Sunday, June 15, 2008

design star 3: premiere

I love interior design, more than I think my friends understand. I light up around certain colors, and I swoon over furniture. I have a palette that I love (browns/tans and other neutrals, light blues, soft greens, black, cremes - very earthy and natural), and I love natural lighting and built-in bookcases. My style is predictably traditional, and perhaps it is my special palette and specific style that limits me from understanding some of the designs from decorators on HGTV, namely those from Design Star, Season 3. I understand that the rules are different for them because they're contestants, competing for a prize and being judged along the way. In thinking of their designs, they have to think, "Is this too similar from my previous design? Will the judges be wowed by this? Is this design too safe?" And then it's no longer about how the design looks, but about how it fits into some mathematical equation... Worked well with others + Exciting color + Great use of space + Unlike anything ever seen before = Win! But... I really dislike the color yellow and don't think it should be used for anything but accent colors. I dislike how unlivable some of the designs are (end tables and night stands without storage???). So... here is my critique of the premiere of Design Star 3, where the nine designers had to decorate their living space. I don't know (or care) about their names at this point, so I'm dividing my critique by challenge.

Living Room: Loved the wall color! It was a dark royal purplish (purple-ish?) blue that really popped off the wall, which is important because it is an older colonial style home with built-in shelves on either side of a large white fireplace. It even had white crown moulding. The designers were smart with the color palette, but I hated the zebra rug and I felt like it was lacking art. The built-ins were styled well (metallic backing that really glimmered beneath the inset lighting), but the room was pretty much furniture and wall color. No interesting accents, nothing to draw your eye to.

Dining Room: They painted the most beautiful natural wood table! It looked like it came from a single tree, and they painted it! No. Unforgivable. I hated the dark grey/blackish walls, but I admit the color palette worked well. Dark greys and golds and silver... a hint of brown in natural wood stools, which I don't think fit in with the actual design. But the gold artwork and gold place settings were well matched, as were the gold floral drapes. It was an elegant design. Not necessarily my taste, but I understood and appreciated the overall concept.

Ahh, the perfect bedroom. Design by Pottery Barn.

Bedroom #1: The walls are orange. Orange, for those of you that don't know, is a color that induces hunger (which is why a lot of restaurants have reddish-orange walls). It is also a color that makes people conversational, but you're not supposed to talk in a bedroom. In my opinion, bedrooms, above all other rooms, should be neutral, natural, and earthy (basically, my palette of tans, blues, and greens). Cool colors, soft colors. Calm colors. Relaxing colors. Not orange. The bedding also looked like 70s tie-dye gone wrong (which assumes that tie-dye can be done correctly), and putting two of the twin beds toe-to-toe to save space COULD have worked, had the designer (just the one guy) put a separation between the two beds. But no, he made the two beds into one ginormous daybed. Most importantly - and I really don't understand this at all - there was NO ART. None. No paintings, no plants, no candles. There are just no words for that type of omission. Needless to say, this designer went home. [Side note: I don't understand how, with nine designers, this guy did a bedroom with four beds all by himself. The designers have to LIVE in this space, and FOUR designers worked on the living room and sunroom. I would never let someone else design the most personal space all by himself. Because when that happens, he forgets art and paints the wall orange.)

Bedroom #2: Five beds, one room... that doesn't fit five beds. One of the designers (of two) conceived and then constructed a four-poster bed comprised of four mini-twin beds inside it. The reason why THIS worked and the extra long daybed (see above) did not work is because this four-poster bed had separations. There were half walls between the beds without closing off the space. It was not claustrophobic and the colors were fantastic. They were soft and calm blues and tans. However, I did not like that the fifth bed had to be put on the top (does someone actually have to sleep up there?), and the bed did not have night stands. I am a big believer in night stands. You put your glasses there, or the book you read before going to sleep (assuming people still read anymore), or your, I don't know, alarm clock (!!!). This room was not complete to me because, again, the walls were bare, but the constructed bed itself worked as art in the room. It was minimalist and simple, and I appreciated that. But no night stands?

(This is NOT the sunroom from the show. It's a design by David Jimenez.)

Sunroom: Umm, brown walls? The whole point of a sunroom is to capture light, to make you feel like you're not enclosed in a room. I don't like the idea of brown for a wall color regardless; it makes rooms look smaller. Also, the layout was horrific. There was a seating area, but the table was hardly a foot in diameter (not large enough to play cards, set drinks on, or even rest your feet on), and two of the chairs weren't able to experience the view of the backyard. It was completely separate from the other half of the room, where a pool table sat by its lonesome, without any seating or art to befriend it. (Yes, furniture and art must be friends for a space to work.) There was nothing I liked about this room.

P.S. I really don't like designers (fashion or interior or otherwise) who don't take responsibility for their actions. They'll take responsibility for their work, but not their actions, and then they say the dreaded phrase, "Well, I just feel like..." And then they complain about someone else. It's annoying, you look bad for doing it, and you're not twelve years old anymore.

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