Did they live up to the challenge or will the homeowners be begging Soto to redesign the space? Host David Bromstad, the original Design Star, tasked the designers with making over spaces for real homeowners. Outdoors they wanted to extend the living space out back, beautify the massive concrete jungle and get some privacy from prying neighbor's eyes while still keeping the view. The Nitzkin's wanted a family friendly living room with easy-access storage to wrangle in their 4-year-old's toys. For the outdoor space, the family wanted an place to gather for entertaining and a relaxing retreat for the family to congregate on the weekend.
When designer Kris heard they like succulents, he went bananas saying, "You are gonna love me then because I'm like the king of succulents. We've all experienced a mini-meltdown while scoring some fab finds at Target (hello, remember the Missoni for Target launch last fall?), and Danielle and Miera duked it out in the aisles of Tar-jay while shopping for accessories. Rachel had a mad case of homesickness this week and was missing her daughter, especially when trying to showcase some accessories for the family's daughter during the TV challenge, but designwise the team created a fab entertainer's backyard with plenty of seating.
To even out the teams, the women get to annex a guy of their choosing.  Emily says they choose Dan for his construction skills and his ALL CAPS brand of NICE ENERGY! Both teams have to incorporate a clunky propane grill into their space—laughable, since according to the NYC Fire Department, it’s illegal to fire up one of these puppies on any balcony, terrace, or roof in New York City.  HGTV’s got some bills to pay with product placements though, so make room for the Grill Master! Damsels + Dan, from left: Nina Ferrer, Emily Henderson, Casey Noble, Dan Faires, and Stacey Cohen. This season of The Apprentice continues, opening this episode at the living quarters, where the top 6 from last episode kick back with adult bevs, speculating about who they think the judges will send home.  Cue the shock and awe as the returning contestants arrive and reveal the sad sack who doesn’t make the cut. CHALLENGE: Design a one-bedroom apartment based on outfits selected at Design Star’s first runway show, making sure that each individual team member’s fashion inspiration is incorporated into the overall design. The Dames are all given camera crews and charged with doing on-camera presentations of their losing apartment.  Which confuses the holy hell out of me.  If HGTV is looking for the next David Bromstad, shouldn’t the top 6 make videos to determine who the overall winner is?  Shouldn’t the winner(s) be groomed for their supposed future TV timeslot with more on-air time and hosting practice? About the basket of spilled-out fabric that somehow Emily is blamed for: “But Emily, c’mon.  That insane piece of fabric crawling out of that that sad, sorry basket?  A basket that people stuff extra toilet paper rolls in, in their guest bathroom?
Tera leans over and blows pint-sized Stacey under the bus, forcing Stacey to admit that she spent an entire day working on one chair.  VernBot doesn’t know from Lilly Pulitzer and gives wee Stacey a pass.  She doesn’t even rate bottom two!
Roll the videos and you have an approachable, telegenic Tera versus Nina, whose pinched expressions and Judge Judy delivery don’t put the “home” or “garden” into HGTV. The fact is, every designer I ever see on my teevee has some kind of fan base.  Even though last season’s winner, Antonio Ballatore, is incredibly polarizing among HGTV viewers, he’s able to stay in the game because of his loud and loyal following. Curious about the Redbook issue featuring the winning design?  Looks like it’ll run in the August 2010 issue. The White Room Challenge is a given on every season of Design Star.  Did you come prepared with ideas for this task?


Julie Khuu and Tom Vecchione team up to design a space for each other that reflects who their fellow contestants are as designers and as people.
Julie Khuu of Santa Ana, California shops at Pearl River Market in Chinatown for the first week's challenge on Design Star season 5. Absolutely, without a doubt!  I don’t know if it was something that was premeditated before the competition, but I definitely believe that in that moment, throwing him under the bus was deliberate.  I think she was definitely playing the game. Nina Ferrer and Courtland Bascon face Design Star judges Candice Olson, Genevieve Gorder and Vern Yip.
Trying to pack twelve rooms into one hour—it really went by so quickly.  I feel like we missed so much.  Was there anything that was left on the cutting room floor that you wished had been aired? Then Julie turned the tables and asked me how I liked the new format—which I have already yammered on about—and brought up an interesting point about former Design Star host, Clive Pearse.
I definitely was missing Clive.  In the instant that you go into these challenges, having someone to talk to who’s kind of on your side would’ve been nice.  It was really somber the minute you stepped into the studio during elimination! Thanks to my originally-a-client-now-a-dear-friend Kathryn, I am able to watch last night’s premiere of HGTV’s Design Star Season 5 without fear of blown breakers.
When asked, “What did you hate about this room?” Stacey replies, “There’s nothing.  I love what he did over the bed.
Courtland agrees in one of his confessional interviews, saying, “There was not one thing in that room that I did like, but I tried to do the nice thing (by not expressing that in front of the judges).”  Keeping that information to yourself will make your mama proud, Courtland, but it will piss off the judges in a New York minute. Poor Courtland is blindsided when Nina pops off with, “No, that’s definitely not my style.  I’m more bohemian chic,” in front of the judges. Crazy Tom Vecchione is wearing pin-striped suiting to paint his room in!  Could the producers not give these people two minutes to put on some paint-worthy attire?  Must these people work for free and ruin their wardrobes?
I’m not surprised to see Trent incorporate the nicest bed coverings out of all of the designers—he does his best to pull off the plush, comfy look his portfolio is chock full of. In a very Next Food Network Star (similar show on HGTV’s sister network) twist, the judges name their top six rooms and their bottom six rooms.  Those in the bottom are required to create a video walkthrough of their space, to help the judges determine who should be eliminated. And Dan?  Top 6??  My friend Kathryn asks me, “Does Dan’s room look good compared to Emily’s room?”  To which I say, Hell to the No.  Not even close. Emily’s video is a complete listing of everything she does wrong in the space.  She sort of turns it into a positive by pointing out things she would do differently, but we don’t need to know she plays it safe with the pendant light…when we like the pendant light. Next up: Julie Khuu dishes on who should’ve gone home instead of her, and whether or not Nina deliberately set Courtland up! Candice Olson (Judge)  The last thing I expected this stunning, refined, polished (albeit funny) woman to open up about…would be boobs.
Genevieve Gorder (Judge): Dear Genevieve chats about pretentious interior designers and shopping at discount stores.
The master bedroom Dan designed improved Gail's functional space, but was slightly lacking stylistically.


Fueled by curiosity, and a tad too much coffee, Melissa enjoys dissecting current trends for the modern woman. Paired off, each team was given a living room that opens up to a patio area, and the designers had to revamp both spaces.
The Mast's had a bohemian chic vibe going on, and here's what they wanted for the living room: a space to entertain, a sophisticated flea market feel and earth tones.
The homeowners are also gaga for chevron patterns, which should make for an exciting graphic outdoors. The outdoor wish list included: upgrading the patio overhang, a family entertaining space and plants and succulents in the yard.
I'm not afraid to pick up a cactus." His pop was a landscape professional, and Kris picked up some mad gardening skills along the way. Kris made these crazy-cool side tables by drilling holes in a wooden stump and planting succulents.
Did I miss the random drawing?  Was there some scene where VernBot’s huddled in a back room with the Candice and Genevieve ‘bots, calculating numerical algorithms to determine a winner? Losing team?  Dudes.  Bottom two?  How about bottom five?  The one to send home?  Trent’s shady flat-brim ball cap collection, which should not be allowed on the show in the first place. At least she’s not thrown into the old Design Star Elevator Cage of Doom.  Glad to see we’re rid of that and the awful “Your Show has been Cancelled” elimination phraseology. Dan pulls off a wonderfully polished look throughout the house and just shoots the Goldbergs’ property value well beyond the $50K budget for this challenge. Storage, a contemporary design with blue and gray colors (they dig the Scandinavian look) and gold accents.
Judge Genevieve Gorder was particularly impressed with Hilari's space planning and furniture selection.
Gorder said that finishing the fence with the wooden points made the design "way more dynamic," but her critique of the space was that it was lacking some color. Rachel's contribution of the kid's corner, however, had a less-than-stellar location next to the trash cans and, as Soto pointed out, "seems a little bizarre." We agree. The family wanted "flea-market chic" and Sabrina Soto said the design was "spot on." We loved Mikel's wall color selection and the gallery-style wall art. Also, keeping the gorgeous leather-tufted coffee table in the room was a great way to repurpose furniture the family already owned.



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