It was really nice to read Jonathan's blog last week about how difficult and unrealistic it is for designers to plan and execute everything so quickly. Even as a seasoned and successful professional, he admits that he takes time to "think, screw up, analyze and recover!" So true. I tell every one of my clients that design is an evolution and they have to be patient in order to let the best design develop.
This challenge was hard enough considering that none of the designers have any real experience or training in Eco-Friendly design, but then when the producers asked me about their idea of the old "switch-a-roo" - good god, I just put my head down in shame. How unrealistic can we get? However, the ironic thing is that I recently took on a client who was midway down the road with another designer when they realized it was not the right fit. I inherited $200,000 worth of the other designer's furniture choices and was left with only half of their original $400,000 budget. Big bummer. So I reupholstered, reworked, sold, traded - I did whatever I had to do so that the money that was already spent wasn't wasted - and it's coming along beautifully!
So, through all of my complaining about how unrealistic this switch-a-roo idea was, here I am in living proof that it certainly can be a reality! However, as Jonathan put it, in reality, we do have a little more time on our side. I have to hand it to these contestants - they didn't complain, NOT EVEN EDDIE! But why would he, moving from the smallest and most unappealing room to the largest and nicest room, and on top of that, inheriting fabulous Nathan's choices. Eddie actually won the lotto in this challenge! And poor Andrea, I could see that she had a clear vision and was on a good path with her original space and she got something that Eddie was unhappy with from the get go. If Eddie had done his original room, with the disgust he had for the space and all of his selections that he hated, he might of actually created a monster and sent himself home! Instead he took Nathan's concept and selections and made them a reality. He rose to the challenge.
I loved the pin-wall of carpet padding - funky, cool, eco-friendly AND functional! Poor Nathan went on to a much smaller and darker space and he was handed not much from Preston other than a color scheme. But amazingly, he took what little he had and made it his own - fresh and innovative, with a bit of edge. Once again, if the judges had seen the work in progress rather than just the finished product, they may have thought differently about the winner. Some of the designers had a head start by what was given to them.
I was pleased with the judges' decision to let Wisit go, though at the same time, I was sad to see him leave. He was interesting to watch and he always kept us on our toes, wondering what vision might be realized from that fantastical head of his. But the truth is, he was completely lost in this challenge and had no idea how to make the space eco-friendly, functional or even beautiful. Ondine always has a little surprise up her sleeve.
We all really loved the water bottle chandelier, and once again, her on-set training gives her a leg up. Preston created a lovely, inviting and comfortable conference room. It's nice to see what a bit of paint and pared-down simplicity can actually do. Natalie missed the boat on this one, but it was still better than Wisit's mess. So luckily for her, she gets another chance to show us what she's got! I really did feel sorry for the designers on this challenge - it brought back memories of my own dismissal last season. I'm glad it's over with and we can all move on to the next challenge!