Judges' Tips: Fire Station Designs

Design Star judges Candice Olson and Vern Yip share their design tips for choosing the right artwork and finishing details.

  • Create Visual Interest

    Alex finally surprises us in a stunning and positive way by creating a city skyline on one of the main walls. Not only does this pay homage to the great city of New York, it also provides a solid visual anchor to the far wall in this space, giving the eye something interesting to focus on. — Vern Yip

  • Use Artwork to Make a Statement

    The contemporary silhouette of the Manhattan skyline, the fireman art piece and the coffee table pay homage to the essence of this space's function without being cliched or kitschy. I particularly like how in a completely windowless space, the mural creates a sense of depth that seems to make the wall fade away. — Candice Olson

  • Add a Personal Touch

    Emily delights us with a customized coffee table featuring the letters \"FDNY\" and inscriptions praising the work of these special heroes. This is an incredibly touching and moving creation and a real indication that Emily is taking this competition much more seriously than she did in the beginning. — Vern Yip

  • Include Storage

    A few end tables with storage inside would have helped the work area a bit and provided surfaces for coffee cups, magazines and a couple of much-needed table lamps. Aside from providing task-specific lighting, lamps also add a soothing, relaxing quality to a space, surely a welcome mood given the nature of firefighters' work. — Candice Olson

  • Mix It Up

    Although this room has some exciting elements it tends to come across as a bit flat and one-dimensional. Polished chrome, glass and a large, light-reflecting mirror would add some depth and interest by contrasting against all the heavy solid masses of leather, wood and the darkness of the exposed floor. — Candice Olson

  • Don't Overthink Art

    Art can be a powerful and wonderful addition to a space, as the Blue Team demonstrated this week, but this artwork completely fails to impress the firefighters or us. Neither they nor we understand the intention behind this work and if the client doesn't comprehend the validity of your contribution, you've made a serious misstep in tailoring a space for them. — Vern Yip

  • Keep Scale in Check

    The huge scale of the furniture is so wrong for this small space that it looks more like a leather mosh pit than a relaxing lounge. The table is also not only too big but an awkward height — too low to put your feet up on or to eat a casual snack at. — Candice Olson

  • Make a Design Plan

    The Red Team did put in leather furniture and new exercise equipment, but the space planning was completely off on both these fronts. When we asked these firefighters what they were most impressed by, they responded with a list of added equipment. There was no mention of any of the design components the Red Team contributed. In fact, when we asked what their least favorite components were, they responded that they felt that the artwork was not understandable and that there was no place to store their materials. — Vern Yip

  • Opt for Sophisticated Finishes

    I do like the rustic quality of the lumber media wall and the fact that it provides a bit of pattern against all of the solid surfaces, but the fact that it is stained black and resembles charred wood makes me go ewwwww given what these guys do for a living. — Candice Olson

  • Always Make an Impact

    Stacy's efforts this week resulted in a horizontal, gold detail added to molding on the walls and a vintage-inspired engine number plaque. Although both of these details have a nice touch to them, they don't amount to a significant impact on the space or on the lives of these heroes they are supposed to be helping. — Vern Yip

Advertisement will not be printed