In the aftermath of Kerry’s elimination on last week's episode of Top Design, the designers discuss their performances in the last challenge. Preston is happy with the feedback he got from the judges and is feeling confident. He doesn’t have much experience with competitions: he’s usually only challenged by himself. Wisit claims to feel awful about Kerry’s elimination and says Kerry sacrificed himself so Wisit could stay. I’d say Wisit gave Kerry a little push off the ledge there. Wisit thinks Shazia should have gone home instead of Kerry and I have to agree with him. Shazia knows she’s up against it this week. She has to show the judges her design voice or she’ll be out.
Everyone files into the design studio that they never actually use. India arrives to tell them about their next challenge. This week, they’ll be working with clients who really need their help: bachelors. Shazia tells them that all bachelors are disgusting and gross, including her fiancé. Nathan is thrilled to hear they’ll be working with a single man: maybe he’ll be hot and Nathan can flirt with him.
The designers will be working in teams of three. They pick paint chips to determine the teams:
Bachelor Obi: Andrea, Teresa, Wisit
Bachelor Eddie: Nathan, Preston, Shazia
Bachelor James: Eddie, Natalie, Ondine.
Nathan takes one look at Bachelor Eddie and tells us he’s in love.
A Blank Canvas With a Giant TV
The budget for this week’s challenge is $10,000 and they will have a number or locations where they will shop. The teams will have 2 ½ days to complete their designs. Because the clients really want their apartments to be fabulous, the designers will have painters, wallpaper hangers, carpenters and seamstresses working for them. Eddie thanks the design gods for sparing him from ending up with Polish potato farmer hands from doing all that manual labor.
The apartments in question look just like you’d imagine: lots of white walls, big sofas and giant TVs….and not much else. Natalie and Ondine meet with their client, James. He wants darker colors in his apartment but, beyond that, he doesn’t seem to have an opinion beyond wanting it to look great and sophisticated. Really though, he just wants his apartment to be the design equivalent of Spanish fly. Yeah, I think the June 2007 issue of Martha Stewart Living had an article about that.
Obi is the producer of a web series and wants to be able to meet clients at his apartment. He asks for “Asian, modern, feng shui.” Bachelor Eddie is the polar opposite to his apartment. He looks very put together and his apartment is a mess, complete with a bookcase full of his smelly shoes right by the front door. Eddies says it adds color. He then tells his designers he wants his apartment to be simple, classic and conservative. Preston already know exactly what he wants to do with the space.
The teams will have 30 minutes to choose the paint, wall covering and fabrics for the apartments. Andrea and Wisit immediately take charge of the situation, leaving Teresa to follow along. Nathan knows he wants blues, grays and browns for their space. Preston definitely takes charge and immediately frustrates Shazia, who feels as if her voice isn’t being heard. I don’t think it’s that her voice isn’t being heard, it’s that no one WANTS to hear it. Preston and Shazia start bickering about the entertainment center situation, while Nathan plays Switzerland.
The shopping begins this week at Living Spaces, where the teams will have $3,000 and 30 minutes. The teams all work on finding larger furnishings like sofas, beds and cabinets. Shazia whines to the camera that Preston and Nathan are pushing her out as she chases them around the store. For the next stops, the teams split up and take on Cost Plus World Market and The Container Store.
Back at the apartments, the teams have 2 hours to work. They have to make plans for the painters and wallpaper hangers and meet with a carpenter. Nathan, Preston and Shazia meet with their carpenter and discuss the window treatments in their space. Preston suggests wooden dowels as curtain rods, but Shazia argues that they won’t be strong enough: wooden cornices would be sturdier. After a bit of arguing – Nathan and Preston think the cornices will take up too much of their carpenter’s time – Shazia wins and the carpenter agrees to build the cornices for three windows.
The next morning, the designers go shopping for furniture and accessories at several stores on La Brea. They have $2,000 and one hour: that leaves $200 for the Top Design showroom. At one of the stores, Eddie knocks into and breaks a super ugly vase, which costs $100. An employee is the store has the nerve to tell Eddie he needs to pay for the vase. Eddie, in full diva mode, tells him how ugly the vase is and then drops Saint Martha’s name. The feathers are about to fly when Ondine steps in to smooth things over.
Back at the apartments, the wallpaper and paint is finished. Todd Oldham shows up to check on the teams’ progress. He lives little tidbits of uber-helpful advice and then leaves. AT the end of the night, the apartments are still a mess.
It’s time for one last shopping trip: the designers head to the Top Design showroom. Instead of shopping, they find Jonathan Adler and Margaret Russell, who break the bad news: it’s time for another Pop Design challenge. A room isn’t finished until a sense of life is added, says Margaret. She directs the designers’ attention to a table loaded with flowers and various vases that they will use to create an arrangement. The winner of this challenge will have immunity from elimination. They will have 20 minutes to complete their designs.
There’s a flurry is activity – flowers fly, and so does the time. Shazia tells us that her experience as a florist and the fact that she’s been planning her wedding – this requires looking at a lot of floral arrangements - will give her an edge.
Jonathan and Margaret survey the work and then make their pronouncements. Their least favorites were Natalie – the scale was overwhelming and the colors, garish – and Preston, whose work failed on every level, including the fake rose petals he scattered on the table around his arrangement (he claims he didn’t realize they were fake until he arranged them).
Jonathan and Margaret name Nathan and Eddie as their favorites. Eddie’s work – frankly, it channeled Martha Stewart – was beautiful: from the flowers to the container, it was flawless. Nathan’s work was chic, restrained and pretty. The challenge winner this time is Nathan. Shazia stews and knows Nathan will throw her under the bus if their team is on the bottom this week. Hell, he’ll not only throw her under the bus, he’ll drive the bus.
What About Zoila?
With the challenge over, the teams head back to finish work on their apartments. They only have 4 hours left to complete everything and no one seems even close to finished. Time runs out and the judges come to review the designs. The judges for this challenge are Jonathan Adler, Margaret Russell, India Hicks and, special guest judge, Jeff Lewis from Bravo’s show Flipping Out. He’ll hate this gig, since it’s not all about him. Of course, he’ll probably find a way to make it about him.
First up are Ondine, Natalie and Eddie. India asks if there was a lot of furniture they couldn’t use. Eddie confirms that they only used the existing sofa. When they view the bedroom, Jeff asks about their level of collaboration, because the bedroom feels so different from the living room. Wisit says he channeled his inner masculinity. Dude, that has to be so far in, he’d need a mining crew and some dynamite. Jeff compliments the team: they spent the money in all the right places.
Jonathan takes one look at the drapes and cornice boards in Nathan, Shazia and Preston’s space and asks who’s responsible. Shazia takes credit for the idea. Margaret, who could freeze ice with just a look, makes it clear she’s not happy with the apartment: the other judges don’t look very happy either.
The judges leave to discuss the designs and the bachelors arrive to see their new apartments. Eddie – the bachelor, not the designer – loves the apartment, but isn’t crazy about the stripes they painted in the hallway. This from a guy who was storing his smelly shoes in his front room. Obi loves the changes Wisit, Andrea and Teresa made to his apartment. He’s so happy with what they did. James checks out his apartment and tells the designers he’s happy with what they have done, although he tells us he’ll probably be chucking the shoji screens off the balcony tomorrow. He does like what they did to his bedroom.
The Easiest Cut
The designers enter the judging room to find India and the other judges. India seems to have gone to the dark side. Literally. She has so much bronzer on she looks like a tanning bed accident. India congratulates the teams on completing another challenge. Jonathan says they all did impressive work, but one team was a definite favorite. The team with the top design this week is Andrea, Wisit and Teresa. Their bachelor was thrilled with his apartment: it was exactly what he wanted. Jeff compliments them: the space was warm, rich and beautiful.
Eddie Ondine and Natalie had great ideas, but their client didn’t like it. Ondine complains that their client didn’t give them much input. Jeff lectures that guys often aren’t good communicators, so their job as designers is to get into the client’s head and figure out what they want. Margaret thinks the screens would have been a great idea if the bachelors had been gay. Jeff bitchily asks if the show is called Top Design or Over the Top Design. ME-OW.
Jonathan tells Nathan, Shazia and Preston that, not only was their design not pretty, there were no surprises. Preston blames the fact that they attempted too many time consuming projects. Margaret agrees: those window valences were too ambitious. Margaret then asks who served as team leader. Shazia and Nathan all but step backward, leaving Preston swinging in the wind. Preston steps up and says he was the team leader. Margaret turns to Shazia: where was her voice? Shazia whines that she had to force her way in. Nathan quickly disagrees. He then tells the judges that Shazia called him an a*hole. Shaz counters, saying that Preston made comments about her ability to finish a project. Jeff seems scandalized that she actually thinks that’s worse than the a*hole comment. Shazia continues to complain and then tells the judges that if they want to eliminate someone who didn’t show their design talent, they should choose her. If they want to eliminate the person who’s to blame for the actual design today, they should choose Preston. This is like shooting ducks in a barrel…nay, a Dixie Cup.
The judges take a few minutes to debate what is probably the easiest decision they’ve ever made. Jeff says he hated Ondine’s decoupaged screens and the wallpaper. Margaret counters that the screens were brilliant: they just didn’t suit the client at all. Margaret thinks Eddie worked on the bedroom and his style shows. Jeff reiterates his hatred of the screens and, for him, it’s enough to send Ondine home. Man, he really must hate decoupage.
India asks who’s at fault for Nathan’s team’s failures. Jonathan says that Nathan and Preston had better design sense than Shazia. Jeff keeps bringing up the a*hole comment. Probably because it’s something he gets called a lot.
The designers face the judges to learn their fates, Eddie, Ondine and Natalie seriously mis-read their client: he was a dude and they didn’t get that. Still they had lots of good ideas. Nathan’s team was good in some areas but, overall, the design was incomplete. Because Nathan won the Pop Design challenge, he’s safe from elimination. It’s down to Preston and Shazia. Preston stepped up and took responsibility as the team leader, but Shazia made the challenge about her own goals instead of those of the team and the client. She did more hard than good with her contributions.
Shazia is finally put out of our misery. She thanks the judges for the opportunity and says she’s sad to leave. She felt she could have learned more. Clearly. She then talks about how there are only three careers for Pakistanis – lawyer, doctor, engineer (who knew?) and now she thinks she’s opened that up for people. Honey, it’s not like you won the Oscar or, you know, actually won the show.
Next Week: It’s a triathlon of design.