Design Star Recap: Backsplash Backlash


What a great idea! Asking eight contestants to design a dream kitchen! In a warehouse… that will never actually be used by anyone. Seems wasteful? Ahhh, it’s not my concern — let’s talk about some wacky design! That’s right, I’m talking to you, Cathy.

We’re down to eight people: Kevin, Kellie, Mark, Cathy, Meg, Tyler, Leslie and Karl. They are split into pairs and asked to design a dream kitchen. They pull their type of kitchen out of a hat, and then as a pair, they decide what theme they’ll create.

Mark and Kellie are paired up to design the Galley kitchen. They choose “Farmhouse” for their theme, mostly because they like the red teapot that symbolized the kitchen. Seems like a less-than-sold reason, but whatever. Meg and Kevin design the peninsula kitchen and choose “Industrial” as their theme. Kevin says, “It feels urban and city”, but he says it with a growl. So yes, sure, industrial (growl!) is what they choose. Cathy and Karl design a U-shaped kitchen and choose “Contemporary,” because Karl considers himself to be a contemporary guy. Again, shaky reasoning. Finally, Leslie and Tyler design an L-shaped kitchen with a “Global” theme because Tyler’s husband is Portuguese and his son is Puerto Rican. Seriously, deductive reasoning skills FAIL, people.

Meg and Kevin

One of the first decisions Meg and Kevin make when designing their industrial kitchen is paint color and they don’t hold back. They choose bright yellow and orange. Yikes, I’m scared. Kevin hopes the judges realize they didn’t play it safe. Uhhh, yeah I think they’ll get that message.

David Bromstad, their mentor, cheers them on for their use of color. The other three kitchens are using muted colors, so he commends them for not playing it safe. Since when is playing it safe a bad idea? Playing it safe is okay sometimes.

They’re working well together and doing a decent job actually making it industrial. However, it’s freaking me out that they keep talking about the fake family that lives there. They say it’s a young, hip family in Manhattan with one kid. That’s not really true, right? Families aren’t really going to live in this random warehouse, right? So why are we playing pretend? Is this like method acting for designers? I don’t get these artsy people. Anyway, Kevin buys really ugly bar stools that are way too tall, and then creates a “crap corner.” This is the corner we all have in our houses where we store all our kids’ crap. However, most of the time you’re not aiming to have a crap corner – it just sort of happens when you have aforementioned surprise twins. But anyway, Kevin decides to build a crap corner into his design. Again, poor judgment. Meg decides to hang pots and pans on the wall. It looks industrial for sure, but I’m not totally sold. We’ll see what the judges say.

The kitchen turns out really cool, actually. I dig the colors, but I really, really hate the crap corner. They use real tool drawers for storage. There are beautiful black cabinets and the pot wall comes out nicely, actually. The judges walk though and they dig it. Well, they dig all of it—including the paint colors—except, you guessed it—the crap corner. They also think the bar stools are stupid. Overall, it’s a winner though.

Side note: Crazy-as-a-loon-but-super-lovable Paula Dean is a guest judge this week. She looks at the crap corner and says, “Uhhh, this is not good.”

Kellie and Mark

Kellie and Mark get started on their Farmhouse design and immediately think about using a wood backsplash. Again, I’m not a designer but this seems like overkill. It’s not barn style, it’s farmhouse. There doesn’t have to be an actual cow in the kitche—it’s just an overtone, people. Geesh. Anyway, Kellie hates the idea, so she convinces him to use tile. He agrees, but here’s the weirdest part. They don’t have time to finish the tile, so they do half the kitchen in tile and half in fake wood paneling. Even I know this is a horrendous idea. Half-and-half? That’s like me making a cake, getting halfway through it and saying, “You know what? I’m tired of making this. I’m going to whip up meatloaf instead.”

Besides the backsplash fiasco, I think the kitchen really looks good. Kellie makes candleholders from cabbage. I mean, she really MAKES them from cabbage. She cuts holes in the top and sticks candles in them. Do not tell me this is at all functional. Won’t it wilt and burn? I bet burning cabbage smell is not great when eating hamburgers. Yikes.

Anyway, the judges like this kitchen too. I can’t get my mind off the fact there is a rooster on the wall, but besides that I’m a big fan. Vern loves the price fixtures, but questions why the price tags are on them. Good question – nice attention to detail, you dummies. They all like the mismatching seating at the table and they like all the room styling, including the odd cabbage candleholders. Like the rest of America, they’re confused why the kitchen backsplash changes halfway through.

Leslie and Tyler

To me, the global theme would be the hardest theme. I’d probably hang globes around the kitchen and stick an atlas on the counter. Anyway, this room actually turns out okay but is certainly the weakest in my opinion. Tyler decides to paint the wall with this funky method he compares to an “industrial tie-dye.” Again, I shudder at the thought. Turns out I’m right—it’s horrendous. Paula says it looks like someone is trying to remove wallpaper. For a crazy old bird, she’s spot-on.

Tyler is also very excited about his purple, velvet, Indian bench. I suppose it’s cool but it would fit two toddlers and no more. It sits at one side of a massive, massive table, so that’s kind of weird. Genevieve is really, really angry about it. She calls it a sad moment—she’s right, it looks out of proportion.

They love the random, shell chandelier, but hate the fact that the backsplash only goes halfway around. What’s with the poor backsplashing this episode? Anyway, it actually doesn’t look terrible overall, but there were certainly some bad decisions.

Cathy and Karl

How is this woman still here? Man, she’s annoying.

They dive into their contemporary design and oddly, they agree on things! Cathy is notoriously annoying to work with, so this surprises me. It doesn’t last long. Karl sees the fact that everyone is using green paint and feels like they need to do something different, like paint the room orange. He certainly has a point, but yikes, it sounds scary. Turns out it was a pretty good decision. It looks great next to the funky glass backsplash.

The kitchen turns out fine, but it doesn’t look at all contemporary. The only thing contemporary is this horrendous, gold chandelier that Karl chooses. I hate it, but the judges love it. I’d probably trust their judgment over mine. Just sayin’.

The really amazing part of this kitchen is the styling. Styling apparently means making it look like it’s actually used. Throw some props out there, set the table, etc. I get it. Cathy claims she does this in her business often, and I can only think that after this episode airs, this woman will never style again. And that’s a plus for this world, trust me. She should have her styling license revoked permanently. She puts crap EVERYWHERE. She has jars of limes, baskets of melons, vases of eggs, bowls of bread, etc. There’s literally no counter space left. It looks like how your kitchen would look AFTER you throw a very crowded dinner party—if you served limes, bread, tomatoes, soup and oranges at the party. Even I can see it looks cluttered. How does she not see that? She says, “Ohhh and I’ll put fresh eggs by the sink!” Ummm, no, how about fresh eggs in the fridge? That’s where eggs go, lady.

Anyway, the judges don’t mind the room. They don’t think it looks contemporary at all and they hate hate hate the styling. They love the chandelier and backsplash, but they don’t have too much else to say. Probably because Karl and Cathy are too busy cat fighting about the styling.

Camera Challenge

This week, the camera challenges aren’t great. Cathy, despite her incredibly annoying personality, is pretty natural on camera. Kevin would be annoying to watch for an entire show, but is pretty good in these 60-second snippets. Kellie seems natural and chill, but I can’t get over the fact her hair looks like she just did something really naughty, and then jumped up to do the camera challenge. Meg does too much hand talking and Karl talks about painting your kitchen the color of celery and buffalo wings. Whoa. Tyler just sucks and Leslie seems stoned. The judges oddly choose Cathy as the winner, whose video will be posted online this week. I probably won’t watch it. It also means she’s safe from elimination this week.

As for the kitchen designs, the winner is Kellie probably because of the cabbage candleholders. Mark, Leslie, Meg and Karl are also safe. This leaves Kevin and Tyler up for elimination.

Tanika Ray, looking very 1987, tells Tyler they will not be producing his show. Buh bye, Ty. He’s pretty bummed out,but at least he doesn’t have to be involved in next week’s train wreck—the group designs an entire wedding reception. Yikes. See you next week!

Didn’t get to watch Episode 4? Read the recap!

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