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Dream Challenge

Kelly Wearstler shares her thoughts on the final challenge.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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