Wayne Newton's Guesthouse From Design Star Challenge 5

In week five of Design Star, the final four contestants are given the challenge of designing a guesthouse for Mr. Las Vegas himself, Wayne Newton. Judge and designer Vern Yip gives tips for how to be a design star in your own home.

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Todd and Will were challenged with the large window and stone fireplace due to the proportions of the living room.

Determine the Focus

There are three critical components to this week's challenge: identifying client needs, determining what existing conditions to take advantage of and which ones to play down, and space-planning ability.

Todd and Will had quite the challenge with this living room due to its proportions, large window and large stone fireplace. Early on, they figure out that orienting the furniture correctly would be a key component to successfully addressing the Newtons' needs. This team also identifies the view out the window and the fireplace as two features to highlight.

Plan Your Space

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With a new flat-screen television mounted to the wall opposite the window, the new platform allows the seating to face the television, fireplace or window.

In typical Todd fashion, he decides the team should address the space-planning issues through a dynamic component. This translates into seating placed onto a custom-built rotating platform. With a new flat-screen television mounted to the wall opposite the window, the platform, depending on how it is positioned, allows the seating to face the television, fireplace or window.

In principle, the platform is a good idea. In practice, however, a space plan that keeps the furniture on the ground would have been a more successful solution. The fireplace, window and ceiling heights are made slightly more awkward when the furniture is placed on a platform. Another option would be to place the television above the fireplace, put one sofa against the television wall and place another sofa orthogonally, opposite the fireplace. This would have provided a non-moving, space-planning solution that would have saved time and endured for the long term. The rotating platform also hides the beautiful new wood flooring and chops up the narrow room even more. Further highlighting the television with a heavy frame makes it an unattractive focal point. Hung above the fireplace, the TV would blend in with the heavy stone and more easily disappear.

Add Multiple Functions

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Adding the dining table and chairs into the space was a wonderful way to give the room more function.

The addition of a dining table and chairs into the space was a wonderful way to give the room more function. The set fits the long, narrow space perfectly. The separation of the dining area from the living area with the half-wall planter box, however, seems unnecessary, cumbersome and dated. Overall, the team worked well together and executed their ideas well, making for a largely successful space.

Contrast or Blend?

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The stone work in the kitchen area dominates the space and should be a springboard for color and material selection.

Kitchens are never easy spaces to transform — especially with limited time — and Kim and Robb did many things well and some things, not so well. The stone work in the kitchen area dominates the space and should be a springboard for color and material selection. The team smartly selects mostly stainless steel appliances, which contrast nicely with the roughness of the textured stone. Additionally, the choice of paint colors works seamlessly with the wood flooring and highlights the stone work. The adaptation of the openings in the stone wall to address the firebox and the wall-mounted oven was a valid attempt to create a finished appearance. Instead of painting these adapted boxes orange, it would've been nice to see the boxes visually blended with the browns and grays of the stone to create a more unified focal point.

Plan Appliance Placement

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Careful planning is a must, the green tile seems completely misplaced and moving the wall oven to the peninsula awkwardly places it next to the sink.

Where the team began to really fall apart was largely in the execution. The green tile seems completely misplaced and is weirdly applied to the side of the constructed box insert where the fireplace formerly resided. Moving the wall oven to the peninsula awkwardly places it next to the sink and it becomes a barrier to the dishwasher. Additionally, the oven and the dishwasher sit awkwardly next to each other at different levels. In general, the execution of the cabinet work seems less than finished or ideal.

Anchor Your Space

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A broader selection of items with a little more variance would have warmed up the place and helped to add some character.

In the eating area, the team could have used a rug to anchor the dining space. Also, a broader selection of items with a little more variance would have warmed it and helped to add some character. This team did not work as well together as the other, and unfortunately, it shows in the finished product.

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