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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson

Ok! So i had a very busy day yesterday following the Design Star Premiere sunday night.   I started the day with a lot of not-drawing and not-sketching, followed by hours of staring.  I mean, I am very adept at staring, can do it all day long if necessary – just watch me, wait…that’s right, you kinda did.  Later in the afternoon I cruised down to greyhound, i thought i would go ahead throw myself under the bus as I seem to be strangely good at that on national TV (where I ran into Court…so weird).  I finished the day up at a bed-making seminar, and I’m happy to announce that I considered making my bed this morning.  (not really)


Overall it was a pretty productive day.   I rewatched the show, which I LOVED, thank you Mark Burnett (I might’ve watched it a total 3 times now, maybe) which is better the second time for those of us who were overwhelmed the first time.  The second time I could look at things more objectively and here is what I came up with:


a.  I was petrified.  It was day 1, and I don’t think I was really ready for the competition.   (If anyone has a time machine, hook me up)   Not an excuse I know, but part of the reason I failed.   My brain kinda froze and it felt like a nightmare.  I’m not kidding there were certain times where I was like, ‘There is no way this is actually happening, i’m just gonna wake up, ‘  I realized about halfway through the day that things weren’t turning out as I thought and I started to freak out a bit.

There is no way to really prepare for being on this show, and some/all of the designers adapted to the competition so much quicker than I did, unfortunately.


b. Watching it back, I still stand behind everything that I put in that room, I wouldn’t take anything out, but I didn’t have enough, or even close to enough in it.  Here was my ‘strategy’:  I wanted to create a room that looked like a collection of pretty things that all worked together and not a bunch of stuff from Pearl River store in Chinatown (Michael has eclectic style, collected, not sticking to any one style).  I thought I had such ‘integrity’ and was being so ‘discerning’ while shopping and styling only buying things that I would want to own, but that strategy fell short pretty quick, it wasn’t enough for the white box challenge and I realized I had been WAY too picky.  I needed more furniture, I needed more color, for sure, and I think that had I not painted the floor  or had I added a big rug-like-thing it would’ve saved me.  (note to future design star contestants, painting the floor is a total time suck and can be a disaster as you have to wait and wait for it to dry before you can get in there- i used this time to stare, so it was perfect for me).  I think if I would’ve had a huge piece of wood, I could have made one big string art, that would have been more impactful and interesting.



a.  I did need to defend myself more. I was so disappointed in myself, I felt so defeated so I went into self-depricating mode, which is better than the self-delusional mode, by the way – i wasn’t fooling myself or trying to fool others into thinking that what I created was good enough, I was just trying to criticize myself first because i knew it would make it harder for them to, which it did.  


c.  I’ve seen the show before and the judges are always super critical on execution.  So when I was rigging the tripod lamp with the driftwood I thought it looked too haphazard, it wasn’t perfect, so I didn’t put it in.  I made all these starburst wall art with chop sticks that coulda been rad, but they looked too ‘home made’ for me, so I left them out.  I was going to attempt to build a console and after starting realized that I didn’t have the skills to do it properly (nor did my helper), so I didn’t.  I remember thinking, nope, don’t put it in if you could get in trouble for it.   The judges actually were less concerned with everything being perfectly executed and more concerned with your creativity.  oops.

d.  You need color and contrast on tv, especially in the white box.  You know all those sophisticated colors that we all love to live in?  They don’t really translate on TV very well, in a huge room of halogen lights, without any daylight.  Sometimes, and just sometimes, they look like a prison cell for a monk.  oops.


Alright so to clear up a few things:

I am not proud of myself for not not drawing or sketching. I literally don’t know how.  Don’t feel bad, i’ll be fine, i’ve put myself into a ‘staring’ rehab program, it involves a lot of eye patches and hands tied to pencils and paper.  When I said ‘I don’t sketch or draw, I just stare’ I was making fun of myself , being ironic.  But let’s be clear I wish I could sketch and draw, it would’ve helped a lot.  And for the record I am thinking and visualizing while i’m staring, most of the time anyway… i think.

I am not anti-bed making.  I told Michael that I didn’t make my bed, but I think i was trying to convey how unfussy i am.   I like loose, natural beds, that’s all.  so kill me.



The white box challenge has always been the only real conceptual challenge – you don’t have to design a room that people actually have to live in – it’s conceptual.  Julie embraced this challenge more than me, but since no one else really designed conceptually either, it made hers look like crazytown.  She went for it.  Julie designs night clubs, temporary spaces, spaces that are more conceptual. Were the walls a little wacky? yes. but the goose feathers on the floor could have been weird in a pretty way if other elements in the room had been different.  She at least thought outside (oh, am I really about the say it, i can’t stop myself)  the box.  ah…  Coulda been me, Julie, coulda been me, at least you don’t make bad puns.  Julie isawesome, though.  She is smart as a whip.  Check out her blog


Ok.  We had five minutes to prepare for our videos with the camera guy, where you could either write a script for yourself or not.  I waved the five minutes, mainly because i’m super hardcore.  (kidding, If I was going to write a script I would need longer to do it perfectly, and I thought that it would bog me down, make me worried that I was going to fast or slow, fumbling the words, etc.)  So I did what felt natural.  I know it wasn’t my best work, but I think it kept me from going home.

Please please please realize that hosting is soooooo much harder than it looks.  Candice, Genevieve and Vern have had years and years of practice and they make it look so easy.  We’ve had none.  It looks like you just walk around and talk about what you just did, but you have to engage the audience, look at the camera, which is super foreign already, relate information, decide what information you should impart, manage your time, start it off well, finish it strong, no fumbling, mixing up words, no saying ‘like’ too much, and be yourself, have a great personality – all without practicing or ever having done it before in your life.  It’s hard.  (there was no starting and stopping, no re-do’s, no editing at all)

Whose designs i liked:

I thought Casey’s was tasteful, loved the navy and the wood and it didn’t look like Pearl River at all.  (although, in this pic, the navy looks black, and you miss the big brass cymbal that she hung on the half-wall)

 I also think that Trent was in the bottom six for no reason – i thought his colors were pretty, he styled the bed nice and the canopy thing above it was really pretty.

Nina’s and Tera’s looked like the the most ‘completed’ rooms.

Stacey and Michaels rooms  had the most elements of someone’s personality, there were a lot of little moments that were really thoughtful.

***OH!!! did anybody catch the way I clap??? I look like I just learned how to, like i’m a toddler.  I just kinda bang my two palms together erratically.  Keep on the lookout for it, it’s hilarious.


So there we are folks.  See why I was so nervous last week?  I knew what was coming, and it wasn’t pretty.  But i’m still here (and there).  Watch next sunday. It only gets better.

Normal style post tomorrow.

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