I’ve been watching Design Star ever since David Bromstad made his debut in the first season. The show has had it’s ups and downs and can be maddening at times with it’s irrational challenges. I have this fascination with the idea that established design professionals voluntarily submit to this crazy environment to get their own tv show, which may or may not ever air or make it past the first season. I always find it interesting how people who are very successful in the real world make such poor decisions in this environment, but I have enormous respect for the amount of courage it must take to put yourself, your creativity, and your work out there for everyone to criticize.
Last season, I picked Emily as my favorite on the very first episode. I really loved her quirkiness and identified with her personal style. She seems like she would be really fun to have as a friend in real life, and I was very happy that she won. Emily is blogging about the show for HGTV, and I’m sure her perspective as a past contestant will be insightful and interesting.
The first episode of the latest season aired this past Monday, with Vern Yip, Candice Olson and Genevieve Gorder returning as the judges. This season David Bromstad is mentoring the contestants – a much welcome and needed addition. I’m hoping David can guide the contestants to make better time management decisions, which always seems to be a major downfall.
I was really happy to see that HGTV is being more reasonable this season by providing adequate time to complete the challenges, as well as a painter and handyman. My biggest pet peeve with previous seasons was that they would give a day to complete a challenge, and the designers would have to paint their own rooms. The point of these challenges should be to see how well they can come up with a cohesive design and pull it together – not whether they’re an expert (and really fast!) painter or carpenter. I would guess that very few interior designers paint or build furniture for their clients in real life. That being said, I couldn’t believe that some of the contestants in this first episode chose to paint their own rooms and construct large pieces of furniture. I always wonder if they’ve watched previous seasons of the show or if all common sense and reason flies out the window in the moment.
I felt the winning design, which was the bonus room, by Karl and Kellie, worked extremely well, though I thought the judges were a little over infatuated with the “mural.” The best features of that design were the crisp, fresh color palette and interesting furniture pieces. Plus, they were able to utilize an oddly shaped room very efficiently.
I thought that the great room was elegant and sophisticated, especially in comparison to previous seasons, but the color palette was muddy. It needed a pop of bright color to add interest. I, as well as the judges, hated the bench that Cathy designed. It was so poorly thought out with the individual pillows in the recessed seat. Why not do one or two long cushions? I find the focus of the judges’ comments just hilarious and baffling sometimes. In this room, they (Vern) gushed over the recycled tire coffee table that Leslie chose. I thought it was pretty great piece too, but picking out one piece of cool furniture does not a room make. I wish that the judges would offer more insight into why they felt certain designs worked better than others instead of focusing on such small details.
All in all, I think this is going to be a much more interesting season that the last two. Some of the designers seem to be very qualified and have good personalities. I think Kellie will remain a front runner, but I’m interested to see what Mark can do as well. If I could wish for two things for this season, it would be an absence of purple from this point forward and a focus on overall cohesiveness vs. grand statements.
Are you watching Design Star this season? Do you have an early prediction for the winner or a clear favorite?