HGTV’s Design Star Season 6: Episode Gone Wrong

HGTV’s Design Star Season 6: Episode Gone Wrong

A former Design Star finalist called me today and asked, “So are you not blogging about Design Star because this episode was so boring, or has the heat finally gotten to you?  Or is it because it’s your daughter’s first week of school and you’ve just been too busy?”


All of the above is true, but boredom really trumps everything.  It’s especially hard to get motivated to write about something dull as dishwater, and Design Star continues to bore the holy hell out of me.  When I saw the promos for an HGTV’d-type challenge, I expected high drama.  I expected the designers to go for broke.  I expected something out of the box.  Something like…


HGTV'd living room, designed by David Bromstad.

David Bromstad's star-studded coffee table.

David Bromstad's star-studded coffee table.

HGTV'd great room, designed by John Gidding.

HGTV'd great room, designed by John Gidding.

Wine storage wall designed by John Gidding on HGTV'd.

John Gidding's uber cool wine storage wall, as seen on HGTV'd.

Kim Myles' stunningly sophisticated living room on HGTV'd.

Kim Myles' stunningly sophisticated living room on HGTV'd.

Kim Myles' glam office, designed for HGTV'd.

Kim Myles' glam office, designed for HGTV'd.

Not that there weren’t a few redeeming qualities featured in this episode.  Karl Sponholtz’ textured headboard was really pretty and I loved that it could swing masculine or feminine.  His room was definitely deserving of the win:



The wood slat room divider Mark Diaz created in the dining room was a nice textural element:


…but that was it for the wow factor in this sprawling home.

Instead of the lockers little Mason asked for, Kellie Clements put country crates on the wall in his bedroom:


Which wasn’t nearly as sad as the depressing elevated bed she gave the little boy:


Everything else in Mason’s room is as plain as it was when HGTV got there.  I’m so disappointed.  I don’t want to see Kellie go home, but this room isn’t doing much to keep her in the game.

As for Meg Caswell’s domain, talk about phoning it in.  There’s nothing remotely interesting or cohesive about this landing, which could easily pass for a “BEFORE” photo:



Her entry design (above) is derivative of the dining room she and Tyler Wisler created in the third episode:


…so, we’ve been there, done that.

As much as I liked Mark’s divider wall, the fact that he would just paint over this embossed colonial wallpaper border makes me shudder.  If the homeowners ever want to eliminate it (and you know they will), they’re going to have to chisel that crap off now that it’s locked down below two coats of paint.


How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?



Mark’s dining room design has gone from food service to forestry service.  Wood floors, wood table, wood bench, wood divider, wood paneling on the walls, not one but two stained wood cabinets.  What’s a girl gotta do to get some textiles in here to break up all this woodgrain?  And how many times is Mark going to use wood paneling as a crutch?

Mark Diaz' creates a faux wood backsplash during episode 5.

Mark Diaz' faux wood backsplash from episode 5.

Mark Diaz creates a wood paneled wall during episode 3.

Mark Diaz' wood paneled wall from episode 3.

Despite Mark’s talent as a designer and his appealing on-camera persona, I’m not exactly interested in watching 50 Ways to Incorporate Wood Paneling Into Your Decor.

And I don’t know what happened to Leslie Ezelle this week.  Girl is way too talented to be turning out this schlock:




Beyond the way that Kyan’s name is so haphazardly thrown on the wall, beyond the shower curtain stage setup,  the cluttered mass of detritus strewn about and the EKG graphic on the closet doors, I don’t want to watch 50 Ways to Incorporate Black & White Portraits Into Your Decor either.  If you see that element once in a room (for example, the bed), you might think it’s cute and creative.  See it twice (over the nightstands) and you’re like, uh, okay.  Throw that crap in a third time (over the stage) and my gawd, call the paramedics because my girl’s gone and OD’d on baby pictures.

At first glance, Kevin Grace’s  family room looks comfy-cozy, but look a little closer and the furniture arrangement’s wonky.  We have a collection of ottomans circling the fireplace–one of which is plopped atop the ubiquitous (for this season) postage stamp rug.  Surrounding this grand fireplace with tiny castoff furniture diminishes what should be a bold focal point in the room.


I would certainly not call this the worst room in the house, so I can only assume that Kevin’s verbal bulldozing of the homeowners during his camera challenge is what sent him packing even after Leslie was booted.  Although I appreciate Kevin’s apparent love of mid-century furniture and all things kitsche, I think he’s probably a better contender for on-air host than on-air designer.  I find his personality endearing and funny–he just needs a bit more practice and he could be the next Clive Pearse.  (Or another Clive Pearse–can’t we have both?)

I didn’t want to see Leslie go home either, but when I compare all of the badness in the house, her room does fall to the bottom.

If I were these homeowners, I would feel like I needed a makeover after my makeover–Karl’s master bedroom is the only room in the house that would stay as-is.  A short list of furnishings are worth keeping: Mark’s dining table and wood room divider; Kevin’s coffee table, striped chair, and shelving units in the family room; and Leslie’s oversized orange desk lamp. Other than that, I’d start over in Mason’s and Kyan’s bedrooms, toss Mark’s ugly living room sofas, perform a woodectomy in the dining room, liberate the living room from the ghastly ghost of wallpaper border and repaint nearly every wall in the house. I’d hit the reset button in Meg’s foyer and upstairs landing as well.

I can’t say I won’t watch next Monday night’s episode of Design Star, but c’mon HGTV.  If I wanted to watch designers churn out sucky room after sucky room, I’d tune in to Spice Up My Kitchen.

Raise the effing bar already.


  1. Shelly August 29, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Dead on,as usual, Robin. I thought the very worst part of it all was the lack of a bunk bed. The. Worst. That should be keeping Kellie up at night…

  2. Barbara August 31, 2011 at 7:37 am

    I would have chucked most of what I saw right out the window starting with Meg’s molding strips. I like gray (have a gray room in my house that I absolutely LOVE) but there was absolutely nothing in Meg’s room that was inviting to me. Hated Mark’s divider wall but could have tolerated it if it had been free-standing so it could be moved to allow for additional seating in the dining area if needed. He could have let the “sofa table” be the room divider and it could have been used as a buffet table for serving the food. If more room was needed, it could have been moved aside. If you’re never going to have more than six for dinner I guess it wouldn’t matter. If a Design Star van were to show up in my driveway this season, instead of the traditional “ding dong” I would key in Home Alone’s line of “I’m going to count to three…..” and we all know the rest of that story.

    And thinking ahead, they usually bring back all the contestants for the final challenge. Instead of forcing her onto either of the finalists, my suggestion would be for them to send her to team up with Nina from last year. Can’t you just see Nina totally loving Cathy’s global design concepts. O-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

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