Design Star Recap: ‘Til Death or Design Do Us Part


Well, if Cathy’s staging career was put to a grinding halt last week, then this week she can thank Design Star for kissing her wedding planning dreams goodbye, too.

Let’s dive in.  We’re down to seven people: Kevin, Kellie, Mark, Cathy, Meg, Leslie and Karl.  The task this week is to design an entire wedding reception, in a blank loft space, in two days. I can’t decide if the couple involved, good ol’ Cynthia and Val, completely lucked out on this task or got completely screwed.

Cynthia and Val meet with the designers to tell them their wish list for the wedding. It turns out they have pretty high maintenance demands. I may have said something like, “I’m just thrilled you guys are paying for this! Do whatever you want. Just make it nice.” But they say they want bright colors, lots of flowers, a Rat Pack-inspired groom’s lounge and…oh, he likes skateboards. Lastly, she adds, “I’d like it to be like a royal ball.” At least we’re not aiming too high?

While dividing tasks, Cathy mentions at least five times that she has designed weddings that have been in three national magazines. Everyone hates her. So do I.

They divide tasks and get started. Leslie and Cathy work together to get linens and immediately hate each other. It’s not a coincidence that anyone who works with Cathy hates her. Here’s a few other dramatic moments created by these odd people trying to work together under pressure:

  • –Kevin and Mark disagree with Karl on what type of furniture to put in the Groom’s Lounge. They fight like teenage girls until finally Karl stomps off saying he’s obviously just getting in the way.
  • –Leslie really hates Cathy and calls her a control freak. I call her a control freak with terrible taste. And she’s arrogant. And just annoying.
  • –Leslie buys lanterns that she loves despite Cathy’s disapproval. The judges like them…so suck it, Cathy!
  • –Kevin buys all the furniture for the Groom’s Lounge and he’s concerned that it doesn’t match the rest of the reception. Yeah, I’d say that’s a legitimate concern.

Some other highlights: Meg is designing all the centerpieces for the guest tables and I really like them. They’re high with clear vases, so you can see through them and talk to people across the table. It makes sense to me, and I think they look funky and cool. Kellie chooses to hang big sheets of fabric over the dance floor as a splash of color. I can’t decide if it looks stylish or like a circus tent. Cathy picks ugly linens and uglier dishes.  Karl does the flowers for the Groom’s Lounge and it basically looks awful. It almost looks as if someone threw flowers in a vase, but then it tipped over and someone shoved them back in with their eyes closed. It’s bad. Even I can see it.

Camera Challenge

Somehow Cathy (again) mentions her three national magazine placements in front of mentor David Bromstad. Did I mention I hate her? Anyway, the camera challenges have some highlights. Kellie, again, jacks up her timing completely. Karl repeats himself and just kind of stinks. Meg looks confused, and Leslie’s camera challenge is so bad I literally have to hide under my couch. I can’t watch it. It’s THAT bad.

Back to the wedding reception. Mark, with apparent terrible time management skills, gets this GREAT idea and runs out with 3 hours left until the end of the day. He buys a bunch of skateboard tops and laces them together and hangs them in the Groom’s Lounge. I’m annoyed he sucks-up half his afternoon doing it, but, much like the rope sculpture in the Bed and Breakfast challenge, somehow, this wacky idea turns out great.

The designers only have one hour left and the room looks like a complete craphole. It’s a good thing that the bride is busy getting married because if she popped her head in this room to check it out, she’d pass out in fear. Cathy works to get her ugly sweetheart table designed and Leslie works equally as hard on her ugly sign-in table. Just in the nick of time, they finish the room, and head home.

Judges review

The guest judge this week, Dina Manzo, who was a Real Housewife of New Jersey but somehow made the jump to having her own show on HGTV. Uh, can you say upgrade?

They walk through the reception and it looks great, but I bet it’s one of those things that looks really great at first glance but as you walk around and see the details you begin to see some pretty weird crap.

The judges love the romantic lighting, thanks to Mark. They hate the sign-in table, saying it wasn’t purposefully accessorized, and I have no clue what that means. Dina doesn’t like the cheap fabric overlay. I couldn’t agree more. Yucks.

They hate Cathy’s linens and her sweetheart table, which admittedly looks terrible. Tacky, yet oddly barren and…did I mention tacky?

They call Meg’s centerpieces “off-scale” and think the flowers seem wimpy next to the large vases. I don’t get that at all—I dig them.

The real hit of the reception was the bar and lounge area. They say it looks fun and purposeful, the scale and accessorizing worked for Vern (huh?) and they love the skateboards. The only thing they didn’t like was the knocked-over-and-reassembled-by-a-blind-man-flower arrangement that Karl created. Finally, they love the fabric over the dance floor.

Judges’ Evaluation

The judges decide that Mark is the big winner. I agree because he did a bang-up job on the lighting. Still, he keeps getting praise for these little artistic doodads that he comes up with like that skateboard wall or the rope sculpture. I’m down with that, but I think the winner of Design Star should know how to design, right? I’m not saying he can’t, but I think I’d like to see more from good ol’ Mark.

Mark is safe for this week, along with Kevin, Kellie and Meg. This leaves Cathy, Karl and Leslie up for elimination. It turns out there actually IS a God, because—hallelujah—Cathy is sent home. I was hoping for a dramatic, whiny exit but she just stays calm and says she’s surprised but was thankful for the opportunity, etc. Booorrring.

Anyway, that’s all for this week—not the most exciting TV around, but I am interested in seeing who wins this thing. My money is on Kellie. Who do you think will take it?

Didn’t catch last week’s episode? Get the recap!

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