Design for the FutureThis final challenge, located in Manhattan's beautiful Bryant Park, was designed to showcase the abilities of our two remaining designers to literally and figuratively "think outside the box." Given identical 12' x 16' glass rooms, replete with pitched glass ceilings, David and Alice were allowed complete freedom to let their imaginations roam in order to showcase their best efforts and demonstrate to America why they should be HGTV's new Design Star. With atypical walls and ceilings, David and Alice must rely on ingenuity, creativity, fast thinking, along with the assistance of Tym and Temple, to pull off their most critical rooms to date.
Firmly rooted in a lively dynamic between sophistication and playfulness, this children's room demonstrates that Alice has real design instinct and knack for picking color. Although most children's rooms are themed to a level where kids will outgrow them soon, Alice's version blends timeless modernist design classics from the 1920s (Marcel Breuer's Wassily chair in cowhide and Eileen Gray's famous round side table) with storage reminiscent of lockers popular in the 1950s, and juxtaposes them against a playful metal and colored glass light fixture and clean-lined polar bear rocker. This is a great example of blending elements from different eras and styles to create something amazing that is unique and representative of personal design aesthetic.
Take Advantage of the ViewFundamental issues with this room include the placement of the beds (they face the busy public street instead of the expanse of Bryant Park) and the lack of big, bold moves. The two twin beds fall against the twelve foot expanse of the room and could have easily been placed on the sixteen foot expanse (leaving three feet six inches on each end for accessibility) so that they could view the fountain, grass and trees.
More is BetterAlice's idea is rooted in being a child, learning from the park and Mother Nature, and growing on the inside from experiencing the outside. This idea is brilliant and perfect for this venue and challenge and, even more so, underscores why the space plan should have had the beds facing the park. Her colored glass bead stick-ons were an ideal choice that read from the inside and outside. Although Alice followed my advice to place them on the ceiling as well, allowing light to filter through to project color onto the ground surface, she put very few of them on, leaving the look more "spotty" than amazing.
Her green silk drapery was a nice touch that softened the corners and added texture and warmth, but they looked a little short and didn't take advantage of the volume of the space. Green silk fabric intermittently tied to the center of the ceiling or working off the ridgeline of the glass roof would have made an amazing internal tent that any child would love sleeping under.
The issue with both of these elements (the colored dots and the green silk) is that they aren't forcefully implemented to make a statement or to showcase a great idea. A small space will usually feel larger if it showcases a few big and bold ideas rather than many ideas that seem partially implemented. With that being said, Alice clearly demonstrates that she knows color and sophistication, perfectly blending styles and injecting the right tones of green, pink, whites and neutrals to create a children's room that has personality and an abundance of style.
Analyze Your Starting PointTaking a cue from what he is given, David decides to interpret the repetitive and clean-lined vertical structural components as a perfect backdrop for an Asian-inspired Zen bedroom. David's strategy in approaching this project is genius as he takes what he is given and decides to use the unusual circumstances as the foundation for his work. When thinking about design in your own home, remember to analyze what you are starting out with, eliminating or diminishing those elements that are inconsistent with your vision, while strategically celebrating or highlighting those elements that you like or can work with.
Accentuate the PositiveThe orthogonal lines of the glass box inspire David's headboard and bed design, which is big and bold, showcasing his confidence and an understanding that fewer but bigger statements in a small space can help a diminutive room feel larger and roomier.
His use of translucent vellum to cover the glass wall behind the headboard allows light to filter into the space while providing for privacy and continuously extends to the sheers, which soften the room, creating another barrier from the public realm.
David also smartly employs the entire volume, hanging the sheers from the ridge of the glass roof line and dramatically accenting the height.
Create Design IllusionsSimple but thoughtful moves — such as the split boxes that flank the glass walls, creating the illusion of mirrored walls — underscore the fact that he has addressed the exterior park venue while creating a base for his jewel-box to sit on. Balanced in use of texture (rough against smooth), visual weight (sheers next to rocks) and scale (large, floor vases next to bird's nest lights), David demonstrates a firm grasp of fundamental design knowledge and instincts.
A small and simple throw pillow on the bed in a bold color like red, however, would have made the room "pop" a little more on camera (like a red flower in a field of grass), but this room is a real accomplishment nonetheless. Most importantly, the space plan squarely places the bed with perfect vistas of Bryant Park, its magnificent fountain, expanses of grass and trees and the monumental New York Public Library.