Wednesday, June 6, 2012


My heart stopped.  Our van's pulled up to Union Station & I knew it only meant one thing...this week's episode was the White Room Challenge.   The most iconic Design Star challenge and better known as the one that "the fans love, but the designers dread."  This particular challenge is typically the one and only space that doesn't have to be 'functional'.  Ironically... that is what scared me the most about this challenge.  As interior designers we are constantly concerned about creating spaces that are both beautiful and functional, and for me it's hard to try and forget about that for this space.  I knew that a few of the other finalists in this competition call themselves artists first, designers second, and they were probably going to have more of a leg up in this particular challenge.  I decided to stick with what I know... and that is to create a beautiful space, and not concentrate too much on trying to create an art installation and hope that I'd survive.

Our challenge took place in the Historic Union Station in Los Angeles, and the main element we were asked to focus on for our White Room was to re-purpose one of the existing furniture pieces that was already in our space.  I was immediately inspired by the beautiful architecture and the mood of the location.  My plan for my white room was an updated red, white and blue color palette paired with newspapers for wallpaper along with applied moldings for the walls to bring a total 'nod' to the historic mood of the location. My main re-purposed element would be the lamp and side table top turned upside down and transformed into a bold eye catching chandelier using yards upon yards of gold chain from the Home & Garden store.

Shopping at the Home & Garden store was insane, it was like Hunger Games meets Supermarket Sweep.  And after a painstakingly long check out process, we all headed back to Union Station to get to work. Unfortunately, the first thing you learn in this competition is that plan A, never, ever, EVER works out. Only after our shopping trip was I informed that if I wanted to use my first idea with the newspapers I would need to cut out or blank out every brand name, store name, newspaper name, or any name of any kind from each page.  Being that we only had about a day to actually work in our space, there wasn't enough time for that kind of nonsense! After some brainstorming and replaying Vanilla Ice's mantra of "if there is a problem, yo, I'll solve it" in my head... I landed upon plan E, which consisted of me using painters tape for an 'applied molding' look on my massive 10ft walls in order to add some architecture and my signature graphic style into my blank white space.

Those silly HGTV producers wanted to make things even more interesting for us designers...our 'Tool Town' area that is set up for all of us to use each episode was placed in the least convenient location humanly possible.  Every time you needed a ladder, a hammer, a drill, forgot a nail, or your painters tape you had to walk (or jog for most of us) out of union station, around the massive building and across the parking lot to the tool area.  This challenge quickly turned into the longest most exasperating cardiovascular workout I have ever done.  Ultimately, this was the most physically demanding yet rewarding design challenge I have ever done.  I was really proud of my final space & was looking forward to what Vern & Genevieve were going to think of it at evaluation.

Our guest judge this week was Vanilla Ice, which was an awesome surprise.  I remember immediately thinking that my brother was going to think I am the coolest sister in the world for getting the chance to meet him.  Back in the 90's Vanilla Ice was the coolest rapper known to man to my brother and I and we listened to him on repeat for what felt like a decade.  Mr. Vanwinkle (that's his real name) is also very well known for his own show on the DIY network, the Vanilla Ice Project.  He made quite a name for himself in the renovating and house flipping business!  I was looking forward to what kind of feedback he was going to give us at evaluation.  In the end... I found myself safe again this week.  The judges love my space but wished I had pushed it just a little  bit further.  I was definitely relieved but also a bit disappointed being that my goal is always to be at the top every week.  But slow & steady wins the race, and I am going to keep my eyes set on the finish line.  Rachel took home the win again this week with her incredible hand painted wall graphic and great layering of prints.  Jordan was sent home, which in my opinion wasn't the right choice from the judges.  I liked his glamaZEN space, and thought he deserved to stay in the competition.

 Rachel Kate's Winning Design- Her wall graphic was INCREDIBLE

Jordan Cappella was sent home for his GlamaZEN Garden- Love you Jordan, you will be missed!!! 

Watch next week when we makeover the corporate office for Jenner Communications with Kris Jenner in Calabasas, CA!  Also don't forget to go online to to vote for me as you Fan Favorite!!

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