My initial reaction to watching the first episode was 'wow, its crazy how much doesn't actually make it onto the show!'. Mainly I was hoping they would also share my personal story being a wife for almost 3 years now, and that my Mother passed away from gastric cancer almost two years ago, and that is what drove me to try out for the show. Knowing that life is short and to follow my dreams. But... make to the challenge... luckily I was paired with Mikel for this first episode and we were in charge of designing and decorating bedroom 1 in our house. Not only do we have to design the space, we have to design it incorporating our 'personal' items that were selected to represent our design styles. I was so excited to be paired with Mikel, since we had become fast friends over the first couple days of being in LA. We worked together very harmoniously compared to a lot of the other groups. I remember being tucked away in our little bedroom working while hearing many screaming matches & arguments coming from the living room & the den. Yes its reality tv, but its HGTV, and they don't push the drama on us... all you have to do is force designers to work as a team with a partner they don't get to choose, and give them a time constraint and a budget to manage and see what kind of magic you get. Although Mikel & I worked well together, we had plenty of 'oh no' moments that didn't make the show. Some to name a few... we realized on the last day we didn't actually purchase any comforter inserts for our duvet covers and were given the wrong drapery panels at checkout but somehow negotiated a local store to drop off what we needed COD (thank goodness). Then, with 5 minutes remaining in the challenge we were hanging our last drapery rod we realized the rod wasn't fitting inside the socket. I decided to poke out the rubber insert with scissors and unknowingly stabbed myself and proceeded to bleed almost all over our white draperies. A lot of the arguments & big drama didn't actually make the first episode, which is probably best for everyone...don't need to come out with the first episode guns blazing!
I have watched every single episode of all the past seasons of Design Star, but it truly doesn't prepare you for the competition when your actually in it. Somehow the producers have designed the challenges in such a way that initially you feel confident with your budget and time frame, but somewhere along the way in the end you are always rushing to finish and scraping together every penny you have left. Those clever producers really know what they are doing. The most exciting part for me in the first challenge was meeting the panel of judges for the first time. I have been such a fan of HGTV for so long and admired Genevieve Gorder and Vern Yip for their talent and uber success in this business. As an interior designer, I strive to be as successful as both of them one day. After our challenge was completed and we saw them for the first time, I felt like I needed to pinch myself, and still couldn't believe I was standing right in front of David, Vern and Genevieve only a few feet in front of me. But I couldn't help but wonder... "where's Candice Olsen?!?". Candice has always been my favorite designer from the network, but it appears she has some big things happening right now and it doesn't look like she will be a judge for our season of Design Star. Bummer.
Walking into evaluation for the first time was the most nerve racking moment for me. As a designer we aren't used to having someone critique our work let alone possibly send us home for it. I do wish however they would have showed my favorite comment from the evaluation... Vern started the evaluation with me by saying... "Britany, that wall you designed wasn't good... it was GREAT"!! My heart sank, and then rejoiced knowing that he appreciated my big bold wall move. I left the evaluation 'safe', but happy that I was still able to impress the judges and live another week! Stay tuned for next week for the infamous 'white box challenge' with guest judge Vanilla Ice. Also remember you can vote 10 times daily for me as your Fan Favorite at www.hgtv.com/designstar
Our Bedroom BEFORE
Britany Simon & Mikel Welch Bedroom 1 HGTV Design Star Episode 1 AFTER