Host David Bromstad met up with the remaining 11 designers at Los Angeles' iconic Union Station to learn their challenge for week two.
Guest Judge: Vanilla Ice
You may know Vanilla Ice from his '90s rap career, but he's also a contractor with more than 15 years experience and the host of DIY Network's The Vanilla Ice Project.
This Week's Test: The White Room Challenge
"Union Station is one of the most iconic buildings in LA," said host David Bromstad. "What better setting for one of Design Star's most iconic challenges: the White Room Challenge?"
White Room: Before
Each white room comes equipped with a sofa, two end tables, a lamp and three cabinets for the designers to transform.
White Room: Miera
The designers have $1,000 to spend on their white rooms at a home improvement and garden store. Miera searches for something to help her go outside the box for this challenge: "I tend to be a safe designer, since I work on a lot of model homes," Miera said. "But I've had this art concept in my head for a long time to do something three-dimensional."
Faux Brick Floor
Miera used painter's tape to create a faux brick effect on the floor of her white room.
Miera's White Room: After
The judges were surprised when they learned coastal-chic Miera had designed this modern gray-and-orange space.
The judges ranked Miera's white room in the middle this week, so she lives to design another day.
White Room: Britany
Britany's concept for the space: nautical-chic with bold, graphic accents. "I'm a very hands-on designer; I'm not just a girly-girl," Britany said. "I will get in on the project and the grunt work of it."
Painted Canvas Rug
Britany transformed a plain canvas rug into a bright accent piece by painting freehand stripes in bold red.
Britany's Finished White Room
Britany created thick painted wainscoting to draw the attention the back wall of the room and create a graphic element in the space.
Simple art made from packing pallets is the focal point of the Britany's back wall. She grouped the three cabinets together to create a wall-mounted credenza behind the sofa, complete with door-knocker pulls.
Britany used the top of a side table and the hardware from the included lamp as the base for this dramatic chandelier. Then, she hung long lengths of chain around it for a dramatic light source on a tiny budget.
The Judges' Verdict: Britany
The judges loved elements of Britany's space this week — especially the chandelier. "For me the gold elements are what make the room: the chain link falling from the ceiling to the nailheads on the sofa to the gold pulls on the cabinets," Genevieve said. Britany's safe this week.
White Room: Mikel
Set designer Mikel is used to creating lush spaces on a tight timeline. His white room concept is a comfortable, nature-inspired space.
"I practiced the White Room Challenge at home; I'd race around various stores and try to complete a white box," said Mikel. "A hardware store is the one store I did not practice..."
Mikel used an outdoor floormat from the garden store as a stencil to create a painted pattern on the room's rug.
Finished White Room: Mikel
Vern said that he could tell this room was created by "someone with a level of taste," but the modern-natural scheme didn't win any creativity awards from Genevieve. "Without the rope wall, it's just a living room," she said.
Recycled Wood Cabinet
Mikel used packing pallets stained in various shades to create a custom hanging cabinet.
Mikel: One More Week
The room's cohesive (if uninspired) feel was enough to earn Mikel another week to prove his design chops. He's safe this week.
White Room: Bex
Bex plans to create a screen using PVC pipe for the main focal point of her space. "I love taking items and using them for an unintended purpose," she said.
Headed for Trouble
A few hours into the challenge, she realizes she's bit off more than she can chew. "10 foot lengths of pipe are just too big for me to manhandle by myself without cutting off a finger," she lamented. Without enough slices of pipe to cover the front of her box, "I don't know what I'm going to do."
Advice From the Mentor
After a talk with David restores her confidence and convinces her to stick to her original vision, she scales down the PVC project decides to make small panels on both sides of the room.
Finished White Room: Bex
Screens with inset sections of PVC pipe frame the vignette in the back of the room.
PVC Pipe Dreams
Bex was able to incorporate her vision without running out of time.
A Penny for Your Thoughts
Vern loved the silhouette Bex created on this copper disk. As a whimsical touch, she added real pennies alongside the piece.
Art Deco Dresser
Bex transformed the provided cabinets into an art deco-inspired hanging credenza with black and white paint and updated drawer pulls. Bex was safe this week.
White Room: Stanley
After last week's collage disaster, Stanley knows he needs to prove himself. "I don't want to be standing up in that last two again," he said.
Stanley's risky concept: Keep the box white and use light to create color and interest. "Everything I do is a risk," he said. "Every design I've done, I feel like I've done something avant garde enough to have people come in and be like, that's amazing."
Stanley's Finished White Box
This dramatically different take on the traditional challenge wowed the judges. "This reminds me of a hotel room that I tore up back in 1992," said guest judge Vanilla Ice.
Side Table Lamps
Stanley used the provided side tables to create green light boxes that cast light on the room's white walls. "This is a true white box; he transformed it in a different way," remarked Genevieve.
"In all the seasons of Design Star, nobody has ever thought to backlight a couch this way," Vern said of Stanley's florescent light-illuminated sofa. "He turned it into sculpture, but it's still an homage to interior."
Stanley created another point of interest on the wall with an arrangement of cushions from the sofa.
The judges ranked his room design in the top three, though an unenthusiastic camera challenge kept him from winning this week.
White Room: Danielle
Danielle shops for contact paper to transform the furniture in her white room. She has a moody, black-and-gold design in mind.
Graphic Wall Art
A photo of her mother in the '70s — with a graphic wall accent in the background — inspired the large-scale pattern on the walls of Danielle's space.
Danielle's Finished White Room
"This room has a great sense of balance," Vern said. He also thought it looked lavish — except for the poorly-chosen floor lamp.
Black, White and Gold
The glossy black, gold and white design made guest judge Vanilla Ice equate this room to a posh recording studio.
Danielle used black contact paper and gold paint to easily transform the provided tables into high-end accents.
More High Marks
The judges scored Danielle in the top three again this week, but cautioned her to edit, edit, edit in future spaces.
White Room: Kris
Kris takes on a serious concept for his white room: It's a tribute to the rampant wildfires in his native Austin. "If you can pull it off, it will be pretty dynamic," said host and mentor David Bromstad. "If you can't, it will look like a hot mess...a burnt hot mess."
Going to Extremes
Kris creates two sides in his box: a destroyed home and another home evocative of the America Dream. He uses a blow torch to distress the wood on the "dark side," then uses charcoal and a hammer to rough up the walls and door.
Kris's Finished White Room
Layers of color connect the yin and yang sides of Kris's double-reality white box. "It's very Alfred Hitchcock-ian," said guest judge Vanilla Ice.
Not Dreamy Enough
Genevieve thought that he didn't take the concept far enough on the American Dream side. "If you're going to go for perfect, it really needs to be perfect," she said.
See You Next Week, Kris
The judges ranked Kris's white room in the middle this week.
White Room: Luca
Luca comes up with lots of projects to do in his white room, but doesn't have an overall concept. "I don't think a concept is necessary for design," he said.
Luca's Finished White Room
The judges had seriously mixed feelings about this finished room. "Love the lighting moment and the tag in the back, but the accessorizing in horrendous. Horrendous," Vern said.
Vern said these accessories reminded him of a retail space. Luca failed to transform the pieces he bought at the garden center.
Rugs as Wall Art
Luca used rugs from the garden center as wall art behind his sofa, but again, he didn't transform them at all.
The room's saving grace was a custom pendant light — and it kept Luca safe from elimination this week. "You gave us glimpses of what you can do; we need to see it over the entire room," said Geneveive.
White Room: Hilari
Hilari's concept: "I want to make my room look like a piece of jewelry," she said.
Shopping for Inspiration
Hilari purchased lots of materials, but worries about execution. "I'm nervous. I'm not handy. I can't hammer, saw, nail, drill. I can't do any of that," she said.
Time for Plan B
Hilari plans to transform the side tables into a coffee table using rubber hose, but a weak adhesive leaves her looking for another idea. "I'm great with ideas but building physically is not my strength. I should just go home now," she said.
Hilari's Finished White Room
Hilari's finished white room is a jumble of ideas without a cohesive theme.
Hilari's saving grace in the space was the chain detailing, but Genevieve wished she'd gone further with it. "The chain trim was probably the most impactful piece in the room," said Genevieve. "If she is supposed to be over the top, this is where she should have gone nuts. I wish the whole couch was covered in chain."
Coffee Table 2.0
Instead of the rubber hose, Hilari dressed up her table with black electrical tape and gold metal washers.
Hilari narrowly escaped elimination this week, but she'll get another chance to prove that she can execute her over-the-top glam aesthetic.
White Room: Rachel
"I have a background in fashion so I'm going to make a play on color and patterns," Rachel said as she shopped for supplies.
"Being at Union Station is so inspiring; you can look at anything and come up with a pattern," said Rachel. She created a repeating pattern using painter's tape to create crisp corners and freehanding the curved edges.
Rachel painted the provided cabinets with a bold chevron pattern.
Rachel's Finished White Room
Layer upon layer magically works in this bold, graphic space. "She can layer patterns, which I think is something a lot of designers struggle with," Genevieve said.
Rachel added a fashion twist to her room by creating a sketch of a fashionable woman, and Vern loves the handmade element.
Another Win for Rachel
Her strong design showing along with an engaging camera challenge earned Rachel another win this week.
White Room: Jordan
Jordan struggles for inspiration at the garden center, then finds bamboo pieces and decides on a Japanese garden concept.
After David cautions him to do more than "turn a table into a table," Jordan tried to think outside the box. He paints a bamboo arbor bright red.
Jordan's Finished Space
Jordan creates a cohesive space, but he's worried that the judges won't think he went far enough. "I want to crawl under a rock and hide because I'm worried about what they're going to say," Jordan said.
Vern said that the space made him "want an eggroll," because it had a "fast food, plastic-y feel to it." Guest judge Vanilla Ice added: "It just looks like a bunch of items for sale."
Jordan's lack of creativity in his Japanese garden made the judges say "sayonara" to the resident Australian. See what he had to say about his elimination..