Last week on Top Design, Teresa went home. This would be more upsetting if we’d ever gotten know Teresa as a person or as a designer. Now we’re down to the top seven. Eddie is still bitter over Nathan’s big Design Triathlon win last week. He then invokes the name of St. Martha and boasts that he’s still successful without winning that challenge. Natalie and Andrea both know they have to work to show the judges they deserve to be there. Andre vows to step outside of her box and work harder, even though she knows many of the other designers have formal training and she doesn’t.
It’s already time for another challenge and the designers head off to meet India. India appears with guest judge Danny Seo, who is some sort of lifestyle authority on modern eco-design. Apparently, he’s also on the Today Show. Nathan is immediately excited about the challenge. This week, they’ll be redesigning offices for an environmental consulting firm. The goal with this challenge is to reuse and recycle everything. They must use all items found in their assigned space. They will be using eco-friendly paint and fabric remnants and shopping at a special eco products area of the Top Design Showroom. Each designer will have their own client and will redecorate one room.
Each of the designers meets with their new clients to discuss the design. At the end of the brief meetings, the designers are given keys to the spaces they’ll be working on. They will now have 45 minutes to shop. They can buy up to 50 pounds of fabric at $2 per pound. All of the fabric is remnants. In the store, Eddie bitches about how icky the fabrics are. “Ewe ew ew ew” he whines like a 14-year old at a Neil Diamond concert. I want to smack him. With the fabric shopping done, the designers head over to the Top Design Showroom to buy any remaining items they need.
Shopping time is over and India asks the designers to come meet with her. Most of them think this means they will be having one of the dreaded Pop Design challenges and no one is happy about it. India wonders if they will be able to handle just a bit more pressure and then asks them to take out the keys the clients gave them this morning. She then instructs them to pass those keys to the person on their right. These keys represent the spaces they will now be designing. They will be inheriting the decisions the other designer made about the space.
The designers will have only one hour to see their newly-assigned spaces. Ondine is now designing Wisit’s old space. The client asked for a masculine space which, in Wisit’s world, involved sage green and cream. It’s like a regular sports bar up in there. Wisit gets Natalie’s space and is already not sure how to make it work. Natalie will be designing Andrea’s reception space and she’s already uncomfortable since she and Andrea have very different taste. Andrea gets Eddie’s space, which is much smaller than the reception space she began with. She’s alarmed to find that the client wanted an all-blue space – blue paint, blue fabric, the works. It’s going to look like a smurf exploded.
Eddie is assigned Nathan’s space. He’s thrilled since he thinks Nathan is a good designer. Nathan gets Preston’s room and, while he’s happy about Preston’s choices, he also says they’re nothing new. Nathan says he wants to space to look modern and artistic. Preston is immediately worried by the fact that Ondine’s room, which he’s now working on, is much bigger than his original space.
The carpenters and seamstresses arrive to meet with the designers. Wisit has already decided to edit out some of the fabrics Natalie chose. The carpenters and the painters work all night and the designers arrive in the morning to take stock of what still needs to be done. It’s elimination day and Preston is feeling confident. Nathan is actually excited about the challenge and thinks it will bring out everyone’s creativity. Wisit tells us he’s decided not to have a lot of reconstructed furniture: he just refuses to take apart any of the furniture. Yes, much better to leave the hideous old furniture than try to turn it into something attractive and functional. Good decision.
Ondine is completely frustrated with the fabrics Wisit chose, but says she’ll do her best. She begins her green efforts by creating a chandelier from empty water bottles. Meanwhile, Andrea is stressing out over the blue walls she has to work with. She knows Eddie doesn’t want to help her, so she’s on her own.
With five hours to go until the judges arrive, Todd appears to dole out sage design advice. He really should have his own show: 5 minutes of Todd is just not enough.
The clients appear to review the designers’ work. Every one of the clients looks completely alarmed. Some hide is better than others and pretend to be pleased with the designs. Natalie’s client asks for recycling bins, which she says she can easily make out of left over MDF. Wisit tells us he hopes the judges appreciate that he created an elegant space, instead of one that was overly made up and gimmicky. Yeah, I wouldn’t hold your breath, Ace. Nathan thinks Eddie did a great job with his ideas. Elsewhere, Andrea asks for Eddie’s input, which he pretty much refuses to give: he doesn’t want to put his name on crap. MEEE-OW. Natalie takes a look at what Wisit has done with the materials she chose and says the space just isn’t working: Emily (the client) said she liked bright colors, but Wisit isn’t using any of the brightly-colored fabrics Natalie chose for her.
Time’s up and here come the judges to survey the damage. Eddie tells the judges he took Nathan’s concept and pushed it to the next level. He points out the carpet padding that he made into a wall board and the wooden boards he used for the lighting fixtures. Eddie admits Nathan’s ideas are completely different from what he would have done, but thinks he did a great job with what he was given. Natalie didn’t change Andrea’s basic floor plan, but did change a few things. When questioned, she tells the judges she likes the color scheme she had to work with.
While Wisit’s client asked for a room that is colorful and bold, he decided to give her something calm and relaxing. He says he gave the client an open, modern and elegant space. His “green effort” in the room was not to waste the materials he had. Ondine admits that the client wanted a masculine room and she worked hard to give it to him, in spite of the materials Wisit chose. Jonathan gives her props for the water bottle chandelier. When asked if she was happy with Wisit’s choices, Ondine admits she was confused as to his definition of “masculine.” So are we all, honey.
Nathan tells the judges he tried to add color to the space without taking away from the masculinity the client asked for. His strongest green effort was taking the rod inside the bolt of fabric and using it as a curtain rod. Preston says the concept for his conference room was the same as his original office space: clean, classic and tailored. His top three green efforts were using the existing desks to create a conference table, painting and reusing the bookshelves and using two trash cans as a recycling bin and a regular trash can. Andrea tells the judges she took Eddie’s colors, but gave her own take on it. She then says “like” about 800 times while Jonathan looks puzzled. She does manage to explain that, while the client wanted his desk in front of the window, she chose to arrange the office in a way that was more logical and efficient.
Before meeting with the designers, the judges discuss the challenge. They agree it was a tough challenge because, not only did the designers have to go green, they were forced to switch design spaces. Danny Seo thinks the green challenge was a great one. Jonathan says Andrea had the biggest switch because she was forced to work with color. Margaret loved that Andrea made a change to what the client wanted with respect to the positioning of his desk. Danny praises Ondine’s water bottle light fixture. Jonathan says Preston’s room shows that he knows how to edit and lay out a space in a restrained, but strong way. Danny does complain about Preston’s miniscule recycling bins, but all of the judges compliment Preston’s bookshelves.
Jonathan thinks Wisit has lots of potential, but he just gave up on this challenge. Margaret notes what Natalie has regressed to her unsophisticated style and Jonathan agrees: her taste level isn’t where it should be. The judges all agree that they love the fact that Eddie repurposed so many more items than the other designers.
The designers enter the judging room where India congratulates them about the work they did in the challenge this week. Jonathan was impressed with how the show went green this week, but says there were three designers who most impressed the judges. The top three designers this week were Nathan, Preston and Eddie. Margaret praises Nathan’s industrial chic style. She loved Preston for being resourceful and calls his space “chic.” She also compliments the way he turned the bookcase into an attractive and useful space. Danny loved the way Eddie used the carpet padding on the walls and Margaret is happy he really took the challenge to heart. This week’s challenge winner is Eddie. The top three designers are safe and can lave the room. Nathan gloats that Eddie won the challenge using the products that he chose. Andrea and Ondine are also safe this week.
The bottom two designers this week are Wisit and Natalie. Wisit tells the judges that some of Natalie’s fabric choices weren’t to his taste, but he tried to make them work. Margaret thinks Wisit was flummoxed (really, she said “flummoxed”) by the challenge that, fundamentally, was about creativity. She wonders if he isn’t a one trick pony. Jonathan thinks Wisit’s design was bland and says he should have used some of Natalie’s fabric choices.
Natalie tells the judges she tried to please the clients with the choices she was given. Danny tells her the MDF she used for the recycling bins isn’t the greenest material she could have used. She could have used the wood from the fabric-covered all panels to build the bins. Margaret thinks the most memorable part of the room were the fabric panels on the walls and the throw pillows. Unfortunately, those are qualities more closely associated with a condo, not an office.
The judges excuse the designers so they can discuss the elimination. In summary, The judges decide Wisit couldn’t adapt to change and Natalie was too immature and didn’t go green in a good way.
Natalie and Wisit return to learn the judges’ decision. The judges feel Wisit has incredible taste and a brilliant frame of reference, but he really fell down on this challenge. Natalie might be young, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for a lack of sophistication. In the end, Wisit is given the boot. Huzzah! He rolls out the usual baby talk and giggles as he – I presume – thanks the judges and says goodbye. I can’t stand the sound of his voice, so I muted most of it. I did hear the part where he actually voiced his surprise over being eliminated: he thought his work on this challenge was brilliant. Then, and I must find the name and address of the producer who thought this was a good idea so I can send them hate mail, Wisit sings a song in that horrid castrati voice of his. I may be emotionally scarred from the experience.
Next Week: The designers will face their toughest challenge yet where they have to design some bizarre thing that causes them to break stuff and swear.