Watching the premiere of Top Design Season 2, I actually felt like I was back on the show again! My stomach hurt! I could feel the nervousness mixed with the excitement of each of the designers. I remember when I arrived to compete on Season 1, having no idea what was in store for me, just throwing it all to the wind in hopes to show the world what I could do ... In fact, this season I did come back, but this time I worked behind the scenes as the "Design Consultant" Whew! What a relief!
The minute the designers arrived they were given an incredibly difficult challenge: an entire loft to design, bare boned, cold and raw.No carpenters, no seamstresses, and who on earth was going to hang the wall paper? "Are you kidding me??" That was my "consult" when the producers told me what they had in mind. Regardless, I have to hand it to all of the designers for jumping in head first with great attitudes. This challenge was an excellent way to shake it up and shake 'em out. In the world of design there are always difficult circumstances, whether it's a demanding client, limited budget, impossible time frame or, in this case, ALL of the above. Somehow, someway, we have to deliver a product that we are proud to put our name on.
Well, those lofts were certainly a challenge, especially on a $2,000 budget and in only two days! I was impressed by watching the dynamics of the groups that combined their talents and worked as a team and I was disappointed to see the others who couldn't seem to combine their creativity.
Nathan, Ondine, Teresa, and Wisit, who designed Kelly's winning loft, listened to her requests and set out as a team. They utilized all of the materials they had access to -- paint, wall coverings, and fabrics, and they took junk yard and thrift store finds and made them new and interesting. They used what they found in ways that one wouldn't normally think of, making the most of what they had, all the while staying on track with the requests of their client. This is why people hire designers and they showed us that they have what it takes. OK, so we all know who won and who lost in Episode 1. I'll let the judges do the judging, what I want to do is get down to the NITTY, GRITTY BEHIND-THE-SCENES-DRAMA!
Now, as a designer, I know what it takes to get the job done and I also know ALL of the crazy things that go on behind the scenes in the process and I saw nothing less than expected and a whole lot more!
Eddie and Natalie immediately became buddy-buddy and left "serious" Jennifer out. Wait a minute, is this 90210? Oh no, that premiere was the night before ... Believe me when I say, everyone knows when Eddie is in the house, he always has something to say and he is hilarious with his sidekick, Natalie. Jennifer is very talented but didn't click with frick and frack.
Nathan is so interesting to watch because we saw such an edge in his individual challenge and then a soft and beautiful side in his display in the loft and he is so kind and considerate with all of the others. Ondine, coming from a set decorating background, is very representative and suggestive in her work, she tells a story just like a film set must do.
She knows how to get things done fast and how to work with a team. I think Teresa was in shock coming from the land of the nouveau riche where everything has to be as shiny as possible. Imagine being dropped from the over-indulgent Vegas right smack into the middle of a junk yard! In this challenge she must have found some of that Vegas "luck" (that I can never seem to find) to be teamed up with the crew she drew.
Wisit must come from another planet because he truly has ZERO stress in the most ridiculously stressful times!
Preston is so thoughtful in his work and very creative. Kerry, Preston, and Robert couldn't be more different -- all from opposite ends of the earth (if there could be 3 opposite ends ...) It's no wonder their loft was the worst.
(I have to say it; I agree with Margaret, her loft was definitely worse than India's!) But these three designers are miles apart. Kerry is so sweet and a bit too soft. He just couldn't step up and pull the boys together to get the job done. Preston can't get his ego out of the way and Robert is so detail-oriented he can't step back and look at the whole picture. It's true designers MUST be detail-oriented because there are SO many details but he is the "nano-management" of "micro-management."
I could clearly see that it was extremely frustrating for all three of them. They would have all been better off if they were each on their own ... Like we saw in the Pop Design, all three were fabulous!
Now switching to another soap-opera channel we have Andrea, Shazia, and Serge. Watching them was like watching a mother and her two little children -- Andrea being the mother, of course. But who could blame her when given a toddler and a newbie! Shazia did as she was told but wrote the wrong number down when her mother was teaching her how to write (dictating the wallpaper order number that is) and what kind of a toddler would she be without overflowing the tub at bath time now and again? Serge just hung out wide-eyed and smiley, slept a lot, and woke up with "Ah, mornings are so beautiful in LA"
Hullowww, you have a loft to design!!
I shouldn't be so harsh ... he still has school when he grows up ...
So here I go again on the Top Design ride, only this time I get to sit back and watch another batch be put to the test!