Monday, July 28, 2008

You Bitch HGTV Design Star You Made Me Cry

St. Augustine Marching Band
is from New Orleans
They so good they make ya cry!

Oh how I wanted to hate the Design Star final challenge in New Orleans.
Not that I didn't want two families, or 200,000 families, to get help with rebuilding.
But I just didn't want a Ty Pennington cheesy production to embarrass our city (we're good at doing that ourselves).
The formula was the same, but the show was different.
First I think the contestants Jennifer and Mat are genuine, and that comes across. They care about what they do, and they care about who they are doing it for. They were totally cool, not mawkish (like a certain Mr. Yip and Mr. Pennington). Also Clive Pearce the host, has this same quality of being genuine, understated, refined, yet totally cool.
It's hard enough for these families to stand in front of camera, and confess their need, their sorrow, their desperation, and their inability to get the job totally done on their own. If you've ever had to ask a relative, or even a friend for money, you can kind of understand.
So the hubs and I are very quiet during the show. We can feel each other's pain. We are both trying to be cool, like when the fuck are we going to stop reacting to Katrina. Seeing a fireman and police man, both first responders, started the wrench of the heart, the lump in the throat. Damn you bitch HGTV. Then you look at the families. They could be us, they could be you, and if you're from New Orleans, they are you. Damn you bitch HGTV.
We tried to focus on the show. We calm down enough to speak to each other. Like what neighborhood is this. Like how cool it is that the two families are across-the-street neighbors. What stores are the designers shopping in. Do we see anybody we know.
Then the reveal, and thank god they don't suck. The families are so happy. The judges are so proud. The contestants are proud and happy. The End.
Not so fast you bitch HGTV: Clive calls out the fucking Marching 100, the St. Augustine Marching Band (known as St. Aug to anyone from New Orleans), and I think oh no, it's a move- that-(fucking)-bus stupid stupid move. But when those high stepping fine young gentlemen and ladies came swinging into that humble little street, we just lost it. We cried, and we just don't know why we are crying. Proud of St. Aug, proud of those families for their courage and enduring hard, hard times, sad for all of our friends that had to leave never to return again, sad that it will take years and years to finally rebuild (no 36 hours for poor New Orleans), happy to still be here, happy that HGTV did a good enough job.
The design work was good. The neighborhood looked like Lakeview, a neighborhood filled with mid century style brick bungalows/ramblers/ranches. These house are not the gorgeous high ceiling architecturally gifted houses one associates with New Orleans. These are the newer homes (compared to 100+ year old homes), that don't appear on postcards. They are essentially boxes, with the front door opening into the living room. The rooms are small, and they are hard to decorate.
I object to 36 hours being given to complete this challenge. I think the two families deserved more time spent on their projects. If you read the message boards, there are the nit pickers complaining about loose ends, not enough task lighting, not enough attention to detail. It's easy to nit pick from your fat ass in the computer chair. I like to think that HGTV does not leave any loose ends for the families to deal with, that an after-crew cleans it up, and makes it tight.
Who will win? Well you know I'm going to say the two families are the winners. But as far as the next design star, it's a wash. Jennifer has more experience decorating. Matt is the inventive carpenter. Both have their flaws, both have their talents. Both are super nice. Both are great on camera. You choose. HERE

Jennifer in the living room she designed
Big sectional for a big family in a small house

The family Jennifer designed for
The little boy says it all

Matt in the dining room he designed for his nola family
I love the light fixture, the white leather chairs,
and the square table that looks like it opens
to an even bigger size - perfect for a nola family

Matt with his nola family
Mom's face says it all

Matt: Before
Both homes had been gutted,
both were entirely covered with water -
Renovations had begun so there were
walls, and floors, and electrical and plumbing -
But the houses were not livable by any means,
though it looked like one family was living in theirs
as the work in it was slowly progressing -
While it may take HGTV only 36 hours,
thanks to low or no insurance pay outs,
and a slew of other crushing issues,
"normal" rebuilding takes so long

Matt: After
Sears donated all the
appliances for both homes -
The designers were each given $20K
to decorate and furnish 3 rooms in each house

Matt: Before

Matt: After
The floors were donated
and intalled in both houses
by Lumber Liquidators

Matt living room

Jennifer kitchen
I love the red cabinets -
the white ceramic floor was already done,
and I respect Jennifer for not tearing
out because it's not on trend -
Many people have this type of floor
and I think it is really wasteful to
rip it out and cram those land fills -
Work with it people! It's not that ugly!

Jennifer: Before

Jennifer: After
The dining room
Each designer did 3 rooms:
Living, dining, kitchen

Jennifer living room

Jennifer living room
The Asian chest with the TV on it
is from Silk Road Collection
They wrote a nice comment HERE
and told me a couple of pieces
from their shop are in Jennifer's rooms


beachbungalow8 said...

i'm so glad to see the final product. i fell asleep trying to watch this last night!

Visual Vamp said...

Happy to be at your service. HGTV already had a rerun of the show on tonight, and I'm sure they will air it a zillion times, if you want to watch it again.