Design Star Recap: Lucalicious

Color. Fabric. Sass. Shoddy last-minute craftsmanship. Unnecessary dramatic host.

What could I possibly be talking about?


This show has everything: the Southern Living types, the unexpected manly men, the totally-expected sassy men, cat fights, bro fights, human fire-hydrants...wait, no…I heard about that last one from Stefon...I got carried away.

I got sucked into this show within one episode last summer, and I'm pretty pumped for it to be back.

What better way to fill the void in your TV schedule this summer than by watching conflicting personalities try to work together to create cohesively designed rooms within a perpetually-too-short length of time? Almost every episode includes a scene or two eerily similar to that 10th grade group project worth half your final grade, complete with power struggles and the stress of getting graded based on your slacker partner's work. But it's much more entertaining when it's not happening to you.



Genevieve Gorder: (green dress pictured above) formerly of Trading Spaces fame, Genevieve Gorder has come out of the woodwork with a renewed vigor and a forehead/eyebrow situation that looks like it's being stretched over a skeleton and held in place with a chip clip behind her head. Poor Genevieve. Now she always looks surprised.

Vern Yip: Also of Trading Spaces fame, Vern Yip is almost always laughing casually and stands at a whopping 4 feet, 10 inches. Look out for this shark. His no-nonsense criticism will cut you to the core. Hahaha. Just kidding. He's adorable.

Mystery Celebrity Judge: This third position is filled each week with some sort of moderately famous celebrity, not necessarily a designer. Most notable appearance from last year: Paula Deen. "That hangin' thang looks good, y'all!"

Mentor: David Bromstad. I just love this guy. I feel like I should hate him because of his chipper demeanor and obsession with bright colors, but I don't. He somehow casts a spell over you with his SGF charm and you're left wondering whether you really should reupholster that ottoman in fuchsia this weekend. He helps them with their camera challenges and calls them out when they are about as likable as a paper cut between your fingers.

Which brings us to...the season PREMIERE, where we meet all the design hopefuls, which we can only hope includes someone as terrible and crazy-eyed as last year's Omarosa--I mean Cathy.


Ahem. Moving on.


Overconfidence abounds in the opening montage in which people say things like "it's game time" and a guy who looks like the douchebag from any teen movie ever makes the bold statement "I'm the best designer you guys have ever seen" and someone wears lime green sunglasses.

And here are some future guest judges! Kim Kardashian's mom! Julie Chen! Daisy Fuentes! and…wait for it..VANILLA ICE. Oh yeah. This year's gonna be good.

Drama! Cussing! A middle-aged lady cries! Title Sequence!

Let's meet the designers, shall we?

Luca He hails from the STEEL city and is the "only dude in his house," on account of his wife and four female pets. He also has an earring and his hair is greased up like it's 1997.

Design Style: "Lucalicious." This guy is promising. Stellar intro quote: "I'm looking forward to being competitive."

Rachel Kate A pleasant-looking Minnesotan girl who has to leave her daughter to be on the show, which is (anyone? anyone?) the "hardest thing she's ever done in her entire life."

Design Style: Outdoorsy (shocking)

Bex Hale REAL NAME. Basically Bex is a hipster with hair like the girl from Karmin who probably thinks the 1920's are better than 2012. She not only owns an interior design business, but a "successful interior design business."

Design Style: creativity or something.

Jordan the Aussie This guy is already awesome. If nothing else, I totally trust his design sense based solely on his accent and moderately good looks. He apparently designs furniture and has a line of candles.

Design Style: "Masculine Glamor"…also he uses the phrase "razzle dazzle."

Miera The token Older Lady at 63, this Floridian Meryl-Streep-type wants to represent baby boomers. She likes the ocean.

Design Style: "Coastal Casual"

Mikel I already like this guy based on his red pants and matching pocket square. He may or may not be related to Fonzworth Bentley. He hails from NYC.

Design Style: "Vintage Chic". Stellar intro quote: "These hands are manicured but I get dirty."

PAUSE to insert a condescending quote from Luca answering a simple question about whether he does industrial or interior design: "I can do his job, your job, your job…" as he points around the circle at his competition. I get the feeling Luca was the kid at camp giving everyone swirlies on the first day but secretly cried himself to sleep in the cabin because he had no friends.


Danielle Wants everyone to know that she is not only an interior designer but OWNS HER OWN FIRM. She also has "the single mother" who passed away and wants to win this for her.

Design Style: unknown

Kris The lime sunglasses belonged to him, and he's everything you think Kris With A K on Design Star would be. Plus he kind of looks like a nerd-chic version of Ben Folds. If that's possible.

Design Style: "Client-Driven Modern Eclectic."

Stellar intro quote: "I believe I'm truly unique, extremely talented…"

Yuki Northington Has there ever been a more contradictory name? Yuki has politician hair and four children and a store. She kind of looks like a news anchor. I'm just saying.

Design Style: unknown

Britany Designer AND photographer, guys. And her photos look at LEAST as good as the ones I take on my iPhone. At least.

Design Style: Modern/Glam/Chic. She also declares that she is a bold girl because she is wearing pink.

Hilari Nope, not a typo. It's really with an "i." And IMMEDIATELY Hilari soars to first place on my list of favorites. Why? She is Angie from 30 Rock, guys. (A.K.A. Sherri Shepherd) Any moment now I'm waiting for her to say "HAYUM!" or add "IBS survivor" to the end of her bio.

So here we go, guys: Hilari is a SELF-TAUGHT designer whose life philosophy is the same as her design philosophy: "DO it and DO IT BIG." Man. I wish text could adequately capture her accent. Just…just imagine Angie Jordan.

Design Style: "Glitzy SLASH Transitional" (whatever that means)

Stanley I totally expect this guy to say he's "34 years young," but he doesn't. He will probably be best friends with Luca in about 2.5 seconds. He's the East Coast version of Luca. Metal spiked necklace, tattoos, long hair, overconfidence, this guy has it all. He's a metal sculptor, which totally qualifies him for an interior design competition.

Stellar Intro Quote: "I can build anything you can think of."

It's David Bromstad time! And you know what that means? They got rid of the unnecessary host from last year (the only thing she did was state the obvious, and we have three other people to do that) AND we get more Bromstad! Rejoicing in all the land.

We waste NO time and are already being paired up to makeover a house room by room in three days. They get matched up randomly based on the items they sent in which they thought exemplified their individual styles.


Luca and Danielle: Stuff is about to go down.

Bex and Kris: Hipster clash of the Titans. Who will win? Only time will tell. Bex wears what I can only assume is a viking coin on her finger while she points to paint colors and Kris tells us his item (a glass table covered in tape) is "pure brilliance." You're no fun, Kris. Why can't you be more like Bromstad?

Mikel and Britany - This could totally work. Their room might actually not be a disaster. They at least respect the rules of common courtesy from the get-go.

Hilari and Rachel - Rachel's item is a white ceramic moose head (typical) and... guys. Guys. Hilari brings….one lonely leopard print throw pillow. A LEOPARD PRINT THROW PILLOW. That's adorable. You can get those at Wal-Mart, Hilari. Maybe you should ease up on telling people from the beginning you're "self-taught." They'll find out on their own. I'm so excited Hilari is on this show. Almost as much as I hate erasing the "Y" on the end of her name every time I type it and changing it to an "i."

Stanley and Yuki - Stanley talks just like Edwin McCain, doesn't he? Edwin McCain with a metal spike choker. Anyway Yuki explains that they are both artists so this should totally work. (Foreshadowing)

Miera and Jordan - Less Impressive Meryl Streep wants basket-weave fabric but Jordan the Aussie isn't having any of it because it's too old and apparently not razzle-dazzley enough.


Luca tries out some couches while wearing two earrings and cowboy boots at the same time. He picks out white tufted ones. If you listen closely, you can hear his friends back home kicking him out of their band.

Bex uses the word "quirky" about 700 times and tries to convince Kris to get a giant glowing matchstick to put in the room and he actually GIVES IN. Kris, I'm beginning to think you're the worst, but Bex dares to use the word "quirky" even after New Girl's marketing team ran it into the ground, so she's giving you a run for your money.

LUMBER LIQUIDATORS PLUG explodes all over our TV screen for about five minutes while Yuki picks out two-tone flooring.

Cut to Hilari who literally says: "I would lack to have a sow-fuh, becawse it IS a dee-yun [den]. We're not gonna have seances in he-yur…I guaranTEE you people will say, 'I could chee-yull in there.'" Love it. She picks out a geometric gray couch which is actually pretty.

Side note: Yuki's hair is growing exponentially in relation to the stress Stanley is causing her.

….and BROMSTAD is back! And he's wearing a tie! And his shirt is making the cameras freak out! It's like when you try to film a computer monitor. Is it electronic? Is it glittery? We will never know.

It's Day 2 and Bex looks like she just stepped out of a Rosie the Riveter ad only with more orange stripes and onesie-ness. Hilari is wearing a blazer to look sophisticated but ruins it when she screams upon Bromstad's entrance.

Britany totally steps in and takes credit for suggesting they deepen the room's paint color when Mikel tries to say he picked it out. Rude.

DRAMA alert: Jordan and Less Impressive Meryl Streep run into a snafu when their silver crocodile skin fabric they picked out for headboards comes in hides instead of one long roll! Less Impressive Meryl Streep further ages herself by saying she hasn't sat behind a sewing machine in 30-40 years so she definitely doesn't want to sew these things together. Never fear, Aussie Jordan to the rescue! He suggests cutting them into squares and everything is AY OH KAY.

Mikel peruses fabrics to cover an ottoman because Bromstad says he doesn't see any of Mikel's ideas in the room. He finally finds a shower curtain that qualifies as a "piece of Mikel," so it will definitely work.

Scene change and Stanley makes the declaration that they're FINALLY at the steel shop. Thank God somebody finally said something. I was beginning to think there would be no welding at ALL in this episode!

Meanwhile Stanley's partner Yuki, who has already decided to paint their room both purple AND lime green, picks out a Nickelodeon-orange couch for their room. This is definitely going to turn out great.

CLIP DURING COMMERCIAL: Hilari, Kris and Yuki are trying to maneuver the Nickelodeon couch out a door and down a set of metal stairs. Yuki is understandably exasperated at this ragtag group of yahoos she has helping her because Hilari is pretty much useless and Kris, as she explains, is "kind of small." Remember when Ross, Rachel and Chandler try to move a couch up the stairs and Ross keeps yelling "PIVOT!" over and over? It's like that but less funny. But at least Kris's trainer will be proud of him, which is what he announces at the worst time possible.

Back from commercial and Hilari tries to explain to us why a tiny TV that more closely resembles a netbook monitor, placed in the middle of a large frame she constructed on the wall with molding, is actually better than no TV at all:

"I'm addicted to reality TEE-vee!"

Great job, Hilari. Really, top notch assessment skills. It looks terrible. Sometimes less is more, y'know?

Back to Kris and Bex whose room is looking shoddier by the minute. Kris thinks that putting tape on the carpet leading from the previously mentioned inspiration table to the obnoxious 3-foot-tall matchstick will make it look better, not worse. Bex puts holes in the side of a black day bed frame to backlight them and make it look like constellations, because they're all stars and she's "punny like that," but they turned out way too large and now they look like mistakes. Also the walls are painted "Passionate Plum."

Danielle/Luca's and Britany/Mikel's rooms are actually looking like pleasant, usable rooms, but unfortunately that means they don't get much face time.

Less Impressive Meryl Streep again references the olden days (1971), which she says was the last time she painted a graphic on a wall.

Bromstad appears and warns the designers that there is only ONE hour left, and Stanley's art project looks like a giant wiped his foot on the wall after attending a rave in the 80's. Seriously.

"The collage looks like something I made on a Sunday with my adopted nieces in my studio." - Stanley

Sooo…you're saying that's…bad, right? And why are you dragging your adopted nieces into this? Why do you have to mention the fact that they're adopted at all? Come on, Stan. Use your words better.

Bex uses a metaphor for thinking - "gears are turning" - which inspires her to create an art project in which she puts colorful gears on the wall...which was totally unscripted and happened exactly like that.


Worst: Yuki and Stanley's room. Seriously it's about 8 different shades of neon and even Stanley's adopted nieces wouldn't call that "art."

Best: Britany and Mikel's room. It has a white latticework pattern on a teal wall and I just like that.

Room that looks most like an unfortunate accident: Bex and Kris's room.

Back from commercial and [drumroll please] Daisy Fuentes is this week's guest judge because she has a line of clothing at Kohl's and I think hosts something!

Genevieve is wearing a schoolboy's sweater the color of Yuki's couch with an oxford shirt buttoned up to the top, and Vern is short as always.

Bromstad takes them through the rooms. (I'm really liking this whole lack of host thing…TANIKA, that was her name. She was the worst.)

Basically Vern wants to unsee everything in Yuki and Stanley's room and in an unexpected twist, and Genevieve actually LIKES Kris's "art project" with the tape and the matchstick. As expected, Hilari gets reamed for the whole tiny-tv thing, and the other rooms look pretty good.

The suspenseful music begins and we are officially in elimination territory.

Vern explains how it works (like every other reality show ever, guys) and Genevieve's eyebrows are frozen in a combination of anger and surprise.

Luca gets in trouble for not actually designing anything and begins his defense with, "A lot of the sole contributing I believe I did…"

It takes him about 5 minutes to say that he picked out the couches and then they like him again.

They tell Yuki and Stanley that their room sucks and again tell Hilari that her mini-TV was a total party foul.

Um, Bex has some sort of maroon silk beret perched on the side of her head that totally clashes with her orange hair. But it's quirky, you guys. So lay off her.

COMMERCIAL (and Glade tells us that buying their oil diffusers will get us more kisses and hugs)

We're back and by now I've concluded that Hilari is basically the melba toast of design. If melba toast were wearing a velour track suit.

Whilst the judges deliberate, we see all the contestants just lounging backstage and Luca declares that he feels like he's in detention, which is actually kind of accurate because this scene has somewhat of a breakfast-club vibe to it. Stanley throws us a curve ball and says that he's never really been in trouble before, which is ironic considering his metal necklace and tattoos, right? Which means we should totally not judge books by their cover. This show has layers.


Less Impressive Meryl Streep, Jordan, Mikel and Britany are all safe.

Rachel wins the great job award!

Danielle - safe.

Hilari (Angie) - safe. (YAY. I want her to go all the way.)

Luca - safe.

Kris - safe.

Bex - safe.

Stanley - safe because of his metal sculpture!

Which means unfortunately Yuki is the one going home. Closing statement: "I'm happy to go home to my great life." I wish she would have done a mic drop.


It's the White Room Challenge! Things fall on Less Impressive Meryl Streep! Bromstad gives Aussie a pep talk! Angie thinks she should just go home! [NO!]

And…wait for it…VANILLA ICE is the guest judge! I can't wait to find out what he doesn't know about design.

Who's your favorite so far?