Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Episode 8, re-cap

Alright.  Dining room repurposing challenge.

So we woke up and got the call from Vern that we were to go to brunch.  hmm.... strange, but ok. i do love brunch almost as much as 'linner' or 'dunch'.   (I also love ligers and tigons a little too much)  I'm into being out and being served food, but wary - i'm no dummy.  The food was delicious, and eating in front of 6 cameras and 20 production members and trying to 'act natural' was strange and surreal to say the least.    (i suppose the housewives get used to it, b/c its weird)

So we finish the four courses and Vern Yip rolls in and steals our buzz.  It's wasn't just an innocent brunch with 6 of our closest producers standing around, It was also part of our challenge.  We kinda figured - four courses, four of us and cameras everywhere - this wasn't Intelligent Star (thank god), but we were smart enough to figure out something was up.  Michael and I are teamed up.  We totally got each other, we had fun and trusted eachother, taste-wise.  

We got into the space and my little brain started a- thinkin'.   

I loved the creativity that this challenged forced.  For a lot of the other challenges we had pretty pieces of furniture that ultimately go back to the store, so obviously we couldn't paint them or deconstruct them.  And for this one, we could go nuts, all Martha Stewart style. 

As far as our plan:
Michael and I felt that our food was similar in a couple senses:
They both have bursts of flavors, brightness, lots of textures and acidity.  Yep. I'm well aware of how weird and frankly idiotic that sounds, but i didn't embrace the 'garlic' challenge at all and I almost went home, so look at me now, getting all 'huevos rancheros' on you.

So this is what we came up with:
Bright acidy colors - greens and yellows, but grounding it with light grey and accenting with charcoal, black and white.  While this isn't what I would do in my home, I channeled my two years working for Jonathan Adler and we kinda envisioned this:  (left JA, right Kelly Wearstler)
Uh, i think they would've won this challenge, but with more time....

We painted the walls a light grey (BM grey owl, i think) and the ceiling  a bright green.  It's not that nuts, i promise. There just wasn't enough art or a rug, so the balance was off  (i'll get to that).  
unlike these:

Then we painted the armoire and the wingback a charcoal grey (yes, we painted upholstery, and while it will probably flake off eventually, it looked great).  We painted the chairs out a high gloss white and reupholstered the seats in gold faux bois fabric.  
(all our fabric was from  Zarins)

I spray mounted the inside of the armoire with the forest fabric, and while I wish i had time to style it (i actually just placed the stuff in and never had the chance to arrange them at all) I think that it is cute. I'm well aware of how trendy it is, but Its good to show the judges that you understand trends too, and it definitely reads bigger than all my subtle styling moments throughout the competition.  

By the way, i know there is a big war out there on the blogosphere of when to paint out furniture and when not too. My opinion? if its crappy wood and less than 30 years old, you can paint it. But if its antique, hand-built and hardwood? Good god just restore it. Add new hardware maybe, and a less glossy varnish.  So many pieces of beautiful antique furniture are stripped of whats so great about them when diy-ers paint them, stencil them, whatever.  Its like trying to make an 85 year old woman look like Christina Aguilera - the more you try to cover up the age, try to make her look young, hip and shiny, the more ridiculous she'll look.  Just help her be her age and pretty - a blow out and some lip stain.  that's all she needs.

Just my opinion, since you asked.  er, since you're here.


If you've read my blog enough you might be aware of my serious obsession with flowers, so I gravitated to those plastic things pretty fast. I built this rectangular shade out of pine furring strips and nails, which was actually super annoying to build and took a couple hours -  a la Faulty Towers.  Then covered it with drop cloth, and adhered the plastic flowers with a glue gun.  I still love the concept, but the prototype needed some work.  If it was porcelain like this:

only on this:

i might buy it.  

Instead it was like this:

eh?  its the thought.

I sewed the drapes, and YES! i wish i had not tied them like that, I don't know what I was thinking.  
the table was styled with some painted black and white plates - but we needed height, and I wish i had made napkins out of the green fabric.  I like the wingback chair and mix of chairs/bench around the table, mucho.

But the room is off balance a bit.  
The ceiling was heavy, and we have very few things for the walls/floor.  We were desperate for a rug so i started to paint the existing terrible one, but it just soaked up the paint and was a total disaster.  I wish granny had a black and white greek key like this:

or maybe that's too hollywood regency themed.  Maybe more like this:

That one is from Mansour Modern, one of the best rug stores in the world, especially if you are a bazillionaire, because she ain't cheap.  Thank god i'm a bazillionaire.

So here is our final space:
Disregarding my bad art on the wall (weird doily mistake) there is nothing in here that I didn't like.  That being said, I wish there was a lot more going on - we needed lot of artwork (and a rug, obviously).  If we had 5 more hours it could've been a really great space - it just needed life. To contrast with the high gloss, we put burlap on the table (which commenters online are hating) and I think it created a nice texture juxtaposition.  and i say things like 'texture juxtaposition' now.  weird

That's my story.  

Courtland is out.  His sconces were awesome and totally inspired. He will be missed.  But he lives in LA, so i think that's not the end of him on TV.  While, sure, we have kinda different hosting and design styles (not sure you could call my hosting a 'style') he has a definite huge audience.  And I would be one of them.  


Next Week?
 2 words I never thought I would be so happy to hear.  


  1. Hey Emily,

    Not tryin to be hater, but this was the first episode I actually liked. Loved that your style came out! The chandee was pretty cool in my mind and I like the black accents (including window!)

    Excited for next week. Individual should be much more interesting!

  2. Where to start? One, I LOVED the curtains, the ceiling and the thought of the shade. I could totally see what you were trying to accomplish.

    It is a shame that so much time goes into projects that never make it on the show. Ugh!

    I was only a little surprised to see Courtland go (come on, his thing is color. HGTV already has a hot guy that does a show on color.) But that doesnt mean I wasn't disappointed. Michael hasn't shown any serious design chops and I REALLY HATE his hosting style.

    That said, I'm crossing my fingers for ya, girl friend.

    Have I mentioned I love your writing style? Love the flow, the train of thought. Awesome blossom! Keep it up!

  3. I thought you killed it. The light fixture was great. I thought the single wingback was a cool element. Michael's mirror was cool on TV (not sure how it looked in person). I liked the armoire, call me a tool for liking trends if you want.

    You guys did so great with what you have. You probably could have done a better job with an unlimited budget, but this showcased the designer's vision. It made you hustle and I dig that...

    It was Courtland's time. He seemed to have one piece of schtick and it was getting played. His presentation was a bit cheesy, but hey there's a lot of that on HGTV...

  4. loved loved loved what you did this week, emily! this was also the first challenge i liked (it had nothing to do with making a room from musical instruments or craziness like that!).

    bravo! :)

  5. Hi Emily! We have just loved watching you on Design Star and reading your blog!! Thanks for all the additional info about each episode, too! This week was awesome because we got to see your talent shine through--LOVED the shade with the flowers and the green ceiling! We are rooting for you--Meg says "You rock!!!".

  6. Emily: you did an awesome job. I agree with 110 percent re: when to paint furniture. I love the idea of painting furniture b/c it gives you the freedom to make the room true to a color scheme. If the producers gave you more time and money there would def. be a more awesome result. I am rooting for you.

  7. PS:: didn't know that Courtland and Michael shop for converse sneakers together! LOL>

  8. My opinion? if its crappy wood and less than 30 years old, you can paint it. But if its antique, hand-built and hardwood? Good god just restore it

    Oh, God, thank you, Emily. I just had to turn off an HGTV show when a certain former winner said, "Oh, look at this beautiful piece I found at an estate sale... paint it turquoise!" As I just finished stripping three coats of fugly paint (and, I kid you not, a green linoleum top) off of what turned out to be a beautiful dresser once it was sanded and stained, I just about screamed in pain for the sake of the piece of furniture. Granted, I used a shiny finish, but I figure with my cat walking on it and books being shoved around it, the shine will wear fast. On the other hand, I have every plan of taking apart one of those crappy pressboard computer desks, painting it black, and doing some decoupage on the keyboard shelf. Because it's totally worthless wood and it's a choice between painting it and throwing it out, and paint is cheaper than a new desk.

    Er, that was an aside, I guess.

    I think it would take me time to get used to the green ceiling, but the more I look at it, the more I like it.

  9. So did you both go to Zarins & what was the budget?


  10. Hi Shelley, both teams went to zarins and a hardware store. we had credit at zarins, i think we got 18 yards of the green/white fabric and 4 of the forest, but not too much else.

  11. Barbara, I couldn't agree with you more. I get angry about this one. someones gotta stick up for antiques. Like PETA, only for nightstands.

  12. I like the green ceiling. and I think you are the cute one. I am pulling for you to win!

  13. I have to say, this was my favorite challenge so far. Perhaps it was that there are so few of you left, it was much easier to see your individual contributions and style. I've just been HATING all the group challenges because everyone has had to fight to get their style represented, and it's been so hard to view you all as individuals. But finally we're seeing you more clearly, and I love what you did with your room!

  14. Thanks for the info, Emily! My 4 kids and I are all pulling for you. The kids even agreed that this was the best episode to date and they have very strong opinions! :) This was a much more interesting challenge. Like you, I grew up repurposing furniture, and I must admit to more than a few items in my house have come from curbside trash...


  15. I commented on another post saying how much I loved this challenge and your space.

    If I wanted to paint our living/dining area ceiling a bright color, but we have recessed lighting, would it work? I don't want it to look like polka dots... if not, can you recommend a way to punch up our otherwise bland living space? LOVE you.

  16. Hang in there!
    Can hardly wait for you to do something on your own.
    Don't freak out, just be the fab Emily that you are.
    Blog geeks everywhere are rooting for you!
    xo xo
    PS Time is truly the enemy with all these challenges, and totally not realistic.

  17. I assume that Jill helped you at Zarin's?
    I was so worried about your clothes in this episode--pristine, dark jeans and then paint splatters everywhere. I hope Vern reimbursed you.

  18. i was almost holding my breath when I heard you paintedthe ceiling, since toms was dark, and yours not so much you came out okay. watchng it we just never know.
    What a great idea with the forest backing to the tall hutch. I suppose that is what you mean by trend? You had a lot of painting to do. I had wondered if you had time, if you would have altered any of the furniture like the wing backs, and other. Painted them green or something. If you had time, you could have painted a floor cloth too, but not the design you said, that would take too much time.

    I did enjoy this episode. People do actually paint cloth sofas, but slowly it can be done.

    Also I disagree about some old antique furniture. Some of it is so ugly, I would want to alter it any way I could, if I had to live with it. Or I could just get rid of it so it can be some one elses treasure.

    I like shows like this, cause I never have any idea of how to transform anything. I used to watch those two guys who picked up furniture along the street and transformed them to something very unexpected.

    Any way, I am glad it worked out good for you.
    I was surprised that Casey didn't rise to the occasion too.



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