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Top Design – Bachelor Pad – Guest Post From Injera

Injera who writes her own fabulous blog has kindly agreed to write guest posts on Top Design the show where interior designers compete to be the top designer. If you have Arena TV and like reality TV watch it – it is fantastic.

Here is Injera’s recap on last nights episode:

Top Design – Bachelor Pad

“We cannot live with your design”.   Now there’s a phrase I’ve been wanting in my repertoire.

So, nine designers remain.  And what are they hanging about for?  Glad you asked.  The prize is $100,000 and a spread in Elle Decor magazine (which I heard as “El Decor”, a glossy dedicated to the whimsical stylings of a taco joint).  Oh, and – most importantly – “the right to say they have the Top DesignTM“.

Remaining: Nathan, Teresa, Preston, Shazia, Ondine, Natalie, Wisit, Eddie and Andrea

We watch Preston eating his breakfast and voicing over about how fulfilling he’s finding this (the show, not the breakfast).  He’s got a real gift for punctuating trivial statements with portentous pauses, which almost trick me into thinking he’s about to say something astonishing.  Then I get distracted by his sloping shoulders and start thinking about Josh Holloway on “Lost”, so the rest of his VO is just blahblah.

Wisit laments Kerry’s recent elimination and helps out this first time viewer by alerting me to Shazia’s potential hopelessness, opining that she should have gone home instead.  We cut briefly to Shazia, who owns “Egospace Interiors”.

The designers, having finished their breakfasts and helped each other clear up, file into the workspace where India Hicks and her chipper accent and bright yellow kaftan greet them for their next challenge.  As she describes their new clients (“desperately need your help”, “stumped when it comes to design and decoration”), the camera pans across our eager contestants, who take turns demonstrating the mobility of their eyebrows.  When the identity of the client is revealed – “That’s right, designers!  You’re going to be working with bachelors!” –  there’s a smattering of applause and some laughter and “yay!” (sincere-sounding) and “yay” (ironic), but not from Shazia.  Shazia happens to know a little something about bachelors.  “Bachelors are disgusting individuals.”  She spits.  “They’re gross… gross, gross, gross.”  She includes her fiancé in this set.

Nathan doesn’t think so.  He’s thrilled at the prospect of working with a single man he can potentially flirt with.  He’d better get some botox before meeting his client – the evil eyebrow raising will give him away immediately.  The glint in his eye tells me that he’s actually considering growing his moustache longer, just to give him something to twirl. 

In come the bachelors!  Obi, James and Eddie are generic  TV-show-cutish-but-not-hot.  Now, that’s just my opinion – I’m sure Nathan might think otherwise.

The designers will be working in teams of three.  Nathan purses his lips, evaluatively. 

“Let’s pick some paintchips!”  India’s delivery is making me regret the limitations of the available forms of punctuation.  Most of her sentences end in something that’s a little more than a full stop, but not quite an exclamation mark.  An exclamation stop, perhaps? 

Eddie is thrilled to have picked “heart-throb red, again!”, and even more so to be joining up with Ondine and Natalie for this challenge.  He is wearing a polo shirt with a popped collar and is the Senior Style Editor at Martha Stewart Living Magazine.  How will Martha feel if he wins and has a spread in Elle Decor?  Doesn’t anybody ever consider Martha?

Nathan is all “here we go again”, literally.  He’s not happy to be grouped with “Bad Luck Mary” in the Green team.  Anyone?  Anyone?  It’s Shazia, who clearly is out of favour with the producers.  She’s getting the complete loser edit tonight.  Their client is Eddie.  Will Nathan be able to flirt with Eddie?  Well, he’s going to give it a red-hot go: “I think ‘WOW!’.  Who’s this guy wearing a chic suit, tight, tailored perfect, top stitching, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous”.  Nathan could understudy Christopher Guest for the role of Corky St Clair in a stage version of “Waiting For Guffman”.  In fact, why isn’t this happening already?  It’s got to be a better idea than “Legally Blonde”.  Oh, and Preston/Josh-Holloway-shoulders is the third person in this team, in case you were wondering. 

Andrea is pleased that her team (Blue – Wisit and Teresa) is working with Obi as “he looks like he’s got good personal style”.  And maybe he has, but she must have a sort of designer super-power to be able to figure that from a hoodie, dark pants and white sneakers.  Maybe it’s his Jedi magic.

Over in the Red team, Natalie is jumping to all sorts of conclusions about the design tastes of her client, James, based on the fact that he’s wearing a long-sleeve/short-sleeve T-shirt combo.  At least, I think that’s what sets her off wearily imagining his lit-up, Miller High Life sign. 

The budget?  $10,000.  I think Natalie will be able to buy lots of beer paraphernalia with that.  They have 2 ½ days, and the services of “painters, carpenters, wall-paper-hangers and seamstresses!”.   Eddie is particularly thrilled like this and I really feel him, here.  Nobody likes to have hands that feel like a “Polish potato farmer during the famine” (although, if he means the hands of a potato farmer, I would’ve thought that a famine would mean less digging for potatoes, more time for manicures?).

The Red team checks out their bachelor’s pad, in West LA.  They like the space, but Eddie is a little judgey about the fact that James has a flat screen TV “for his Nintendo, mind you”.  They ask him what he wants, and then interrupt to tell him that he wants something sophisticated “for girls”, cosy and less sparse.  His place does look like a series of cells, so “less sparse” is a no-brainer.  Eddie boils it down to “panty-dropping chic”.

Over at the Blue team, client Obi is all about the energy flow and his brief is boiled down to “he’s super cool and wants a sort of Asian/modern/Zen/feng shui”.  Don’t forget The Force! Teresa is either really dull and is being overlooked by the producers, or is playing one of those boring “under the radar” games.  Either way, when she spoke for the first time I was all… huh?  Who?  Obi has even picked out some ideas from “Elle Decor” (and it’s not a plastic cactus with a sombrero) and they all giggle excitedly. 

The Green team checks out Eddie’s pad, which is summed up as a “disaster area” by Nathan.  The man is harsh!  It’s not great, but it’s exactly that kind of place you get when you have more money to spend in rent than you have time to put together enough Ikea to fill it.  I think we’ve all been there.  Haven’t we?  Preston and Nathan are going to get into a total flirt-off here.  Preston clicks with Eddie’s style (simple, classic, conservative) and it’s obvious that Nathan is totally turned off by the wall-o-shoes right inside the door, but he feels he’s got to persevere with his initial evil “flirt to the top” plan.  Shazia jumps straight in with Preston. 

Back to the Blue team, where Andrea thinks Obi is Burberry and Wisit wants to go “a little bit more Urban – a little bit Kanye West”.  Wisit is also thrilled that Obi likes Asian-inspired furniture, so let’s hope he capitalises on that.  Teresa feels left out.

The Red team is “creating a beautiful haven of good design”, according to Eddie.  Can’t wait to see how that turns out…

The Green team is going for clean, tailored and contemporary.  It’s all about Preston, but Shazia wants to be heard, dammit!  And she’s drawn her battle lines – it’s the placement of the TV!

 Furniture shopping!  Eddie finds a cabinet to fit James’ flat screen – he hopes it fits, but figures that the equation James is working on is “the bigger the screen, the bigger the boobs”, which took me longer than it should have to understand.

The Green team is living up to Nathan’s promises of dysfunction: Shazia’s running around the bedding department screaming “where are you?” and complaining about her voice not being heard (beautiful editing!).  Finally, in a line from Act 2 of “Waiting for Guffman – the Broadway Musical”, Nathan VOs that Shazia is “just, like, Needy Von McNeederson”. 

Teams then head to The Container Store and CostPlus World Market for some more competitive shopping: they have half an hour to spend $1000, according to the white teeth of Wisit.  There’s lots of grabbing of towels, baskets, hampers, and then there are tradie meetings.  Unfortunately it is at this point that Eddie uses the word “cool” to describe his concept of a “faux fireplace mantle”.  No Eddie.  Nothing about that idea is cool.  It is as far from “panty-dropping” as I can imagine. 

Maybe it’s because Nathan has put Christopher Guest into my head, but I’m hoping that the Blue team’s rather casual “no, I think 18 inches is enough” for the depth of the feature “entertainment centre” is going to come back and bite them.  In the Green team, watch for any blame shifting if they lose because of Shazia’s “cornice boxes”.

In the final leg of shopping, the Red team knocks over an ugly vase and tries to dispute the time-honoured “if it gets broken, consider it sold” tradition.  Eddie is incensed that something that would be $5 at a thrift store is tagged at 100 bucks, and I’m sure the shop is similarly incensed that a good promo opportunity for them was squandered by Eddie’s clumsiness.  As he tries to haggle over the price, he actually pulls the “I am the Senior Style Editor at Martha Stewart Living… I am a professional and I work for the best”.  Shazia is thrilled that someone else is taking the fire for once.

It’s time for Tom Oldham, the Design Mentor, to come and give some feedback.  He uses lots of positive language and has obviously suffered through the same “feedback protocols” training as I have (although, unlike me, he doesn’t appear to be bitter about it and is incorporating it into his professional life.  Good on you, Tom!).  “What a nice blue colour you’re doing there!”  “Oh, it’s a sophisticated colour palate!  I like it!”  “Oh, perfect!”  “Great!”   “That’s a great lesson for anybody at home, too!”  See, I’m not even the slightest bit conflicted about appropriate punctuation for Tom!

Wha’?  I thought we already had the last shopping challenge…  Ohhhhhh.  It’s a “Pop Design” challenge (and thank you to the first-time-viewer’s-friend, Natalie, for expositing that “a Pop Design is like a pop quiz – you never know when it’s going to pop up”).  The designers have to create a flower design and the winner will get immunity.  Shazia reallyreallyreallyreally wants to win immunity, but what’s the bet all the contestants feel the same way?  BUT!  Shazia used to be a florist and she’s planning her wedding, so she will totes win this one.  Eddie feels his is perfect and Preston throws silk flower petals all over the place before realising that they are not real flowers (and he hates silk flowers!).  Andrea gets NO feedback from the judges for her very boring, very suburban white flower arrangement and can’t figure out why. 

Least faves for the judges?  Natalie – garish, too big.  Preston – “fails on, kind of on every level! ”

Faves ? Nathan – chic, restrained, pretty.  Eddie – beautiful.

Winner?  Nathan!  Yay!  Shazia hates that he won and thinks Nathan will now sabotage the team to get rid of her.  Paranoid, much?

The teams are back off to finish up their pads.  Ondine starts sticking posters of snakes and other creatures on James’ wall.  She calls this “decoupage”.  I’m not Crafty von McCrafterson, but I don’t think this is actually decoupage.  I do think it’s a big mistake.

Shazia complains that Preston is being a dick, the pad is not really coming together and that the cornice boards are taking longer than she anticipated. 

30 minutes to judging!  Lots of cleaning-product placement aaaaaaand…. time!

Jeff Lewis is the guest judge.  He’s America’s most well-known “house flipper” and a bachelor.  Things I’d want on my headstone. 

They look around the Red team pad while Eddie narrates.  The decoupage looks foul and there is some strange drapery going on over venetians – I know!  I don’t get it – and Eddie passes the credit for the “panty-dropping” phrase over to the client (and I wish I’d stop accidentally typing “panty-dripping”).

Blue team!  Wisit describes their pad as “not something that would embarrass a man among his friends, or in front of a woman”.  So – it’s safe.  Safe and booooooooooooring, although I’m sure Obi can liven it all up with his super charisma. 

Green team (and, remember, Nathan is immune).  Blank faces pretty much all over.  Client-Eddie, however, loves it – except for the paint job in the living room.

Obi likes his.  No, loves it.

James doesn’t express much of an opinion on his place, except that he might throw the decoupaged screens over the balcony.


Top design?  Andrea, Wisit and, um, whatsaname.  Sophisticated and practical, warm, rich environment.  They get to go.  Teresa interviews that it was Andrea and Wisit’s win, so is obviously embracing being driftwood here.

Red team – great ideas, but your client didn’t like it.  So, Ondine steps up with the excuse that James didn’t give them a lot of information.  Rewind!  This is the team that was thrilled to have a client happy to “leave it to the professionals”.  Guest judge Jeff tells Red that they need to know a little something about men.  Eddie burns.  And Ondine?  Your wallpaper?  “This is called Top Design, right, not Over The Top Design?  Margaret says that the decoupaged screens would make her question whether this was a “straight” bachelor.  I’d be questioning whether he fitted a serial killer profile.

Blue team.  Basically, they’re told it’s boring and asked to explain why.  Preston steadies himself to throw Shazia under the bus in 3, 2, 1… and – yes!  The cornices.  In answer to the “who was the team leader” question, Nathan and Shazia point fingers at Preston so quickly that he doesn’t even have time to “step up”, which is what he tries to say he did.  Shazia doesn’t realise that she should just shut her mouth and pretty much puts herself right there in the firing line by going on and on and on.  Right from the start of this episode, she’s had the loser edit, so there should be no surprises here.

It’s between Ondine (India: Just for the decoupage?  Jeff: I hate it that much) and Shazia (Preston gets a boost for standing up and taking the team leader mantle… which was shoved onto his shoulders by the rapidly retreating Shazia and Nathan, and the judges are clearly disgusted by Shazia).

“Shaz, we cannot live with your design”.

Shazia’s interview is all about expanding the opportunities for Pakistani women, who are “meant to be doctors, lawyers or engineers, or – better still – marry a doctor, lawyer or engineer.”  Wonder what her fiancé does…

Bye, Shaz.

Line of the night “I was channelling my inner masculinity (giggle)” Wisit


1 comment

1 Reality Raver { 02.18.09 at 6:12 pm }

Great recap I finally watched the episode.
I also had a huh? type moment when Eddie was talking about his potatoe famine hands.

At least tonight for about the first time tonight we didn’t have Andrea going on about not wanting any of the other designers to know she was Ricky Schroder’s wife, but then mentioning it to camera any chance she has.
She also says it like it means something. Has he been in anything since 1988?

Only thing that didn’t surprise me about the episode that it wasn’t Nathan who said “18 inches is enough.”