Design Star Season 6: Photo Highlights From Episode 9

See how the final three hopefuls fit big design into tiny houses to fight for a spot in the finale.

This Week's Test: Design An Entire House

In a Design Star first, the final three are tasked with the hardest challenge yet: Design a whole house in just two days. "This is going to be our hardest challenge yet," says Mark.

Tanika Delivers a Twist

The twist: Each freestanding house has about 86 square feet of space inside for the designers to create a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living area. "I don't know what's worse: Three really big houses or three tiny, tiny houses," says Karl.

Help From the Pros

Each contestant is paired up with a well-known carpenter from HGTV or DIY Network.

Candice Olson Returns

Judge Candice Olson returns to review the contestants' designs for the final two episodes.

Why Go Small?

A growing movement of people across the country are embracing tiny houses. Some of the benefits of living small include less home maintenance, more financial freedom, and a positive environmental impact.

Before: A Blank Slate

Each tiny house comes completely unfurnished; it's up to the contestants to create floor plans that won't waste even one square foot.

Karl Consults With His Carpenter

Karl is paired with Marc Bartolomeo, host of DIY Network's Kitchen Impossible.

Building Built-Ins

Karl asks Marc to create a kitchen area and bathroom enclosure that will live in the center of the house.

Hard at Work

Marc works on the lofted bed that Karl plans to place above the entrance. "Karl really has the eye for design aesthetics," Marc says after working alongside the hopeful.

No Unitaskers Allowed

"I'm looking for things that serve more than one function, since one of the points of a tiny house is simplifying life," says Karl. This Moroccan pouf can serve as an ottoman or a tiny dining or work table.

Karl's Big-Style Small Space

"This really challenges our space-planning abilities," says Karl. Karl's finished space is cohesive, attractive and utterly functional.

Double-Duty Dishes

The dishes Karl chooses for this home are oven-safe, so they can go straight from the stove to the dining nook.

Office and Dining Room

This breakfast nook also doubles as a workspace, complete with a bin for office supplies. And the accessories do two things, too: The placemats double as cutting boards.

Karl's Bold Walls

Karl uses gray on the walls to bring natural hues into the space, but added bold pops of red to amp up the tiny home's personality. But Candice isn't feeling the red: "A bold color palette makes a small space smaller," she says.

Two-Function Table

This ottoman is a coffee table and a seat. "It's important for everything to be doing double, triple duty," says Vern.

Cohesive Elegance

"I really feel like this house is completely put together, and that is a pleasant surpise," says Genevieve. "You could tell everything was really purposeful, without sacrificing luxury," says Vern.

Mark Kids With His Carpenter

Mark is working with Carmen De La Paz, host of HGTV's Hammer Heads. His top priorities for the carpenter: a custom kitchen and bathroom.

Camping-Inspired Cabin

"As a kid, I went camping a lot, so the ideas are already flying," says Mark. He plans to create a designer take on a rustic hunting cabin.

Functional Built-Ins

Carmen works on the loft bed, kitchen and bathroom elements for Mark's space.

Mark's Graphic Installation

"I won two challenges mainly because of big art installations. It's really got to be something to wow the judges," says Mark. He picks up a pile of belts in Chinatown to create a textured wall pattern.

An Argyle Feature

"I'm taking the idea of an argyle print and creating a pattern on the wall with paint and with belts," says Mark.

Out of Time

There's so much to do and so little time," says Mark. "This totally fits my M.O. — I'm down to the last minute."

Mark's Finished Space

"There is fantastic space planning here," says Candice. A natural wall color creates a roomy feel in a tiny area.

A Kitchen Herb Garden

"Every space should have a little portion of nature in it," says Mark. He adds fresh herbs in the kitchen. "I love the styling in the kitchen, with the herb garden and the planters," says Genevieve.

Mark's Worktable

This multi-functional space is the perfect dining area for two. After mealtimes, it makes a great office space.

Not Wild About Wall Belts

Mark, I don't know if the argyle belt pattern was successful in the way that you intended it to be," says Vern. "However, I do appreciate the fact that you weren't afraid to do something original."

Small Space Seating

Mark picked up one part of a sectional sofa to add comfort to his tiny house. "I'm loving the sofa that maximizes the space there," says Candice. "I also love the lightness of that table."

Bold Patterns

"I love the orange and white chevron throw with the charcoal couch," says Genevieve.

Belted With Criticism

"What are these belts? If they were for a purpose I wish he would have made a visual suggestion," says Genevieve. "Decoratively they're not working for me." But Vern appreciates the creativity: "He's our go-to guy for coming up with inventive art."

Meg Plans Her Space

Meg talks with Chip Wade, carpenter on Curb Appeal: The Block, about the installations she'd like him to work on, including floating shelves, a bench seat and a kitchen work area.

Kitschy Cottage

"I have a unique design sense that's coming through," says Meg. "I know I can bring a boldness to a space without using a lot of pattern." She chooses bold kelly green trim and pastel yellow walls inspired by the plant life. outside.

Meg and Chip Hard at Work

"Meg has a personality all her own, completely different from any of the designers I've worked with," says Chip. "I can tell she has a ton of passion...she is just a firecracker."

Meg's Camera Challenge

David stands by as Meg finishes her camera challenge. "This could be the end or the beginning of my career in TV," says Meg.

A Bright Idea

Meg finds this vintage light fixture at a thrift store. She paints it red as a contrast to her bright green color palette.

Rustic Chic

Meg finds these primitive chairs at a vintage store to add rustic flair to this bright, chic home. "There is a unified color palette throughout this entire volume, from the upholstery to the accent pillows," says Vern.

Meg's Finished Tiny House

"It's cozy, it's boyfriend and I could definitely live in one of these," says Meg. This custom bench seat is long enough for someone to lay down on.

Comfortable Touches

Bold, cheerful fabric and plush, cozy pillows make the bench seat an inviting place to relax. "This space feels so funky and fresh," says Candice.

Style Without Function

Meg adds a collection of terrariums on open shelving. "I love collections of things, and these old, vintage glass jars that they're in are perfect for the space," says Meg. But Vern thinks this space is missing some vital storage: "I don't need two whole shelves of decorative accessories. What I need is functional storage," he says.

Topsy-Turvy Plantings

In a small space, every square inch counts. Hanging plants from the ceiling saves precious horizontal space while still adding natural flair.

A Tiny Entryway

Meg put the closet and bathroom at the front of the house to create a mini-foyer. "I do like how this built-out area creates a sense of entry when you come in," says Candice. "This space seems twice the size."

Wine Glasses, Meet Rake

This bright green rake matches Meg's color palette exactly, so she decides to repurpose it as a rack for wine glasses.

High Style, Low Function

Despite the lack of storage, Meg's bright palette won over the judges. "Overall it was a gorgeous space. It really felt light-filled and connected to the outside," says Vern.

Mark, Time's Up

Mark's scattered camera challenges and poor time management skills make the judges say, "We will not be producing your show." See why he disagrees with the panel's decision, and hear his biggest regret.