Design Star Season 7: Photo Highlights From Episode 1
12 New Hopefuls
New season, new location: 12 new designers head to Los Angeles to compete for a chance to win their own show on HGTV.
Guest Judge: Daisy Fuentes
Model and TV host Daisy Fuentes joins veteran panel members Genevieve Gorder and Vern Yip.
Sizing Up the Competition
The new designers arrive one by one, sizing each other up as they walk into the courtyard of their new Hollywood home.
The First Challenge
Host and mentor David Bromstad presents the designers with their first challenge: Pair up to design six rooms in their 10,000-square-foot Hollywood mansion. Each designer must incorporate a personal item they brought from home.
Master Bedroom: Bex and Kris
Easygoing Texan Bex and detail-oriented Kris clash from the start as they work together to design this space. "I'm used to collaborating, and Kris just has a different style: 'You do your plan, I'll do my plan, and then we'll talk,'" Bex says. "So I'm getting increasingly nervous."
The room's overall theme is inspired by Kris's personal item, a glass table he coated with strips of neon tape. Kris also chooses the bright wall hue: passionate plum. "With color, if you're willing to take extreme risks, you can have amazing results," Kris says.
Spinning Her Gears
Bex struggles to find a way to use her personal item, until she sees a pile of mechanical gears. She uses them to create a bright focal point, using her wooden hand as a controller.
Tension Until the End
As Bex works against the clock to finish her art piece, Kris continues to nag her about timing. "I'm feeling enough pressure on my own, buddy," she quips.
Before: Strange Details
Kris and Bex have to work around the room's existing details: a huge, black marble fireplace and two-toned wood built-ins.
After: Bold Bedroom
The duo creates a bold bedroom — perhaps too bold? "I'm trying to make sense of it with my eyeballs," Genevieve quips as she enters the room. "They chose a really tough color."
The designers incorporate the room's existing details — two-toned wood and black accents — into their bed frames for a cohesive look.
Kris incorporates the table's neon stripe detail into the decorative niches over the bed.
Bex's Finished Collage
The judges love how Bex's finished collage thoughtfully combined the two designers' different styles. While the panel had mixed feelings about the overall room, Bex and Kris are both safe this week.
Great Room: Danielle and Luca
Danielle and Luca are paired up to make over the home's massive great room. Danielle immediately takes the design lead, leaving Luca in more of a project management role.
Before: Cold and Cavernous
This massive room's huge windows and soaring ceilings leave you feeling dwarfed in the space.
After: Warm and Inviting
The right hue of gray and properly-scaled furniture and artwork make this room cozy and inviting.
Danielle decides to take photos of she and Luca's personal items — a metal angel wing and a pair of copper jacks — and blow them up to create personal, large-scale art. The judges praise her smart use of space.
For the opposite wall, Danielle fills the space with picture molding to create large-scale architectural details. Genevive isn't sure if the look really matches the contemporary style of the home, but the panel appreciates the attempt to bring this room to a manageable scale.
Safe For Now
Vern dings Luca at evaluation, saying "It's Design Star>, not 'logistical manager star.'" But overall, the cohesive space keeps Luca and Danielle safe for another week.
Guest Bedroom: Mikel and Britany
Britany came into the bedroom space with a vision — geometric walls, bright colors and lots of contrast — that left Mikel's "vintage glam" aesthetic playing second fiddle.
Mikel Searches for His Style
After a consultation with David, Mikel resolves to bring more of himself into the space.
Before: A Great Place to Start
This room started with great architectural details, like built-in shelving and crown molding. It just needs some color and pattern.
After: Bold and Comforting
Mikel and Britany's citron, blue and white room delivers the right balance of bold eye candy and soft comfort.
Warm wood tones and global accents add soft style to this contemporary bedroom.
Britany's bold, graphic fretwork pattern wows the judges. She had a carpenter cut the pieces out of MDF, then painted them white to contrast with the blue walls.
Mikel's Signature Style, Represented
Mikel finds a large-scale ottoman and reupholsters it with a distressed shower curtain to exemplify his "vintage chic" style.
Designers in the Middle
This cohesive space earned Mikel and Britany a spot smack-dab in the center of the pack. Both were safe during the elimination round.
Guest Bedroom: Miera and Jordan
This odd couple (Ms. Coastal Casual and Mr. Clean and Modern) seemed like they were headed for conflict at first, but they pulled together to create a modern coastal oasis.
Miera mimics a pattern featured on her personal item, a blue-and-white ceramic urn, as a large-scale graphic on the wall.
For a finishing touch, Jordan creates simple, graphic artwork that contrasts with the room's blue-and-white color scheme.
The designers hit a speedbump when they find out their alligator-printed headboard is actually on small, unevenly-shaped hides. The uncertainty gets to Jordan: "It's freaking me out, man," he says to David. David quips back: "Welcome to Design Star.
Before: Small and Dark
This tiny room doesn't have many details of note, and it's also devoid of natural light.
After: Handmade Modern
Miera and Jordan seamlessly blend their two styles to create a sophisticated, relaxing room.
Instead of creating one large headboard piece, the designers stretched the individual hides across small pieces of wood and batting.
This yellow memo board serves as both a splash of bright color and a functional workspace within the bedroom.
Modern and Global
Jordan's personal item, a custom lucite table, provides contrast to the room's global accessories.
Den: Hilari and Rachel
Queen of glamour Hilari and naturally-inspired Rachel are teamed up to work on the designers' lounge.
Addicted to TV?
Hilari is adamant that the lounge feature a television: "I really want a TV for this space. It's a den and we can't talk all the time. Plus, I'm addicted to reality TV," she says. She also wants to create architectural detail on one wall with molding.
Custom Cocktail Table
Rachel takes a risk by designing a custom coffee table with a chic curved-leg detail. "Let's hope that it turns out looking as good as I draw it," she worries.
Before: A Blank Slate
Beyond a built-in cabinet, this room is a clean slate for Hilari and Rachel.
After: Natural Glam
The two designers flawlessly blended their two aesthetics to create an inviting, visually interesting lounge.
Rachel's personal item, a high-gloss moose head, pops when paired displayed atop a painted black square. "I am over the moon in love with the white moose head on the black," Vern gushes.
The room's budget only allowed for a pint-sized television, and the judges aren't impressed with Hilari's attempt to mask its miniscule size. "The molding isn't fooling me into thinking the TV is big; it's actually drawing attention the fact that it's so small," Genevieve says.
The Perfect Sofa
Hilari took charge of finding a sofa, and she delivered with a comfortable, contemporary couch that's big enough for a crowd.
Cocktail Table Success
The judges are super-impressed by Rachel's custom-made cocktail table.
A Successful Space
Despite Hilari's TV misstep, the judges loved the overall feel and details in this room. Rachel is this week's winner!
Designer Lounge: Stanley and Yuki
Stanley and Yuki are both artists by trade, but their aesthetics (and mediums) are very different. They struggled to create a cohesive space in the designer lounge and workroom.
Hard at Work
Stanley's personal item is a handmade metal sculpture, and he adds to it in the workshop to create a focal point large enough to fill a window.
Yuki works with paper and collages at home, so she agrees to take charge of a second focal point, but feels rushed to complete her work. "I'm super concerned about how this is going to look in the end," Yuki says.
It Gets Worse
Stanley is unimpressed by Yuki's collage effort: "It's got to be the most God-awful thing I've ever seen in my life...I'm ready to throw it in the pool," he says. To "improve" it, he adds on 3-D frames and crumbled paper.
Before: Basic Box
This room didn't even have a finished floor before the designers' started their work.
After: Color Overload
The judges aren't fans of Yuki's color choices. "Did you ever think...bright purple with a bright orange sofa...maybe not?" Genevive asks.
Make It Go Away?
"This wind-swept collage...I want it to just blow right out the door. Just keep on going. Go away." Vern says.
A rare bright spot in the room: The judges adore the two-toned bamboo floor Yuki chose for the space. They also appreciated Stanley's metal art piece.
Yuki made two mistakes — the collage and the paint colors — that were too agregious to ignore, and she's the first designer to be sent home. See what she has to say about her elimination.