Behind the Scenes: Episode 1 of Ellen's Design Challenge

Go behind the scenes on the set of Ellen's Design Challenge episode 1, from the challenge announcement to the final furniture reveal.
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Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

The First Furniture Challenge

As seen on Ellen's Design Challenge, designers (foreground, from left) Leslie Shapiro Joyal, Tim McClellan, Katie Stout, Mark Moskovitz, Carley Eisenberg and Gaspar de Jesus listen as host Jay Montepare explains the details of the first design challenge. The winner will be one step closer to the $100,000 prize, and have an advantage in next week's challenge.

Ellen's Always Watching

Host Jay Montepare presents a message from show creator and executive producer Ellen Degeneres.  

Crate Expectations

Designers will have three days to create a unique piece of furniture using only the materials from this (empty) crate, which include plywood, walnut trim, a metal framework and acrylic panels.

Carpenters to the Rescue

Each contestant will have a lead carpenter with HGTV experience to help bring furniture creations to life. The roster: (from left) Chip Wade, Matt Muenster, Jeff Devlin (towards the rear) Karl Champley, David Steinkopf and Brooks Utley.

The Judging Panel

A panel of design and furniture experts will judge each contestant's creation for creativity and functionality. This week's panel includes Jason Chauncey (left) of Brownstone Upholstery Inc, Amanda Dameron (center), Editor-in-Chief of Dwell Magazine, and Christiane Lemieux (right), Executive Creative Director of Wayfair.

Team 1: Katie and Karl

Designer Katie Stout and carpenter Karl Champley were paired at the start of the competition.

Ready to Work

Katie rocks some fabulous boots as she and Karl work to make her design a reality.

Katie's Finished Furniture Piece

With her carpenter Karl Champley's help, Katie built a sideboard cabinet made of steel, walnut and acrylic.

Katie's Finished Furniture Piece

Katie's piece features sliding acrylic doors and a stacked acrylic top cut in a splash shape inspired by a glass plate.

Katie's Finished Furniture Piece

Inside the cabinet, wooden shelves provide storage space for dishes or other household essentials.

Team 2: Mark and Matt

Designer Mark Moskovitz (left) and carpenter Matt Muenster (right) were paired at the start of the competition.

Cutting-Edge Design

Designer Mark Moskovitz works on drilling holes in a piece of acrylic for his furniture piece.

Mark's Finished Furniture Piece

With his carpenter Matt Muenster's help, Mark built a modern modular wall unit of walnut, steel and acrylic.

Mark's Finished Furniture Piece

Mark's uber-fuctional piece, meant to live in an entryway, included a stand-up desk, mirror and shelves for books and other everyday essentials. 

Mark's Finished Furniture Piece

 A row of hooks add functionality to the piece.

Team 3: Carley and Jeff

Designer Carley Eisenberg and carpenter Jeff Devlin work on the finishing touches for the wall-mounted table that Carley designed for the first challenge.

Walnut Tabletop

Rather than using all of the materials from the shipping crate, Carley (a blacksmith by trade) used only the metal box framework and the walnut pieces. Here, she worked with carpenter Jeff to create a solid-wood top for her table.

Carley's Finished Furniture Piece

With her carpenter Jeff Devlin's help, Carley built a wall-mounted table made of walnut and twisted steel legs.

Carley's Finished Furniture Piece

To create the legs of this piece, she flattened the metal strips into an inverted X, then twisted them like ribbons.

Carley's Finished Furniture Piece

The free-form shape of the top complements the abstract metal legs.

Team 4: Gaspar and Brooks

Designer Gaspar de Jesus (right) watches as his lead carpenter Brooks Utley (left) bends metal to his specifications in the metal shop during the first challenge.

Metal Works

The curved metal legs will serve as the supports of an ornate chair.  

Gasbar's Finished Furniture Piece

Gaspar built a stylized sitting chair of walnut and every piece of steel from the provided shipping crate.

Gaspar's Finished Furniture Piece

Walnut panels serve as the seat, back and arms of this mostly-metal piece.

Gaspar's Finished Furniture Piece

The judges were concerned with the structural integrity of Gaspar's piece. "A chair is only a chair if you can sit on it and it supports you," critiqued judge Amanda Dameron.  

Team 5: Leslie and David

Designer Leslie Shapiro Joyal (right) works on her design with carpenter David Stienkopf (left) in the workshop.

Leslie's Finished Furniture Piece

After several personality clashes, Leslie and David successfully completed this modern modular wall unit of walnut, steel and acrylic with sophisticated shelves for art display.

Leslie's Finished Furniture Piece

The judges were concerned about the lack of versatility in Leslie's piece; the narrow shelves offer limited options for decorative accessory displays.

Leslie's Finished Furniture Piece

Cherry plywood shelves complement the birch plywood background.

Team 6: Tim and Chip

Designer Tim McClellan (left) and carpenter Chip Wade (right) were paired at the start of the competition.

Tim's Finished Furniture Piece

For this week's challenge, Tim and Chip created a campaign desk reminiscent of the mobile units used by generals in a battlefield.

Tim's Finished Furniture Piece

The desk includes a built-in stool, which can be tucked underneath the desk surface. The metal supports from the crate were used to create the framework and trim for the stool.

Tim's Finished Furniture Piece

Tim and chip bookmatched and dovetailed the top of the desk to create a professional, finished look.

Bottom of the Pack

The judges found Mark, Carley and Gaspar's pieces to be the least successful this week. After a lengthly deliberation, the trio decided to send Mark home this week.

The Top Two

The judging panel chose Katie and Tim's designs as their favorites from the first challenge.

Congratulations, Tim!

The creativity, functionality and professional quality of Tim's piece made the judges choose him as this week's top designer. He'll get a special advantage in next week's episode. Tune in on Monday at 9 pm | 8c!