Monday, September 12, 2011

HGTV's Design Star

Today's post over at Tell'er All About It reminded me that tonight is the finale of HGTV's Design Star and I'm excited to see what the final challenge is and who they crown the winner. Truthfully, I haven't loved this show in the past. Of all of the winners, the only one I currently enjoy watching is Emily Henderson from Secrets From a Stylist, whose show I actually really love. I'm so confused as to how that Antonio guy won because everything I've seen of his is just so gaudy and over the top, and David Bromstead and his Ikea-meets-Crayola style is so baffling to me. Based on his mentoring capabilities, he looks like a lovely person, but his style sense? So far from anything that jives with my own (and I love Ikea so that tells you something).

Last season it was clear to me very early on that Emily would be in the final three but at the beginning of this season I had absolutely no idea which way the wind would blow. Early on I liked Kellie and Mark. Kellie's design aesthetic seemed clean and uncomplicated, while being welcoming and homey. Unfortunately, as the episodes went on I felt she was becoming more and more "homey" and a lot less "designer." Her level of sophistication kept dropping and by the time she was eliminated, I was so sick of hearing about how being a mommy informed her design point-of-view. I know there are moms out there that have beautiful homes with a killer sense of design, but truthfully, most of the moms I know have houses that look a bit haphazard and definitely lived in. This is not a bad thing. A comfortable home is a good thing. BUT, that is not a sense of style and I don't think it belongs on its own TV show. Also, her voice started to sound very whiny and overall I just didn't like her anymore.

Like Kellie, I felt like Mark was someone that showed promise early on, but episode after episode did things that didn't make sense or that were generally not good design. He lost me with the skateboard installation at the wedding. Zip ties, really? A certain Mr. here at casacaudill is a HUGE fan of zip ties and I can tell you having lived with them clearly on display, zip ties are never elegant. Nor do they belong at a wedding. Strangely, he won that challenge. Maybe this means zip ties will be the next owl or bird accessory and like we were with the gallery wall and the peacock paint, we'll be WAY ahead of the trend.

So that leaves us with Meg and Karl.

Unfortunately I don't love either of them either. Of the two, I'd prefer Meg to win. That said, the first episode I watched (it was the second one, I think)  I cringed whenever she was on screen but as my interest in Kellie started to wane, I started to like Meg. I felt like in the last four weeks or so, Meg’s design aesthetic improved and I felt like maybe she could pull off a show. I think a lot of what she does has a very specific audience in mind, but there were a few touches from throughout the season that I thought were intriguing and could be done better if given more time. 

Speaking of, one of the things Vern said last week about Meg struck me as being disingenuous - to the show and to the viewers. He said he felt like Meg could only complete a project when she had help. Correct me if I'm wrong but don't ALL the designers have help on HGTV. I've been watching this network for a long ass time (since before we were married and that's coming up on ten years) and they ALWAYS have help. I mean, it's not like she'd have to do everything herself for a show, so how is that something that should even be up for consideration?

I’m generally middle-of-the-road with Karl's designs - I don’t think he’s done anything that I’ve said “wow” about, but at the same time I haven’t been completely agog at how bad his stuff was either (I’m looking at you Cathy). Very rarely do I love "contemporary" design (I'm coming around to mid-century modern though in a big way). That said, while I have no opinion about his design sense either way, I was really turned off by his behavior twice during the season. The first was during the wedding challenge when he threw a fit during the panel about not getting more credit for the colored fabric swag over the dance floor. I understand that editing can change what the viewers see a lot, but at no point did I really hear him giving any design advice. Sure, he installed it. But to pretend like he did more and then get mad when no one sung his praises? Seemed immature to. He also displayed some pretty immature behavior that same episode when he was outvoted by his teammates and rather than staying with them and helping, he stormed off in a hissy fit. That was totally unprofessional and showed off a prima donna attitude that is not cool to me. 

The second time this attitude reared it's very ugly head was during the $2500 challenge when he made an offhand comment about hating “budget challenges” and how he normally works in the $1m to $1.5m range, usually door knobs cost that much, and he had no idea what he'd do with only $2500. I’ve got news for you Karl – your viewers, most likely, do not have million dollar budgets. In fact, I’d wager that most HGTV watchers would be THRILLED with even $1000 to makeover a room. When I think about what I could do with $2500, his attitude is insulting. So while he plays humble and a bit "aww shucks" over the whole experience, I think he's actually super high maintenance and I don't think I'd enjoy watching him at all. 

So there you have it - my thoughts on this season of Design Star. Now it's your turn:

Who has been your favorite? Who do you want to see win?


  1. You're right about Karl.... who I liked in the beginning.  He also said that the tiny house was smaller than his bathroom at home.  Ugh.

  2. Oh, that's right. He did give a snarky comment during that challenge too. So glad he didn't win, especially as I didn't think his room was all that Tuscan.


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