We Love Wisit!
Why Margaret Russel hearts this week's eliminated contestant.
However, Wisit wasn't loving the eco-challenge that ended up derailing him this week. We were so sad to see him leave, but confident that he has a brilliant career ahead using any one of his multiple talents (just not as an environmental consultant). Random thoughts: If anyone is going to get poisoned soon, my money's not on Nathan. Eco-expert Danny Seo is an interesting guy who's smartly created an interesting specialty. We taped this episode during a heat wave of 100+ degrees with no air-conditioning; it's a miracle the contestants and crew survived. We were nostalgic for the shop-window challenge's deep freeze. Did you know that Martha Stewart only hires the best? This challenge's oddball office location looked circa-Mad Men era, complete with 1960s carpet, but lacked any swagger and swank. Definitely no swank.
Eddie's room won because it was amazing, and he seemed to really push himself and have fun with this challenge. Packed with terrific ideas that were reasonably eco-responsible (some were edited from the show due to time constraints), the space looked larger than life The back-to-back partners' desk was brilliant, as was the eco-friendly repurposing of wood blinds to fashion a light fixture and door "privacy panel," the storage concealed behind tailored curtains, inexpensive yet stylish desk accessories, and a few eco-conscious office solutions (including a cool floor lamp) created from an odd assortment of materials. We were insane over his repurposing the carpet as a wall covering/pegboard/sound baffle. Except that even after hours of questioning he somehow neglected to inform us it wasn't actually his idea. Ouch.
Ondine was hampered by Wisit's elegant, feminine fabrics and color scheme in designing for her male client, but she crafted an ingenious, fabulously wonky water-bottle light fixture that charmed us and suited the firm's eco mission to a T. Preston's conference room was smart and stylish, with a soothing color palette, well-styled bookshelves, and an inventive Dorothy Draper-like taped conference table in place of the expected stodgy brown furniture. Danny busted him on his pint-size recycling cans, but Preston's overall creativity and design aesthetic were as confident and as polished as possible given the budget, materials, and time constraints. Andrea's self-doubt is by now legendary; she needs some assertive training pronto.
Though befuddled by having to work with Eddie's bright color choice for his so-called "dork" client (a comment not as crass as "panty-dropping chic" but unkind, and disturbing to hear), she managed to deftly rethink the office traffic paths and wisely overrule her client's wish to place his desk by the window. Andrea's a pro when it comes to a floor plan and functionality.
Nathan's room reflected his quirky aesthetic and artistic bent. The taxicab-yellow sawhorse legs of the desk added unexpected flair, and his zigzag-wrapped fabric motif is fast becoming his leitmotif; I imagine you might see it again. Some simple but sage design advice courtesy of Natalie: "When a client tells you something specific, you really need to get it for them." And with little time left, she crafted recycling bins (oops, made of non-PC MDF-board) for an otherwise unexceptional space. She didn't steal credit for Andrea's smart floor plan, and she admitted responsibility for the dismal fabric panels and girly-girl pillows. And then there's Wisit; what a remarkably talented, wildly eccentric, truly fascinating character. Last week, his garden-center room was magical and should have won the final Design Triathlon leg but he failed to finish his space, a key part of the challenge.And this episode we established that his passive-aggressive, esoteric take on going green--"not being wasteful in shopping"--wouldn't make the cut.
The judges were unanimous in finding that Wisit fell short in every aspect of this challenge, though his was one of those frustrating rooms that end up looking far better on film than in person. We were all just crazy for Wisit, and after this season's finale airs I'm tracking him down to ask about any design projects he's working on and, even better, what his own apartment looks like. And if I'm truly blessed, maybe he'll sing.