There’s an aloof quality to Design Star Season 7 finalist Danielle Colding that makes her potential as a competitor difficult to nail down. Her Twitter feed is only days old and so far she’s only tweeted impersonal announcements about the show. Likewise with her Facebook page. Once upon a time, she had a design firm named Chandani Design, but that website’s been wiped out. I get the distinct impression that she erased as much of her pre-Design Star Internet presence as she could before the cast announcement, which makes me wonder, why?

This video from a year ago reveals a side to Danielle that is very down to earth. She comes across as someone who can be very sweet and normal in the video, but between the don’t-come-near-me body language of her HGTV cast photo above, and this cold pic of her below and all I can think is, don’t cross the tiger lady.


In terms of her life and her work, Danielle seems to gravitate toward opposite ends of the spectrum. Having an anthropology degree from Stanford says she has a strong intellectual side. Her previous life as a professional dancer and the two weeks she spent on a beach in Brazil contemplating the meaning of her life before pursuing a career in interior design (as she admits in the video) tell me she has a spiritual–and maybe borderline bohemian–quality to her as well.

This dichotomy definitely plays out in her portfolio. Much of her is true to her last name–very cold:











Then there are these little quirky zingers mixed in that reveal a fun side to her personality:

Heart this backsplash!

Heart this backsplash!


Not necessarily quirky, but definitely warmer.

Not necessarily quirky, but definitely warmer.

The pops of goldenrod in the throw and some accessories warm up this otherwise cold space.

The pops of goldenrod in the throw and some accessories warm up this otherwise cold space.


There are overtones of richness and elegance throughout the entirety of Danielle’s work, but there’s this loneliness to her portfolio that I can’t shake–as if the bulk of her clients are Bruce Wayne types who are rich in terms of financial means, but lacking the familial bonds that make life complete.

There’s so much polish to these rooms, I wonder if she can hang with the DIY aspect of the competition. I hope the challenges of tight timeframes and budgets force more of her fun side to come out and play.

HGTV’s seventh season of Design Star premieres May 29th.