June 11, 2012

Meet the Design Star Designers

So I'm about two weeks late with this, but I didn't even know there was a new season of Design Star currently airing. Truth be told, I haven't much cared for the show since Mark Burnett took over. It's not as bad as what Bunim-Murray has done to Project Runway, but there seem to be more reality show machinations now. Anyway, let's meet - and by meet I mean judge - the contestants. I haven't seen any of the episodes yet, so I don't know who's already been eliminated*. All designer information is from the HGTV website.

Age: 37
Hometown: Abilene, Texas
Originally from Portland, Ore., Bex moved to Abilene, Texas to pursue her education at Abilene Christian University. After graduating with a B.S. in industrial technology, she opened her own retail home furnishings store where she discovered her passion for interiors. As a self-taught designer, Bex has undertaken a variety of design projects for commercial and residential clients, as well as corporate events. To Bex, design is a visual story that takes viewers on a journey. She describes her favorite design style as "art eco," which is an artistic, eco-friendly design using industrial materials, rich warm tones and clean lines. She used this look for one of her favorite projects — a restaurant design in San Francisco where she used 100 percent recycled materials.

Her outfit is entirely too costumey. I thought people were over the 50's by now. And while I'm not a big fan of Portland, Oregon, moving from Portland to Abilene, Texas, is a total downgrade. Why would someone do that? 

Bex's portfolio is pretty hit or miss.

These aren't too bad.

But these, yeesh. We get it; you live in Texas.

Age: 28 
Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz. 
Britany discovered her knack for design years ago when she and her sister redecorated Barbie’s dream home. After graduating from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in business and interior design, Britany launched her career by working for several design firms where she focused on residential flooring, cabinets, and kitchen and bath design. Today Britany is a designer and account executive at a home building retailer, as well as a photographer and home stager for her own design firm. When it comes to designing a space, Britany says, she loves the challenge of creating something fabulous on a budget. She describes her style as eclectic and edgy with touches of “glam-chic.”

Arizona State University? And what's that joke from Family Guy about pretty girls with cameras? I do like what she has to say about working on a budget (whether she actually means it or not is another story; I don't know any professional designer who enjoys a budget). Any idiot can decorate nicely if they have enough money; the true talent is in decorating when you have like no money.

I'm fairly certain everyone who has that Tom Ford book just bought it to put on their coffee table.

And there it is again, behind the roses.

I do like her design style, but it's not unlike things I see on Design Sponge and Apartment Therapy everyday by people who aren't designers. I've seen that zig-zag rug on AT at least 50 times. The yellow and gray pillow is from Target, so she is using budget-friendly items. But everyone should shop at Target regardless of how much money they have because Target is awesome. 

I like her use of the metal handles on the wood cabinets in the kitchen and how the modern lines juxtapose with the more traditional cabinetry. Ok, you've won this round Britany, but this ain't over.

Age: 36 
Hometown: Queens, N.Y.
Danielle, a former professional modern dancer, is now an interior designer in New York. After she earned a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from Stanford University and an associate's degree in interior design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in Los Angeles, Danielle opened her own design firm. As a self-described problem solver, Danielle believes she uses her open, friendly and quirky personality to connect with her clients. She characterizes her design style as global chic, classic modern and edited traditional.

Well, she's clearly a smarty pants and she dresses well, so she's not giving me a whole lot to make fun of, God damn it.

Her rooms are very nice and look like a professional designer's work. Danielle is clearly this season's Little Miss Perfect.

Age: 31
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Hilari says she discovered her passion for design as a child when she wanted to redo her bedroom every few months. After studying fashion merchandising and public relations at Howard University and getting on-the-job design training in retail establishments, restaurants, home stores and real estate firms, Hilari found her way to commercial and residential design. Today she is a mom, a self-employed contractor and an interior stylist who has completed dozens of design projects ranging from apartment lobbies to model homes and offices. Inspired by fashion and classic movies, Hilari says she loves reviving vintage looks and defines her style as an eclectic mix of ethnic modern and ornate glamour.

I'm guessing ornate glamor = tacky and chintzy. 

And I'm right. I like gold jewelry, clothing, shoes, nail polish, but gold furniture almost always looks, well...tacky. And I really like purple and gold together, but here it looks, well...chintzy.

These rooms are fine, but nothing that any other creative mom couldn't do.

Age: 40
Hometown: Venice, Calif.
Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Jordan moved to the United States 16 years ago to study interior design. After studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, he returned to Australia to take on his first project: redesigning his mother's beauty salon. Back in America, Jordan expanded his design horizons with projects such as restaurants, homes and apartments, as well as a homeless shelter. Inspired by designs from the '50s, '60s and '70s, Jordan says his favorite design styles are Hollywood regency, modern and art deco. Jordan, an entrepreneur with his own candle and furniture line, says he loves to push design boundaries by mixing unexpected patterns and bold colors that most people would never imagine.

I'm noticing that whoever wrote these blurbs for HGTV did not have a consistent way to abbreviate the state name. I would have gone with the standard CA, AZ, TX, NY, myself. Anyway, I instantly don't trust someone who has his own candle line. And I don't trust Australians because they're descended from criminals and retarded monkeys.

 Ok, this isn't bad, but nobody ever said criminals and retarded monkeys couldn't decorate.

Age: 34
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Originally from Ontario, Canada, Kris says he grew up knowing he was destined to be a designer. Since completing his master's degree in convergent media from the University of Texas, Kris opened his own design business and gained vast residential, commercial and hospitality design experience. Inspired by nature and art, Kris characterizes his favorite design style as eclectic, rustic modern and industrial baroque. With his self-described "contagious enthusiasm," Kris believes his motto of "risk equals reward" will help make him the next HGTV Design Star winner.

You're not riding your bike now, Kris, you can roll your pants back down. What exactly is "convergent media"? Also, "rustic modern"? "Industrial baroque"? I hate when people describe their style by putting two seemingly opposite design styles together so we'll think they're super creative. "Industrial baroque?! That's crazy!"


These are better.

Age: 36
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Luca says he knew he had a natural passion for design when, as a child, he would frequently rearrange his bedroom and draw on the walls. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in industrial design from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Luca kick-started his own firm by designing a golf course clubhouse, bars, restaurants and condos. Luca says he loves showing people the fun in design and describes his style as modern and eco-friendly. He uses the term "designology" to describe the fusion of two different styles to create a unique new design.

Luca's old enough to have hated his name.

And/or Suzanne Vega. 

I hate murals. They're always so cheesy.

I like the tufting, but the matchy-matchy bedding is a little too Bed-in-a-Bag.

Age: 64
Hometown: Delray Beach, Fla.
Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Miera says her love of art and drawing was first inspired by her father, who was an award-winning window dresser. After studying art at Calvin College and earning a real estate license, Miera worked as a receptionist in a home development sales office where she had the opportunity to join the in-house design firm. She later opened her own design firm, which she operated for 28 years, working on condos, high-end homes and coastal residences. Miera, who is an award-winning designer, now works as a residential interior designer and describes her favorite style as seaside coastal, transitional and eclectic.

Is Calvin College Calvinist? Because a Calvinist college is the last place I would go to to study art and design. Wait, do Calvinists still exist?

This is not my style, at all, but it looks professionally decorated. I don't know how well this Floridian style would transfer to other parts of the country, but it works well here.

Age: 32
Hometown: New York City, N.Y.
As a self-taught designer, Mikel has gone from a sales associate to a professional set designer and prop stylist for shows such as Glam Fairy and Jerseylicious. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in business from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Mikel pursued his dreams to design and stage restaurants, showrooms, residences and model homes. He says his favorite design styles are modern, transitional and midcentury. He also loves simple, commonsense design solutions. Mikel says he can visualize the full potential of any space, whether it requires repurposing furniture or adding wallpaper to a ceiling.

Glam Fairy and Jerseylicious? Oh I have to see this portfolio.

Wow, his TV set design work could not be more different than his residential work. If he'd combine the colorful fun of the TV sets and clean lines and sophistication of his residential work, I think his rooms would be a lot more interesting.

Age: 35
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minn.
Instead of joining the family motorcycle business, Rachel followed her passion for design, which she says began in the fourth grade while she was sketching fashion and interior designs for fun. In high school, she developed her natural talents by painting fabrics, sewing clothes and reupholstering chairs to sell to friends and family. Rachel has completed more than 50 home decor projects, 20 full remodels and 20 new-construction projects. Currently, Rachel is a mom who runs her own freelance design business and believes there are no limits with design. She characterizes her style as eclectic rustic, antique French and coastal beach house.

Unless you're Madeline Stowe playing fictional character Victoria Grayson, the bandage dress is over.

Put a bird on it!

I really have issues with these window treatments. The ones in the bedroom remind me of a casket and the ones in the nursery just look like bedsheets that are pinned back.

I also have issues with her pillows.

Age: 34
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Stanley says he can build anything he imagines. Graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from West Virginia University and a Master of Fine Arts from The State University of New York, Stanley discovered his love of interior design when landscape design and construction clients asked for his opinion about their home interiors. Stanley works as a construction project manager at a general contracting firm and describes his favorite design styles as minimalism, pop art and cubism. Stanley says his favorite project was the installation of a popular bar and restaurant in his college town — a space he transformed from a parking garage.

I wish whoever added these descriptions to the website had put "says" in italics, so it would sound really accusatory, like, "Stanley says he can build anything he imagines." And you have to read it in the voice of a political ad narrator. Anyway, this guy looks like Axe body spray.

Fucking performance art.

This guy was paid to decorate these rooms? Theme rooms are like the easiest thing to design, why would anyone pay to have it done?

Age: 43
Hometown: Bay Saint Louis, Miss.
A Mississippi native and a mother of four, Yuki unearthed her design abilities while working as a receptionist at a design/build firm. With a Bachelor of Arts in painting from the University of Missouri and a Bachelor of Arts in interior design from the University of Northern Iowa, Yuki is an interior designer, artist and retail store owner who has designed law offices, health care facilities, residences and commercial sites. Influenced by fashion and jewelry trends, Yuki says she loves mixing classic and modern styles in any home design project. She describes her personal style favorites as eclectic, Gothic Tudor and coastal casual.

She seems boring. That's really all I can say.

And her designs are boring. This is unsurprising.

* I looked up who's been eliminated. SPOILER ALERT: Boring Yuki was eliminated in the first episode and Jordan was eliminated in the second episode.


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