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After one episode of Top Design (and I really can't believe it) I think I’ve pretty much got everyone identified. This must be a record for me. Usually I’m still checking the official site to get names at least 5 weeks into the season. The casting people managed to find people who actually don’t all look the same to me. Hallelujah! As you may remember, Serge was sent home at the end of last week’s season premiere. The other designers are now discussing the last challenge and what they would have done differently. There’s not much time to work the 20/20 hindsight, because our host India Hicks appears in the design studio and puts an end to all the fun.
India greets the designers and tells them about their next challenge. Last week, they designed an entire loft. This challenge will test their abilities in a much smaller space: 12’ x 14’ to be exact. To add a little more fun to the mix, they will be sharing the space with another designer. Maybe it will be like bear baiting and they’ll be chained together as well. Whoever comes out alive, wins.
The designers choose paint chips to see who they’re being paired with. The teams fall out like this:
Andrea and Eddie
Natalie and Teresa
Kerry and Shazia
Robert and Jennifer
Preston and Ondine
Wisit and Nathan
Now it’s time for them to find out a little more about the spaces they’ll be designing. Out comes Todd Oldham, wheeling a cart with an ancient TV and VCR. He plays a video for them on the necessity of bomb shelters in the nuclear age. Yep, that’s right: the teams will be redecorating a bunker. India tells them they should create a room they could live in for the rest of their lives. Natalie is, like, totally up to the challenge. She vows to create a space that you would want to live in and would like so much that you wouldn’t feel like crap about getting bombed. Seriously.
The designers must show their individual styles and then blend them together. They will have a total of $6,000 to spend. The teams head out to the bunkers to assess the spaces. They will have 30 minutes of planning time. Some of the teams immediately click and seem to agree on everything. Others, not so much. Eddie and Andrea are already BFF’s and Wisit and Nathan are ready to shack up. They seem to be designing the bunker to be their very own love nest. Robert and Jennifer, on the other hand, can’t seem to agree on anything.
Natalie, the show’s sorority girl, tells us that if she was God, she’d make the end of the world (and, presumably, the reason they would need the bunkers to begin with) really crazy. Her vision includes China and giant transformers.
The thirty minutes of planning quickly ends and the teams head out for their shopping trips. They will have $3,000 to spend at the first store, which sells mainly furniture and larger furnishings. They then move on to Pier One, where they have $1,000 to spend. As Shazia takes Kerry on a race through Pier One, she declares that she wants to fill the bunker with candles. He worries that he’ll be sweating up a storm in that room.
Shopping time is quickly over and the designers return to the bunkers to get working. They have five and a half hours of work time Most of the teams begin their work by painting the space. Nathan and Wisit decide that Wisit will work on draping the fabric since he has experience. While Jennifer and Robert work on painting, Jennifer worries that the space won’t be very cohesive.
Eddie has begun painting faux branches on the wall: they plan to have a kind of tree of life on one wall of their room. Shazia works at scraping paint off the bricks of their bunker, bitching all the way. Kerry notes that, while Shazia does keep working, she complains about everything. Preston and Ondine work on their floor plan and decide on creating a little bit of privacy for each of them: there will be curtains they can pull to screen off their sleeping areas.
There’s a lot of painting and wallpapering and whining as the teams work to get as much done as possible on this first day. Natalie and Teresa look like they’re almost done. Andrea tells us she’s really learning from Eddie. Hey, did you know that Andrea is married to actor Rick Schroeder? It’s true. Jennifer worries about Robert’s idea of dividing their space in half. Since it’s already not very cohesive, she sarcastically suggests they draw a line down the center of the room.
Nathan looks at the lack of progress they’ve made and admits they haven’t gotten done as much as he had hoped. Many of the designers go to the loft and gather some of their own belongings to furnish the bunkers. Preston and Ondine grab so many things, it looks like they’re planning on moving into their bunker. Andrea and Eddie boast about being done already. Eddie smugly says he might just take a nap in the bunker while the other teams work to finish.
It’s day two and time for Todd to make his eleventh hour visit to the designers. He loves Eddie and Andrea’s space and quickly moves on. He cautions Jennifer and Robert about being too un-cohesive and turning the space into a dorm room. He wonders if Natalie and Teresa may have too many accessories and urges them to edit.
Because they’re done and fabulous, Eddie and Andrea decide to check out the competition. Eddie calls Jennifer and Robert’s design “tribal meets Cape Cod.” They think Natalie and Teresa created a fun space. Still, they don’t think any of the designers created spaces that look expensive.
Here Come the Judges
There’s a buzz throughout the bunkers as the judges begin to make their rounds. The first stop is Kerry and Shazia. Kerry explains that they decided on a clean, classic, spa-like feeling that would be open and airy and relaxing. When Margaret asks about the color palette, Shazia and Kerry tells her they agreed on it very quickly.
Jonathan immediately comments on the ceiling in Wisit and Nathan’s space: it feels like an open airy space. Kelly notes the one bed and inquires about the sleeping situation. The guys admit that they decided they would just get married and share the bed. If they ever fight, Nathan will be sleeping on the couch. Nathan admits their time management was bad, but is glad it all worked out. Natalie and Teresa welcome the judges to their Zen Den. They explain that they wanted a warm room, but also wanted cool colors on the wall. They think they created a room that, even if the bomb wasn’t coming, they would want to chillax in. Natalie then explains the etymology of the word “chillax,” like the viewers didn’t experience 1998.
Jennifer and Robert tell the judges that their bunker is a somewhat cohesive space.,,,and then they created their own individual spaces. Jennifer admits that she and Robert ended up doing something more divergent. Jonathan agrees, pointing to the divider running down the middle of the room.
Eddie and Andrea explain that they wanted to create a greenhouse instead of a bunker. They also added some personal touches like Andrea’s picture of herself with her husband, Rick Schroeder, but she doesn’t want anyone to know she’s married to him. That would probably be easier if she stopped toting that thing around everywhere with her. Next week she’ll start wearing it as a necklace.
Ondine and Preston tells the judges that their overall concept was clean, bright and airy. They also wanted his and hers private spaces. Ondine explains the idea board in her own area, saying she would want to write a book if she was stuck in a bunker. Jonathan asks who came up with the idea for the wicker storage baskets, which seem to be stuck on every vertical surface in the room. Ondine says the baskets were her idea.
The Good, The Bad and The Really Ugly
India congrats all of them: overall, the judges were impressed. Jonathan congratulates Wisit and Nathan on a great job. Margaret compliments the tented ceiling and so does Kelly. Jonathan notes the “marital bed” and calls is “j’adorable.” Gag. Is that going to be the new “fierce?” If so, I’d like to pass now. Jonathan compliments Eddie and Andrea on creating a fantastic, personal, cohesive and sophisticated space. Kelly says it was symmetrical and beautiful. India says she could spend 50 years in that space. The winners this week are Eddie and Andrea. Eddie tells us he loves working when Andrea and wants to be stuck in a bunker with her if the situation arises. Wisit and Nathan are also in.
Jonathan tells Natalie and Teresa that they really know how to style a room, although it might be a bit too full and too accessorized. The room is warm and lovely. They’re in as well. Jonathan tells Kerry and Shazia that their space was very functional and well-laid out, but a bit boring. Margaret urges them to shock the judges next time. In spite of the boring room, they’re in.
That leaves Preston and Ondine and Jennifer and Robert in the bottom two. Jonathan says that walking into Jennifer and Roberts space was a total buzz kill: he immediately noticed the division of space. Jennifer admits to their inability to agree and complains that Robert wouldn’t listen to her suggestions. Robert disagrees, saying they just have very different work processes. Kelly is sad to see that the design did not work out. She lectures them about how important teamwork is in the design world.
Margaret asks Preston and Ondine if they felt the design was cohesive: Preston says yes. He explains that they tried to make the space look realistic. Kelly says there were too many stories going on in the space and that took away from the overall aesthetic. Ondine says the baskets were an attempt at a creative storage solution. Preston claims they may not have won on style, but they won on functionality. It’s too bad this isn’t a show about functionality. Jonathan cites Eddie’s and Andrea’s space as an example of a design that was successful in both style and function.
The teams are dismissed for the judges to talk. Jonthan observes that Preston and Ondine weren’t styling the room: they seemed to be propping the room for a movie set. Kelly notes the random placement of fruit around the room and Jonathan voices his hatred of the wicker baskets. Kelly says Preston and Ondine are both to blame for the failure of the room.
Margaret thinks Robert and Jennifer were both capable of better, but their work in this challenge was just one mistake after another. Neither was successful and they both failed. Jonathan says he really wanted Jennifer to wow him with some unexpected gesture, but it didn’t happen. Margaret says that maybe Robert was more articulate about what he wanted. Kelly says they’re both to blame. They just didn’t pull it together and step up to the team challenge. Jonathan says there’s something petulant about doing their own spaces.
In the end, India tells the bottom two teams, Robert and Jennifer failed to address any of the tenets of good design. India delivers the death blow like a Stepford wife. They can’t live with Jennifer’s design….nor can they live in that horribly designed bunker, so Robert is out as well. Oooo! Super-special double elimination! Woot! Robert looks like a deer in headlights. He tells us he would have liked to have stuck around longer, but he’s okay and looking forward to moving on to the next thing in his life. Jennifer is disappointed she didn’t have the opportunity to show people what she can do. Well, actually she did have the opportunity, she just didn’t take advantage of it. Todd wishes Robert and Jennifer well as the other designers clap….mainly because they’re happy it’s someone else going home.
Next week: The clients for the challenge are former contestants of Project Runway, including Santino. There’s sure to be lots of drama and some hissy fits.