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Top Design: The Weekly Dish

Becky is back again to blog about her take on this week’s episode of Top Design. I am out for the day but have left you with a few new posts below this one to read and I’ll be back later on today to share with you some new things I’ve found… So for now, I’m signing off and letting Becky take the wheel… Becky, the stage is yours kiddo! – Holly

DISCLOSURE: I had to stay up until 2 a.m. watching this show because my DVR freaked out during the 10 p.m. airing, so I am very very sleepy. Perhaps that is why I yawned through this entire episode of
Top Design. Perhaps it’s because of all the sloppy attempts people are making to slap the word “green” on everything these days (don’t get me wrong, I’m all for anything that gets attention for environmental responsibility; it’s simply that in a lot of cases it has become trite.). Perhaps it’s that looking at those offices made me think of how much I needed a 3 p.m. nap when I worked in
depressing claustrophobic places like that. Perhaps it was India’s monotone narration. Actually, I just realized what it was! K-DUB wasn’t there! Everyone else’s hair is simply too boring to talk about.

So this week was all about creating eco-friendly office spaces. Danny Seo was there in place of Kelly Wearstler. The contestants were told they had to use all of the existing furnishings, which resulted in a lot of “art pieces” and shelves made of old desks. There was a major twist: After the contestants met with their clients and shopped for them, they had to switch spaces with someone else and use the items that person had chosen. I thought of a new drinking game to go along with this show. Drink every time Eddie says “disgusting,” “Martha,” or “panties” (this week it was a “granny panties” reference – what’s up with Eddie and panties?). This will be enough to get you three sheets to the wind within the hour. If he ever gets kicked off, we’ll change it to drink every time someone slaps together a piece of rubbish and calls it an “art piece.”

A few notes on what went down:

  • I am so thrilled that no one used the word “zen” the entire episode.
  • I can’t believe Eddie took credit for Nathan’s idea of putting the rug padding on the wall. Sitting here on my couch alone at 1:45 a.m., I gasped aloud. I also thought the blinds he put all over the
    fluorescent light looked stupid. But I am biased; he annoys me to no end. BTW, isn’t used rug padding usually full of all kinds of nasty mold, silverfish and crud? It’s a good idea on paper, but I wouldn’t
    want to sit in an airless room underneath a wall of it.
  • Ondine did a really good job with what she had to work with, especially on her water bottle light fixture.
  • Nathan had the best ideas and was thinking about being green the most out of anyone.
  • The judges were a little too hard on Natalie and her panels. It was a creative idea. Confusing green point: if you have leftover MDF but MDF gives off VOCs, is it better to turn said MDF into recycling bins or toss it in the landfill?
  • I kind of liked Wisit’s attitude when he said, “I’m not going to chop up furniture just for the sake of trying to look creative.”
  • I yawned through the rest of it. None of the designs resulted in an office where I would want to spend 8+ hours a day.

So, enough of my whining, I’m dying to know if you all liked it better than I did. Whose design did you like the best? Are you sad to see the losing contestant go? Did you agree with the judges on the top three designs? If not, who would you swap in and out? Who do you think had the best green ideas? Who had the least green ideas? Who is the biggest brat there? Who do you think will win the whole shabang? What are some other drinking game ideas? Were you bored off your gourd or was it just me?

(text by becky harris and image from top design)

Posted in guest bloggers, reality tv on October 09, 2008

Top Design: The Weekly Dish

It’s time for the weekly Top Design Dish with our weekly guest writer Becky Harris who blogs not only over at Hatch but now… (drum roll please) she has her very own blog called The Bubb Report so please pay her a visit. The Bubb Report covers pretty much whatever Becky wants it to from her reality show obsession to how much physical pain she feels when she spots a Louis Vuitton handbag walking around. Congrats on your new blog, Beckster!

It’s time to tune in to Miss Becky and her weekly TD dish… Take it away, girl!


Perhaps it was the two glasses of wine I had, perhaps it was that I could not listen to Kenley whine or be rude on Project Runway anymore (also, all four designs were disappointingly ugly tonight), but I LOVED tonight’s episode of Top Design. I think the production work of the Magical Elves was really obvious tonight. The contest was a triathlon which included three INDIVIDUAL (Hooray!) LEGS, including the Chair Leg, the Dining Table Leg, and the Design a Room for a Magazine Spread with Stuff from the Garden Store Leg. It was fun, fast-paced and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. It made me want to take four girlfriends to Homegoods with $100 each and a half-hour time limit and have a dining table setting contest. Also, Nathan CRACKED ME UP the entire time. From telling us he’s “not a triathlete, but a smoke-a-lete” to saying he was sure the other contestants wanted to “put Visene in my coffee,” he kept me laughing.

The episode really made certain contestants really stand out for me, while it became crystal clear that others have been slipping through the cracks. I also feel like I’m starting to get to know their personalities. Natalie and Ondine seem so sweet, and Andrea has really grown on me. I wonder if we all would have liked her from episode one if we had not known she was married to Ricky Schroeder.

Did you think Ondine’s table looked the slightest bit Lilly Pulitzer? I’m a huge Lilly fan, and that looked like something someone would keyword spam on eBay and say “Lilly Pulitzer-like” when it’s TOTALLY

By the way, I made up a drinking game for cliches on design shows on Hatch about two years ago. If you’d had a drink when Theresa said “zen” tonight, you’d be three sheets to the wind right now. Ugh. Also, just for the record, “plant material” and “water feature” are not words landscape architects like to hear. Add “hardscape” to that list as well. I’m just sayin’. For some reason, I felt “tablescape” coming and it didn’t bug me like “bedscape” did last week. Go figure. Maybe it was the wine.

I digress. So how did you all like the format for this episode? Who has become a standout contestant for you? Do you think any of the rooms were worthy of an Elle Decor spread, or are you keeping your fingers crossed for Margaret that it will be a thumbnail-sized photo? What would you have grabbed at the garden shop? What event would you have styled your dining table for? Were you scared Wizit’s opera singing would break the glasses on the table? Is anyone boring the pants off you? Do you think Ondine’s room was Kelly green? Do you feel you’ve been too hard any of the contestants so far, or were your suspicions confirmed by the individual challenge? Who were your picks for each leg of the triathlon? Would you have trouble getting out of your own personal style and taking risks if you were on the show (I know I would!)? Did you think anyone was hit in the face by karma? Would you have been more successful and one leg over the others?

More importantly, what did you think of Kelly’s hair? How about that black and white hat? — Becky

(text written by becky harris for decor8, image from bravo)

Posted in guest bloggers, reality tv on October 02, 2008

Top Design: The Weekly Dish

Ready for the weekly dish about Top Design? Here?s Becky from Hatch with the latest… Take it away, Becky… – Holly

Well, just so you know how I sacrifice for y’all, I’m tuning into Top Design before I check out the premiere of the new version of Knight Rider! Just kidding (kind of – I LOVED Michael and K.I.T.T. when I was a kid; can’t you just see a modern-day David Hasselhoff rolling around on the floor of the the car all drunk eating a cheeseburger?). Anyway, I digress.

This week we saw the TD contestants design for three bachelors who had some pitifully sparse apartments. They were James, the 23 year old law student, Obi, the stylish producer, and Eddie, the conservative suit. I held back the gagging feeling in my throat when Obi said the words “zen” and “pop,” but he gave his team some good guidance about what he liked. There was a big budget and there were endless shopping excursions, as well as the complimentary services of wallpaper hangers, painters, a carpenter and a seamstress. It was another team challenge (bummer), but there was some excellent drama. Said drama centered around Shazia, to whom Nathan referred as “Bad Luck Mary” and “Needy von McNeedison” within the first few minutes of the challenge. He wasn’t far off. However, her behavior paled in comparison to the cattiest lady in town, Eddie.

A Pop Design Quiz happened this week! How hard is it to throw some flowers together in 20 minutes? That’s an eternity! However, Theresa and Preston managed to make it look really difficult!

Note to Ondine: Using The Cabinet of Natural Curiosities has been DONE TO DEATH. Someone papered a bathroom in it in Elle Decor (or was it H&G?) YEARS AGO! It’s in magazine spreads more often than the Tom Ford Gucci book. And yes, a 23 year old dude is not going to be impressed with it either. Perhaps you should have decoupaged pages from Maxim, or better yet, the Tom Ford Gucci book, instead.

Note to All: Look through some magazines and pay attention to window treatments. Yours were hideous. Blinds with those partially crinkled up fabric shades; two-tone drapes that made no sense. Nathan, Shazia, and Preston, the cornice boxes were the least of your problems. BTW, you should have had the wallpaper hanger put the coordinating grasscloth over them if you were so pressed for time. Oh, and while I’ve got you, painted horizontal stripes was a clever trick on Trading Spaces circa 2001.

Alright, enough from me – what did you think of this week’s episode? Do you think the right person was sent home? If not, who would you have sent and why? Did you like any of the final apartments, or did it look like a Rooms2Go showroom to you? Were there any design moves you found particularly clever? Do you think any of the teams found a good balance between the client’s needs and showing who they are as designers? Who had the worst bachelor pad you’ve ever seen? How would you have reacted to Eddie if he’d treated you the way he treated the designer who owned the showroom? Can you tell a fresh flower petal from a real one from across the room? Can you tell when you are smearing them across a table like it’s a newlywed suite bed? Do you think Shazia should have been an engineer or a doctor instead of a designer?

Psst: View the rooms here.

Let’s dish! – Becky

(image from top design, all text written for decor8 by Becky Harris)

Posted in guest bloggers, reality tv on September 25, 2008

Top Design: The Weekly Dish

Ready to dish about Top Design again this week? Here?s Becky from Hatch with the latest…

Miss Kelly and her wild and crazy hair.

Wow! Without giving anything away, I was devastated by who was sent home this week on Top Design. I think the judges made a terrible choice, and that they are letting the talent go while letting the slackers slip on by. As always, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION, so don’t read the comments if you haven’t caught the show yet and want to be surprised!

I LOVED this challenge. One of my favorite books is Confessions of a Window Dresser by Simon Doonan. Where was he??? I’ve seen him on the “coming up this season” teasers. So, my joy at this challenge was two-fold: One, not only did they design boutique windows, but two, they designed them for Project Runway alums. This included my all time favorite, Santino, and Andre, the subject of his Tim Gunn Red Lobster tales! Last year’s winner Jeffrey looked like a cross between an bandito and a 70’s actor from a dirty movie. Sweet Pea was as cool and helpful to her team as ever, as was Daniel, the man with 9 reality TV show lives.

A few comments on what went down:

Eddie seemed like he’d had ten gallons of coffee.

I knew Andre would pick Nathan as team leader, because it’s an unspoken agreement between bald men. I learned this from Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Andre still has whacked-out verbal diarrhea crazy talk problems. A boring gray dress does not say anything about an election, unless you are throwing in 1980s Cold War American stereotypes about Eastern Europeans and what they had to wear under Communist Rule.

Sweet Pea ordered up a fantasy butterfly cocoon thing. I’ve said it once and I’ve said it again: I avoid butterflies at all costs in design because they make me think of Mariah Carey.

OK, what designer hasn’t made several geeky trips to see showings of Blade Runner on the big screen? Wizit, Wizit, Wizit, let the rococo go go! Big Daddy said that Wizit was going for “Bloomingdales Foufou” which made me laugh. I love Big Daddy! I hope I run into him at IKEA really soon. Another great quote came from Preston, who was ordering Andrea to “put the bar in her butt…put her butt in the bar” regarding their mannequin.

Jonathan’s face during the Nathan/Shaz description of political turmoil was PRICELESS! If someone looked at me like that I would cry. Oh wait, that has happened, and I did cry.

I LOVED Preston and Andrea’s window. Black painted branches with crystals. They kept it minimal, they listened carefully to their client’s ideas, and they didn’t junk it up with a lot of craft store tchotchkes. It was also pretty easily executable in the time they were allotted.

So, enough from me. Did you think the right group won? If not, who was your pick? Do you think anyone who is left is coasting? Have you seen Blade Runner, or do you at least get the reference? What do you think of the very strict time constraints on this show? Do you think the results would be world’s better if the contestants had 12 more hours of work time or 1/2 hour more of shopping time? Do you have a favorite window display you’ve seen in your lifetime that has stayed in your brain forever? Do you ever refer to a piece of clothing as a frock? And of course, discuss amongst yourselves… Kelly and her hair!

(image from

Posted in guest bloggers, reality tv on September 18, 2008


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