Cast Blog: #TOPDESIGN

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Dream Challenge

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Party!!!

Nathan: Having The Top Design!

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Simple Truths About Top Design

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A Nightmare To Decide

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Naaaaattttthhhhhhaaaaaan!!

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The Eddie Ross Show Was Cancelled

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From Drab To Fab!

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That Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi

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Episode Ten: Finale Part 2

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Episode Nine: Finale Part 1

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See Ya Later ...

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Suck It Up!

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I Didn't Make Andrea Cry

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Rules Of Decorating

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Episode Eight: Light It Up

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Episode Seven: Room Of The Future

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Eddie And Preston: City Of Contrasts

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Doom And Gloom ...

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Future Shock

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The More Things Change ...

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We Love Wisit!

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Switch-a-roo

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One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure

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Wiiiiiiiiiissssssssssssssssssiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!!

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Episode Six: Eco-offices

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Oh, My Achin' Muscles!

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Triple Threat

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Get Your Running Shoes On

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Triathlete's Foot

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Episode Five: Triathlon Of Decorating

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Bachelors, Briefs, And The Chronicle Of A Death Foretold

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Survival Of The Fittest

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Dude, Where's My Design?

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Bachelor Party

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Jennifer: Shut Down

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Bye Ker-bear (aka Big Daddy). We Will Miss You!!

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Windows That Wow

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Pigs In Lipstick

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Episode Three: Window Display

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Big Daddy Doesn't Know Best

Dream Challenge

Kelly Wearstler shares her thoughts on the final challenge.

 

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Ladies and gentlemen, we have our Top Designer!

Congratulations to Mr. Matt, to Carisa, and all of the gifted designers and carpenters whose talent and hard work helped craft a wonderful first season of Top Design!

Not to suggest that Matt and Carisa felt unrushed, but considering the usual time allotment given, the full two months they were afforded for the final challenge must have felt like gold falling from the sky.

Time. Is. Everything. Time allows for reflection and the flexibility to change your mind. Returning to Los Angeles having done their due diligence, I felt both Santa Fe lofts flourished under the design thumbs of Matt and Carisa.


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Let's start with Carisa. Though a bit of a fit-thrower, an expressive personality does often go hand-in-hand with the creative spirit. Polish and control will come with experience -- look how Carisa's confidence has developed over the course of this season alone. Going in feeling she needed to prove she could "do" luxury did not inhibit Carisa's exuberant pop sensibility.

Since one of the judging criteria was having the end result loft be all about the designers themselves, I felt Carisa really hit the mark with her striking and functional loft. She retained the "feel" of a loft; not as easy a task as it may seem. The sunken bed was an inviting and inventive surprise.

 
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I can't help but wonder what she would come up with if Carisa experimented by infusing more of an organic feel into her work. Also, that last hour to attend to final touches should not have been ignored. Time is a resource and must be managed just like a budget. Don't go over! I hope you got a good night's sleep afterwards, Carisa. You certainly earned it.

Moving on to a guy also deserving of a great night's rest, Matt's loft was calm, fluid, and steeped in a sense of permanence and quality. (Ironic for a guy who describes himself as "low class" in the Chef's Table episode.) Matt's elegant monochromatic space benefited from the airiness of Lucite, the rhythmic black & white family photos hung on the walls, and an underlying sense of raw minimalism.


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I agree with Trudie that the bedroom might have benefited from a dash of the sexiness inherent in Matt's bathroom. I agree with Margaret that I would have adored having his daughter's bedroom as a little girl. And I agree with Todd in that both lofts benefited from the personal investment of the designers designing with themselves in mind as tenants.

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On a more personal note, thank you to everyone who has watched and written in in support of the show. This has been an incredible journey for me, one I cherish and won't soon forget.

Nathan: Having The Top Design!

What's it like to have the Top Design? Nathan gets candid.

Bravotv.com: Was it hard to keep your win a secret?

It was so difficult. People were asking me and I was like, "Do not mess with me." I was like, "Do not trick me." It was hard to keep the secret. I devised my plan well. Last night at the live reveal nobody knew.

Bravotv.com: What did your friends and family say?

They were thrilled. My mother watched last night and we had a huge party at bar. She sat right there crying. It was fun. She's a major part of my life

Bravotv.com: What was your inspiration for your house?

The inspiration came from the idea of a young, hip couple that had a child. They were art collectors and they were edgy and it was drawing from the fact that they were provocateurs. Maybe with a lot of that I was channeling my life.

Bravotv.com: When you created the first room, did you have direction for the entire house or did you change your idea after that room?

I had the idea of this couple and the client and I don't think that first room translated. I don't think it represented at all. I think I dropped the ball on that one. It didn't speak to the rest of the house. I think there were elements of it that did and I think there was an edginess to it. In retrospect, I wish I had gone back and done something a little more Nathan. I don't feel that first room translated to the rest of the house.

Bravotv.com: Jonathan Adler had some criticism about your bed. Were you nervous that would hurt you in the end?

To be honest, I felt there was so much more to do in the house that I couldn't focus on a room that was already done. I had already put my energy and time but the other rooms were more important. Had I gone back and listened to their criticisms, other parts of the house would have failed.

Bravotv.com: The other room had that sarcophagus piece which the judges had some criticism of. You loved the piece. Would you go back and not use it if you could?

If the room was double the size. When I found the piece I thought it was brilliant and it would be such a statement but when I got it in there, after the heave-ho of every mover putting it in the space, I was like "Oh, sh*t."

Bravotv.com: What did you think of Ondine and Preston's designs?

I think Preston's was really well done. I think it was totally expected. I think he's got an incredible taste and eye and he can do that kind of work. I would never be able to do that. Not because I like it or dislike it, I just wouldn't know how to pull that off. I think Ondine's charisma and her quirkiness and personality really shows through in her space. Again, I wouldn't know how to do that. I think that's why they are designers and they do the work that they do.

Bravotv.com: One of the judges blogged that your foyer won it for you. Was that your favorite part of the house?

It wasn't. I think it was a good move on my end to turn it into a foyer and have it be an entry vestibule idea versus a living space, which the other two competitors did. It gave it a different life. My favorite space was the dining room. I put a lot into that. The table was designed and even though it was a very classic design, a Parsons style table, I over-scaled it and made the legs thicker and the top thicker. And with the painting and the chandelier, I felt it was a solid room.

Bravotv.com: Do you create a lot of artwork normally?

I do. I wouldn't call myself a painter. It's not something that's in my repertoire. Every interviewer asks me if I do artwork for clients and the answer is no. No way.

Bravotv.com: Let's talk about Eddie. He was a pretty polarizing contestant this season but you guys got along. What don't people understand about Eddie?

Eddie's got a vision and Eddie's about Eddie and he knows what he's doing. He doesn't want to waste time. He's vibrant and he's strong and if you can't match up to that then you're a dead man.

Bravotv.com: Do you still speak? Absolutely. Eddie and I are close. I talk to him still.

Bravotv.com: Did you think he should have been in the finals?

Yeah. I felt he would be in the final for sure. I thought his room was really well done and his entire work the whole season was really well done. In retrospect, I wonder if the judges felt it was expected and what they would see in the final house would be everything they already knew it would be.

Bravotv.com: People speculated about your relationship with Wisit. Was there something going on there?

(Laughs.) There was no love. No love. Oh, my little Wizzy. I just really liked him and he was great guy.

Bravotv.com: Do you keep in touch with the other contestants?

The strongest friendships that I will keep are with Eddie and Andrea. Ondine and I are in contact. Wisit and I are in contact. Preston and I are in contact. I don't have bad feelings towards him and it might appear that way on TV. I think he's a really great guy. I think he's young and doesn't have a lot of life experience yet but he's a great guy and he has a great future ahead of him

Bravotv.com: Who was the hardest judge?

Margaret. I think she's so well trained in this and she runs one of the No. 1 shelter magazines and so she's seen the best and the worst. I think some of her judgments are very hard and her blogs are difficult to read sometimes. I think her commentary is well heard though.

Bravotv.com: What was the best piece of advice you got on the show?

To edit, edit, edit. I think that will be forever known. It will be in the work I do now and the work I do next year and so on.

Bravotv.com: What does it mean for you to be published?

That's major. That's a huge deal. I've said before that there are designers and decorators who work for years and never see their work published. I feel so fortunate to accomplish that. That's a huge thing and that will be a major push for me.

Bravotv.com: What about the money? Any big plans?

Well, I'll pay my rent. I've just recently launched my own firm and you'd be surprised, the taxing and expenses take up a lot. I used a lot of that for that.

Bravotv.com: Where can people find your designs now?

NathanThomasStudios.com. Also, I'm finishing up some work in Manhattan. As well as a public space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Bravotv.com: Can people hire you?

Absolutely. Please do.