Sleeping And Eating And Working, Oh My!

Kelly Wearstler elaborates on the 'garage sailing' process.


I get shivers when I remember some of the college & post-college pads I designed and made my own. I remember finding a rug at a vintage store and using it as a wall hanging. The rug's graphics were amazing, plus I lived in a basement so it really helped with acoustics. I love taking what you find and re-imagining it into something altogether new... ...which brings us to a central point regarding this week's episode: It's not always where you buy, it's what you buy.

Shopping usually involves knowing you're going to Rodeo Drive for hats & handbags, to Storyopolis for children's books, or to the nearest Whole Foods for organic food. When you go garage saling or shopping at a flea market, the opposite is true. Everything you could possibly find will be a surprise. kellys_104_02_320x240.jpg

Andrea was horrified at the prospect of garage saling, but I think by the end of the episode we had a convert on our hands. Stripping the designers of all pretense and sending them out into the wild clue(less) yonder to garage sale looked like it turned out to be a lot of fun for most of the designers. I loved some of the pieces that were recreated this week, and felt a lot of joy was expressed during this week's challenge. Shopping for surprises can be a fun & successful path to great design.

I enjoyed this week's client / designer meetings. Without an official program detailing job requirements, twenty minutes is not a lot of time to accurately grasp what a person is about. What questions would you ask? Carisa's wonderful use of color really wowed the judges & she ended up winning this week's Top Design. I think we all smiled when we first saw her space. I wish I could say the same for Felicia, who surprised us and ended up going home due to a nice wall covering but little else that worked. Granny's afghan thrown (up) on the bed certainly didn't help. Sorry Felicia!

A Nightmare To Decide

India Hicks' take on why Nathan ultimately had the Top Design!


Bloody hell I can't believe it's over. How incredibly well they did. What a nightmare it was deciding. How easy the producers made it look ... evil little elves. It was in fact agony, painful, and heartbreaking because every one of those worn-out designers was a winner. This final challenge really was a way to showcase expressions of individual taste in a multiplicity of styles. And there were more than just moments that I loved about each designer's house, but in particular...

Perfect Preston -- believe me that is a high compliment -- I am a Virgo and love nothing more than perfectionism (I am endlessly tidying the paper clips on my desk or lining up baby diapers into flawless little rows.) His polished designs resonated strongly with me. His guest room was outstanding and remarkably detailed given the time constraints. The molding through out was a masterful gesture against the quiet palette, with his clever soft touches of color to take the chill off the monochromatic interior. (What were those absurd exclamations from me throughout this tour? "Oh" "groovy" "fantastic") So well-orchestrated was Preston's time in this finale that he hardly needed any help from his assistant, maybe only a cup of coffee....

Ondine's diminutive slick office space was the height of chic in my view. My father said "Decorating is the art of accentuating the best and covering up the worst" and here was a perfect example, a small, nondescript box of nothing became a little bold, a little eccentric, and quite luxurious. We have seen over these weeks how well-versed in the history of design Ondine is and in her house she deftly propelled her inspirations from the past into the future, working comfortably with what already existed.

Ondine excelled in creating a house with a distinctly charming feminine feel. The boy's bedroom in Nathan's house, although swept over quickly, caught my eye (And I know a thing or three about boys' bedrooms), a room rich with kid's character. There were artfully arranged groups of objects, and a color scheme neither too sophisticated nor too childish, and a funky custom bed where a seven year old could feel special every night.

Preston, Ondine and Nathan were all design heroes. They had fought, and survived. But to earn the right to say you have the Top Design needed a truly fresh approach. We were looking for grand and humble, daring and iconic, unique in vision, and enduring in legacy. Nathan's house held unexpected juxtapositions, bold moves, and a fearless imagination. His house was imbued with a sense of excitement. Nathan is very much a decorator, which is not exactly the same thing as an interior designer. The designer devises efficient solutions to questions of space; decorators impose their own personal often idiosyncratic vision to that space using trade mark techniques. I did believe he had just what we were looking for. Nathan had The Top Design.