Margaret Russell

Who intimidates Margaret Russell? Find out!

on Mar 21, 2007



As editor-in-chief of Elle Decor, I've had the pleasure of meeting an incredibly disparate group of fascinating people -- fashion designers, architects, artists, athletes, politicians, actors, and chefs.

I'm not easily intimidated, but our guest judge, Tom Colicchio, scared the heck out of me. He has piercing blue eyes, a strong voice, and a focus that is gripping. If you think he's intense on "Top Chef," he's even more so in person. And if he affected me in this way, I can only imagine how the contestants felt.

This week's challenge was to create a private dining room keeping in mind Chef Colicchio's personal tastes. He requested a space that is eclectic yet modern and clean, he likes Arts and Crafts style and mid-century design, and he asked for nature motifs and a mix of materials -- especially stone and wood. Most importantly, the room must be luxurious.


Andrea's project won because she achieved the client's goals to the best degree.

Her room was a seamless presentation of tasteful furniture and accessories, subtle lighting, abundant storage/serving space, and good acoustics. Her work illustrated an understanding of the logistics of a chef's dining room -- in fact she teaches a course on restaurant design -- but also a deft use of materials, and a strong sense of architecture. Her room went beyond Restaurants 101; she really built-out the space and every surface showed thought and attention to detail. Inspired by the earthy style of the Napa Valley, Andrea created a seductive room where we all wanted to linger. She was clearly excited by the challenge, and she aced it.