The Garage Challenge

So…Christmas comes a little early for Design Star viewers! First, there’s a gratuitous ab shot of Dan as he gets out of bed, for all of you out there who think he’s hot. Then the judges send Tashica packing without even deliberating. Now that we’re nearly halfway into the season, isn’t it about time that the designers who are eliminated seem like logical choices?

As for the designs on this week’s episode: dull as dishwater. I’m admittedly cranky about it. After working crazy hours this weekend–part of which involved breaking my no-Ikea-on-the-weekend rule—is it too much to ask for something that wows me when I finally do get to put up my feet and turn on my teevee?

This week’s challenge—to transform two garages into extra living spaces—is something only you Californians seem to be able to take advantage of. Sure, rub our noses in your sweet little temperatures while we’re out here in Texas and elsewhere peeling our seared palms off our steering wheels every time we get in the car the last couple of months. Even when there aren’t record-setting heat waves across the country, how many garages could truly remain comfortable year-round living spaces without some type of climate control? Seems like a weird project for the show. Not to mention, if I’m “suffering from our poor economy,” I’m not spending $10K on some half-assed garage conversion limboland that won’t give me a return on my investment come resale time. A roll-up garage door is still a garage, no matter how you slice it…so unless you’re going to wall it in, add windows and HVAC, this is just ten large down the toilet.

Nonetheless, the designers split into two teams to tackle their garage redesigns. And by “split,” I mean they all tried to run opposite of Tashica when Clive yelled, “go!” so as not to end up on her team. Consequently, five people clustered together with a collective “not me! not me!” on their faces when Clive asked someone to jump ship onto Tashica’s team so there’d be numerical equality. Lonni got suckered into making the switch and spent the next three days cursing her dumb luck.

*I’ve been trying for the past 7 hours to upload photos but there’s some problem beyond my technical troubleshooting capacity, so I apologize for not having any visual aids! For photos of the rooms, check out the on HGTV’s site.Design Star blog

Caswell Garage: Torie, Antonio, Jason, Jany

They brought the homeowners out and Lady Caswell was caroonishly intense, like any minute we’d all realize she was actually a new Kristen Wiig character. When she mentioned an elliptical machine was at the top of her hubby’s wish list, didn’t you totally get that it was really for her and that she’s some kind of compulsive exerciser, like Holly Hunter’s sister in Home for the Holidays?

This team busts out a well-organized operation. The final outcome is not terribly interesting or innovative—to be honest, it looks like a poor man’s version of a Ballard Designs catalog shot–but it’s certainly completed at a steady pace. The Caswells were quick to point out that by “beach” they meant “not Mexican” and asked for a Hamptons Chic style for their space, which loosely translates to “make us look even more WASPy than we already are.” What they ended up with was a fugly paint palette (why are we so in love with 80s color palettes, Design Stars?) and fuglier wainscoting. Here’s the deal with the wainscoting. Chair rail height = country. Eye level height or more = coastal. Chair rail height wainscoting + 80s color palette + bookcases that were popular ten years ago, and you’ve triggered my gag reflex. Bright spots in the room:

I’m thinking.

Oh, there was that one thing on the wall over the desk that looked kind of interesting. Antonio’s floor turned out pretty cool—certainly a better solution than the other team’s floor. Whoopideedoo. Candice said it best: “This space is unbelievablly predictable. It looks like you’ve gone and transplanted a furniture vignette off of one of a hundred different furniture dept stores into this space.” Exactly what I was thinking.

Lang Garage: Nathan, Lonnie, Dan, Tashica

Team Lang is the creaky haunted house door to the well-oiled machine that is Team Caswell. Getting stuck with Tashica has put everyone off their game as they mentally wrestle with their ill fate. Lonni and Dan forget to bring money with them on their shopping trip (despite the TV cameras and the many retail sponsorships, they can’t exactly leave an IOU for lumber and merch) and Nathan didn’t think to pass the money over to them before they left, either—-creating the first debacle in Season 4 history that can’t be blamed on Tashica. The way Talko kept parroting what everyone else said during their initial brainstorming session though—that was a bit awkward to watch.

Fast forward to the final result and let’s all hope the Langs feed a lot small children, because between the dining platform’s height eliminating headroom and the overabundance of three eating zones (2 bars + bistro table), that’s all that’s going to happen on this half of the space.

Thought it was weird that they took the time to paint the back wall, then covered it with fabric and created yet another layer with the dangling mirrors…but yet the background of the mural wall was left unfinished and too much time was spent churning out that butt-ugly flower graphic. It would’ve saved time if they’d just used the mirrors on the back wall to reflect light and then hung the fabric on the right-hand wall instead of doing the lame flower mural (which, let’s face it, was just an ugly ripoff of Jennifer Bertrand’s Season 3 white room design). Looks like Nathan’s starting to lose his mojo. Or maybe that guitar strap he tied around his head was too tight on Day 1 and he never recovered.

On to the judges’ critique and things start heating up. Jany shocks us all by throwing Torie under the bus.



Never saw that coming, and by the look on Torie’s face, neither did she. While interviewing Tashica and trying to get her to focus, Vern leans over to Candice and pretends to whisper, then faux whispers to Genevieve and Clive as well, because the producers finally gave up their stranglehold on keeping drama in the forefront of this season and the judges finally got the greenlight to eliminate Tashica but were supposed to make it look like a spontaneous decision. At least that’s what it looked like from here.

And speaking of half-truths, wassup with Jany accusing Torie of lying about picking out a desk, of all things? First of all, who cares…was this the make-or-break element in the space? Doubtful. Secondly, I’m just not buying Torie as some kind of bold-faced liar. Reality Show Rule #1 is, anyone who says “they’re just threatened by my talent,” is usually the one with the least talent; and Reality Show Rule #2 is, anyone who says, “why are you lying?” is usually the one spinning the tale.

We’re left with Jany admitting that the judges were looking fo
r someone who thinks outside of the box and “I just don’t do crazy or wacko designs.” No duh. I don’t think that’s what they meant, Jany.

I’m guessing we’ll see Tashica again, when they bring eliminated designers back to help the final two with their last challenge. After all, how could the producers resist jacking around with the finalists by throwing Tashica into the mix?

I’ll be chatting with Tashica and Jany later today and tomorrow, so check back to get their sides to the story!