HGTV’s Design Star Season 5 Episode 8: Dine with Dash

HGTV’s Design Star Season 5 Episode 8: Dine with Dash

From left: Courtland Bascon, Casey Noble, Emily Henderson, Michael Moeller.

From left: Courtland Bascon, Casey Noble, Emily Henderson, Michael Moeller.

Hello, four remaining designers, welcome to Design Star–it’s about time the season started!  Love this challenge.  Love how impossible and daunting it seems, to make anything that even remotely resembles modern or upscale out of rooms that scream Holy Tschotzke A-Go-Go.  Love that there are no personal attacks this week, and yet there is plenty of drama.  Love that it’s all about design and I love that that there are two of the designers’ repurposing projects I’m dying to rip off the first chance I get. This isn’t a perfect episode, but it is the closest thing to the good old days we’ve had all season.

THE CHALLENGE: Design a modern, upscale dining room by repurposing the furnishings and accessories found in two fictional old lady hoarders’ apartments.  This week the designers help HGTV cross-pimp its sister network by taking their inspiration from dishes created by Centrico chef and Food Network star Aaron Sanchez, and they have two days to complete their makeovers.

It all comes down to paint this week for both teams.  If anybody makes it through this challenge without spray-paint-induced carpal tunnel syndrome, it’s a minor miracle.  Here’s an example of what the designers have to work with:

BEFORE: The Blue Team's dining room.  The Red Team had a similarly-styled space to work with.

BEFORE: The Blue Team's dining room. The Red Team started with a similarly-styled space.

Yes, it was THIS bad.

Yes, it was THIS bad.

BLUE TEAM: Emily Henderson (inspired by huevos rancheros) and Michael Moeller (fruit salad)

The Blue Team kicks off their makeover by painting their ceiling Kelly green.  I’ve been painting a lot of ceilings myself lately, and just love the quirky drama this creates.  Emily starts gluing faux flowers to a rectangular drum shade and I start to heave, but I should just TRUST because then she whips out the white spray paint, neutralizes the whole thing, and like Bethenny Frankel, I’m coming from a place of yes.

Emily's faux flower pendant light.

Emily's faux flower pendant light.

Michael starts crack-a-lackin’ all of the ceramic angels in the room and again, I’m ready to be horrified.  I’m having a flashback to a consultation two years ago when I discovered a new client wanted me to incorporate her 200+ collection of Precious Moments figurines into her made-over family room, and I envy Michael his hammer.  He takes the bigger angel bits, glues them to a mirror frame and spray paints the whole thing black.  The effect is nothing I would personally spend $1,000 on, as Candice claims it’s worth, but it’s an excellent use of the material.

Michael's Go For Baroque angel mirror.

Michael's Go For Baroque angel mirror.

Emily also transforms a china cabinet with fabric and paint, and accessorizes it by creating sculptural elements made from spray-painted dishes.  The resulting dining space is still kind of rough, but it bears positively no resemblance whatsoever to its “before” version.  Bravo.

AFTER: The Blue Team's final dining room design.

AFTER: The Blue Team's final dining room design.

RED TEAM: Casey Noble (tamale) and Courtland Bascon (empanada)

Courtland creates another bright orange Venetian plaster wall, and follows that up by knocking off the Blue Team’s farmhouse table from last week’s episode.  Bone-crushing tired of all the repeats this season!  Then he turns around and in a stroke of genius, creates two wall-mounted sconces out of copper tubing and the inner workings of two lamps.  This is enough to do a mind-erase of all his déjà vu for me.

Courtland's copper wall sconce.

Courtland's copper wall sconce.

Casey’s main repurposing project—butchering a decent-looking rug and creating a mangled ottoman cushion out of it—is one big cringe.  Every time the camera catches it in the frame, I wince.

Casey's rug-topped ottoman and a china cabinet that started ugly and ended slightly less ugly.

Casey's rug-topped ottoman and a china cabinet that started ugly and ended slightly less ugly.

While the Red Team definitely improves its space, it feels more like a tweak than a transformation.

AFTER: The Red Team's finished dining room.

AFTER: The Red Team's finished dining room.

HOSTING PRESENTATIONS: First of all, hats off to anyone who can get up there and do this part of the competition without OD’ing on Immodium, but I have very strong opinions about these four videos.  First up, we have Casey’s and Candice gushes over the “bombshell” who will reel in a male viewership.  Of course Candice likes Casey’s goofball antics—they closely resemble the skits Candice works into her own show, Divine Design.  I have a love/hate relationship with those skits—I love that Candice doesn’t take herself too seriously, but those segments are often too cheeseball for my taste—so Casey’s over-the-top wink at the end just doesn’t do it for me and nothing else in the rest of her presentation seems energetic enough to sell me on her show.  Courtland is still trying to Yo! Yo! us a bit, but he’s believable as HGTV’s next Cute Carpenter and has an authority about him that works.  As for Michael, there’s a certain amount of people in the world who seem to get off on being punished, and maybe there’s enough of them out there to create an audience for a host with Michael’s abusive tone.  He seems to have such contempt for the viewer—I just don’t get why the judges would find this quality appealing.  Then there’s Emily.  Emily is the only reason I’m still interested in watching this season, to be totally honest.  She’s quirky but not weird.  She’s edgy enough to be interesting, but isn’t intimidatingly cool.  She’s vulnerable, yet strong and resourceful.  We know very little about Emily, yet we feel like we know her intimately.

Since the judges don’t declare a winning designer this week, they leave it to me to do so…and duh, I choose Emily.  Conversely, I would never send Courtland home this week—I would kick Casey to the curb and would award Courtland a second-place ribbon for his sconces.

COMING UP: Check back for my interview with castoff Courtland Bascon!

6 Comments

  1. Shelly August 9, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I totally agree that this was the best episode of the season to date! I also thought it was the funniest episode this season. When the designers were exiting the apartment to dash off to brunch & Michael stopped to button Straight Courtland’s top shirt button, I almost fell off my chair! I thought both guys were a bit giddy the whole show.

    Thank you for not loving the “ottoman” – I thought it was awful. They obviously didn’t have staple guns this time, thus the crazy glue guns everywhere. Agree about Casey’s hosting. I cringed a little at the wink.

    I thought both teams had pieces they could/should have used in their rooms. Blue had that little cart that could have been a cute bar & Red had that big coffee table. I thought they should have taken the top off, painted it somehow & hung it on the wall.

    Poor Courtland. This morning my kids watched the episode and when Courtland started on his wall, my NINE year old daughter, looked at me and said, “AGAIN??” If children are over it…

    Michael should have said the black mirror represented the blackberries in the salad – contrasting the brighter fruits!

    Love, love Emily! I thought she looked so happy in this challenge – maybe the small team, maybe the lack of drama, maybe the challenge itself, maybe all of it! I do find it rather ridiculous that Vern (I though the was Patchy McPockets in that jacket…) scolded both women for needing more practice, when the only way they actually got to film segments was to be in the bottom design-wise -very backwards!

    Thanks for another super recap!

  2. Jessica August 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Yes, I also think a super recap – Oh, courtland, that paint was the ruin of him! but the sconces were cool-looking – I agree that emily is the winner – she did great – casey did fine in her hosting but lacking personality and that wink was like, what? huh? anyways… Thanks for recapping –

  3. Hannah August 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    It irked me that the camera went directly to Emily’s hurt face when Candice proclaims Casey the blonde bombshell needed to draw in the male viewers. I still find Casey rather blah, and I can’t remember much of anything that she’s done this season. I feel like she’s being pushed to the top, and it’s surprising her too (hence her shocked look when Vern said he saw evidence of her work all over the room).

  4. Anne August 10, 2010 at 3:05 am

    I think the results this episode would have been so different if Courtland hadn’t plastered that wall. Michael would have gone home. My favorite project was Emily’s chandelier. Loved it! I actually liked Michael’s mirror. Hated everything in the other room except for those marvelous sconces. I’m pulling for Emily to win. By far my favorite. I think she’s much prettier than Casey too. So, take that, Candice! My only tiny complaint is that Em needs to smile more when on camera!

  5. Emily Henderson from The Brass Petal August 10, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    THank you thank you thank you. i’m also pulling for me. why not.

    And for the record, Casey is super beautiful, but i wasn’t really hurt necessarily, i just thought it was kinda awkward and i knew they would edit it as they did. I would’ve. which was funny.

    I wish i smiled more too. It’s just weird to talk about lamps while smiling. At the same there was sooooo much unused footage where we were laughing our asses off. I wish we saw more of that.
    Thanks Robin. super super super appreciated.

  6. Hannah August 10, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Emily! So good to hear your comments. I have to say, you’ve been my favorite since the very first episode, and you’ve also got a fan in my 7 year old daughter. We were talking about the show today with a friend and she piped up, “Mom, I REALLY want Emily to win. REALLY. REALLY!” We’re on team Emily!

Leave A Comment