Design Star, Season 6 predictions

Oh man.  This is gonna be a good season, i can feel it.  First of all these guys look pretty accomplished. Secondly, David Bromstad is in the hiznouse as our younger and more fabulous Tim Gunn.  Also we are promised more individual challenges and more time for challenges, which could all equal one great, competitive reality competition.  I can’t freaking wait to start it.  (Monday July 11th) Of course i’ll be reviewing it here and i’ll also be doing a weekly video blog for HGTV on their design star blog, so you’ll get a lot of me.  if you want.  

Here’s my deal when it comes to Design Star.  Nobody understands the constraints that these designers are under more than i do.  Time, shopping locations, even tools (for our white box challenge we didn’t have hammers or any form of glue…i never told you that).  So if they don’t execute something properly, i don’t care, in the real world you hire the proper expert and those mistakes aren’t made.  

I’m more concerned with 1. style (aka having a modern, fresh point of view).  2. taste (tacky and cheesy is tacky and cheesy whether you are on a reality show or not) and 3. A genuine, authentic and engaging personality.  This last one you can’t bottle and sell.  Or else Bethenny would have already….wait maybe that’s why she got 120 million for her ‘skinny girl marg’s. genius.

Here they are folks, the Design Star 6 contestants, no real order:

Mark first of all looks like my husband, Brian:

 So he has that going for him and is already a winner in my book.  But he also dresses well and YES, that means a lot to me.  Bad dressers have bad style. Good dressers have good style.  Cheesy dressers have cheesy style.  Boring dressers have boring style.  You can learn how to put a functional room together, you can’t learn style, so he’s already one of my favorites.  

Here’s his best shot:

He’s an industrial designer not an interior designer which excites me because maybe he has a new take on things.  


J.  It is a little ‘huh’ that her name is just J., but Orlando’s name is pronounced ‘Oar_lawn_doe’ (which is also his twitter handle, follow him on twitter, i dare you) and i used to think that was a little funny until i realized that its actually correct and much much much prettier sounding than the name of the city in Florida.  She has cute style, too and a relaxed ‘not trying too hard’ posture which makes me feel like we could be friends which is super invaluable as a host.    Here is my favorite from her portfolio.  It’s tasteful and pretty.  A lot of people would love that wood wall. 

And here is her style board.  The style boards are a new thing that some of the contestants did and i’ll tell you what, they are a good idea. I’m not sure what the constraints were for the style board (what program they used and how much they got to choose from), so some of them are decent and some are very ‘meh’.  

I think its pretty.  I love that bottom bench and I appreciate her incorporation of my cat, Bearcat, who is sitting on my lap right now determined to get an hour of saturday morning cuddle time, whilst i blog.  Oh, Bear.  



Good style.  He’s rocking the Michael fashion scarf, which is cute.  Here’s my favorite from his portfolio. 

 I love the rug, the hyde ottoman and the fact that he used crazy red chairs.  There is not a lot happening in this room, but i do like the few elements that are there.  i appreciate the restraint and that everything in this picture is awesome.  Including that Madeline Weinrib rug, you know i love that.  

And then there is this one that is pretty cute.   

The fact that he is using this photo shows that he is interested in the artistic energy that is provoked by lifestyle photography and design.  Its looks like there is camo painted or wallpaper on the bottom half of the room, in which case that is dope for a little boys room.  I like him. 

Introducing, Meg:

Cute little green flats, Meg.  Here’s my favorite from her portfolio:

i like all the elements.  


Now Cathy was an emmy winning reporter, so that kinda scares me when it comes to her hosting.  But she’s probably super comfortable on camera.   Style-wise we are very different, as well, but she seems very accomplished:

I never met a big grey sectional i didn’t like.  And that CB2 table is always a hit.

Not me one bit, but i think a lot of people would love this bedroom. 




I feel like style-wise we might be very different but she seems educated and accomplished and her clients are probably very happy with her.  That house is definitely elegant.

Doug Hines.  The fact that he bought this sofa is keeping me interested:

And this one above is kinda great, too.  So i’m giving him a chance because for a guy to love tufting so much, he must be awesome. And reupholstering vintage tufting sofas is awesome.  Also just smiling and being nice makes you awesome.  Like this guy, Karl:

Some people i just like. Karl looks nice, he looks happy, and i like his relaxed outfit.  And while stylistically we are very different (he’s an architect), he designs really pretty houses like this:

It’s beautiful.  

And while i don’t necessarily want to see another ‘hire an expensive contractor show’ on HGTV, (i like me the more ‘look at this brass animal sculpture’ show) if it was more about architecture and less about construction, I would be totally into it.

And then there is this guy, Kevin.  He is a store visual merchandiser and that intrigues me.  Usually visual merchandisers are more like artists, so there is a chance he could do interesting things. Think about Anthropologies store visuals, they are always incredible and super inspiring so if he has any of that in him, then i’m interested.     


 i like some of the stuff in this room:

I love the garden stool, the pillows are fun and the chair in the background makes a statement.  Those lampshades can definitely take a hike, but maybe her client insisted on having them.  She looks sweet and certainly takes some fun color and pattern risks.  

Already i have a soft spot for Brett:

He’s a project manager, so more construction based perhaps.  But i like his shirt and his glasses and he lives in Brooklyn, all good signs.  This is my favorite from his portfolio:

Lastly is Leslie:

She makes me nervous.  I’ll just say that. 

I’m loving those chairs, and that pillow. 

There is a new production company this year so i’m hoping the judges are less negative and the challengs are, um, well less based on ‘the way a musical instrument makes you feel’.  

My predictions for the winner? Mark, Tyler, J, or Karl.  I know that is 1/3rd of the cast, but i’m not much of a gambler.  Here’s something to keep in mind:  the judges know what HGTV want, which is someone who will bring something new to HGTV.  So nobody that is too similar to Me or Antonio will probably win.   That’s my guess anyway.

Good luck, Design Stars.  Season 6 Starts MONDAY July 11th, Two days after the season 2 of Secrets premieres!!! JULY 9TH.  See their entire portfolios here. 

Who do you think is going to win?  

  1. hillary

    Mark has my money. It's hard to tell how the designers will cope with the pressures of the show, though, so who knows. It's great that they are getting a little more time for the challenges this season. I really don't like competition format shows where really talented people are forced to turn out crappy projects because of unreasonable time constraints.

  2. I like J's wide leg trousers (that outfit might be able to handle a tweed Emersonmade blazer too). Ergo, winner. Also, re: single letter names, I have a friend who's (legally) named H. Actually his birth certificate says "H" which is pretty funny.

    I like Brett's tattoos and rolled up plaid, but it looks like he's clenching his teeth like whoa in that photo, which worries me. Also, and I know this is really being judgmental, but he looks like he might have an annoying voice. I don't even know what that means, but if I wasn't already intrigued with the new format, etc, I would watch the show just to find out what his voice sounds like.

  3. Becca

    I think Mark, Tyler or Brett. I like how you are being honest about how their personal style relates to their design style. It's judging, but not in a "judgy-I'm better than them" way. Ya know? If someone is a designer they've got to be expecting that. People like what they like and they reflect that in the way they dress. The funny thing is that I could tell Leslie was from Texas just from the top of her hair, before I scrolled all the way down to actually see she truly is from Texas! Not that all of these designers are bad (they made it onto the show for a reason) but I feel like their stuff is so "HGTV" and if they don't stand out then what's the point? I knew you were going to be the winner during your whitebox challenge when you did the nail and string thing…it was just different and creative and littereally 'thinking out of the box' which made it memorable for me! Anyways, I'm excited for the changes this season. It was seriously getting SO cheesy I couldn't even watch it. I think it's gonna be a good change.

    PS: Assuming you get picked up for season 3 (I have no doubt you will!) I think you need to do a homecoming special in Portland…eh? We are closing on our first house next month (its a sweet '54 ranch with awesome wood paneling in the living room!) and we want it to be "Emily Henderson-ized". Plus we are moving from a 700sq ft apartment downtown, so we need to buy furniture anyways. Just sayin'. Ya know…maybe your family misses you? That's actually not a question, I'm sure they do. I'm rambling and it's a long shot. My husband thinks it would never happen but it never hurts to ask right? Does it help that we are a cute, young family? :)

  4. KT

    I like your show, but in this post you sound like a weird, whiny, judgmental twit. I'm interested in how you style, not your surface-level thoughts about other people. Do you remember how in your first blog post after the show aired you pretty much begged people not to say mean things about you? In this post you didn't say anything that mean, but you didn't definitely didn't say anything smart.

  5. peggy

    Emily, I'm with you. I hope there's no meanness this season. I just care about pretty rooms and someone fun to watch. I think everyone on the show – contestants and judges should have fun and learn during the process. I also hope Vern is not so mean this year. I actually cried a couple of times when someone got eliminated. I really haven't been able to watch Vern, Genevieve or Candice's shows since seeing them judge. I adore David, Antonio and You!

    I am also very happy to hear that there will be more individual challenges! I really feel like the group challenges were a huge constraint to creativity.

    I love hearing the constraints you had last year. No nails in the white box challenge? How did people hang things on the wall? I just watched an interview with Nina the other day where she tried to say she wasn't really so mean that it was largely editing. I don't buy it. Her personality on the show really overshadowed her work. I can't even look at her portfolio. And why is it there is always a blonde Texan woman?

  6. Kat

    I don't think your post sounds weird, whiny or judgmental. I disagree with KT. I also look at what someone is wearing and make judgements about what their style is as a designer. Isn't that half the fun of programs like this? To see if someone lives up to what they portray, how they design, who they are? Their look is not always correct. Based on their pictures I would never let Kellie design in my home. She looks a hot mess. However her pictures look colorful, cheerful, happy places without being juvenile. I can't wait to see which impression is correct!

    Looking forward to both the start of your series and Design star seasons and your commentary!

  7. Andy

    Love your show!! Love your blog!! I found it through Young House Love.
    Show idea: Have each person bring their favorite decorating item from home ( or the thing that best says 'me' or a picture of it if it's huge) as part of the style diagnostic. Lay out 9 color chips(gray, black, white, red, blue, yellow, orange, green, purple) & ask which basic color is a yes & which is a heck no. Ask "which tv show house would you most like to live in & why"
    Stress relief idea: Drink more water. Let your assistant assist you. When you get home from work, change your clothes(play clothes or PJs). This tells your mind its time to relax. Only talk about/do work stuff before dinner then stop for the night. This is a lot like doing homework, get it done first thing so you can play after you eat. Go to bed at the same time every night. This doesn't mean stay up until you think you are tired. Same time like 10 pm every night. Snuggle with your hubby, read a romance novel, etc until you fall asleep. You will fall asleep quicker after about 4 or 5 days. Keep a pen & paper by the bed so when you wake up with an idea you can write it down & go back to sleep.

  8. Andy

    oh yeah! go some place private & scream while you jump up & down like a kid who can't have cake for dinner. After about 30 seconds you will laugh at yourself for having a hissy fit & will be able to proceed with a smile on your face. After that, just picture it in your head to relive the moment as needed.

  9. Oh, mean commenter KT who conveniently didn't like to a URL, so no one can criticize him/her…

    I feel like because you (Emily) said "I'm not trying to be mean," this person thought he/she had permission to criticize you. Perhaps you should redo this post with predictions and no opinions to back them up. I'm sure that would be SUPER interesting to read.

  10. woops, didn't *link* to a URL

  11. Samantha

    Sigh, KT, you win. Emily, I notice you edited since I read this post this morning. Is it wrong that I thought that the first version was smart and witty. You made me laugh. And want to come back and reread this afternoon. Now, meh, bland and you certainly won't offend anyone. Zzzzzz. I love you, Emily, let your light (and wit) shine. And I won't even call you perky.

  12. Kat

    OK, I'm commenting twice in one day. I'm not sure why I stopped back this evening but whatever. I agree with Samantha. Don't let the negative feedback of one individual change who you are and what you think. I think the first version of your post was great. Now it's boring and safe and not as much "you". I come here to read your opinions not what you think we want to hear (if that makes any sense). Don't change!

  13. Jill

    We laughed our heads off last summer when they announced those challenges, such as the "design a room around this musical instrument," as you mentioned. I wanted less of that and more of seeing the designers planning out their rooms and arranging what they purchased. I think the Design Star folks could learn a lot from the way Project Runway does their challenges and, even more so, what they show the designers doing. I feel like with that show, I really see the design process. Curious to hear what you think.

    I'm glad your show is loved by viewers. You were my fave last season :)

  14. KT

    Not to get all philosophical/sentamental on y'all's asses, but:
    I have to admit when I posted that comment after one (or two) martinis yesterday, I didn't think it would even appear, let alone that anyone would care what I had to say. I think my post was probably overly harsh and was really more of an expression of 1) my fear that my interest (and by extension, emily's interest) in styling is more materialistic than artistic, and 2) the frustration i feel when people (who may be brilliant) are judged mostly on their appearance. I think artistic people often mistakenly judge mainstream-looking people as boring or uncreative. I stand by my assertions that, even as a designer, you shouldn't judge people on their appearance (or state of origin) and that you shouldn't speak more harshly to others than you hope to be spoken to yourself. I'll try to follow those rules more carefully myself. Either way, like I said, I'm a fan of your show, emily, and I hope whatever parts of your post you removed, you did so because you reconsidered them. Can't wait for design star!!

  15. Candida

    Lol Word! Those "themed" group challenges were so random, dull, and stupid. I'm glad they're changing the format. They need to remember this is a TV show. The audience knows that whoever wins isn't going to have all these constraints, and the rooms need to come across on TV. It's much better to pick the best out of well-designed rooms than to have designers wasting their time cutting up TV shirts to make art projects for luxury apartments and trying to split hairs over which bad room is the least little bit better. Enough with the gimmicks.

  16. i agree with you 100% about how people dress vs how they live. always a correlation. can't wait for the new season girl!

  17. @KT – Meow…retract the claws, hon!

    I don't think this was mean at all. Emily has always been very honest without being a jerk on this blog.
    I appreciate her initial assessments.

  18. tomia

    I read the unedited post and did feel that it was judgmental and a bit mean. You are a smart, talented, and amiable gal but there is no need to turn your wit on people's fashion sense, where they are from, or if they happen to be pretty and large breasted. Glad you decided to give these guys a break and remove your comments which were based on a few pictures and one bad/good publicity snapshot. That said, I think you are super great and i look forward to your next season and watching design star!

  19. I know it's hard to judge right now because not everyone has a real portfolio, but I am loving Kellie. Nice bright pops of color and I happen to really like those lampshades in the room.

  20. I'm really looking forward to this season. Hope you make an appearance too! You were my favorite ever and to be honest I love watching the last few episodes online whenever I clean my office for motivation. The new format sounds much better too.

  21. hmmm…you are making some very early predictions henderson..
    i have to peruse the portfolios myself with a glass of wine (or 7) and a bite guard.
    the portfolios you picked aren't gross.
    i am very excited to see how the show has improved.

  22. marie

    I'm thinkin' Kellie or Tyler. Love their styles, and tyler rocked the white box.

  23. Carol

    This seasons contestants are the absolute worst . They should all be eliminated . great designers (Candace Olsen) are very rare
    . These current designers have shown no original concepts. Sloppy room designs A bunch of throw pillows cluttering up the rooms and no balance to the rooms. Its just awful. I stopped watching. Vern is just rude . Its one thing to voice constructive criticism . Its another thing to be just plain nasty.

  24. Sam

    I can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually have to disagree with you a smidge about the clothing comment, only because there are a lot of body-image politics that go along with it. You're kind of presupposing a person dresses poorly only because they have bad taste, but they might in fact revere fashion but hate their bodies and not want to draw attention to themselves. Then again (and this is what I think you really meant), you see someone who's obviously confident and has complete freedom in choosing what they want to wear, yet still opts for something tacky or in poor taste which, of course, indicates an overall lack of style. Also, I suppose you could argue that a devotion to design and style means that you would incorporate it into all aspects of your life and would be ESPECIALLY conscious of it during your studio photos. I'm not trying to be supercilious, and I really do love your show and style (I even remarked to myself on Design Star that you would win mainly because you have fundamentally excellent taste that propelled you above the other designers), but I just think that this is a common prejudice that I myself have fallen into. I guess my point is, don't judge (too) harshly until you've seen the overall picture!

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