It's Always the Quiet One

Rambling about life, culture, Project Runway, and the occasional fruity drink.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Designing for Designer Wanna-Be's

Ryan starts the show with his getting-to-be-a-regular-segment of saying how he’s an artist. That means one of three things: he’s either going to win, he’s going home or he’s going to argue with someone. I don’t like any of those choices.

Todd gathers the designers on the lawn of the PDC for outdoor story time! This week’s challenge involves “eclectic places all over Los Angeles” and “the most opinionated clients you’ve ever had” according to Todd. As he starts to tell the designers what the challenge really is, a large group of people swarm around him from nowhere, right in the middle of his sentence. Are they autograph seekers? Camera moths? (You know, people who see cameras and then dance around behind the reporter making faces and mouthing “Hi Mom!”) How rude! But he’s nice about it, and even invites them to sit down, because… these are the clients! They’re interior design students! Oooooooo, scary! I can see where they would definitely be opinionated, but does this mean the designers are going to be in an actual ROOM instead of the 3-sided box? I hope so.

On to the challenge: Our group of designers have to create a one-room post-college living space that their clients can use for sleeping, working, playing the ukulele, building pyramids out of beer cans, making ramen noodles on a hot plate, stuff like that. Everyone splits up into designer/client pairs and start to plan their rooms.

Now, Todd tells us that the students have been “randomly assigned”. Have you noticed that those are two of his favorite words? He says them several times an episode – I never noticed before this episode, but I went back and watched previous ones and he says it ALL THE TIME. Anyway, I’m not so sure how random the assignments are. All the designers seem to have gotten a twin – the clients seem to have very similar aesthetics to the designer they’ve been paired with. They get a huge amount of time for this challenge compared to the last one, too – an amazing two and a half days! They’ll pick out paint and fabrics tonight, but not get any furniture until tomorrow.

And their time starts… now! (That’s another of Todd’s favorite sayings.) It’s a mad dash through the PDC! Matt hates everything he sees, which is probably going to make doing his room a bit difficult. Felicia tells us that she’s going to give her clients what they want, as long as it’s exactly what she wants. Ralphie, in a rare edit showing the actual thought process a designer uses when planning a design, tells us how he bases his room on a fabric and then draws from its colors and texture (and quite possibly how it tastes and smells and how the fabric sounds when you sit down on it. After all, you can’t have your upholstered chair making a rude noise when Aunt Hortense sits on it, can you? Of course not).

On the other side of the coin we have Ryan, who’s never bought fabric before. Of course he had the golden opportunity to rectify this last week, but chose to pick out ugly furniture instead. So how does he do? He picks out ugly fabric! Why am I not surprised?

Hey! That was totally uncalled for, Ryan! Sheesh.

Finally, looking exhausted, the designers make their way back to the lofts for some much needed sleep. But ha ha! Todd shows up at the girls’ loft at 6:45am, sneaking around like he’s about to do a panty raid in a sorority house. He calls up to them sweetly, looking like he’s auditioning for a lead role in Romeo and Juliet. Carisa comments that she never thought she’d be waking up to Todd Oldham. (Hey! That would be a great product - an alarm clock with his voice as the alarm. Good morning! It’s a lovely day! Join me! Hey, I’d buy one of those! You know you would too, admit it.) Waking up to the golden tones of Oldham is nice, but giving three women only ten minutes to get ready – and be presentable enough to be seen on national television - is horridly mean. But hey, at least he brings giant muffins. How can you stay mad at a man who does that?

Bleary eyed and sucking down coffee like there’s no tomorrow, the designers gather in the men’s loft and Todd tells them the reason he got them up so damn early. No, it’s not early bird hours at the PDC. It’s…

YES!!! Shopping at a garage sale! I called it!!!!! No wonder they got up so early. Anyone who garage-sales knows that you have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to get the best deals. Cue designers: eye-rolling, slack jaws, dull stares. Todd gives them this deliciously wicked look that completely makes me fall in love with him. My conversion into Todd Oldham groupie-dom is complete.
Soooo evil.

So while Todd heads off back to bed, the designers tumble out the front door and into their waiting cars to head off to the sales. By my calculations, they will not find the best crap because they wasted time eating breakfast. They will only get moderately good crap. You’re supposed to eat in the car on the way to the sales. Have none of these people ever done this before??

Apparently these sales have been scoped out by the production staff beforehand. There’s a strangely large amount of furniture, and a much lower proportion of McDonald’s Happy Meal toys than a typical sale. Ralphie picks out a chair that looks a lot like the pair of Heywood-Wakefields that my mother didn’t know she owned. It’s a nice find, but obviously the person did not realize what they were selling (because people will pay several hundred dollars for them) and it was priced ridiculously low, or else Ralphie is only going to have this one chair as the lone furniture item in his room.

Felicia is whining about the fact that they only get $500 to spend. $500?! That’s huge. Besides, you almost NEVER pay full price for something at a garage sale. It’s part of The Code. I could do some serious damage with that much cash at a garage sale. But wait! What’s she picking up?

It’s a little-known fact that before a woman is allowed to become a grandmother and have the opportunity to let her grandkids do all the stuff she wouldn’t let her own kids do, she must take a mandatory afghan-knitting course. (This is waived if you know how to sew, because baby quilts are an acceptable substitute for baby afghans – thank goodness my mom quilts!) Most women who are not in possession of the crafting gene simply make one hideous afghan, get their Grandmother Union card, and then give the afghan to their children, who are then required to hold onto it and display it until their mother either passes on or moves very far away, at which point they can sell it at a garage sale to a desperate interior designer on a reality TV show. (Felicia, Felicia, Felicia. Your client did say she liked old-fashioned mixed with modern, but somehow I really don’t think this is what she meant.)

Everyone loads their moderately good crap into trucks. They meet Todd back at the PDC where he unveils…twist number 2!! They usually get random carpenter assignments (see, there’s that word again), but after this challenge the designers will get to pick a carpenter to keep for the rest of the show. Whoever wins gets first pick. The designers are all excited about that.

Todd calls the carpenters in. I just noticed that all of them are wearing black t-shirts and khaki pants (kind of like all the models on PR wear black slips. I guess carpenters don’t look good in slips, nor would that be practical when you’re building stuff). I’m kind of annoyed by the female carpenter who feels the need to wear a dressy necklace with her work clothes. We know she’s a woman. It just looks… wrong. I think on some power tools it actually tells you not to wear dangly jewelry while using them. Get your necklace caught in that table saw and it’ll pop your head clean off your neck! She’s working with Carisa, who is also wearing a large chunky necklace. How matchy-matchy!

Everyone starts working on their rooms. Well, on their boxes. I really hate those boxes. How realistic of a design are you going to get in a three-sided area with no windows or doors? All the garage sale loot is brought in, and people start painting. Ryan finally gets his wish to go artist-nuts and paints his room black with white stripes and puts crushed glass all over it. He also appears to be upholstering with black electrical tape. Can’t wait to see how this turns out.

Meanwhile, some building is going on, and of course we can’t get through this part of the show without some conflict. No, I’m not talking about Goil being miffed that his carpenter apparently can’t measure. That’s small potatoes. This week it is Carisa and her carpenter, Sarah. Being the control freak that she’s turning out to be, Carisa comes over to “help” and Sarah basically tells her to get the hell out of the way.

On day two, everyone’s rushing around like crazy people. Carisa’s room looks like she just started, whereas Matt’s looks just about done. Felicia has to put up her wallpaper with rubber cement (which you would think would be bad, but she’s not the first one to do it - the people who owned my house before I did used that same technique in my living room).

Carisa and Sarah are not having a good morning. The design calls for Sarah to build a really long rolling desk with supports at one end and in the middle, and I guess the other end was supposed to rest on the counter at the back of the room, with casters to roll around on. Now I am not a carpentering kind of person, but even I know that you can’t have a long piece of wood with one of the ends unsupported, unless you’re building a slide. Carisa blames it on Sarah, saying she bought wood that was too heavy. What? It’s a desk! You can’t make it out of balsa wood. And why does the desk need to roll anyway? I hope she wasn’t planning to put any other furniture in the room, because the client would have to move stuff out of the way if she wanted to roll the desk around, and that would be a pain in the butt. Needless to say, the desk falls apart and Carisa goes off the deep end, even commenting that she’ll “never trust a carpenter again.” Give me a break. Never is a strong word, honey! You’re going to build all your own stuff from here on out?

Over in the non-drama section of the workspace, there is actual work going on! Ryan is making giant spin art. Ralphie’s paint job looks a little drab considering his client said she wanted “lots of light”. I’m wondering if that bird painting came from the garage sale. (See what I mean about not getting the good crap?) Or maybe he painted it himself.

Todd calls five minutes, and everyone scrambles around to make sure the Pledge products get shown on TV as much as Pledge paid for them to be. The rooms all look nice and clean from what I can see, but WOW! The work area in the middle is a horrid mess! Cables and equipment and scrap lumber and dust and paint everywhere. I feel sorry for the people who have to clean it up. Luckily the designers get to go change clothes before heading off to the White Room. Maybe they won’t have to stand so far away from the judges like they did on the beach.

Todd introduces the judges, just in case the designers forgot who they were from two days ago. I will never be able to look at Jonathan Adler again without thinking of Gilligan, thanks to some of the other TD blogs. Kelly appears to have gotten into the spirit of garage sale-ing, buying a vintage 1980’s crimping iron and giving herself a huge mane of hair that makes me want to start singing “Hakuna Matata”.
And she apparently got some materials to make herself a flapper dress using nylon pantyhose and a beaded divider curtain. (She must have slept in, though, because it looks like she ended up with just plain crap.) This week’s guest judge is the guy who designed the White Room. Oh, and he got nominated for a bunch of Emmys or something. He’s got big teeth.

Let’s take a look at the designs.
Matt – His client liked it, but the judges diss his choice of sage green paint as being used too much. He said he was going for something called Armani/Casa that I had to go look up, but after looking at it I can see that Matt really did incorporate that style, but with his own twist. I like this room. The colors were muted but it was very classy, and the two-lamps-into-one was clever. You really can’t tell that he got all this stuff at a garage sale.

Andrea – Her color scheme is very neutral but she has a lot of interesting items in her room. I like how she used an old suitcase and dresser drawers as wall shelves and beat-up doors as a table, and so do the judges. They think her sofa/bed is too narrow, but her client liked it.

Goil - He did a very weird thing with the chairs, by cutting off the back legs and making them slide around a low shelf instead. I hope he put coasters on them because that would really scratch up the shelf! It kind of limits where you can use them, too. The judges love it. They question his recessed bed, but the client says it would be perfect for her and a guest. (Too much information!) I don’t like the artwork – the proportion is all wrong for the room, and it looks too high on the wall. Also, the desk is too small for an adult to work at, unless they’re using one piece of small paper. Basically, the judges like the pieces individually, but not the overall design.

Felicia – Oh, no. That afghan does not go with vintage Thai fabric. Oh, and that animal pelt on the floor, combined with the afghan? Screams “pioneer cabin.” The room would have been fine had she left those out. But her client did not like pretty much anything about it. In fact, she said she would “shoot herself” if she had to live in the room. The judges like her fabric wall, but that’s about it.

Erik – Either Felicia’s client went ahead and shot herself in Erik’s room, or he must have murdered his carpenter because the canvases are splattered with blood! Oh, sorry, it’s ART. (Says so right on the canvas in huge letters, in case we couldn’t figure out what it was supposed to be.) Yeah, it’s art - serial killer art. The judges didn’t like it. Neither did the client. Kelly gushed over a tiny plastic chair on a lighted pedastal. The rest of his room went over fairly well, although Jonathan trotted out the dreaded “taste level” criticism.

Carisa – Even though she was horrified by a comment Todd made to her earlier in the show about using Carisa green and Carisa orange, and vowed not to use orange, she did. And green. And red. The judges love her kitchy garage sale finds – the 70’s plastic chair, the 1950’s commercial hair dryer lamp, the stolen street sign. They also love that she made pillows out of old napkins. They ooo and aah over those pillows as if Carisa was the first person to have ever thought to do that. As far as the missing desk, I think the room looks perfectly fine without it. The client bemoans the lack of storage in the room. Maybe the invisible fourth wall was full of storage! We’ll never know.

Michael – His room makes me hungry for some wine and cheese (the judges must want fruit because it makes them think of grapes and bananas.) It also makes me nostalgic for The Patridge Family – the big cutout birds on the wall look just like the opening credits where the baby partridges break out of eggs. This room has some major garage sale crap going on. An ugly picture on the wall, a lamp carved out of a hunk of firewood… and hey! I recognize those green chess piece bookends! They’re really candle holders. My grandma had some like them, but hers were red. They look even uglier in green, and they don’t go with the color scheme of this room. And did he buy that Mac at a garage sale?? I will give him credit for pretending the fourth wall was actually there by putting his desk up against it.

Ryan – Ack! Who knew that “art” meant “build a cage of random scrap lumber in front of the bed”! And that bedspread is U-G-L-Y. It doesn’t go with anything at all. I actually think Felicia’s afghan would have been perfect in this room. The table and chairs are painted as multicolored bullseyes – I think Ryan is making a subtle bid to redesign the Target logo. What looks like random circles on the wall actually turn out to be the chairs, and you have to pull them off the wall in order to sit on them – a unique idea, but too much work for the sitter. And then he tells the judges that the table turns into a drafting surface but couldn’t make the mechanism work. The only thing I like about this room is the neat table he made out of a glass door. The client liked his art – but the cage, not so much. Ryan defends his vision to the judges, and then proceeds to try and win them over by dissing interior designers. This annoys Margaret so much that her perfectly-coifed feathers start to get ruffled.

Carisa wins and will get her pick of the carpenters for the next challenge. Just a hunch, but somehow I’m thinking she won’t be choosing Sarah. I’m also thinking this won’t be quite as dramatic as the Zulema/Nick model-snatching smackdown from PR2. But we’ll have to wait until next week to see. My personal pick for the winner would have been Matt.

That leaves Ryan and Felicia at the bottom. Ryan skates by because he has Kelly in his corner – she defends his “point of view” even though he insulted her profession, and despite the fact that the other judges are looking at her like she's insane. Poor Felicia is out simply because of the afghan. (That happens sometimes – after all, it only took a few popped rivets to sink the Titanic.) I disagree with this decision – overall, Ryan’s was much uglier. The judges even say that Felicia is a well-referenced designer and knows her stuff, whereas Ryan is lacking experience, is angry and derogatory and insulting. Hmm… That seems like a no-brainer to me, as to who should have gone. But I’d let Felicia design a room in my house any day. I wouldn’t let Ryan fingerpaint with my kids.

Goil glasses color count for this episode: six. At one point I couldn’t decide if he was wearing orange or yellow frames. It might have been because he was outside. I’ll make the executive decicision that because they look yellow, they count as a separate color even though they may actually be the orange ones.


Anonymous roorooB said...

"(Hey! That would be a great product - an alarm clock with his voice as the alarm. Good morning! It’s a lovely day! Join me! Hey, I’d buy one of those! You know you would too, admit it.)"

I talked on the TWoP board about how this would SO go. I think everyone ignored me. Let's work on it!

1:16 AM  

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