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i make it sound like its the Lost finale.  But you know what i mean, i hate a spoiler.

Also i need to blog about my episode last week, but they changed the order of the airing and i hadn’t gotten around to shooting it yet with a professional photographer so i’m waiting to get the set photos from HGTV and if they are good enough then i’ll post em, but if they aren’t then i’m going to shoot it this weekend and post about it next week, cool?

So we have a new star.  I’ve passed the crown.  It’s like Miss. America except 1 million times cooler. It’s like Project Runway, except you get a career instead of some cash.   Meg won folks and ultimately, as mixed as i was, i really trust the judges.  Here’s why:

1. they spend a ton of time with these designers up on stage.  You only see like 5 minutes of it, but i think they really get a sense of who these people are.  Look at me,  I didn’t win a challenge last year but every time we talked about design during the evaluation they got a really good sense of my personality (the good and the bad) and while you may not have seen it, they thought that i would make the best tv, with a different design perspective.  So trust the judges.  I think Antonio was the right choice, i think i was the right choice and i’m confidant Meg is the right choice.  Its really really hard to find the right combo of personality and talent, so i truly believe Meg is the best choice. 

2. The 5 minute pilots are done in 3 days and we have NO training at that point.  No, we don’t really do a ton of training after that either, but we actually have time to breathe while shooting, to relax, to be natural so the pilot – while i did like hers, is not a true representation of the show Meg would have.  It will be better. 

Ok, so lets get to my judging:

Karl’s pilot:  ‘Inspired Design’.  The name throws me, i’m not gonna lie.  Yes if i was passing it whilst flipping channels i might stop and say something snobby about how uninspired its probably going to be.  But its just the name, so who cares.  But the idea is that he takes something from the history of the building and it inspires the room.  

So he meets his clients, which are ‘Tuscan (her) meets ‘street art’ (him).  Part of me wanted to diagnose him because i kinda guarantee you that ‘street art’ isn’t his real style, like maybe he saw it once and liked it, but this guy isn’t ‘street art’.  Either way, these two styles aren’t exactly easy to merge, trust me.  Tuscan with anything can be hard.  

Here’s the before room:

Not awesome, and he has massive storage issues to deal with which is a total bummer. But he was natural with them and seemed to really listen to them.  And my favorite part of the whole episode was when he said ‘do you normally have so many people in your house? yeah, kinda weird right? (alluding to the cameras).  I thought it was funny, human and natural.  

But, ultimately, he definitely got the harder challenge.  

Here’s what he did:

Built this bookshelf for storage.  In the pics and on the show, i didn’t like it, but here i like it more.  It must be the color of the wood that turned it into ‘contemporary’ for me.  Where i like the raw wood so much better.  

OK.  He graffittied an antique armoire (after painting it white) with an abstract brooklyn bridge motif and the words ‘grow, live’ i think on it.  I really don’t know what to think about this.  I mean, part of me hates it, and part of me says that if had had more time and more resources something like this could work.  To me if felt alone in the room, and silly next to all the contemporary stuff.  But besides finding something that has already been grafittited or commissioning someone, i don’t know what i would do.  Not that, but i’m not sure what. 


He did paint those shelves!!! man, i wish he had just stained them or left them as is. They match the darker paint on the walls perfectly and it screams ‘no, bad, we match too much’ to me.  Speaking of the colors, i really couldn’t be against this color palette more.  I think that consistently Karl and I have disagreed about color.  He’s used this tone of green a few times now, and with the light brown, no way.  Just my opinion, but i can’t handle it.

I do really like that he broke up the wall with that picture rail.  I did that once and it really does help the room feel less vacuous while keeping it feeling tall.  I just don’t understand why all the pictures are up there.  It seems to me you can’t see them and they just look bitsy and junky.

 If they had been blown up and were in big white frames, all leaning against each other then i think it could totally work. But why not use the picture rail for what its for? Hanging pictures from it? I’m being nit-picky, but i just didn’t get why they were up there and it took away from how clean  the space was.  

This part of the room is way more successful.  The sofa seems great for a family (white leather, but clean lined) and the casegood behind it is perfectly functional.  The coffee table, no thank you, but the rug was a good choice. I’m so happy he brought the sofa into the room, instead it being so disconnected with the rest of the room up against the wall.  This photo isn’t doing it any favors. This one is better:

God, the room looks so much prettier here with natural light.  It looks warm and inviting and clean.  He gave them storage solutions and everything seems pretty kid-friendly.  Ultimately, i think for this family this is a successful room.  They were so happy.

It did make we worry that i wouldn’t be getting new things from Karl each week.  I like him personally, i think hes adorable and genuine and sweet.  But i left ‘uninspired’ unfortunately.  There really isn’t one thing that i would want to apply to myself.  I do think that he did a really good job of marrying these two very disparate styles and the room was 100% improved. Clutter controlled, kid-friendly furniture, consistent color palette, etc.  But i just wasn’t feeling it. 

Now to Meg.

Meg’s show is ‘Design Crime’s’ and to me that could go either way.  Either its a cheezy 90’s show on HGTV or it could be a hilarious kinda campy show.  She went campy with it and i was relieved.  Although…well lets get into it.

Before.  Nice big room.  Messy, unconsidered.  Strange layout.  folding table for the formal table.  yep, problems.

The couple wanted tiffany blue with earthtones and to be family friendly as she is making a human inside her.  So meg sees her design crimes, the fact that the buddha (which is pretty awesome) is in the window and should be on display and clearly the layout is totally wacky. But they seem totally sweet and Meg seems good with them.  

Pretty color.  Nice job.  It read really well on camera and totally warmed up the space.  Here’s a secret:  you have to go more saturated in color for camera.  For photos we can manipulate the light to make sure that the room feels airy and gorgeous (think about all those all white rooms that look amazing in the magazine and in person, it just looks white and stark, and on video? it rarely looks good).  I think she learned this lesson better than Karl.  And blue is always a crowd pleaser.  

Meg being silly.  

And the after room:

Yes, far superior.  Great colors, great layout, very approachable but it does feel elegant.  I take issue with the pictures on the wall over there being seemingly thrown up there instead of in a grid or close to eachother like a modern collection, but whatever.  I understand that she was trying to engage the entire wall, but they are too small to do that, and they are too high.  I like the dining chairs, though.  

Totally works.  I hated that sofa when she picked it out, but it does work with this space  – the coffee table makes it a lot cooler.  I like her drapery solution (she bought 12 drapes and sewed the two tones together to get the length that she needed.)  I like the coffee table, but i’m hitting the top of my raw-edge tolerance very soon.  Putting the mask there was a very smart choice and the rug does make the room feel warm.  Yes, it looks like a catalogue.  But i feel like its good for the family.  I can’t tell what i feel about the mirrors.  Part of me hates it when people try to create a fake window, its like, ….no….thats not a window, don’t try to fool me. But at the same time, it does double the space and create a ton of light.  Ultimately it was probably a good choice for this space.

I liked Megs room a ton more than Karl’s.  And i think that America did even more.  I wish there was more style and personality in the room. It feels staged.  A successful staging job, mind you, but staged.  But that was probably what the homeowners wanted, just not what i want.  My philosophy is that every room needs something to throw it off.  Something slightly weird that makes you think, ‘interesting, this person is interesting’.  It’s like when you meet someone and you feel like you read them immediately one way, like ‘oh, Jack is the kinda boring but really nice tax attorney’ and then you find out that he does improv twice a week or that he collects vintage WWII maps, and you say, ‘hey now, alright…. Mr. boring has an edge’.   The mask and the buddha definitely help throw this catalogue off, but i just wanted more to tell me who these people are.  Something unexpected and unpredictable. And the room needed some vintage. Everything was new, which is why it felt so staged. 

Here they are.  Much nicer and more constructive criticism this year.  I still think that since this show is a ‘personality + talent’ show that they should be more involved.   Project Runway and Top Chef are different because the most talented dickhead could win. But in this case, since personality is such a huge part of the game, the more time the judges spend with them, the better.  

So, people, MEG is the winner! She is the Next Design Star.

It’s a very surreal feeling.  You kinda can’t believe it when you win.  Ultimately,  i would definitely watch her show more than Karl’s, but i did really like Karl, too.  Truth be told, i like her much  more when she is in conversation with someone else and not speaking at the camera.  But not all shows the host speaks to the camera so i think she is going to figure it out.  I’m excited to see her show next week.    

So heres’ my advice for Meg:

1. Don’t read anything online about you. Just don’t.  You’ll remember the 1 bad comment before you’ll remember the 50 praising comments, and no matter how confident you are, it will bum you out and make you question yourself. So just don’t do it.  (unless you have a blog where 99% of the readers are truly very nice and in your court, like this one).  Or get a family member to send you the positive stuff, but don’t go trolling for it yourself.  Promise me you won’t. 

2. Don’t take yourself seriously.  Yes, its an important job and, yes, you are in charge but the more you take yourself seriously the less fun it is for everyone.  Its design, not rocket surgery.

3. Don’t perform for the cameras.  In my humble opinion, no one wants to see acting, unless you are, well, an actor in a movie.  Pretend the cameras aren’t there and just be yourself.  Let the audience in, don’t try and show us how cool you are.  I think some people would disagree with this and certainly some hosts don’t agree with this, but if i had my way, every host would just ‘be’ instead of ‘trying to be’.  

4. Enjoy it.  It’s an incredibly fun job, and an insanely fun new life.  Having strangers come up to you and tell you that they love you? yep, thats fun.  Getting your hair and makeup done daily? Not too shabby.  There are going to be times when you are tired and you start bitching about budget or the fact there are no healthy snacks on set, or the fact that you haven’t had a day off in months, but try to remind yourself that you are one of the luckiest people in the world – you get to do what you always wanted to do, a total dream job, and influence a lot of people at the same time.  

Design Star season 6, finito.  I thought it was a pretty good season.  I thought the challenges were wildly better.  I mean, 100% better, like the difference between snookie year one and snookie year three.  In a perfect world they would do at least one challenge that is in a massive thrift store, where you can destroy things, collage book pages on to walls, etc, etc.  

Or I would love to see a challenge that last 5 days and the middle two days they aren’t filmed so they can truly go shopping wherever they want, get inspiration, take their time to think about what would really blow the panties off of the viewers instead of whipping it out so quickly.  It’s such a hard show to create because designers need to go to many many stores in order to find what they need, and it is hard to truly be creative when cameras are on you all day.   Do you remember when Top Design did that? I think they gave them a couple weeks to design a house, right? 

But i thought this year was a wild improvement from last year, challenge-wise.  What did you guys think? Agree? 

The conch is yours, Meg.  Enjoy it.  




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