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Design Star – Recap & Review – Episode 2: White Room Challenge

photo: hgtv
Design Star
Episode 2: White Room Challenge

Original Air Date: June 5, 2012

Patricia Morris Buckley — Sr. Staff Writer
pmb@thetwocentscorp.com

Do you think that HGTV’s new show The White Room Challenge takes away from the Design Star episode of the same name? No, I didn’t think so either.

This year’s white box challenge had a twist. The contestants would be working in LA’s Union Station, one of the busiest trains stations on the West Coast. Unlike being in a studio, they were being watched by passers-by the entire time. It didn’t turn out to be any real challenge though.

Each room came up with a sofa, two end tables, a lamp and three cabinets. They had one hour and $1,000 to shop at a home improvement store. They also had to transform one of their items and make that the center of their first video challenge. Oh yeah, they only had two days. Whew!

Here’s how they did:

BEX
She started with the idea of cutting PVC pipe into small circles and make that the front of her room, but she had huge problems with sawing the pipes and had to give up before she lost a hand. David encouraged her to look for a way to do the same thing only with a twist and she rose to the challenge by creating tall shelves on either side of the front with some of her circles stacked on the shelves — and it worked! At the last moment, she also created a medallion on the wall that she surrounded with pennies, which the judges liked.

JORDAN
At the last minute in the home improvement store he sees an Asian arch and decides to go Japanese garden. Unfortunately, his room feels more like a store display created by an uninspired garden center employee. His only real contribution was painting all the furniture and while judges did like his red arch, they noted the whole room had a “plastic feeling.”

HILARI
She seemed the most lost of the contestants to the point that she talked about giving up. She wanted to make her room like a jewelry box but fell way, way short. She lined her sofa cushions with gold chain and used the chain as a fringe on the bottom. I liked her giant turtle in the space, but the rest felt unfinished. The judges called it “bland” and said the execution was “not all the way there.”

MIKEL
I like his space more than the judges. His best element was creating rope dividers in front of his room. I also liked the earth colors, his stamped carpet using a doormat as the stamp and the striping of different colored raw woods on the wall and furniture. But the judges only thought it was OK.

STANLEY
He decided to use light on his walls instead of paint. His end result looked more like an art installation than a room, but that’s OK because the room didn’t have to be functional. He did one really cool thing: hanging the couch length ways from the ceiling and putting lighting behind it, so it’s like a wall hanging. The judges were super impressed with how out-of-the-box he went. However, he really bombed the video challenge, being too low-key and rarely looking at the camera.

RACHEL
She created several Moroccan patterns on the wall and the furniture that looked as though they shouldn’t go together, but strangely did. She also created a fun fashion mural on one of the sidewalls. She had a great video challenge, appearing very comfortable on camera. The judges liked everything about the room except for the two owl statues that mirrored each other.

DANIELLE
She painted a large, off-center X graphic on the wall inspired by a childhood photo of her mother and her. She also painted the couch with wide gold stripes and brought really nice elements together. Her only misstep was a cheap looking lamp that she admitted she shouldn’t have used. The rest looked upscale and polished. She also nailed her camera challenge with excellent eye contact and viewer connection. I also liked that she helped Britany at one point.

BRITANY
She creates a deep blue wall with white boxes that look like molding. She also creates a great ceiling light with chains. It’s a bit too traditional for this challenge, but the judges love the light fixture.

KRIS
What a mess he created – like a high school art project. He goes all art installation by making half a burnt landscape and the other half a restored home. His back wall is stripes that echo a sunrise or a fire. It might have worked, but his execution is sloppy. The judges like the dark side, but not the other restored side and ding him on his sloppiness.

LUCA
Luca doesn’t think in overall themes but in projects. He only does two things the judges like — about 20 light bulbs grouped together like grapes as a ceiling fixture and, when he realizes he had no artwork on this feature wall, he paints his signature. Surprisingly, the later looks really good. But even the judges agree the rest of the room is horrible.

MIERA
She tried to create a wall sculpture with blocks of wood that keep falling. She finally screwed them in, but it really doesn’t work and I’m surprised that the judges aren’t more concerned that the screws are still showing. But I like her warm gray walls and the rug she painted on and hung as art. It works, but isn’t all that special.

The judges are joined by guest judge Vanilla Ice, who has a show on DIY — shocker! They tell Bex, Mikel, Miera, Kris and Britany they did fine and are safe, which really means they are the middle of the pack.

The top designers are Stanley, Danielle and Rachel. I think Stanley would have won except for his video challenge. I wanted Danielle to win, just as I did last week, but the honors go to Rachel a second week in a row. I think right now it’s clear that Danielle and Rachel are the top designers at this point.

The Bottom Three were Jordan, Luca and Hilari. Even Jordan realizes that he played it too safe and isn’t surprised when his show is cancelled.

Do you think the right person went home? Did Rachel deserve to win? Which room did you like best? Give us your TwoCents…

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