Ellen's Design Challenge: Go Behind the Scenes

Each contestant in Ellen's Design Challenge gets assistance in making his or her designs a reality by a 'lead carpenter' -- one of HGTV's and DIY Network's show hosts, each with expertise in building and design. Step behind the curtain and meet the lead carpenters, crew and judges before the challenge gets underway.

Photo By: Stephanie Diani / Getty Images

Photo By: Gilles Mingasson / Getty Images

Photo By: Gilles Mingasson / 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

Ellen's Design Challenge

In HGTV's new series, Ellen presents six skilled furniture designers with a variety of challenges to complete in a limited time. The winner takes home $100,000 cash prize.

The Ground Rules

Ellen pays a visit to judges Christiane Lemieux, Amanda Dameron and guest judge Ray Azoulay on the set of Ellen's Design Challenge. In each episode, contestants must impress a panel of expert judges with their furniture creations in order to remain in the competition.

The Powers That Be

Ellen poses for a pic with (from left) judges Christiane Lemieux, Amanda Dameron and Ray Azoulay. Amanda Dameron is editor-in-chief at Dwell magazine. Christiane Lemieux is executive creative director with Wayfair. Ray Azoulay is owner of Obsolete, a furniture and art gallery in Los Angeles.

Master of Ceremonies

Host of Ellen's Design Challenge, Jay Montepare, is an L.A. based actor and comedian. In his role as HGTV host, he gets to wrangle six aspiring designers and the lead carpenters who assist them.

Prepare to Be Judged

Host Jay Montepare stands alongside judges Christiane Lemieux, Amanda Dameron and guest judge, interior designer Kathleen Clements.

The Magnificent Six

The team of carpenters strike their best Reservoir Dogs pose on the set before work begins. (Clearly someone neglected to tell Matt Muenster not to smile.)  Left to Right: Jeff Devlin, Brooks Utley, David Sheinkopf, Karl Champley, Chip Wade and Matt Muenster.

Meet the Carpenters: Jeff Devlin

A professional carpenter with more than 15 years of experience, Jeff Devlin has a passion for designing and building things. His first TV gig was host and resident carpenter on HGTV's Spice Up My Kitchen. As host of DIY Network's I Hate My Bath, Jeff gives homeowners hope with economical yet clever bathroom renovation ideas. Read Jeff's full bio at DIYNetwork.com.

Meet the Carpenters: Brooks Utley

Brooks was introduced to construction at an early age and, after working in construction and landscaping, started his own company tackling a variety of projects in design, remodeling and custom landscaping. He was carpenter in HGTV's $250,000 Challenge and a member of the team of experts on HGTV's Designed to Sell.

Meet the Carpenters: David Sheinkopf

Interior designer, carpenter and general contractor David Sheinkopf started out as an actor, but later shifted his focus to design and building. He worked building sets for commercials and music videos, and started his own company building high-end custom pieces for celebrity clientele. He starred in over 100 episodes of HGTV's Design on a Dime where he helped everyday people on a budget find designs that they loved.

Meet the Carpenters: Karl Champley

Master builder and certified home inspector Karl Champley has been involved in the building trade for more than 20 years, and on two continents. He has appeared on a number of DIY Network programs, including as host on Wasted Spaces and DIY to the Rescue. Read Karl's full bio at DIYNetwork.com.

Meet the Carpenters: Chip Wade

Atlanta native Chip Wade has building in his blood. Coming from a long line of experienced carpenters and woodcraftsmen, he developed an interest in carpentry, landscaping and renovation. He is host of HGTV's Elbow Room and has also appeared on HGTV's Curb Appeal: The Block and Designed to Sell. Read Chip's full bio.

Meet the Carpenters: Matt Muenster

Licensed contractor Matt Muenster sees every house project as a chance to achieve great design while integrating earth-friendly elements. His professional experience includes high-end interior design, and his renovation skills can be seen firsthand on Bath Crashers and BATHtastic! on both DIY Network and HGTV. Read Matt's full bio at DIYNetwork.com.

Judges' Panel

In each episode, judges Christiane Lemieux and Amanda Dameron are joined by a special guest judge. They're joined here by guest judge Jason Chauncey of Brownstone Upholstery Inc.

Judges' Panel

Christiane and Amanda are joined by guest judge Kathleen Clements. Kathleen and her son Tommy make up the team of Clements Design, and their work has been featured in Architectural Digest and Elle Decor. They were named among the 25 best interior designers in Los Angeles by BuildDirect blog, and their clients have included Jennifer Anniston and Justin Theroux as well as Ellen and Portia.

Virtually Ellen

Series host Jay Montepare is about to be introduced to the design contestants by Ellen Degeneres via a pre-taped message. 

The Arrival

The lead carpenters make their entrance at the studio workshop and prepare to help the designers bring their furniture creations to life.

Dedication

Matt Muenster immediately sets about putting his woodworking skills to work in the studio workshop.

Determination

Karl Champley gets comfortable with some of the shop's heavy power tools.

On the Level

Chip Wade inspects the cut on a piece of lumber that may be part of a furniture creation.

Hand Crafted

Brooks Utley does some detail sanding on a piece of reclaimed lumber

Carpenters at Work

Lead-carpenter team member Jeff Devlin at work in the design-studio workshop

Carpenters at Work

Lead-carpenter team member Brooks Utley at work in the design-studio workshop

Carpenters at Work

Lead-carpenter team member Karl Champley at work in the design-studio workshop

Please Don't Smile, Brooks

Brooks Utley maintains professionalism and a reserved demeanor as he works through some design details.

No, We Said Please Don't Smile!

Okay, Smiles All Around

David Sheinkopf appears in good spirits as well.

Million Dollar Smile

And Karl Champley provides confirmation that laughter is contagious.

Carpenters at Play

Karl Champley is all ears as he photobombs David Sheinkopf.

Carpenters at Play

Later, Karl is evidently attacked by some flex pipe in the studio workshop.

Movers and Shakers

Ellen poses for a pic with host Jay Montepare on the set of Ellen's Design Challenge.