Reality TV

Design Star Dish {with Becky Harris}

June 23, 2008

Here’s our weekly Design Star Dish with Becky Harris from Hatch. The stage is yours, Beckster! – Holly

Design Star Dish {with Becky Harris}Well, I just finished watching this week’s Design Star on HGTV. It was really boring. You know how on Project Runway they have amazing creative challenges, like making in outfit from materials bought at the grocery store or in a nursery? The interior design shows just don’t seem to have very creative ideas for challenges. It seems like the contestants spend more time stripping wallpaper, painting, and racing the clock than they do actually designing and problem solving. The end results never seem very well thought out or polished. Maybe that’s why they race through them during the reveals. I literally have to pause my DVR to really see the rooms.

This week the contestants were put into teams of two, which made for more interesting dynamics and created the potential for results with more of a point of view. Do you think any of the teams accomplished that? What did you think of the rooms? Has your opinion changed about any of the contestants, or are your first impressions proving to be pretty accurate? Do you think anyone in particular appears to be a front runner? Did you agree with the judges on who was sent home? How much do you think the inspiration pieces influenced the designs?

Again, WARNING: There will be no spoiler alerts in these intros, but there will be in the comments section, so if you haven’t seen it yet and you don’t want to know what happened, do not click into the comments section until you have caught up on your viewing.

Now dish away…


  • Reply decor8 June 23, 2008 at 4:55 am

    Cynthia Rowley really looked uninspired — I felt for her. I think she was right “Go Big Or Go Home”. It is funny though how on Project Runway they always tell designers not to go big because they will go home!

    I thought the whole Ghost Story thing was super cheesy.

    I liked the black room, I thought it worked with the ‘spooky’ factor and was shocked the judges did not catch that. The sculpture reminded me of a spirit. I thought it was creepy cool. A Hollywood Glam Treat-or-Treat.

    The other rooms did nothing for me. That house was amazing. Made me miss South Carolina.

    If that one room was being designed with “the boys club” in mind as they agreed that was their theme when one of the judges mentioned it… Why did they destroy the bow + arrow? That would have looked fine in the space.

  • Reply naturline June 23, 2008 at 7:36 am

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  • Reply Keely June 23, 2008 at 11:58 am

    I think Tracee should have gone home because she has an okay style and she isn’t the nicest designer in the competition. The room with the black walls looked good, and I liked Stephanie and Mikey V’s room too.

  • Reply 3XMom June 23, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    I actually liked what they did with the Grace Jones statue…i thought it didn’t look weird in the space. The bow and arrow was just pathetic. But it is clear that they are keeping Tracee for the drama factor. She certainly hasn’t shown any talent for design. That is going to get really old really fast.

  • Reply jae June 23, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I know it makes for good TV, but the time constraints seem so unrealistic. I don’t believe a designer’s full potential can be shown when all they focus on is time, time, time. As a result, all the rooms look so uninspiring.

  • Reply Anonymous June 23, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    I think the men are showing much more potential on this show than the women. I hope the cop or the guy with the tights on his head win it.

  • Reply Anonymous June 23, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    This was the first episode where I didn’t find Michael Stribling completely repugnant (notice I put the modifier in there – still sorta repugnant, just not completely). I was disappointed with the judges because I still think D. Paul had talent (although truthfully the animal lover heard him say he enjoyed hunting and hoped he’d be making a quick exit). Tracee lives on which at this point I’m convinced is to keep drama going and boost ratings. Has she shown any talent other than riling up her co-stars? Matt Locke moves into the lead for me, talented with good design sense. Still lovinig Jennifer Bertrand’s personality and think she would make an excellent addition to the HGTV roster. Stephanie Cook is a mess. Trish Beaudet seems boring. Mikey reminds me of this season’s Todd Davis. I’m looking forward to the individual challenges.

  • Reply Anonymous June 23, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I have to agree that this last night’s show was totally uninspiring.

    The boy’s club room looked like an early 90’s vignette in a traditional furniture store.

    The black room was good, but the fact that it was unfinished and the contestants new it was a little disturbing. I think those two are the strongest designers and they could have blown away the rest by just throwing some paint on a couple canvases and hanging them on the unfinished wall.

  • Reply Courtney June 23, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    i completely agree about the challenge itself being lame…also, i was shocked at the uninteresting/wacky items that the contestants chose at the yard sale table! don’t they know they’re going to have to use them in a room? a pink flamingo? come on, who picks that?! also, i think the whole idea of having to use a yard sale item is to place a constraint on them that they have to work around or be inspired by. i didn’t see a single design that took cues from the yard sale item to inspire the room. that made it pretty pointless for me.

    all that said, i absolutely adore the show and all the silly drama that goes with it. i think matt is a clear front runner, for sure, but we haven’t had a single individual challenge, so i feel like i’m not really getting to know their taste as individuals. yes, the group drama is fun and makes for good tv, but a lot of us watch for the designs, and i don’t like the fact that they are not showing the rooms for very long. like it’s an afterthought.

  • Reply Anonymous June 23, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    I liked the black room but they really did need to finish it. I do give them credit for not trying to whine their way out of it they accepted what they didn’t finish.

    Ahhh Tracee, what a tool. I can’t believe she didn’t bring the paint back after her partner asked her to and had told her several times she is paranoid about the time constraint, and really who wouldn’t be after her last challenge?

    I liked Mikey V’s room but Steph is an airhead, she seems sweet but an airhead. I mostly liked their room but it was overall a bit cluttered.

  • Reply erin June 23, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    i agree last nights show was pretty much a bore!

    i was really frusturated at the lack of personality in the rooms they designed too, but i guess with the time constraints they did the best they could? i just was really hoping they would take advantage of the celiing heights and do something with the walls.

    i liked the black room the best, but i wish they pushed it a little more. i liked the cop and stephs room too, i didn’t think it was as bad as the judges thought.

    michael stribling is less annoying than i originally thought, i really don’t like tracee, but i guess they have to keep her for the drama.

  • Reply becky from hatch June 23, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Anon, I totally agree! The men’s club room looked like a Rooms 2 Go display! So cheesy. Putting moss atop the yard sale item – whatever. She should have used it to pick colors for the room or something.

    I liked seeing Michael and Matt work together – Matt is great at time management, simplifying the idea and getting the work done while Michael is a really good shopper who appears to have some good taste. Why was he able to find elegant pieces while Tracheechee was out buying so much ugly stuff?

    D. Paul’s extended moulding looked bad – the color did not even match the original moulding, and it did seem like a waste of time. And what’s up with calling any piece of crud a “Sculptural Piece?” Everyone seemed to do that. The flamingo metal with tulips all over it was so silly – THAT IS NOT A VASE!

    Jennifer is the one I most want to be friends with. I am bummed her husband didn’t make the show, just because I find myself interested in wanting to know more about them and how they would work together. Maybe they should host a show together!

    3xmom, I liked that they tried to turn the Grace Jones thing into an art deco ornament kind of thing too. I thought they did the best job of incorporating the item, and I didn’t really agree w/ the judges on that one.

    Holly, that house had me longing for Charlottesville! I liked the black room the best, but it did not fit into that gorgeous house at all. IN fact, I really dug that red and white wallpaper that was in Jennifer and Tracheechee’s room originally. It was perfect for a traditional/regency look.

    Erin, I’m warming up a bit to Michael too, now that he is not talking about how amazing and awesome he is. I’m anxious to see how Tracheechee does when she doesn’t have a teammate to throw under the bus. I felt a bit sorry for her last night, as everyone has ganged up on her.

    Why does Stephanie want to paint everything? I thought that was really funny after painting that table last week and having trouble with time management last week! I’m not digging her taste so far.

    I think a lot of these people have the over-accessorizing problem from watching too much HGTV. Especially the lit-votives-itis.

    Courtney and Jae, you said it perfectly! The time constraint thing is keeping us from seeing what these people can really do. They spend all their time painting and/or shopping in a panic. While I understand the charrette aspect of it, I don’t understand how this really can show us who they are as designers.

  • Reply paola June 23, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    OK, finally I’ve caught up with all my Tivo’d episodes…

    And what a lot of dross this season is… the only ones there who appear to have any creativity, design savvy and originality are Matt, and possibly Mikey V. Really liked his bookcase bench this week.

    The girls all appear to think they’re on ‘Nicknack Star’.

    Tracee should of course have been sent home for not realising that those chairs were beyond hideous, but she’s being kept for the drama, but I’m finding Stephanie most irritating after last week’s waterworks and for choosing that flamingo, and yes, Becky, a bit of twisted wire with a bunch of tulips stuck in it is NOT a vase.

    The black room was best, though I think it would have worked even better to use a slightly lighter colour such graphite. I was sad that they cut the mannequin’s legs to pieces, I was hoping they’d stick a light fitting inside them and make a lamp or something (maybe turn it upside down so the legs were waving in the air).

    Jennifer is the best of an appalling bunch of women, and I loved Grace Jones, though I haven’t quite forgiven her for painting that gorgeous wooden table last week.

    I don’t think the time constraint is the problem, it’s more that appalling furniture showroom they seem to be forced to shop in.

    And why do people think that if you have a beautiful old house the only thing you can do with it is fill it with hideous repro furniture? ‘Traditional’ really is a scary word in an American interiors context. Those rooms had beautiful lines and would have looked fabulous with some huge, brightly coloured, contemporary-styled sofas in them.

    I didn’t see or even Tivo most of the first episode. Do these people really have design credentials?

    Yours disappointedly


    Very glad to see Sparkle Josh vlogging on the official website.

    I think Mikey V is going to win…

  • Reply battaile June 23, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    I was pretty disappointed Tracee didn’t leave. I tend to agree she’s being kept around for ratings which is a disturbing trend and will probably lead to me getting bored with the show if it keeps up.

    Also agree that the ghost story was cheesy and ridiculous.

    I liked what Jennifer did with the statue but hated the candles next to it. Their room just didn’t look like anything special at all, and I think that’s a reflection on both of them.

    I really liked the black room and thought Stephanie and the Florida guy’s room was a distant runnerup but still very good. Both of those rooms looked like rooms that I would walk in and think “wow, whoever designed this room has some talent”.

    I was sad to see D Paul go but wow, that bow and arrow “sculpture” was horrible and I really didn’t think the molding looked very good even after all the time spent on it. I think he would’ve been better off leaving the bow as is and just putting it over the mantle or something.

  • Reply Anonymous June 23, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Am I the only person who likes the original wallpaper in the room that became the “black room”? Wouldn’t it have looked great if they’d at least left the strip running above the fireplace?

  • Reply Anonymous June 23, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    I’ve just recently become a Design Star junkie, mostly for the fact that Jen Bertrand is a high school/college friend of mine. It’s funny…I haven’t talked to her in years and she hasn’t changed a lick! I can say wholeheartedly that she is definitely NOT acting. She’s exactly the same girl I knew a decade ago?very fun and very sweet. I can’t wait to see how she does.

    As for the rest of the contenders and the show overall, I find more inspiration in the great photos on this blog. Hope it gets more exciting…soon!

  • Reply rhetoricwizard June 24, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    Is it just me, or are all the rooms this season completely devoid of any kind of artwork or wall hangings? Or at least, not in any real cohesive way. I’ve been pretty shocked by how bare most of the walls look, especially in this last challenge where the walls were so big!

    My favorites so far are Matt, Mikey, and Michael, even though Michael made me sick in the second episode. He’s pretty talented, but has no real good way of articulating anything. I really like Jennifer’s personality though I do not think she is as strong as some of the others. I think Tracee is a completely horrible person. Maybe it is how the show is edited so that we have someone to hate (Like Rob from last season) but yuck. I don’t like the non-team players on shows like these, it makes for uncomfortable tv drama.

    I look forward to seeing them take it up a notch.

  • Reply Anonymous June 24, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    This show is pretty close to biting the big one. The host is very annoying. The judges seem bored. The contestants (most of them) are a bit lackluster. I do like the bald guy (sorry I don’t know his name) as he seems somewhat inspired. But really, you are asked to pick an object on a reality design show. How can you not know that it will have to inspire or be incorporated into your design… and you pick a flamingo, hunting bow, lame shiny thing with four squares etc….?

    And why are they in Tennessee? God, I would take reruns of Top Design over this lot.

  • Reply christi June 25, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    I pray that this time there’ll be someone to watch and alas, I’m disappointed. Queer Eye had the right idea – only shoot the necessary parts. It’s quite clear in the edits that Tom didn’t accomplish those rooms in a day – give the designers more time and only film the befores, the design process/some shopping (much more interesting and informative – once again, like QE) and then spent a few moments on the reveal. Although Top Design was as dry as a bone, they rewarded you with actual talent. I feel like these people all work at Sugarbaker’s and think Waverly is the “go-to” designer fabric. Blah.

  • Reply nicole June 25, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Where’s the original art or some fun DIY projects like we’ve seen in earlier seasons? (I can’t wait for an individual challenge!)

    I completely agree with everyone about the time constraints – I would much prefer to see the designers actually designing (and making sketches!) than running around stressing!

    Talent-wise, it seems like (with a few exceptions) that we’ve got a “Hell’s Kitchen” bunch…

  • Reply Kiba June 27, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    I feel like the time constraints have the designers panicked and running all over the place. I would like to see something like you do on most HGTV shows, like Divine Design… Show them sitting down and making a PLAN and only THEN have them go out and do stuff. Right now it feels like they are randomly doing things on a whim, not worrying about good design but instead overanalyzing the judges’ possible responses.

    I think we’ll see the most boring person voted off each week and that was D. Paul this week. (I predict Trish for next week, based on this.)

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