HGTV's Design Star: Jen Guerin Interview

HGTV's Design Star: Jen Guerin Interview

Week 3 and yet again, I’m interviewing someone who should not have gone home yet from HGTV’s Design Star. This is getting ridiculous.

I’ll just get right to it, I thought Lonni should’ve gone home last night. Do you feel robbed? I was shocked. I thought that since Tashica had ripped off another Design Star contestant, and admitted to it during the critique, that she would’ve been sent home. And Lonni didn’t execute. I executed my design, so I was shocked when Clive said my show was cancelled.

What inspired your color palette? I love turquoise and orange, that’s one of my favorite color combinations, but since I had all of the bright colors in the packaging, I thought I needed to combine the turquoise with a neutral so the colors in the packaging would pop. I wish I’d stuck to my original idea of doing turquoise and orange. I’m slapping myself over that one!

During the promos for this episode, we hear a voiceover of you saying, “you’ve got to be kidding me.” What were you reacting to? One of the best parts of my room didn’t end up in the final design. I’d designed this chandelier made out of Philippine rice paper but the second they called “time,” the hook came out of the drywall and it fell. That would have given my design the height it needed. When it fell, I said, “you’ve got to be kidding me!”

In your opinion, whose room was the most successful? The least? Dan’s room was the most successful. It was so amazing! Surprisingly, I thought Nathan’s was the least successful. Those white stripes he did with the milk on the black walls–that reminded me of Beetlejuice! I would not have been able to live in that room!

Any interesting stories about being on the Paramount lot? We saw Dr. Phil drive by us–he was right across from us. It was weird seeing celebrities in their white T-shirts after they’d gotten off work! And it was amazing being on that set, knowing that movies like The Godfather had been filmed there. (Jen doesn’t have cable and doesn’t watch TV, so when I asked her who else she saw, she could only say, “I don’t know…there was this woman, but I can’t think of her name.”)

Next week is supposedly a double elimination. Who do you think will be going home? I’m surprised Tashica didn’t go home before me, to be honest. I think she’ll have a hard time surviving much longer. It depends on who is on whose team, but it’s really hard to tell, there’s a lot of strong personalities. A lot of us are bull-headed and it you’re not strong enough, you’ll get run over. (Jany, I think this means you.)

Who slept in the bedroom you and Jason designed? Jason and I. We both always wanted to have bunk beds as kids so we both were really happy with that choice. We were going to sleep on the bottom together and Antonio was going to sleep on the top but he left at 3:00 in the morning. He said we were snoring like Bert and Ernie! No one wanted to sleep with us in that room. I slept on the top sometimes because of the view.

Since you are environmentally conscious, did it hurt you to see all of the original cabinetry eliminated during the kitchen challenge?
It did! It didn’t get recycled. In the grocery challenge, that’s what burnt my tail, because during elimination, they got on me for not spending more than $500 (the budget was $1,000). I don’t like to waste anything. I grew up not making waste–it’s important. Other people spent the thousand and used only $200 of it in their room, so there was $800 wasted. (Actually, Vern mentioned that unused food was donated to shelters. At least that’s something.)

I assume you would’ve painted the cabinets in the kitchen challenge? Sometimes painting cabinetry is kind of tricky because it’s a lot of work and you can’t always save cabinets from the 70s–you can’t get rid of the grain in it. I just would’ve recycled it. In fact, I twittered about how to recycle carpet, tile, cabinetry or donate it to Habitat for Humanity.

You mentioned during your exit interview that you were glad you went before Jason because “he wants it so bad and really deserves it.” Why does he deserve it more than you? I had such a hard time with “reality TV.” I had so much frustration with “this is not enough…now it’s too much.” It was brutal, the hours we put in and how we were pitted against each other, so I was having a hard time with that. I got very close to these people and then we’re thrown into an elimination and have to stand there and say, “no, Nathan, you didn’t do a good job,” and then I’d have to go home at night and sleep two bedrooms away from him. That was really difficult for me. Jason was okay with that. I’d rather work on my own than pick other people apart. (I, on the other hand, do both.)

Did you ever critique each other’s work in sort of a round table discussion–what worked, what didn’t work? A little. Jason and I always did, but the white room challenge is when the competitive edge came into play and everybody stopped talking about each other’s designs and just did it. We helped each other with some of it (apparently Lonni was not the only person to receive help from a co-competitor) and Jason and I helped each other with everything.

If you won the viewer’s choice for an Internet show on HGTV’s web site, what would your show be about and how would you differentiate your show from others on HGTV? I would be so excited to have my own online show! I would really push the eco part of designing and recycling stuff you’re not using anymore. How to reuse items in a completely different way. Also, really utilizing color that you could live in. I would love to teach people how to use environmentally-friendly plasters and things. (If you are so inclined, vote here. You can vote up to ten times a day, so apparently they encourage stuffing!)

What colors have you painted on the walls in your own house?
I had a really deep, purple-y red in my kitchen and on top of that, I layered a Mark Rothko kind of wall. That was really fun. I had turquoise in my guest room and orange in my bedroom but I had a great neutral that carried the color through the rest of the house and then there would be these great pops of color. That was really fun.

I read that you want to move to another count
ry to have kids. Why is that, and where do you want to go?
I grew up in a really tiny town in northern Michigan. Having my kids grow up among materialism–cell phones and credit cards for kids–I don’t want that. I want my kids to speak another language and have the same kind of upbringing that I had. Riding your bike and being out until 10 pm, chasing frogs in creeks and all that stuff. Anywhere that’s Spanish-speaking. Spain would be wonderful, Costa Rica. I think having that kind of home, for kids, would be really magical.

What are you working on now? I leave for Atlanta on Friday. I’ll be selecting all the exterior colors for a huge complex in Buckhead. I’m doing an install today with American Clay and making it look like concrete. I never have a single day that’s the same–I love my life!

Jen is also hosting the grand opening of her San Diego studio this Thursday from 5:30-8:30. You can find address information and check out her work here.

Next Monday, I’ll have a recap of Design Star, Season 4: Episode 4, followed by an exclusive interview (or interviews plural, whatever the case may be) with the next contestant(s) to be eliminated!

3 Comments

  1. frogponder August 3, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Interesting about the chandelier! I can sympathize about the process of reality shows – I would not make it!

  2. Claire August 4, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I agree – although I didn't love Jen's design (sorry Jen)…I think there were DEFINITELY others who needed to be sent home first. /: *sigh* – oh well. They REALLY do need to show more of the judging on this show.

    By the way, John and Sherry over at Young House Love (what was This Young House)…are pimping your blog out on Twitter. That's awesome. You really are a celeb, Robin.

  3. Room Fu August 5, 2009 at 3:47 am

    Aren't they the coolest? (YHL) Wish I'd been half so cool at their age.

Leave A Comment