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Design Star, Episode 2. Recap

Oh man.  There are very few moments of my life that i wish i could do over and every time i think of them i feel ashamed.  One was sleepwalking in a hotel in Arizona.  (The embarrassing part was what i was or was not wearing – it’s a story you have to hear in person).  Although that one is such a funny story that at least when the ‘whats your most embarassing moment’ game comes up amongst friends i know i can kill it every time.  

BUT, the first day of designstar, the White Box challenge, was truly, truly, truly, memorable and to put it very lightly, not my best day.  I wish i could redo it but at the same time i’m not convinced I would win the challenge anyway.  Conceptual design isn’t my thing, really.  

Wait, why is this about me.  Sorry. I guess i still just feel the need to explain.  I know i won the show and i’m so proud of the glass house at the end, but this challenge, the white box was me at my lowest.  Ah, the adventures of a reality competition.  

So I feel for these guys.  I’m glad that they first of all have two days to complete it, and second it was made very clear that the box was conceptual and doesn’t have to be functional.  Even with a ton of resources and time it is a very very hard challenge and in general who seems to do well are the artists that think more conceptually.  Which i don’t think i do.

It’s super easy to tear these rooms apart, so i’m just going to post them all and then pick my top two. 


Brett.  This one actually photographed a lot better.  And i like the colors and the ‘bombs’.

J.  Not sure why she went home.  I’m assuming it is a personality/hosting thing because her room was not the losing room.  And that floor is totally pretty.  

Karl.  I’m still totally loving Karl.  Not this room, necessarily although i do love the Mondrian reference.  But that pendant he made was awesome.  

More of an art installation than a box which is why this is pretty successful.  the water bottle lounge was smart.  Still liking Tyler a lot. 


Yup.  The hands down clear winner.  It’s totally awesome.  Mark. It goes to show you that having an inspiration and concept behind a design can help. I think a lot of the designers didn’t so they just look like strange rooms, but this was a complete thought.

Mark’s white box might be one of the best ever. 

Meg.  I don’t know how to really analyze this one.  I just felt bad for her. Although if that is make-shift ball fringe on those pillows, then that makes me happy. You all know how i love me some ball fringe. 



Doug.  At least this room is exciting and you get the reference immediately. And at least he pulled from the graffiti aspect of the challenge.  

I don’t know.  I have a hard time with the challenge because i know how hard it is to be creative and conceptual so fast.  I’m just not. And I know they say over and over that you have to be able to really think on your feet when you have your own show, but you do get a week to plan and design and stay up late scouring blogs for inspiration before you begin actually installing.  Some people are just better at the white box challenge than others, but i don’t think it means they are better designers or will be better hosts.

 I need to be able to suss out ideas and get inspiration, then reinvent it, put my twist on it, decide its too cliche, then fix it.  If you don’t have a proper jumping off point (a phrase i’ve come to hate but it does get the point across) then you never really jump off.  And that’s what happened to me.  I didn’t know where it was going, so it didn’t go. And I didn’t want to do anything tacky or cheesy, so I just didn’t really do anything at all.  OK, fine, i’ll show it to you but you have to then promise that you’ll go through my portfolio above right after (which desperately needs to be updated).  

I still like everything in the room, but yeah, it blows.  Not exactly a huge mural of my grandfathers military symbol.  You can relive it through my blog post, here. 

Anyway. I know that it is a lot of viewers favorite challenge to watch, but it makes me nervous.  

Oh and you want to hear something funny? When I was up there at elimination in front of the judges with the other 5 that were in the bottom, Vern asked everybody individually, in front of everybody, who they thought should go home.   At this point we had only been there for a day and no one knew each other, so it really wasn’t personal. (also it was before we saw anyone on camera).  

Guess what happened:

Trent:  ‘Emlly’

Julie:  ‘Emily’

Tom:  ‘Emily’

Courtland: ‘Emily’

Alex:  ‘Emily’

I ordered every single cell in my body to help my eyes hold back the tears.  I knew that if i started crying it would be super ugly.  I wanted to disappear.  And then go home. Luckily my camera challenge saved me because i now have a seriously insanely awesome dream job that i almost didn’t get due to the white box challenge.  

So that’s why that day is hard for me to relive.  In fact recently i was in New York at a press event in the same room and I’m not kidding you, just stepping foot in the room made me anxious.  

Now, of course its such a great story because i ended up winning, but i’m telling you, that white box challenge is super super super super super super challenging.  You sit and watch and think ‘omg, they are terrible’ as i used to, but now I just focus on all the standout people (Mark and Tyler) and the rest i am just waiting til next week to see how they are because for some people its just really, really not their thing (or mine) to design like this.  And that’s ok.   It’s still super fun for us to watch, eh?

And that folks, is why they call it a challenge.  I can’t wait til next week.  

Did you agree with the judges?

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