Thursday, July 31, 2008

P.S. Did you catch the showdown?

As expected, last Sunday’s finale of HGTV’s Design Star was a great show with a lot of really good moments. Vern Yip, who is one of the judges, has his own show called Deserving Design, and I don’t know if it was his input or not, but the two beneficiaries of the final challenge were a police officer and a firefighter who happened to live across the street from each other in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina came along, and basically their families have not been able to live in their homes for three years—can you imagine that? So they were definitely deserving, and there were tear-jerking moments.

The finale presented the biggest and most extensive challenge of the season: Matt and Jennifer had to completely design and decorate the entire downstairs, from kitchen to dining room to living room.

Matt really stepped up his personality a notch for this last episode because remember, not only do you have to have good design, you also have to have a personality that people want to watch, or you might as well write a book! He seemed a lot more comfortable. Maybe it’s because when you do something like this for someone, you can’t help but really get into it. Matt showed more heart and personality and I thought he did a really good job with that.

But my personal feeling is Jennifer should be the winner. She has that natural personality that works well on television, she does have a good design eye, and in the final challenge I liked her design better. In Jen’s kitchen the family wanted something with color and boy, did she give it to them! Her use of red on the cabinets really popped, even though the white tiles were a strong contrast.

Her dining room felt elegant yet comfortable, not overdone or slapped together because of the time constraint, like Matt’s did. The stripes Jennifer painted on the walls gave the room a pulled-together look. There wasn’t a lot of time for art or accessories that make a room feel more finished, so those stripes added a lot, and overall it looked very polished.

I give them both credit—for the amount of time they had, what they were able to accomplish was extremely difficult. It’s easy to be an armchair quarterback, but knowing how long the design process takes, I think they did a very good job. These shows are also about entertainment value, and part of the fun is the stress of the competition and the ridiculous time and budget constraints: let’s put them through the wringer and see what they can come up with! I know that both Jennifer and Matt, if given enough time, could do a lot better work than what’s reflected in these challenges.

The winner will be announced this Sunday, which just so happens to be the last day of the BIA Remodel Expo, so as I’m in bed recuperating, I along with millions of others will be tuning in to see who’s going to be the next Design Star. Will you be watching?