HGTV Design Star: Kids’ Rooms Challenge Recap

Posted by on Nov 10, 2017 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on HGTV Design Star: Kids’ Rooms Challenge Recap

Tonight on Design Star, the five remaining designers were faced with one of their most difficult challenges–working for kids. Paired randomly with a child aged 5-17, each designer had to consult with their client and then create a room for them. For this Design Star kid’s room challenge, the designers were given 20 hours, $5,000, and their own carpenter. They also got a quick session of advice from season one Design Star winner David Bromstad. Once finished, the designers had to present their rooms on camera.

Design Star Kids’ Rooms: Antonio and Connor
Design Star contestant Antonio was paired with 5 year old Connor, an adorably crazy kid who jumped from favorite colors to dinosaurs to “I like spaghetti!” He then turned on his battery-operated helicopter and let the propeller repeatedly hit his outstretched tongue. Somehow it didn’t seem this kid would be all that hard to please.

Antonio decided to build Connor a “little man cave” for his new Design Star room, complete with cut outs of boulders around the window to serve as a headboard. Antonio bought platforms of drawers for under-bed storage, and brightly colored bed linens. He painted the walls two shades of blue, added large dinosaur graphics, and tacked up an array of Connor’s own artwork. He also added a graphic of Connor on the wall, the boy’s arms extended above his head to look as if he was holding the TV up.

With his finely honed carpentry skills, Antonio didn’t need to rely all that heavily on his carpenter. He did a lot of the work himself, and bought all new wood furniture for Connor’s room. Antonio learned from previous Design Star challenges to budget time carefully and not take on too many large projects. Antonio finished his room in time and was a lot calmer than the other contestants.

Design Star Kids’ Rooms: Lonni and Nico
For her Design Star kid, Lonni landed Nico, a 17 year old baseball player. Lonni got the toughest client of all, a teenage boy, and she confessed she was way out of her comfort zone. She carefully interviewed Nico, however, finding out that he wanted a sports-themed room to match his baseball-inspired ceiling fan.

Lonni painted the room a bright blue, and created baseball plates out of wood that she painted white and put in rows across one wall. She added blue, gray and white striped bedding and a simple rattan roman shade. The Design Star room gained a brand new wood floor, a computer desk, shelving, and extra seating for when Nico has friends over to watch movies or play video games.

Lonni once again ended up on edge and close to not finishing her room. When the carpeting was torn up to reveal the hardwood floors, she found that part of the flooring had been replaced with plywood. This set her back in time. Her carpenter was also very slow and didn’t complete the tasks at the time promised. Lonni cut out some of her ideas to make sure her Design Star room could be finished and presentable in time.

Design Star Kids’ Rooms: Jason and Paulina
Jason was extremely excited to land pretty Paulina for his Design Star challenge, a 17 year old who wanted a grown-up princess room. Jason planned to take the pale pink in her room up a notch to bright pink, and contrast with more mature shades of black and silver. Trouble for Jason began on the first day when he came back from shopping to discover his carpenter hadn’t done much of anything in his absence.

Feeling that the Design Star-provided carpenter just wasn’t going to be able to complete all the built-ins Jason had in mind, Jason fired the carpenter and requested a new one. This put him about three hours behind everyone else. Jason’s next problem was finding a black rug for the room, which proved to be impossible. Jason broke down in tears from frustration.

The third store on his trip finally had a carpet he could live with, but his Design Star room was still far from where it needed to be. The built-ins were completed, then Jason added some black graphic scrolling paint to the walls and a black brocade style carved mirror. Taking a page from the Design Star grocery store challenge, Jason tacked up silver place mats around the built-ins above the bed.

Design Star Kids’ Rooms: Dan and Helena
For his Design Star kids’ room challenge, Dan had 11 year old Helena, who wanted an eco-friendly room. Due to a vision problem, she also asked for a larger TV that would be easier for her to see. Her most prized possession in the room was an antique gumball machine.

Dan seemed to be bursting with ideas for his Design Star room, and he set out to find used furniture and other recycled materials. He bought Helena bamboo floors for her room, and also used the flooring on the surface of built-in bookshelves and a window seat. Dan framed a large flat panel TV with wood and old garden titles. The room was painted in vibrant blue and green, with bright pink trim on all of the built-in items.

Dan added a decorative iron piece he found at an antique store to the wall above Helena’s bed. He also turned her gumball machine into a light fixture, which seemed a bold move for such a treasured piece. Dan was confident that he was well ahead of the other Design Star contestants going in to the last day, and then confessed that he wasn’t quite as far along as he’d thought he was.

Design Star Kids’ Rooms: Torie and Carina
Torie worked with 8 year old Carina for her Design Star challenge. A budding artist, Carina wanted space to work on her paintings and expressed a love of the colors green, blue, and red. Torie suggested a bunk bed with a desk underneath to give Carina more space, which the little girl loved.

Torie painted the walls in the colors Carina requested, and bought black modern furniture to contrast. She set up a desk and painting easel underneath the bunk bed, and added a furry red rug to the wood floors. On the wall opposite the bed, Torie cut out large wooden letters to spell out Carina’s name. With the carpenter’s help, she mounted them to the wall and used back-lighting to illuminate them. Then she added strips of fabric to the wall to complete the Design Star room.

Throughout the Design Star challenge, Torie seemed calm and had a definite plan of action. Like most of the other designers, however, she started to feel rushed near the end of the 20 hour period.

Design Star Kids’ Rooms Verdict: Antonio
Young Connor loved his new Design Star room, as expected. Antonio goodnaturedly showed him all of the features of the room, and Connor ran around, opening drawers and exclaiming over the dinosaur theme. He then shouted “I have to go tell my mom about this!”

The Design Star judges praised Antonio’s room. Vern loved that Antonio made a fun theme room, but also included useful storage. Candice loved the use of technology with the bold graphics and photo of Connor. They were a little more skeptical about his gruff hosting skills, with Candice calling him the “Tony Soprano of design.” Genevieve suggested in future that he explain why he made the design choices he did, rather than just pointing them out.

Design Star Kids’ Rooms Verdict: Torie
Carina was excited about her new Design Star artist’s loft, especially the raised bed and easel. She didn’t seem quite as excited about the bold, lighted graphic on the wall, however. Torie was embarrassed by her hosting stint, telling the judges “I’m so country!” Candice told her to work with it, as everyone needs their own distinctive flair. Genevieve felt her hosting was a little robotic and that she needed to loosen up.

Design Star judge Vern was extremely disappointed with the random array of fabric on the wall in Carina’s room. The judges did like the modern elements, and idea of utilizing the space under the bed for her desk area. They did warn Torie not to always put all the colors the client wanted on the walls, and to instead incorporate those in accessories or fabrics.

Design Star Kids’ Rooms Verdict: Jason
“I am so gay!” Jason wailed, after seeing the footage of his Design Star hosting debut. Candice assured him he was adorable, like a “big fluffy cream puff”. Client Paulina seemed uncertain at first during the reveal, but then seemed to warm up to it, appreciating all the built-ins and the ornate black mirror.

The Design Star judges were less polite, however, and felt that Jason’s room was a disaster. They didn’t understand why the room was still the same exact color it had been before. They also thought the room lacked a luxury feel, and that the “graffiti graphics” and place mats on the wall were tacky.

Design Star Kids’ Rooms Verdict: Lonni

Despite her initial reservations, Lonni hit it out of the park with Nico’s Design Star room. Nico seemed to really like his new space, especially the brand new hard wood floors and the baseball plate décor on the accent wall. He also enjoyed the metal tool chest style dresser. Vern complimented Lonni, saying that Nico’s reaction was about as enthusiastic as you could get a 17 year old to be.

Vern once again praised Lonni’s graphic wall, but warned her not to become a one-trick pony. The judges liked her Design Star hosting style, and Candice felt she came across very pleasantly as “the girl next door”.

Design Star Kids’ Rooms Verdict: Dan
Eco-conscious Helena did seem excited about her brightly colored Design Star room with the enormous TV. She also enjoyed her gumball machine makeover and the re-use of her old dresser. The judges were less enthusiastic, criticizing the use of too many bright colors in one small space. Vern also criticized the use of the floating iron work as a headboard, and felt it looked like a piece that people put out on the curb after a garage sale–which was fairly astute.

Dan was also startled by his nervous giggling in the hosting, which the Design Star judges pointed out that he was still doing. Dan seemed even more nervous when they pointed out how all one’s flaws show up on camera.

Design Star Kids’ Rooms: A Show is Canceled
Antonio and Lonni were called down in front of the Design Star judges first. They were praised for their rooms, for listening to their clients, and for showing potential with hosting.

Three Design Star contestants remained. Dan was told his concept was good, but the execution was flawed. Design Star host Clive also made note of Dan’s nervous laughter problems.

Torie was called out for her stiff hosting, and her need to elevate the client’s desires into better design ideas. Jason was told he had great energy when hosting, but that he had created a room that was unfit for the client. The final verdict was announced: Jason’s show has been canceled.

Design Star Kids’ Rooms: Final Thoughts
Tonight’s Design Star had some definite surprises. While Lonni once again fell apart a little from stress, she managed to create a great space for her client. This was no easy task, since he was almost an adult but wanted a theme room, and I thought she balanced those two issues well. It was a useful space, a masculine space, and paid homage to his interests.

Lonni also surprised with her Design Star hosting, as her normally somewhat stiff manner melted away in front of the camera. It just goes to show you that you can’t always tell who the stars will be. Fan favorite Dan seemed to fall apart this episode, his normally quiet manner giving way to forced exuberance. It seems the stress of trying to prove himself over and over has started to get to him.

Torie also lost the momentum from the past couple of weeks of Design Star when she did so well. She seemed to lose her focus in this room, perhaps trying for too much “wow” factor instead of focusing on her strengths in sophistication. I still think she has a lot of potential, but she’ll have to really bring something special next week.

As for Jason, I didn’t think his room was quite as horrible as they made it out to be. It was definitely not as opulent as it could have been, but it was still a livable space, and the built-ins were fantastic. It was a shame that he wasn’t able to complete his entire vision. While Design Star designers are supposed to roll with the punches, it’s not exactly fair if some people get excellent carpenters and others get really bad ones.

Antonio definitely had the easiest room to accomplish, so it’s hard to judge his skill on this challenge alone. He did, however, have a design vision which he completed on time and made his client happy. And while his hosting style could use a little polish, he was definitely more relaxed than some of the other Design Star contestants. The judges seem to have made Antonio a favorite, so there’s a good chance he could win this whole competition.

It was also nice to see Color Splash host David Bromstad, who is still the most talented and fun-to-watch Design Star winner. He offered these latest Design Star contestants plenty of great design advice, and a lot of them looked petrified when he asked hard questions about their vision and “wow” factor. Design Star probably should have had David in earlier to talk to the designers, before they got too far into their respective projects.

I’m not sure they’ll find another David Bromstad in this batch of contestants, but Lonni proved to us tonight that some of these folks can still surprise us. Next week is an outdoor project, which seems an odd choice for Design Star, but we’ll see what happens.

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