Last night’s episode of Design Star featured a few good ideas and a whole lot of suckage.  Take this room for instance, which judge Vern Yip referred to as “the best room I’ve seen in all six years of Design Star.”




Best room in Design Star history? Seriously? If it is, HGTV ought to have canceled the show long ago.  I would call this room–designed by Meg Caswell, Karl Sponholtz, and Mark Diaz–a decent effort, at best.  It doesn’t even rate “best room of the season” so far. I would give that trophy to Karl Sponholtz and Kellie Clements for their winning room during the first challenge.

There are some good points to the room.  Karl’s chair rail detail is smart and resourceful.  He doesn’t have to be persnickety about straight lines and we have a nice abstraction of waves on a beach.  The coral couch is a bold statement that is pleasing in the space, and the faux greenery running up the wall beside the TV is interesting.  Other than that, the whole room feels hodgepodge and DIY. Hate the rug on top of rug and the dinky little clock over the fireplace in the media area. Hate the schlumpy bedmaking and the jumbo collection of Sears-inspired pillows on the white bed. Loathe the cabinet-next-to-dresser thing happening near the bay window. Neither piece relates to each other in any way, shape, or form.

Most of all, I despise Meg’s fabric selection for the headboard:


Looks like something you’d dig out of the clearance bin at Joann Fabrics.  Fug-ly. But since it has all of the colors in the room’s palette, Meg wins the effing challenge.

Which is shocking considering how Leslie Ezelle brilliantly repurposed the backsides of ugly rugs into this great-looking, modern art over the bed in the room she designed with Tyler Wisler:


Or Tyler’s fun cane chair redo:





After last week’s revelation that Vern is shilling bedding the color of organ meat, his aesthetic opinion hardly carries any value. Still, if you were a finalist from a previous season, what would you think of Vern’s remark?  NataLee Callahan said, “Best room of all 6 seasons? Really? I liked it, but…” Fellow Season 4 finalist Jason Champion concurred: “I screamed, ‘Asshole!'”

In case you are new to Design Star, let me break it down for you:

Top 5 Rooms that Beat the Pants Off Vern’s Pick

1. Matt Locke and Mikey Verdugo’s bedroom design from Season 3:

This bedroom features Matt’s ingenious bed design which allows private sleeping quarters for five people.  You can only see four beds?  The fifth one is in the loft/canopy!  Not only is this bed crazy cool, the whole room looks fresh, restful, finished, modern, and luxurious.  This has always been my benchmark for “best room on Design Star.”

2. Emily Henderson’s masculine living room design from Season 5’s final challenge:

Emily’s living room, inspired by fellow finalist Tom Vecchione, is a super chic take on masculine design. Like Tom, the room is refined, sophisticated and modern, with enough antique elements to keep the look personal.

3. David Bromstad’s Zen-Inspired Glass Box from Season 1:



Rather than creating a random room inside his glass box, David used the black frames of the architecture of the box as inspiration for his final design of the season. Using black and strong graphic details in the overall design effectively creates a harmonious space, making it appear as if David designed the glass box structure as well as the interior.

4. Todd Davis’ crazy white box design from Season 2:


Todd’s conceptual design is hands-down the most creative solution to the recurring white box challenge. HGTV totally ripped it off for their on-air promos for Season 6.

5. Nathan Galui and Dan Vickery’s Season 4 dining room design:

Despite the sauna-esque wall beyond the dining area, the paint treatment rocks and the whole room screams drama.  Love the mix of natural elements and stark modern details.

Back to last night’s episode, there were some things that were even worse than Meg’s headboard…


Cathy Hobbs and Kevin Grace’s bed-in-a-bag styling sucked enough, but then they threw in a few more random pillows for a look that says, “I have no idea if I’m going for casual or elegant, sophisticated or retro.” It’s ironic that Cathyrosa bitches about how Kevin will never be able to finish his headboards and then leaves her own stupid second chair rail incomplete.  I’m ready for her to go home, especially after seeing next week’s promos where she’s not getting along with her next design partner–a trend that makes her unwatchable. The wall color is atrocious. It’s so saccharine-sweet it makes the whole room look like a cartoon.  Cathyrosa’s lamp is ugly and Kevin’s floor is a wreck.  Whitewashing the wood is a nice idea, but Kevin executes it poorly.  If you’d like to recreate this look at home, sand first, paint second, then apply two to three coats of polyurethane and your whitewashed floor will be hard as nails.


No one seems to be able to accessorize with pillows very well on this show.  Bret Ritter’s headboard attempt falls apart and he ends up going home for putting white squares of plywood on the wall for a very unappealing, uncomfortable look.  Had he embellished the squares in some way, he might have saved himself, but in truth he shouldn’t have even been cast in the first place.  Kellie Clements throws some half-ass paintings together for wall art…she seems to be running out of steam, which bums me out.

Regardless of the outcome, all of the rooms look a helluva lot better than their “before” pictures.  Based on these shots, it’s a wonder the innkeepers ever registered a single guest:









The mind reels.

In honor of Paula Deen’s appearance as a guest judge during next week’s Sears kitchen catalog challenge, I’ll be making some of her recipes for dinner next Monday night:

Chicken stuffed with prosciutto and fontina.

Chicken stuffed with prosciutto and fontina.


Maple-glazed salmon with pineapple salsa.

Maple-glazed salmon with pineapple salsa.

Or maybe I’ll just pick this up and call it a day…