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Last week on Top Design Wisit, the Yodeling Designer was sent packing, much to my relief. If I had to suffer through one more faux aria, I was going to stab out my ears. As if just to torture me, this week’s episode begins with a little flashback to Wisit’s final vocal atrocity. It’s like a nightmare that never ends. Nathan, Wisit’s roomie, talks about Wisit’s elimination and how much he’ll miss him. I counted two beds in that room, just for the record. Nathan, typically, is shocked that he didn’t win the last challenge. Of course, as you may remember (and Nathan was only too quick to point out), challenge winner Eddie did use the materials that Nathan chose before they switched rooms in the challenge.
Meanwhile, Andrea is missing her family, including her husband, The Actor Ricky Schroder. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? Andrea tells us that each of her kids wrote her letters for her to read while she was away from them. Preston is sure his friends will be proud of what he’s accomplished so far, but he only really cares about his mom’s opinion. He knows the judges will be expecting more from everyone now that they’re down to the final six.
Blood Spatter and Swedish Furniture
The designers meet host India Hicks and Margaret Russell in the design studio to learn about their next challenge. They’re in the home stretch, India tells them, and this will be their toughest challenge yet. This week, they will be traveling in a time machine to the year 2108 and designing the room of the future. It’s another individual challenge and Ondine already feels overwhelmed. Still, she welcomes the chance to show the judges what she can do.
The designers will be starting out with raw, three-walled spaces where anything goes. They will have 45 minutes to meet with their carpenters and plans the room before going shopping. They will have two and a half days to finish the room.
Eddie decides he will design the lobby for a cloning agency, while Andrea decides on portable pod housing. Because she could get the axe at any time, she decides she’ll do an all pink room this time. Ondine wants her space to be modern and feature a fireplace that will be a cooling fireplace to reflect global warming. So, what? There’ll be ice in her fireplace? Natalie keeps thinking about the Jetsons and round forms. Preston decides on creating both dining and living spaces in a modern hotel traveling through space. He wants it to look tailored and sophisticated. Nathan is looking at creating bold strokes of design amid dark almost black, walls.
The carpenters head to the hardware store, while the designers go to JoAnn Fabric. Wow. Project Runway gets Mood Fabrics and these people have to go to JoAnn’s? Man, talk about low rent. Of course, Eddie snobs out and whines about not being able to find anything good and even though I hate to admit it, he’s a little right. I never find anything good there either.
After a stop at Modernica to shop for reproductions of iconic 20th century piece, the designers return to the design space and quickly begin painting. Eddie is splattering red paint all over his walls. It looks like a set from Dexter. He keeps talking about taking inspiration from American Psycho, which is troubling for anyone who’s read the book. Natalie, on the other hand, is painting her walls bright orange. It looks like a 1970’s Howard Johnson’s. All that’s missing is the naugahyde. Meanwhile, Nathan is painting his room black. It’s like he’s channeling his inner 14-year old Goth. Nathan notices that Preston is also painting his space black. Immediately, Nathan doesn’t want to do black and calls Preston a one-upper.
Everyone heads off to Ikea to get everything else they might need for their room. Yay! I love Ikea! Forget Disneyland, Ikea is the Happiest Place on Earth! Where else can you buy a couch for $100 and have Swedish meatballs too? Ondine knows one hour isn’t enough to spend at Ikea. I agree. One day isn’t enough. Clearly, the stress over time has caused Ondine to lose her friggin’ mind. She immediately drops the tag for the sofa she chose and now she can’t remember which one it is. Then, she finds out the table she chose is out of stock. Ondine concludes that her future is very sparse.
There are only six more hours in the designing day and the carpenters have been hard at work. Natalie surveys her space – mirrored rainbow walls and a platform in the middle – and wonders if it doesn’t look a little like a strip club. Eddie offers to give her cash as she straddles a makeshift pole. Classy.
This has become my favorite part of every episode. It’s the time when Todd Oldham magically appears to dispense knowledge and helpful advice. Seriously, forget Tim Gunn (and this is coming from a person who thinks he’s the bee’s knees), they need to give Todd his own show! Todd finds it interesting that the designers seem to be divided between optimism and pessimism about the future. Todd isn’t on the show nearly enough.
With only 3 hours left for the designers to finish their rooms, India shows up to throw a wrench in everyone’s plans. It’s time for another Pop Design Challenge. She asks the designers to meet her in the design studio. A frustrated Andrea is still trying to assemble a light fixture that looks like it came in about 800 pieces.
Instead of being an actual design challenge, this time, the designers will get a sort of pop quiz. Jonathan will ask them a series of questions to test their design knowledge. The last person standing will receive immunity. Here’s the challenge in a nutshell: in each round they will be shown two pictures and will have to choose which of the two is an original piece and which is a knockoff. Eddie and Andrea are out in the second round, with Nathan and Ondine following in the third round. The final two are Ondine and Nathan, who are presented with four actual lamps. All four were purchased in Los Angeles in the last 4 days. The designers will have to judge which of the four is the most expensive. Ondine surveys the choices narrows it down to two possibilities: the first is a Jonathan Adler design, while the second is clearly a vintage lamp. The winner of the challenge is Nathan, who correctly chose the vintage lamp – at $1,200 – as the more expensive of the two. For the record, Jonathan tells the designers, his map sells for $395 and is worth every penny, thankyouverymuch. Once again, Nathan has immunity. The other designers are thrilled over his success [/sarcasm]
With the challenge over, the designers rush back to finish their rooms. Now they don’t have 3 hours, they only have one hour to complete their designs. Andrea manages to whomp into her 800 piece lamp and groans as it falls apart. She decides to leave it out of the room and says she feels like her design is falling apart. She stumbles about, spilling things and moaning. Surprisingly, Eddie actually helps her.
Nothing Says “Future” More Than Crockery and Dryer Hoses
It’s elimination day and Andrea is sure she’s going home. With only 90 minutes until judging, everyone is feeling the pressure. Eddie is simply in love with his cloning center and wishes he could clone himself. He just can’t get enough of himself. Yeah, that’d be a great reality show concept. It’d be even more annoying than Britney & Kevin: Chaotic. Riveting TV. While Eddie waxes rhapsodic about, well, himself, Preston and his wife beater are working to finish his room. Natalie declares herself happy with her room, especially since it doesn’t look like a strip club….too much. Eddie must have fallen on his head since last week, because he actually offers to help Andrea finish her room. As a reward for that help, Ondine walks by Eddie’s space and knocks over a can of varnish that splatters into Eddie’s room.
Time’s up and the judges appear to review the rooms. Kelly is in fine costume tonight, sporting a giant, green turban. Maybe she’s going to read some tarot cards later.
Natalie’s room is up first. She explains to the judges that she envisioned a space with various zones – kitchen, living room, etc. – that would move up and down on hydraulics. Ondine’s grey room comes from a dark place: there’s a lot of light in the room because there’s no daylight in her future. That explains the “daylight simulator” in her climate controlled room. Ondine explains that she didn’t use wood in her room because, in her future, there is also no wood. Boy, check our Miss Mary Sunshine. I’m ready to jump off a building.
Welcome to Eddie’s Golden Clone foyer! We get shots of the gold dryer hose he’s mounted above the fireplace. He thinks the room looks expensive. The golden hose is supposed to be DNA. It’s likely Eddie failed Biology. Nathan explains that his room is a modern living room for a bachelor. The back wall of his room is covered in “galactic bubbles,” aka plates glued to the wall. He’s also hung plates on the wall in display boxes that resemble crates.
Andrea tried to blend modernity with a natural and earthy feel. It’s just “meh” for me. Too much pink. Otherwise, it looks like every other room she’s done. Preston created a virtual traveling hotel room. The white dining space is divided from the dark living room by a lighted wall. The red dining room chairs really set off the look.
When the designers all gather to face the judges, India compliments them all: their rooms had an authoritative edge and showed creative exploration. Before they name a winner, says Jonathan, the judges want to ask all the designers some questions. Kelly begins the interrogation with Nathan. She wonders if he didn’t use too many accessories in his room. Nathan agrees and then admits he wasn’t sure how to edit the room. Margaret found Nathan’s design interesting, but didn’t see “future” in it.
Margaret thinks Ondine had some big ideas, but had some trouble making sure they came to fruition. Kelly asks Ondine about the fireplace and why it was a focal point. Ondine explains that she wanted to take a traditional room and make it futuristic. She did this by making the fireplace function in a different way. Margaret thinks the four fans on the fireplace wall look like the back of a NYC bus.
Jonathan calls Eddie’s work this week a total departure. He loved the traditional references in Eddie’s design, but thinks the color scheme hurt the room: on a taste level, the red didn’t cut it. Kelly loves the gold dryer hoses, aka “art” above the fireplace. She calls the room “Granny Gone Wild.” Margaret loves Natalie’s theme, but thinks she fell short in the execution department. She had some fun ideas, but they didn’t come across in terms of the finished product.
While Jonathan loved Andrea’s modular building solution, the room still felt like a room of today. Kelly agrees that it would have been better if the space looked more futuristic. Margaret says the table and the light fixture were just too big. Andrea explains that the lamp she bought at Ikea completely fell apart. Jonathan tells her the focal area felt like a void without that lamp.
The designers leave so the judges can discuss the challenge. India thinks all of the designers showed creative edge. Margaret was disappointed in Natalie’s room: she was big on ideas, but bad on execution. Jonathan says Natalie is talented, but still green.
India wonders if Andrea is in the same league as the other designers. Jonathan says Andrea did address the idea of building in the future with her pod idea. India thinks it might have been a lazy solution and then talks about Andrea’s classic “twee sensibility.” MEEE-OW. Margaret thinks Andrea is trying hard, but she’s not there yet.
Jonathan is sympathetic to the various problems the designers had, but points out Preston’s perfectly finished room. He then brings up the fact that Eddie doesn’t seem to be able to take criticism from anyone. Margaret disagrees, saying Eddie does listen to the judges.
Jonathan thinks Ondine’s room definitely created a mood, but it lacks polish and execution. Kelly thinks Nathan succeeded with a big idea. She loves the plates on the back wall and the sculptures he used. Margaret agrees that the plates were a great idea, but doesn’t like the other plates that he put into the little wooden crates. She also doesn’t like the yarn topiaries. India comments that Nathan is digging deep and showing them his creativity. Jonathan thinks Nathan comes closer to executing his big ideas than the other designers.
When the judges return to the judging room, they are all congratulated on their creative work. The winner this week is Preston. Nathan and Eddie look like they want to commit a homicide. Still, Nathan and Eddie are safe, so they can leave. It’s an all-girl bottom three this week. Natalie’s sci-fi concept had potential, but she didn’t quite fulfill that potential. Andrea had some great ideas, but relied on her traditional style. Ondine had a big vision and the design had wonderful moments, but the room never quite came together.
This week, experience (or at least age) wins out and it’s Natalie’s time to go. Ondine looks stricken. Natalie thanks everyone for the experience and says she’s learned a lot. Now that she’s leaving, Natalie is pretty sad. She says goodbye to the other designers and Todd and then tells them all that this is just the beginning of her career as a designer. Natalie tells us she knows her future will be amazing.
Next week: Nathan swears a lot. Again. Eddie is maniacal and braggy and someone tells the judges they want to go home.