Wednesday, July 11, 2012


We made it to challenge number 7, otherwise known as episode 707 (season 7 episode 7) from a production standpoint.  We have officially been away from home and our 'normal' lives for a month now.  Not only have we been void of television, music, internet, magazines, cell phones... I have only been able to talk with my husband 4 times (limited to 15 minutes a session) since I left.  He has NO idea how I have been doing on the show, because we are unable to discuss details of the compeition with anyone.  I have attempted to speak in 'code' to him over the phone by saying things like... "I'm good... Im STILL hereeeee, soooooo, yeah."  We should have probably come up with code words before I left so I could give him a little more insight to how things were going.  On top of that, this challenge was happening around Valentine's Day, which definitely made me miss home that much more.

 HGTV Design Star Season 7 Episode 7 Cast (Britany Simon, Hilari Younger-Powell, David Bromstad, Danielle Colding, Mikel Welch

Not only are we missing home, but let me tell you, coming up with new and fabulous designs day after day without ANY sort of inspiration at all from tv, internet, or magazines was getting harder and harder.  It's almost as if we'd been drained of our design ideas, and just needed a little pick me up with a peek of HGTV Mag, or Elle Decor for God's sake... SOMETHING stimulating.

Enough of the negativity... on a more positive side, I was beyond excited to still be in the competition.  We were down to the FINAL FOUR designers.  I had put my blood, sweat, and tears into these challenges, and the longer I stayed, the more and more I wanted to win.  Not only did I want to win because, lets be real, this is any designers dream job, but I really did want to make my husband and my family proud.  I had touched on my Mothers passing in my first recap, but I had made a promise to my Mom the day that she passed away... I promised her I would live my life in a way that would make her proud.  And that is exactly what I intended to do coming on the show.  I know she would be so proud of me and how far I have come, and even if I didn't win, I wanted to walk away from this experience being feeling proud of my designs and the way I carried myself on the show.  And I know she was watching over me from Heaven with a smile beaming as bright as the sun. 

Finding out we were designing condos inspired by a color seemed like a fairly easy challenge.  Finding out we were presenting a tip incorporating this color Live on CBS The Talk, and doing all of it in just two days make it a little more interesting.  The condo unit was a fairly large space... and by large, I mean that Hilari described the main living room wall as 'The Great Wall of Marina Del Rey.'  No kidding.  We were to design, decorate and style the dining, living, and nook space incorporating our color and using our specific design point of view.  The colors were picked randomly and Mikel selected green, Danielle had blue, Hilari was red, and I got yellow.  Yellow happens to be my favorite color, but it put me at a disadvantage being that Danielle and I had just used pops of yellow in our previous kitchen challenge.  I had to go out of my way to incorporate it in a sense that felt different from the last. (No one trick ponies up in here)

Colorful Condo Space BEFORE

Literally walking into the space, we had 10 minutes to pick a paint color.  Say whaaaaaaat?! Every designer knows that the paint color is certainly not the first decision you make when designing a space, and certainly need more than 10 minutes to do it.  Let's just say, this was a struggle for all of us.  I had no idea what I was going to be able to find while out shopping, so my plan was to pick a color that would help any yellow accents I chose POP in the space.  And I prayed I would find a sofa in a color that wouldn't fight with it.  I chose Dunn Edwards Mythical Blue, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

Out shopping for this challenge was the tightest time crunch yet in the competition.  We were required to find and purchase all of the elements for our camera challenge for The Talk on the first day, and being that this was our only full day to shop, we sure as heck needed to find most of our key furniture pieces too.  You never, EVER want to get stuck out shopping the last day of the challenge because in LA a 'quick' shopping trip could turn into a 5 hour stint... inevitably leaving you with an unfinished space by the end of the challenge.  No bueno. Mikel & Danielle were required to shop together in a van, and Hilari and I were in the other.  I wished they would have shown more of us out shopping. (Truthfully, I'm pretty bummed about the way HGTV has edited me and my personality, I'm actually a little bored even watching myself,  I promise I am NOT that serious all the time, and I assure you, I am MUCH more fun than what they show)  Hilari and I had so much fun together... we never let the competition get in the way of our friendship and we enjoyed our crazy shopping trips together.  We ended up at the flower market in downtown LA on Valentines Day.  It was pure chaos, and after we purchased our flowers, Hilari & I and the camera man barely fit into our van.  Let's just say its insane how many flowers you can buy for $200 at wholesale prices.  I think we might have tried to make up for not actually celebrating Valentines Day by overbuying flowers for our spaces.

The last day of the challenge I began to panic at the amount of work that still needed to be done.  I pride myself in great time management, and I was starting to feel like I severely mismanaged something somewhere along the way.  Towards the end of the day, it was clear the amazing mirrors and artwork I had purchased for the walls weren't going to be hung, and fine tuning my accessories wasn't going to happen either.  We were in individual condos so we couldn't see eachother's spaces, and as far as I knew, I was the only one that hadn't finished my space the way I had intended to.  I cried when time was called at the end of the challenge because I thought I was at risk for going home, and after coming so far, I wasn't ready to give up on my dream yet.

Britany Simon Colorful Condo- AFTER

Britany Simon Colorful Condo- AFTER (Wishing they had a shot of my 'nook' area... I carried the graphic into that space to tie the two areas together, it was actually a pretty darn cute little reading nook)

 Britany Simon Colorful Condo- AFTER 

  Britany Simon Colorful Condo- AFTER 

Getting into the cast van at the end of the day, it was clear we all felt very defeated.  Danielle was visibly upset on the drive home, and Mikel barely said one word.  I was fearful for evaluation, but also anxious to see what I was up against this week.  We still had our tips on The Talk for our camera challenge, and as always I was going to need to bring my A game.

Me on Talkin' on CBS The Talk

Driving to The Talk the next day, we were all SO excited.  It was strange that we all weren't very nervous to be talking in front of a live studio audience and recording our tips live on national television.  I guess its because we were so used to being in front of a camera and a large production crew everyday.  And maybe it was because we were all such good friends, and excited to be experiencing it together.  We got to have our hair and make-up 'touched up' before the show, and it was so much fun to get a little taste of what it might be light if we won our own show at the end of this.  My favorite part was hanging out with David in the green room and on set before we went on air.  He is has such a fun and magnetic personality, and exudes this amazing energy whenever he is around.  He let us know that performing on national television and in front of a live audience is like 'the best drug you will every have'... and he was right.  With the music blaring and the energy of the crowd in the studio, it was by far the most fun I have had on the show so far.  It was an unbelievable experience, and I will remember it forever.

Design Star Episode 7 Cast & Judges (Guest Judge Meg Caswell)

Heading into evaluation I had NO idea what to expect.  I only knew what my final space looked like, and after watching everyone's performance on The Talk, I couldn't figure out how they would choose a winner or a loser based on them.  Finally seeing Danielle, Mikel & Hilari's spaces did put me a bit at ease because it was obvious no one else finished their spaces how they had hoped to either.  I was however a bit frustrated with critique from the judges.  They asked us to design the spaces using OUR design point of view, which mine is bold and graphic, and they gave me a hard time about not showing enough of a range in design styles.  I disagreed with them being that I have shown not just bold and graphic, but designed an outdoor space, a hollywood regency lounge, and an eclectic industrial kitchen as well.  They also didn't think I smiled enough in my camera challenge which I thought was kind of silly, but if that was their worst critique I was happy to take it.

 Screenshot of me at Evaluation (Winner winner chicken dinner)

I believed Hilari & I were both up for the win, but at the end they declared me as the WINNER.  I was soooo surprised.  I had gone from being genuinely nervous about possibly going home, to walking away the winner of the challenge and officially in the final three of the competition. Mikel & Danielle did not receive well reviews at evaluation, and in the end they decided to eliminate Mikel from the competition.  I was going to miss my 'Mary Poppins' in the house... we had both come so far from our very first challenge together at the house.  It was official, a woman was going to win this year's Design Star.  It is between Danielle, Hilari and I for the win, and I was determined to show a new side of me and my design skills in the next challenge.

 Hilari's Colorful Condo- RED

  Hilari's Colorful Condo- RED

Danielle's Colorful Condo- BLUE

 Danielle's Colorful Condo- BLUE 

 Mikel's Colorful Condo- GREEN (Eliminated this week)

Tune in next week to watch us design 'Fantasy Yurt's' (and yes, you'll have to watch to find out what a Yurt is) with guest judge Mark Steines from Entertainment Tonight. Also don't forget to vote for me as your Fan Favorite at


  1. So glad you finally got the solo win you deserve! :) Gorgeous space!

  2. Wow, I was wondering if you all had acces to Internet, because it would be really hard without it. And now I know!!! Great job on the challenges, I hope you win :)))
    I am making a gold chain fringe chandelier for our living room - inspired by your white box challenge!!!

  3. Your designs are great! I'm a straight guy and honestly, putting aside your good looks, your designs r awesome and cool :).
    I think you hav charm and sophistication And Really really really want u to become the next design star or ATLEAST have your own show.

  4. I've been holding off reading your blog because I haven't seen the episode yet, but I just caved. I LOVE your dining room chairs, the gray and the yellow. From the pictures, you totally deserved to win, but I don't think Mikel deserved to go home. I guess I'll have to watch the episode and see how they look on camera!

  5. Love the floors. It looks so inviting and comfortable. Thanks for sharing these interior pics. All of the rooms are so cleverly put together.

    Manila condo for rent