Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Singular Style

Previously on Design Star: Once again, murals were evil. Temple insulted Donna. Vanessa cried. Alice cried. Cynthia Rowley tried not to cry. Alice called out Vanessa. Joseph got the boot. Teman warned that bickering would lead to booting.

Sleeping designers. Waking designers. Donna reports that it takes her an hour to get ready, what with the makeup and the teasing of the hair. More grooming designers. Donna asks Temple for a truce; she just wants to get along. Temple might have made an agreeable sound, but nothing explicit.

Teman summons everyone to the parlor for the reading of "Clive mail." A van will pick them up and take them to their next work location, where Clive will meet them. And sure enough: designers exit townhouse, designers ride in van, van gets in elevator -- which impresses designers -- and designers arrive at big, loft-like space. Vanessa does this touchdown-type victory dance because she's happy to see individual rooms. More like individual cubicles -- in the middle of the open space, eight smaller spaces have been partitioned off, each with three walls (so open to the front). Each space has a white couch, a square coffee table, a round side table, a bookcase and a little lamp. Each space looks about 10' square. Vanessa rejoices that this is what she wanted. Teran warns that "there's always a catch."

And here it is, in the form of Clive carrying paint cans. Everyone chooses a can. Clive announces that two designers will be cut after this challenge. David demonstrates his math skills by calculating a 25% reduction in the number of designers. There is much rejoicing when Clive continues that the designers will be responsible for their own work -- designing, shopping and execution. They will shop at one of four specialty stores: automotive, beauty, pet, camping. There is not much rejoicing now. Each paint can has $500 and a store type; two people will shop at each type of store. Everything for the challenge must be purchased from that store.

They get 1 hour for shopping and another 11 hours of work over two days. They can pick one gallon of one color of paint. Tym interviews that they have to pay $25 for paint, so that limits what they can spend at the store. The designers have a toast with their paint cans.

On the way to the beauty store, Teran asks Vanessa if she thinks "the whole Donna threatened by Temple thing" is for real. She thinks it's a little true; Donna and Temple are like "before and after" -- Teran sees that, too -- and they just see themselves in the other person.

Automotive store: Temple is happy because her baby daddy is a mechanic, so she knows this stuff. Meanwhile, Donna has never been in an automotive store and has no idea what she's going to do. She feels very alone as she looks for someone to answer a question. Temple is also happy to be working on her own. She wants to show that car stuff can look spiffy. Donna tries to think about what might be in a garage. She doesn't know what she's going to make with her items.

Camping store: Teman has never been camping or in a camping store, so most of his design has to come from reacting to what is in the store. Alice does a quick scan of the store before pulling her selections. Teman finds a couch cover: a heavy blanket with orange and red, which forms the basis of his color scheme. He finds some tape to match. Alice is thinking green.

Beauty store: Vanessa uses her stupid word again. She's thinking about a dressing room for a glamorous woman. Teran has more of a Victorian drawing room in mind. Vanessa doesn't want to get ahead of herself, but she's feeling confident. Teran doesn't want to mess up.

Pet store: Tym has a design already sketched out. Wow, that was fast work. He goes for the dog cages. David doesn't have any kind of plan, so he goes for things that are textural and sculptural. Tym describes his style as "livable modern." See? No word-smushing required. He likes to use ordinary things in new ways. David is psyched to find hay bedding and reptile bedding; he loves the colors and textures for a rug. Tym starts to let the shopping experience go to his head, but he comes to his senses and keeps to his plan.

Everyone piles into their vans. At the checkout, Tym realizes that he didn't save enough for paint. He decides to keep everything and skip the paint. Donna asks Temple if she saved money for paint; Temple says she remembered "at the last second." Donna forgot. Shopping just went to her head. Teman also forgot. Back at the loft, he tells Teran about it. Teran tells him he'll just have to make it work. I know Tim Gunn doesn't have a copyright on the phrase, but he says it so much better than anyone else.

Donna takes the coffe table apart and uses jacks for the supports. Temple interviews that she's a single mom and she's doing all this to make a better life for her family. As opposed to all the other contestants, who are just doing this on a whim? Don't the other contestants have families? Why don't we get to hear about them? Well, okay, Teman and Teran, but surely they have parents and other relatives.

Speaking of Teman, he's trying to improvise wall color with his camping tape. Teran thinks it will be cool if he can pull it off. David is using paint -- orange paint. He wants to use it to draw the eye up to the full height of the 10' ceilings. Tym feels good working by himself, with no one to step on his ideas. Alice has an apple green for her paint and Vanessa is using red. Donna bought some spray paint, so she's using that on the walls. Teran's cobalt blue is too deep to cover well; he'll need two coats, but he only has a gallon of paint. Running out would be bad. To put color on his walls, Tym is using abstract art made from dog food bags. Temple has grey paint.

Vanessa makes a collage of beauty items for artwork. Teran and Teman consult about the latter's tape situation. Teran compares Teman to a "defenseless animal stranded by the side of the road." He just has to help. So, now that we've covered the single mom thing, it's time to hear about Temple's lack of formal training: She wants to win so the other designers will take her seriously. Now we just have to see how they'll work in the Miss Utah thing and they'll have covered the Temple trifecta. Tym is spending a lot of time on his artwork, which is supplying the color. Teran reports that Vanessa shared a tip: with dark paint, instead of rolling up and down, go on the diagonal. He calculates he has enough paint for the walls. Alice cuts up the bookcase to make some boxes. Donna interviews that she enjoys working alone, so she can do things her way.

Clive arrives for an inspection tour.

I get the sense that this was not just an inspection tour but an interview test -- can they have a give-and-take with Clive? David, Teman and Teran all banter easily. Temple is a little rambly. Alice is rather matter-of-fact but speaks up, while Vanessa leaves most of the conversational burden to Clive. Tym's story runs a little long. Donna is a little slow to start, but gets into it and has good facial expressions. Clive wishes everyone luck and departs.

David describes the day as "a mad scramble." In his opinion, "first days are notorious for getting nothing done." Temple interviews that people were willing to help with hanging things. Donna spreads the word that they have 15 minutes left to work. She's a little nervous about time because her spray-painted wall took so long. Teran interviews that no one feels safe. The next day will be the do-or-die day.

Back at the house, Teran and Tym review the competition. Teran doesn't really get Tym, but maybe that's just him. David thinks it's a torn-up dog cage and Teran thinks it looks like a pet store. Temple thinks the twins are "the least put-together." Vanessa has figured it out: they can only work as a team.

Morning. People get ready. Alice interviews that Tym emptied his electric razor on the carpet. Okay, he's off my list. That's just so wrong. Alice has to find a vacuum cleaner that hasn't been spackled. She interviews that they've been living on top of each other, so they're all really tired. I guess it's a good thing two designers are leaving, so they'll have more room to spread out.

Back at the work space, they have 5 hours to finish. Tym reports that he changed all the furniture pieces except the couch; he thinks that's an important part of the challenge. Temple thinks the judges will finally get to see her style. She's using the red and chrome of classic cars. Vanessa is pleased with her "bold" and "glamorous" room; she's really happy with it. Alice compliments David's rawhide-chew-toy sculpture as she works on trimming her lamp. He's pleased with the way his room is turning out; it really shows his style. Alice thinks her room is coming together. She has remade the things she purchased and "designed instead of displayed." She has a reason for everything she does. Except maybe almost cutting off her hand when the bookshelf she's sawing falls in.

With 2 hours left, Teran decides that his circles look shabby so he has to come up with something else. He dilutes some gold hair gel to use as a paint. His first application attempt doesn't look right, so he goes through several ideas before being satisfied. Temple thinks the effect is cool. Teran reports he's using a makeup brush to paint his gold circles.

David announces the 1 hour mark. Teran helps spot Teman as he hangs a box on the wall. Temple has looked around, and some people are farther behind than others. She's not sure they'll finish in time. Donna is a little stressed because she has lots of finishing details to do. She thinks something is "a disaster." Lots of last-minute running around, and then Clive shows up to end the work. He sends them off to get ready for the studio.

Temple isn't nervous about the double elimination because she thinks her room in the top three. Tym is pleased with his work. Donna thinks it will be stressful. She has been spanked twice and expects to get spanked again. She doesn't like her spray-painted wall. Teran is nervous. David doesn't want to sound "cocky" (good idea when you're only wearing a towel) but he feels "okay". Teman is worried. At least with the camping rooms, you can't tell what store they shopped at. He praises Alice's room. Alice is worried about everyone. She feels good about her room, but she can see a few issues the judges might raise. And it's time to go see the judges.

The studio is still ugly. Clive recaps the screens and cancelling, introduces the judges (still Martha, Vern and Cynthia), and recaps the challenge. There's a quick look at the blank spaces as a "before."

Clive sends the designers to wait in the green room while the judges deliberate. Vern thinks personalities definitely showed through, and Cynthia found some surprises. Donna sighs that sometimes things work out and sometimes they don't. Vern thinks someone is a visionary, capable of seeing what a project will look like before it's completed. Tym loves his idea, but he knows he has to make that "translate visually." Someone was a shocking disappointment. Vern finds it interesting that Temple wasn't "hampered" by working on a team with time; Martha admits to getting "got" by her kiddie sob story. (This is why I hate kiddie sob stories in front of the judges.) David compliments Temple on her work. Vern doesn't love a room, but it's not the worst thing he's ever seen. David explains that Teran was saying "Victorian" when there wasn't anything Victorian about the room; Teran agrees. Clive reminds the judges that they have to boot two people. Martha thinks there are "a few that we could say goodbye to comfortably." Temple thinks it's sad that the judges might not yet have seen the best of people's work. Cynthia finds it interesting how they're disagreeing on some points.

The designers return. Clive doesn't bother pussyfooting around -- David gets the win. The other contestants clap. Alice, Temple and Donna are also passed to the next round. Vanessa gets called forth. She is cancelled. Let's just pause here a moment for the cheering to die down. It looks like it takes a moment for her to process what happened. She turns and touches hands with the others and leaves. Wow, I was worried that they'd have to pry her hands off the door jamb as they hauled her kicking and squirming from the studio, screaming, "I'm gonna win this thing! I'm gonna win!" 'Cause the girl was determined to win. She interviews that she didn't expect it: "I'm a real interior designer. This sucks. I expected to win this." Why? She has talent -- presumably, we didn't see much of it -- but so do other people.

Tym is summoned. The judges like his individual sense of style, so he passes. That leaves us with Teman and Teran. Oh, man, this is gonna suck. The judges were puzzled by some of their choices, so the question is, who did enough right to pass to the next round. Teman is cancelled. The twins hug. Teman tells Teran that he's still in it. Teman leaves and Cynthia starts crying. Teman interviews that he knew the weaknesses of the room, so he had to try to present it as best he could. Now Teran is carrying on for both of them. Clive encourages Teran to improve and sends him off to the green room. Everyone gives him hugs. Teran is taking it hard, but he's going to do his best for the both of them.

Did the judges get it right? Not much to debate about the win -- David has a great eye and put together a beautiful visual presentation. Alice and Temple were both quite strong. Donna's room was a little busy, but complete and inventive. I just didn't get Tym's room, but it was cohesive and well executed, so yes, he deserves to stay. If you want to switch him with Donna, I could live with it; at that point, it's a matter of taste, really. Vanessa's room was complete and reasonably well-done, but it didn't show any real imagination. She just scattered stuff around the space. Since the challenge was about creativity, she deserves the bottom place. Unlike Vanessa, Teman and Teran both showed creativity but had executions problems. This could easily have gone either way. I think Teman had a better furniture arrangement, but I liked Teran's walls better. Teran has a slightly better record; that might have tipped the balance in his favor. It's sad to see Teman go, because he's a funny and personable guy and because it's such a blow to Teran. I hope Teran can keep his focus in the coming challenges.

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