This week’s episode of Design Star finds the designers going head-to-head in individual challenges making over kids’ bedrooms (in this case, “kids” are defined as seventeen and under), and this is also the first time we’re able to see them trying their hand at TV hosting.

My opinion is completely incongruous with the judges’.  Again.

My pick for the best room is Dan’s transformation for Helena, an 11-year old self-described environmentalist:

BEFORE: Helena's room


Where the judges hated Dan’s color palette, I thought it was spot-on for an 11-yr old girl and didn’t think it came across as gratuitously garish.  His room had the most cohesive design and the most finished designer look out of the bunch.  I loved the TV surround with a passion (too bad they didn’t shoot pics of that for me to share), and although I didn’t love the pink rectangle as a headboard so much, I thought the ironwork above that was pretty.  Vern’s comment that it was something that should be discarded really missed the whole environmental angle (and it’s not exactly a novel idea to use garden ironwork indoors, Vern).  Dan definitely came across like he was on poppers during the first part of his hosting bit (dating myself with that reference) but he normalled out once Helena came into the room and he was able to interact with her on-camera.  I will cut any nervous designer some slack on the presentation side of the challenge because I would probably have a hard time not vomiting myself.  With experience, anyone can become comfortable on camera…but it would be harder to make someone a good designer if they didn’t already have that ability.  So I give greater credence to the room and less to the hosting part.  But I’m not the one hiring TV designers.  Oops, after publishing this post, I noticed Dan left out window treatments.  Eleven year old girls need their privacy!  For shame!

Antonio’s room is my second favorite, created for 5-year old Connor:

BEFORE: Connor's room




Connor wants dinosaurs and firetrucks and a big pile o’ spaghetti in his room!  In which case, he couldn’t have been matched with a better designer, since that sort of surreal direction seems to be to Antonio’s liking.  I might’ve been more impressed with the final outcome, but when Antonio initially described his “little man cave” bed idea to his carpenter, I had the impression he wanted to build an enclosed bed area that looked like a cave–and I was DOWN with that.  Consequently, the resulting bed didn’t measure up to me.  And yeah, the dinosaur stickers were something anyone can do, but I guess if they’re readily available, it’s silly to try and reinvent them.  Maybe if he’d stuck the decals onto wood cutouts to make them 3D it would’ve been more interesting.  The adorable idea of having Connor’s image holding up the TV was supercute, but—gasp! Poor baby’s legs were cut off!! My mom txt’d me afterwards and said she was ready to see Antonio use something other than blue paint.  Valid point.

Antonio seems like a natural host, so he definitely has potential there.

My third pick is Torie’s room, designed for Carina, a budding artist who is eight:

BEFORE: Carina's room
BEFORE: Carina’s room


Torie seemed to be on track for a really stellar room—I knew that any little girl would be elated to see her name backlit with rope lights like that.  But the wheels fell off the bus as soon as the fabric panels went up on the wall—ech.  Also, no window treatments for an 8-yr old girl’s room?  Big no-no.  As for her hosting ability, Torie herself exclaimed, “I’m so country!” when she watched herself during elimination.  While we Texans tend to have some big, southern accents (and I’m no exception), that hasn’t stopped TV personalities like Paula Deen from making it big.  Plus, there’s a large population out there who finds our accents comforting and endearing.  Or so I tell myself when I hear playback of my own pronounced accent.

Lonni did a room for 17-year old baseball fan, Nico:

BEFORE: Nico's bedroom
BEFORE: Nico’s bedroom


The judges love Lonni’s room.  Despite the fact that it was incredibly boring and actually could have easily been a “before” picture when she was through.  I’ve never been so bored in my life, but the judges ate it up like it was crème brulee.  Not getting it.  Her supposedly “fab” wall treatment with the plain white home base shapes?  It just looked like a bazillion HGTV logos on the wall to me, but maybe that’s why the judges (read: producers) liked it so much.  If something had been done to the bases, maybe it would’ve been more interesting.  As it was, any mom on any block could have turned out the same room…not a big stretch for someone who’s a designer.  And that whole thing with the floor snafu?  I would’ve just created a wall-to-wall bed platform over the plywood area and you’d never have known the original hardwoods didn’t continue beneath it.  But that would’ve been innovative, and Lonni is tired.  At least that’s what I keep hearing.  Lonni did do well enough as a TV host but otherwise seems borderline angry and put out every other minute of taping.  In her defense, I would be angry all the time too if I had to go so long without seeing my kiddos, but if I couldn’t take it I would just throw my own self under the bus.  Hmmm…maybe that’s what she’s been trying to do with the white room challenge and this boring bedroom, but the judges just aren’t taking the bait!

Jason thinks he’s hit the Design Star jackpot when he discovers the room he’s doing is for 17-year old Paulina:

BEFORE: Paulina's room
BEFORE: Paulina’s room


Paulina wants a “pretty princess” room and Jason literally squeals like a girl over it.  Too funny.  Then he gets stuck with some comatose carpenter who apparently doesn’t do anything but lunch while Jason takes his first shopping trip.  Jason proceeds to promptly fire the dude, but the damage is already done.  After seeing some of Jason’s selections for the room, I can’t help but think Nathan Galui’s Fo-Coco mirror would fit right in.  Jason does find a cool mirror and chandelier for the space, but honestly, everything else is more b-roke and less baroque.  The placemat thing is awful.  The 3D window frame doesn’t make it into the final plan and neither do all the fuscia accents Jason was bragging about early on.  While the room does feel like a different space afterwards, it’s more a lateral move rather than an elevated “after.”  Genevieve makes a good point about a princess room requiring the feeling of luxury, which is exactly what I say in my own living room five seconds before Genevieve says it.  But now I know the designers have to do the bulk of their shopping at Sears…and let’s face it, honey. Luxury is not Sears’ strong suit.

As a host, I thought Jason was a hoot, but I do cringe a little when he paws her comforter in a suggestive way.  Since Paulina’s still underage, I’d pull back on that a bit. (So says the mother of a future 17-year old baby girl.) Jason’s reaction to watching himself as a host during elimination is priceless–“I’m so gay!”—as if, despite having a husband, he doesn’t know for sure until he sees himself in all his rainbow glory onscreen.

It’s not that I necessarily dispute the validity of sending Jason home this week, but I obviously would’ve chosen a different pair for the top two slots and would’ve put Lonni closer to the bottom.

Next up: my interview with this week’s eliminated designer, Jason Champion!