Design Star – Top Designs

Design Star fans…..No, You have not missed anything…’s baaaack!

Design Starimage via

HGTV’s Design Star has been my guilty pleasure since season 1, and despite my complete dislike of the “reality” aspect of Design Star, I wait like everyone else to see what contestants will produce under the gun. But allot has changed since season 1 when Design Star was a new and lower budget production fresh out of the box. In many ways I liked season 1 best…


I have always loved the white room challenge!

The white room – a blank canvas awaiting individual vision

Not the awful version reinvention this spring past spring, providing contestants with access to designer decor in storage and a $10K budget. I was not even interested enough to watch the reveals…

Design Star White Room Challenge

The magic of Design Star’s white room challenge was always its singular ability to draw out which designer hopefuls were capable of spinning straw into gold – rather like Pixar’s Ratatouille, where the little rat lives up to a Parisian 5-star chef’s bold assertions that “anyone can cook”. David Bromstad proved this in season, becoming the longest enduring and most finely hone Design Star champion, who is both judge and mentor in this evening’s Design Star premier.

Who can for get David Bromstad’s genius in spinning gold, limited to a $500 budget for any materials that could be had from a pet store, creating a “rug” made of wood chips for hamster cages!

The concept of creating something from nothing is foundational to the creation of many things we take for granted, and putting an interior design spin on this time honored initiative provides design enthusiasts with what is nostalgia for those who have lived through the stress of final projects in art, design or architecture programs. I remember – always the most talented hopefuls – bringing coffee makers and pillows into the CAD studio and sleeping on the tables following serial all-nighters. The purpose of this exercise in sadistic work ethics was to prepare the students for the unrelenting demands of a professional work setting in the real world. But in the real HGTV television production incubator, hosts have better support systems than the TV formats reveal – it’s all about the drama – the piece I try so hard to ignore.

Candice Olson of Candice Tells All

If you can stuff industrial ear plugs in your ears, and chant a hear-no-evil mantra during the posturing, cat-fighting, some of the judges unnecessarily cruel condemnations, (this in combination her conflicting filming schedule for Candice Tells All may account for Candice Olson’s absence on this season’s Design Star panel of judges; she seemed uncomfortable in the cruelty zone) and ignore the formulaic coincidences and strange selections of guest judges – there is some really inspiring eye-candy on Design Star. The real excitement and creativity seldom failing to evidence itself in the white room challenge, where nothing but creativity and hutzpa will assist you in creating a golden egg design from materials found at the dollar store or local grocer…

Dan’s fruity white room, season 5?

No, in a real room milk poured down the walls does not constituent an enduring faux painting technique – but it served its purpose here, along with that fortune cookie light fixture!

Nathan’s white room, season 5?

Yes, Robb’s room could have lived without some of the Chachkahs, but talk about flag inspired design!

Robb’s green and blue room season 4 or 5

Look what Kim Myles did season 3 with paper plates, stickers, and confetti! Not astonishing that she won a show…

Kim Myles white room season 3

Design Star Competitors

So what can we expect from this year’s Design Star contestants? Well, just the sneak peek sent me running out for a cappuccino and those ear plugs, but there are some promising portfolios among the contestants – as usual, these contains designs that run the gamut from great to unremarkable, but here are a couple that I thought were pretty eye-catching:

Britany Simon’s Modern Living Room

Brittany fits the mold of several HGTV hosts, and I was taken with and annoyed by the resemblance to the Green basement makeover I have currently underway – sigh – as I am always first to point out, there is nothing new in design….

Danielle Colding’s Navy Computer Room

The camera will invariably make this room even darker, but Daniell’s office space is a striking ode to navy.

Bex Hale’s Blue Eclectic Bedroom

I like the juxtaposition of modern with aged patina’s in Bex’s room, but I have watched Design Star since season 1, and contestants with a penchant for a particular style tend to go home – Bex’s portfolio reveals a bias towards Deco Style….

But even when those who don’t win often get a show – we shall see – tonight at 8:00 EST!