Wednesday, July 18, 2012


FINAL THREE! I couldn't believe it.  I was so excited to be left in the house with Hilari & Danielle.  We had all become great friends, and all of us were actually still sharing a one room together in that huge house!  We were anticipated a very 'creative' challenge to be placed on us for this one, and we spent the morning reminiscing about glass houses, and tiny house challenges. We had a feeling HGTV was going to be mixing it up on this one.

Heading to the challenge in the fan we pulled into the park near our house... not surprising.  We had a feeling it was going to be in some sort of public setting. But then they blindfolded us, and things took a different direction.  If  you want to really want to freak someone out, take 3 A type personalities...keep a huge secret from them, put them in the final three of a major challenge, and then blindfold them so they have NO idea whats going on.  It was actually pretty hilarious, and the three of us were in a great mood kicking this challenge off.

The final 3 of us with David

We removed our blindfolds and were directed to walk torwards David.  I immediately saw these three round tent/structure looking things, and my first thought was, "oh my god, is this a yurt?" The crew actually thought it was pretty funny that me of all people knew what it was.  My design manager from my job back at home is a bit of a hippy, and she would often talk about quitting her job, selling all of her belongings, and living in a yurt... down by the river.  Maybe not down by the river, but I had to add that in there.  In any case, she would tell me stories about these things, and how she actually has friends that live in one.  I was kicking myself for not 'googling' these crazy yurts she would talk about, because I had a feeling I could have used the research.

The 'fantasy' yurt before... not so dreamy...

Our sneaking suspicion was true... we were in fact design yurts.  Oh boy.  Where are the tiny houses? Bring back the glass house challenge!  A round, non-permanent structure with no real walls, kind of sounds like a designers nightmare.  Okay, it is.  We were asked to design a 'fantasy bedroom yurt' in our space... I laughed because to me, using fantasy and yurt in the same sentence was a bit of an oxymoron.  This coming from someone who has never camped in her life, I wouldn't consider myself an outdoorsy kind of gal. I was having a hard time imagining why someone would choose to live in one of these, let alone consider it a 'fantasy'.  I was going to need really dig deep on this to come up with something good.

Team BROWN yurt

I sat in the center of my yurt for what felt like forever looking around this crazy round structure and what the heck I was going to do.  I wanted to prove to the judges that I was able to design in many different styles and this was definitely the way to do it.  I felt a little pigeon holed in past challenges being that the Kris Jenner Office challenge and the Hollywood Regency Lounge challenge were both similar to my style but they weren't challenges & styles I actually chose myself, they were given to me.  Yet, I was told I used the same style too often....I felt I had to defend my design abilities because of this.  I was confident in the fact that I shown a range in style when I could and was planning on showing them something new on this one too.  I wasn't going to make a 'glam chic', 'hollywood regency', or 'modern industrical' yurt.   I decided upon a mid century beach bungalow... yurt. The only place I could see myself living or vacationing in a yurt was on a tropical beach somewhere fabulous.  So that is where my inspiration came from, a more masculine, beach bungalow with some mid century flavor.  The three of us were all assigned carpenters for the job and I had the fabulous Joel West from Design on a Dime.  He was pumped to help me and was determined to do whatever it took to keep me in the competition.  We were going to create something inventive to enhance the round shape of the space.  A bed on castors that would rotate with the space to enjoy different views, serve as hidden storage in the back, with functional nightstands & desk space build it... it was going to be the ultimate furniture piece for this yurt.

Joel & I discussing the design plan...

Using teal fabrics to bring color to the space & draw your eye up to the statement chandalier

I remember coming back at the end of day one, and Joel had been busting his butt working on the bed.  The yurt smelled like a coffee bean and I noticed a stack of 5 or 6 empty grande coffee cups stacked on top of one another.  Joel wasn't messing around, he was hoppin himself up on coffee in order to get this bed made, no matter what.  I appreciated his intensity, and was so happy to have him as a partner in this challenge.  Casey Noble, host of Design on a Dime (from season 5 of Design Star) lit a fire under his butt and warned him not to screw anything up for me.  But I wasn't worried about Joel, I could tell he took on this challenge as if it was his own.  He gave me some really great tips when it comes to hosting and we were ready for our partner camera challenge together.

On the morning of day two, we got a chance to tour all the yurts, and I was excited to see the progress of Danielle & Hilari's yurts.  It was clear that all of our yurts were VERY different from one another.  Giving the girls a tour of mine, I didn't want to let them know my bed was on castors and rotated in the space.  Like I said in the show, "I didn't want to show all my tricks."  I just didn't want them to know what I was up to in my yurt.  From a competition standpoint I wanted it to be a surprise factor in my space.  I mean, you can't give away all your secrets can you!?! Hilari's was heading in a really beautiful direction, and Danielle's looked to be moving in a more contemporary space.  It was hard to tell at that point where we all stood in the competition.

Things were going yurt-astic in the challenge by the second day, and I felt confident in the direction my yurt was going.  Ideally, I would have changed a couple things in the space.  I wanted a cleaner wood look for my bed with maple or birch wood, but Joel had picked up more of an oak veneer at the store and was far more grainy than I had hoped.  But sometimes you just have to work with what you've got!  I had also hoped the bed would be stained in a much darker color, but with our limited time frame, we didn't have the proper time to layer the stain like we needed to for the optimal finish.  In the end I still loved the yurt, and could totally envision myself trying out the whole 'outdoorsy thing' and sleeping in it on a beautiful beach somewhere.  At the end of the challenge it was time for our 'MTV Cribs' style camera challenge touring our yurt spaces.  I got a chance to peek into Hilari & Danielles final spaces and seeing them all finished made it even clearer how different we all are as designers.  Again, I headed into evaluation not knowing where we all stood in the competition.  I was confident that I designed the yurt the best that I could, and had come to terms that if it was my time to go, I would leave with my head held high.

Mid Century Beach Bungalow... yurt.

This bed spins, damn you still photography.

Seating area

I love this light fixture.  It spoke to me, it said, please... put me in your yurt.

Heading into evaluation, I was anxious as always to hear what Vern & Genevieve were going to say.  Mark Steines from Entertainment Tonight was also our guest judge, and I knew he was going to bring some interesting feedback from a hosting standpoint. I was also glad it was a male guest judge, because I thought a man would probably appreciate the industrial & inventive idea with the rotating bed... I hoped.

The judges... Mark Steines, Vern Yip, Genevieve Gorder, David Bromstad

The critiques were pretty fair for all of us, but Vern wasn't keen on my photography for yurt.  I got 'Yipped' as we like to say. He suggested I had taken more abstract photos or close up pictures of bark.  I didn't really agree... I took the photos because the space needed more color & interest, and photos of bark would have been a real bummer in a mainly brown space.  But again, if that was the worst critique I was okay with agreeing to disagree and moving forward!

My photography... Vern suggested close up photos of bark insead... no, Vern, no. 

In the end the judges sent Hilari home.  I was actually pretty surprised.  Her yurt was absolutely stunning, but I did agree with them about the lack of design tips and content in her camera challenge.  I love Hilari, and think she is one of the funniest people I have ever met.  I know she is going places, and this will not be the end for Hilari on TV.  We didn't have to wait long...(today HGTV officially announced her as part of the cast of Design Star All Stars airing after the finale of Design Star). Kick butt Hilari... makde DS7 proud!

Hilari's 'Flirt Yurt'

Danielle's Global Contemporary Yurt

It's official, I made it into the FINAL TWO!!! Danielle and I are the  last two standing in the quest for HGTV's next Design Star.  Next week we will be working with real clients and also filming our pilots for our potential show on the network.  It is definitely going to be a finale you will not want to miss!

As always thank you for all your support, and keep up the online voting for me as your Fan Favorite!!!


  1. You are so winning.

    If you don't... I'll cry.

  2. I love reading your blog after watching the episode. It's great to hear the "behind the scenes" stuff and what you were thinking through out the challenge!

  3. I really hope you win Britany! Just in case the judges make the erroneous decision of not giving you the win, I have been voting everyday with my 10 votes for you so we can still watch you on an online show. Go Britany!

  4. I agree with everyone! You have to win! I'd watch your show religiously!

  5. I willl KILL myself if u don't win!!!!

    jk, but i would definitely be depressed... :(

  6. I am looking forward to seeing you win Britany! I loved your yurt. If I had to pick one to live in, it certainly would be yours. That bed is amazing!

  7. All the best Britany!! Love your designs. Looking forward for tuesday to know the result..I hope it is you, the next design star!!

    Divya's Culinary Journey

  8. Britany! I hope, hope, hope you win (won)! Your designs are so far beyond what I could have ever imagined up on my own and are so beautiful. I feel like you inspire creativity; viewers will certainly copy-cat your designs as well as take a spin-off of them. I hope we see a lot more of you because I could use a weekly dose of your creative genius and beautiful face:)

  9. How disappointing! You clearly should have won and were the best designer hands down. Rooting for HGTV to give you a show also. But I'm glad you have this blog - so please continue to keep sharing your design skills. You did a fabulous job on design star. Week in and week out on Design Star you rocked it and were the best designer!

  10. Brittany - I was so disappointed you didn't win - I think you deserved it! You were extremely consistent in delivering great design the whole season. You were by far my favorite the entire time, and I learned a ton from your spaces!