Margaret Russell

Why Margaret Russell is 'over' Eddie Ross.

on Oct 30, 2008

At this point the judges' job is near impossible, especially when we are all wildly opinionated with wildly divergent points of view. Plus, this week one of us is the divinely handsome yet bossy-boots Jeff Lewis, whom I adore, but who's not known for his verbal restraint. We did agree on what was key: which room the designers chose and why; how they shopped their budgets; how this week's room fit into the scheme they planned for the entire house; and overall taste, skill, and completion of work. And that's where unanimity ended.

Eddie said he was over the judges--and we're over him too--but I think he did a brilliant job on this challenge. He shopped well, he played with pattern, texture, and scale, and he finessed the details. I find his taste fusty, but I'd be perfectly content to sleep in that "easy, breezy" guest room (Jonathan admitted he would too). It was pristine and beautifully finished; a cool, crisp room with a mix of classic and modern touches. Though the space was located in a Taco Bell-like townhome, it felt like a Hamptons beach house, which was precisely his goal.

Yes, it was traditional and yes, Jeff Lewis LOATHED it, but from a design standpoint, Eddie delivered, and in less time than most people take to choose a new paint color. My co-judges found his work inconsistent, boring, and too trad, and I think it lacked sexiness and soul, but I still believe that if Eddie had been given the chance he would have designed an amazing Top Design house. But I'm appalled by Eddie's vile, demonic performance behind the scenes (which the judges aren't aware of until we watch the show DVDs).

His behavior is truly odious, but surely he's not really as evil as he purports to be. Whatever he is--blogger, stylist, designer, egomaniac, Eddie Ross brand-builder--it's shameful that his Top Design legacy isn't his great talent, it's the psychotic dance he chose to play for the cameras. Ondine was our comeback kid, though it's curious she chose the smallest room and it didn't look like it cost $20K. Her graphic guest room/office was snappy, happy, and fun, and for the first time Ondine created a space that looked planned and put-together. All it lacked was a chic little roman shade (instead of those funereal black curtains she wisely ditched).