffin and her team. Though I thought the space was nice, and there were elements that were really cool, I ranked it last and began to say goodbye to Antonio before elimination began. Why?
  1. There are no designer details here. No finishing touches, and nothing that really feels "designed" or inspirational about the whole set up except for the dry-erase US Map on the far wall. As the judges mentioned, the scale is so off, it feels awkward.
  2. The two television idea was good in the challenge with the family that wanted that set up, but here, it feels overkill. Three television monitors in one space, along with computers, telephones, fax machines, and well, let's face it - Kathy Griffin - how much distraction could you possibly throw into a room?

It was with this reveal that I began to calculate just how the judges would react, not realizing at all that I was so very wrong. Of course my mind begins to question whether or not they are pairing Dan and Antonio together so that Dan can win - clearly, they favor him, and when put next to Antonio (no offense) Dan's designs are much more main stream, and remarkably more inspirational. And isn't that what this show is all about? Looking for America's next Design Star? The next person to have their own show on HGTV to inspire and educate the public on how, what, when and where to make their home a stunning display of their own individual and unique taste?

I see that in Lonni, I see that in Dan, but I honestly don't see it in Antonio. It's not to say that I don't see Antonio on television, or that I'm diminishing his talent, after all - they cast him and not me. But I feel Antonio more on a DIY level - a Hammerheads or Rock Solid sort of show - he just doesn't (to me, in my humble and non-professional opinion) seem refined enough to host design television.

No matter, what's done is done - and you can bet that I'll be watching Sunday when Dan and Antonio take to their final design challenge. Who do you think will win?


  1. Hopefully Dan will win but I wonder. Perhaps Antonio being so different is why they like him...I think they are digging his personality more than his designs.

  2. Well now, I can't change my mind NOW ... it's Dan for me. Enjoy your weekend and we'll meet again next week with your blog post celebrating the winner.

  3. I'm hoping Dan will win. Antonio is too in your face for me. I really think they got rid of Lonni mostly because she did a focal wall treatment in every room and they felt she had nothing but that to offer and because she didn't finish. I disagree with the judges.

  4. Hi Artie, Who knows and who cares what they're looking for .....I maybe should not have an opinion since I have not seen but the last two episodes of Design Star to see how everyone has evolved..... honestly....none of them are as good as you are critiquing the show! Each room had definite fun design qualities: Lonni with the wall, Dan with the boat structures and Antonio the map but nothing "outstanding"! I'm bored quite frankly, Dan needs to address the gigglys, Antonio the odd presentation of himself. I will not watch a show from either. I want that "wow" factor and I'm just not getting it!?

  5. I feel that the last two winners were female and it is now time for a mail -- so the two finalists had to be Dan and Antonio!

    Nice to see you posting again.

    Hope your 4 days away were good!

  6. Thank you, thank you!!!
    I was shocked when Lonni was eliminated. While I too liked Antonio that room was so under done for the caliber needed to move on not to mention the where they are in the contest. If Lonni was eliminated because of the headboard & reuse of her focal wall treatment then its nuts.
    The Rate My Space show looks the same over & sahe has a real sense of design.

  7. I knew Lonni was a goner bc I realized she is competition for Candice and Genevieve. Too bad because I liked Loni the best.

    Actually my sister and I were wondering why they are even doing this show anymore. It's not like HGTV runs design shows anymore -- it's all real estate! When will they play the winner's show? 3 am?

  8. I was so disappointed that Lonni was sent home. I can't relate to Antonio at all. I was torn between Dan & Lonni, so you know who I'll be cheering on now! ☺ Diane

  9. They all look so gorgeous, calming, and inviting...:) I can't believed Loni got eliminated:(

  10. I really like the first space, and agree about the pillows. I don't see a problem with the built=in though, but then again, I'm a design idiot.
    I don't care for the nursery, mostly because of all that seating. Are they planning to have a drinks get-together in there?

    Justine :o )

  11. Hi, I've followed along with your weekly run-downs of Design Star and have really enjoyed your insight and commentary! It seems that this season just flew by much too quickly, doesn't it! I, too, was really surprised that Lonnie was eliminated. I didn't appreciate and connect with her or her style in the beginning of the show, but came to really like her.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm sad to see the season come to an end! ~Rhonda :)

  12. I've enjoyed your candid and objective comments each week. You are an outstanding writer and show that you think outside the box. I've seen comments that say Dan can't win because he's so much like David--agree that's a consideration the judges will weigh. Dan's white room project and the baby nursery were the best decorating results in this series. Maybe Lonni will get the "online" show voted on by viewers. Antonio is an inigma to me....Pam

  13. Hi there! Just found your post. I loved Design Star each episode :)
    I wonder if you remember the company/shop where Lonnie went to buy Organic Bedding in this episode?
    I want to learn more about it- the shop looked SO cute!!