My God, so many things came to an end this week: the election, The Washington Post Cupcake Wars, the ModernDomestic Presidential Cookie Bake Off, and now Top Design. God only knows what I’ll do with myself in the next few weeks, without the plethora of competitions to command my attention (Top Chef, perhaps?).
So did anyone else think that this show was a little . . . bland, without Eddie? I have to say that, even though I hated him, I also loved to hate him. The episode was so empty without the bitching, the Martha talk, and the snide comments. Now I feel like such a hypocrite! Really, he was the only piece of casting gold on this show (Nathan is amusing, but a little too understated to command the show like Eddie did), and it’s amazing how light the program feels without his giant bitchy star.
Also, I wasn’t pleased that the designers only had four days to design an entire house. Please. Last season the two finalists got to design loft apartments (which I bet were smaller than these three bedroom houses) and they had at least a couple of months to do it in. The result? The finalists created some really great spaces, and you were able to see what they were capable of.
But, like so many of the challenges this season, the finale was much more about time management than it was about design. This became extremely evident as we watched Ondine desperately paint valances, while Preston went through his massive to-do list with a strange and robotic calm. The final designs were good, but they could have been so much better if the designers had more time. I think the season finale missed that big payoff, that big sense of “wow, this is what they can really do” that you get when you watch the runway shows on Project Runway. But enough of my soapbox . . .
Granted, there was still some Eddie in this episode, as the designers got to work with the recently kicked off designers, but it wasn’t quite the same. I think the producers rigged it, so that Eddie “assisted” Preston, all the while bitching about him behind his back. Nathalie assisted Nathan (which seemed to be a drama-free relationship), and Andrea assisted Ondine (and had an obligatory whining session about how she could have done really well in this challenge and, man, why did she have to implode and leave? Andrea really needs to put a sock in it).
Despite the huge time constraints, there were some really excellent designs in this episode.
Ondine’s house was my personal favorite, because it represented the modern, eclectic, feminine style that I want to achieve in my own apartment. I especially loved her living room with the bright pink chairs, black and white accessories, and really awesome metal wall sculpture.
I also really liked her bedroom, especially the mirrored headboard her carpenter created for the bed. Some of the pops of green in her accessories were a little distracting from the overall color scheme, but in general I liked the room.
And how cute was her red and yellow children’s room with the built-in bed? I would have killed for a bed like that when I was growing up. Even though her carpenter almost didn’t get the bed done in time, I still think her choices were excellent in that room.
Preston’s house was kind of boring in a lot of places, and I don’t think he took the judges’ advice to show more of himself in his designs. What was up with his living room/foyer area? I was amazed that the judges didn’t tear that apart more, because it was such a bland, cold space.
I was glad that he did away with the “lounge area” off the kitchen, which he designed for the last episode, in favor of a formal dining room. While the space was a bit cold, I really loved his chandelier and I’m so glad he took those damn plates off the wall (at least, I think he did–you can’t see that wall in the photo)!
I liked his bedroom okay, but I actually through that the bed looked a little big for the room, and I’m not sure if the contrast between the masculine bed and the feminine wallpaper (which I loved on its own) really worked for me.
My favorite room in Preston’s house, by far, was his tiny gray guest room with the decorative molding and yellow accent colors. I loved the fresh color combination, I loved the furniture, and I just loved the entire space. I felt like it had the most personality of any of his rooms, and yet it was still his own restrained, polished style.
And what can one really say about Nathan’s house? Some of it definitely wasn’t my own personal taste, but it was very creative, conceptual, and showcased his flair for accessorizing (although, man, he didn’t get rid of the grandma bed from the last episode!).
The judges liked Nathan’s foyer the best, despite the fact that the room had little practical use. I especially liked the wiry gold baskets he hung on the wall above the giant cabinet, and I liked how the big round entryway table grounded the space.
His living room was very Nathan – calm, collected, with quirky accessories, although I felt like it looked a little uncomfortable. Also the giant carved sarcophagus piece (I think it’s actually a chest) was way too big for the room, which both Nathan and the judges agree on.
I also loved the abstract painting he created for the dining room, as well as the paper plate chandelier he hung over his dining room table (now I totally want to do something like that in my apartment!). I don’t know how I feel about the ornate chairs around the parsons-style table, but maybe that’s just because I’m not design-savvy enough. Still, even with my mixed feelings about those chairs, it was a great space with a distinct personality.
Perhaps because Eddie is no longer on the show and everyone who’s left is pretty likable, but the judges seemed rather subdued this week. Even Kelly, who sported a dress that looked like a piece of frilly underwear, didn’t bring much snark.
The judges dissed Nathan on the giant sarcophagus-chest, they wished that Preston had more “pops of color” (must everyone have pops of color these days?), and they wished Ondine had let herself go more. But I get the sense that the judges were just a little bored with these designs – again, perhaps because the designers had only four days to put together an entire house, so it’s not like they could bring their best stuff.
In the end, Nathan wins, which really surprises no one. Preston’s spaces were just too cold to be great, and Ondine house wasn’t quite pulled together enough. This was always Nathan’s competition, and he put together some strong designs for the finale that worked very well.
So congratulations Nathan! I can’t wait to see your spread in Elle Decor. Although with the way Eddie’s been lapped up by the media these days, he may beat you to it.