Thursday, July 5, 2012


I knew the kitchen challenge was coming.  Besides the iconic White Room Challenge, in most every design star season there is at some point, a kitchen challenge.  Many fear it, few excel at it, and some have fallen hard from it.  And I knew I had the potential to come out on top.  I have been so close to a win the last few weeks, I knew it was a place where I could shine. 
HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode 6 Cast- Rachel Kate, Mikel Welch, Hilari Younger-Powell, Sara Peterson, David Bromstad, Stanley Palmieri, Britany Simon, Danielle Colding

The first morning of our new challenge we all discussed the possibilities for what HGTV had in store for us next.  You wouldn’t believe some of the crazy ideas we all had… Mikel was mostly concerned about his loafers, and as usual, wondering if he had chosen the correct footwear for the day.  We did know that with 6 remaining, it was most likely going to be another team challenge.  As we pulled up to the studio and saw cabinet, countertop and flooring trucks, we were sure it was going to involve the kitchen.  I looked around the van, and it was clear Danielle and I were the most excited about it. 

Episode 6- Kitchen Design BEFORE
We walked into the studio only to see 3 blank white spaces with Kohler boxes sitting in the center of each room, confirming our suspicions.  This is also when we find out that the winner of the challenge is going to be published in an upcoming issue of HGTV Magazine.   Whaaaaaaaaaaat?!?! This is crazy huge.  Being published in a national design magazine is huge platform for any interior designer, and can get your name out to millions of readers.  If there was a challenge to win, this was it.  Because she won last week, Danielle was able to choose her partner as well as the other two teams.  Danielle chose to work with me, and she paired Rachel with Mikel, and Hilari with Stanley.  I knew D and I were going to knock this challenge out of the park.

Britany Simon & Danielle Colding-Dynamic Duo

 As usual we had about 10 minutes to gather our entire design plan based around our sink & faucet as inspiration for our kitchen.  Sara, the editor of HGTV Magazine asked for bold kitchens.  I knew I could handle the bold challenge, and my first instinct was to do a kelly green kitchen, being green is such a hot color right now.  Danielle wasn’t keen on this idea so we settled on a minty green instead.  We did agree upon our cabinet/flooring/countertop choices pretty easily, but as soon as we met with the representatives for these, we realized how limited we really were.  We wanted to stagger the cabinets, or at least raise them to 42” uppers, not available.  We wanted to herringbone the wood floors, or at least install them on a diagonal, not available.  In every kitchen I have designed, I almost ALWAYS do a killer statement making backsplash to add a punch of color, texture & visual interest.  We didn’t have the correct resources or the time to do this either… this was a huge letdown, so I settled on bringing in framed art instead.  We were 0 for 3 on ways to help our kitchen stand out and feel less ordinary, so we knew we were going to have to make our furniture pieces and accessories for our space really shine on their own. 

Danielle & I out shopping at our favorite store- H.D. Buttercup

 It wasn’t until the second day of the challenge David let us know two designers were going to be eliminated this week.  As if we all weren’t stressed out enough!  With only six designers left in the competition, this was going to be a BIG elimination.  Not only did I want to win to have the opportunity to be published in HGTV Magazine, but I wanted to win so that I could stay in the competition and be a part of the final four, and two steps closer to potentially winning the competition.

 I remember looking around at the other kitchens and checking out Rachel & Mikel’s space.  It was country, but I actually loved the bold wallpaper.  It made for a really dynamic and bold space.  Something the HGTV viewer may not ordinarily do on their own, and that certainly fit the ‘out of the box’ criteria.  But I could tell by the look on Rachel’s face, she was worried about it.  That made me scared for her…she had become one of my favorite people in the house and I certainly didn’t want to see her go home.  I looked over at Hilari & Stanley’s kitchen, and as soon as I saw Stanley installing the hand’s for hardware on their cabinets, I knew there was going to be a problem. It was bold, and yes they asked us to step out of the box… but to quote the Kitchen Cousins, “we said step out of the box, we didn’t say jump off of the cliff.” 

 I was nervous for all of us.  The six of left had all become very close, and none of us wanted to go home, or see anyone else go home either.  I knew that it may just come down to the camera challenge for the judges to decide who stays and who goes.  I was determined to make sure I implemented all of the feedback from evaluation about my camera challenges and to finish strong, and keep my smile throughout.   I wanted to show them that I could not only design a beautiful space, but that I could also handling hosting a show as well.

Britany & Danielle's Eclectic Kitchen AFTER

Weathered Buffet- H.D. Buttercup

 Britany's chandalier & Danielle's shelf styling

Britany's backsplash

We all sat outside in a semi-circle as we were called in one by one to do our camera challenges in our kitchens.  You could see the anxiety on everyone’s face.  We tried to calm our nerves by joking around with one another and giving each other words of encouragement.  Really, we had all become like family in this competition.  Although each and every one of us equally wanted to win, we all seemed to put that competitiveness to the side and cheer each other on.

 As usual, my stomach was in knots walking into evaluation.  I have been working so hard for 6 weeks to win a challenge, and I was praying that it was my time.  The judges let us know it was unanimous among all of them that Danielle and I were the winners of the challenge.  VICTORIOUS.  I couldn’t believe it.  My first win so far in the competition AND I was going to be published in the October issue of HGTV Magazine.  I couldn’t be any happier or more proud of our work.

Britany & Danielle's WINNING kitchen design

 For Stanley, his too-far-out-of-the-box hardware selection paired with an overly laid back camera challenge sent him home this week.  And apparently the judges didn’t like my buddy Rachel’s literal country translation in her kitchen and she was also eliminated.  It was definitely a bittersweet week for Danielle, Hilari, Mikel and I.  We had officially made it into the final four of the competition, but we were realizing how hard it had become to say goodbye to our new found Design Star family.

Stanley & Hilari's SUPER BOLD Kitchen- Stanley eliminated this week

 Rachel & Mikel's Country Kitchen- Rachel eliminated this week

OMG this is it.  I am only three challenges away to potentially winning my very own show on HGTV.  I could hardly believe it.  I am so proud of everything I have done so far in the design challenges, and hope to continue surprising the judges with my work.  I’ve soaked up every critique I have been given so far and have to implement all that I have learned and really step it up, in hopes to bring home the big win. 

Tune in next week when we design condo units in Marina Del Ray, with guest judge Meg Caswell, last years winner of Design Star.  As always, your vote counts… head to Fan Vote to vote for me as your favorite design star and help me win my own show on    


  1. You are so cute! I love your designs and I hope you win!

  2. You and Danielle's kitchen was perfect! Your work is absolutely beautiful! I actually did a small feature on my blog about your work on Design Star! Your boldness with colors, patterns, and design has truly inspired me!