Wednesday, June 20, 2012


It's challenge number 4 and before we left the house we were told to wear shoes we would want to wear outdoors.  So being the investigator I am, I knew this one was probably going to be an outdoor challenge.  Let me tell you, I am not a landscape designer by any means.  I have what you would call a 'brown thumb' and really don't know anything when it comes to different types of plants, trees, and landscaping in general.   So I was sweating big time this morning.

HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode 4 Cast with Host David Bromstad
Arriving to the 'set' we realize the 8 of us are split into 2 houses across the street from each other.  Hilari, Mikel, Stanley & I are working with the Mast family, and Danielle, Miera, Rachel & Kris at the Nitzkin home.  In each house two designers would work on redesigning the living room and the other two would work on reinventing the outdoor space.  These groups were pre determined for us, and right away the producers let us know that Mikel and I could not work together again. Shoot... I could see that one coming.  Mikel gave me a quick look as if to say, "Brit, you know I'm not working outdoors with these hands."... or something along those lines.  I looked at Stanley and he gave me a reassuring look and let me know he has had three years of landscaping design experience. SOLD.  I know what looks great outdoors, just not what the right materials are to use, or how to build it, so Stanley filled in my gaps with those qualities and I we signed up for what I hoped would be a memorable collaboration.

HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode 4 Mast House "Dream Team"- Britany, Hilari, Stanley, Mikel
The purpose of the challenge was to create an environment to bring the outdoors in and the indoors out.  So it was really important for our house to work together as a team and really create cohesive spaces.  What they didn't show on TV was that each house/team had a lump sum budget, and and it was up to the teams to figure out together how much each space would need.  This is the very reason why HGTV doesn't need to 'create' drama for Design Star.  Give us designers a very limited time frame to transform a huge space, AND make them divide up and manage money between four designers.  Things can go very very wrong.  Luckily our team was very much drama free, and we knew that we all had to work well together as a group in order to come out on top in this challenge.  After seeing how a bad partnership can derail you and even send you home, like in the case of Luca and Bex from last week, we wanted to end this challenge holding hands and singing kumbaya  if we needed to in order to stay in the competition.

HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode Backyard BEFORE
HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode 4 Backyard BEFORE
Stanley and I quickly came up with a game plan for our space and addressed the needs of our clients who wanted to get rid of the concrete jungle feel, gain more privacy from their neighbors, and have a great entertaining space.  It was really important for me to show the judges what I am capable of as a designer, and surprise them with a space that they wouldn't expect me to do.  But I was really worried that building a herringbone privacy fence, a cabana, and laying wood on the patio was taking on too much for our 3 day time frame. 

HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode 4 Britany and Stanley
 A lot of really funny moments didn't make the cut for this episode.  The first being the absolute chaos that was our Target shopping trip.  The 8 of us designers had a large sum of money as group to spend at Target, but only 45 minutes to do it in.  All of us were running around like crazy people and grabbing anything and everything we thought we could use in our spaces.  There was even a scuffle between Stanley and Kris over a BBQ, that I had to quickly squash with a very mature game of paper, rock, scissors.  I also wished they would have shown Stanley and I at the nursery.  The first day we went shopping for all the greenery that we needed, which really meant I point at a plant I think is cute and Stanley would tell me if it would work or not. Stanley was like a kid in a candy store.  He would grab palette after palette of flowers for us to buy with the biggest, most childlike smile I have ever seen.  He was officially in his element, and seeing this buff guy in a black beater tank top walking around like a giddy school girl with flats of flowers was hysterical.  A not so funny moment however was our handyman.  They only showed a glimpse of this issue in the episode, but apparently our handyman was everything but helpful to Stanley and his projects.  He made so many bad cuts for the herringbone wall, and Stanley ended up working twice as hard fixing the mistakes the handyman was making.  At one point I heard one of the camera men say, "what should I do if Stanley punches the handyman in the face?!"  Not good. 

When it came to the camera challenges this week, all of  us struggled with what project we would use to bring the outdoors in or indoors out in 30 seconds.  One night at the house during the competition Hilari was writing her camera challenge and I asked her to read it to me.  It was then that she admitted to me her only idea to bring the outdoors in was to 'light a candle in your favorite outdoor scent.'  We began to laugh hysterically at what a desperate attempt we were all making for our camera challenges, because we knew we were going to have to come up with something better.  Our final tips for the camera challenge were all very lack luster, and last night we texted each other poking fun at all of our not so fabulous ideas.

In the last hour of the challenge Stanley and I realized we might have been in over our heads.  All of the producers and camera men on set had gathered around our tiny backyard to watch what they thought might be the demise of Stanley and I in this competition.  But we knew we had to finish, and even if we didn't get to finish all the projects we wanted to, we were going to make it look like we had.  And luckily with no time to spare, Stanley and I had finished an epic backyard challenge.  I was so proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone and taking on such a huge challenge in the backyard.  And I don't think I could have done it without Stanley as a partner.

HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode 4 Backyard AFTER

HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode 4 Backyard AFTER- Herringbone Privacy Fence

HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode 4 Backyard AFTER Pergola Seating Area
HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode 4 Backyard AFTER- Pergola Details

HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode 4 Backyard AFTER- Reclaimed Wood Decking

HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode 4 Backyard AFTER- Deck Details

In the end our house won the challenge with Hilari being the big winner.  Hilari & Mikel's living room was gorgeous and a big transformation  Our guest judge Sabrina Soto loved all of Hilari's contributions to the living room space and was impressed most by her camera challenge this week.  So I found myself in second place again this week, but I was absolutely happy with that.  I continued to tell myself that slow and steady can win this race!  Miera and Danielle found themselves at the bottom because of their unfinished living room.  Miera had said the famous last words of , "trust me, I know what I am doing," And in the end her semi custom built ins were a time sucker leaving nothing completed and sending her home.

HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode 4 Judges- Vern Yip, Sabrina Soto, David Bromstad, Genevieve Gorder
HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode 4 Hilari & Mikel's Winning Living Room Space
Tune in next week as we each create a lounge space for Hollywood's 125th Birthday! And remember to vote for me as your FAN FAVORITE at

1 comment:

  1. Y'all did a great job; both spaces in the home looked wonderful. Is there any way to find out what color Mikel chose for the walls--it's gorgeous! Thanks so much :)