Design Star Season 6: Photo Highlights From Episode 2

This week on Design Star, the 11 remaining hopefuls take on a classic project: the anything-goes white box challenge! See whose creativity comes alive and who falters, plus see how each contestant transformed their blank slate.
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November 25, 2014

Colorful Inspiration

The designers travel to 5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center in Long Island City, where graffiti artists from around the world are invited to express themselves. "This week's challenge is all about thinking unconventionally," said host Tanika Ray.

Welcome to the White Box Challenge

This week, Tanika challenged the contestants to the most iconic of Design Star tests: the white box challenge! Each designer will start with an identical white room to create anything they can imagine. The room doesn't have to be functional, just vivid and exciting.

Guest Judge: Thom Filicia

Tanika delivered another stake-raising surprise: Legendary interior designer Thom Filicia joined the judging panel for the white box challenge.

Ready, Set, Shop!

The designers had to buy their materials for the challenge at an unconventional location: a restaurant supply warehouse.

Stocking Up on Color

Cathy went for edible color for her white box, in the form of bright-red apples.

Searching for Inspiration

"I'm just terrified. You're given nothing, yet you're given every opportunity to build anything you want," J said as she formulated a plan. She gravitated toward chafing dish fuel canisters to create a fire box.

Kevin's Race to Redemption

After his too-bright bedroom in episode one, Kevin was eager to create a space that resonated with the judges. He decided to make a focal wall using a surprising material: butcher paper.

Sketching His Space

After last week's win, Karl got his creative juices flowing to create another space that would equally impress the design panel.

Shopping for Ideas

Meg found lots of pieces that spark interest, but struggled to come up with an overarching concept. "I haven't designed a room that isn't functional in probably...10 years. This is probably the hardest type of challenge for someone like me," she said.

Tyler Thinks Outside the (White) Box

After ditching all his furniture and buying only water bottles at the restaurant supply store, Tyler worried that he would have nothing to fall back on if his idea to build a chair out of water bottles failed.

Bret Gets Graphic

"I really want to convey to the design panel that I'm very graphic," Bret said. He taped off three giant bomb shapes in negative space, "since when you do graffiti, you go 'bombing.'"

Takeout-Inspired Lamp

Karl used plastic to-go containers and a hot glue gun to create a modern light fixture on a shoestring budget. "I don't want this to look like a sixth-grade art project; I want this to look really cool," he said.

Bringing a Global Perspective

Since Cathy's design aesthetic is heavily inspired by world travel, she created a mosaic table out of broken plates that served as the centerpiece of her Spanish-inspired space.

Personal Graffiti

Inspired by the challenge's location, Leslie dressed her walls with personal expressions — words and phrases that define her. "Forget the design part...I get to express who I am," she says.

Less Kitsch, More Chic

With something to prove, Kevin wowed David with the beginnings of his white box. But he reminded Kevin not to go overboard with the kitch factor: "Chic has to just radiate from it."

A Patriotic Tribute

Inspired by his grandfather's Air Force career, Mark decided to paint a giant mural and turn his futon into a flying machine. "This is a huge undertaking. I really hope it's something I don't end up regretting," he said.

Fire...and What Else?

J came up with a plan to feature a fire box on one wall of her room, but couldn't decide on a dramatic concept for the overall space.

Ode to a Graffiti Legend

As a former graffiti artist, Doug's white box paid tribute to a street art legend Keith Haring.

Advice From the Mentor

Still struggling for a concept, Meg worked through her white box with mentor David's advice. "You were just safe last week. This is the time to push yourself," he says.

Painting Time

Still without any paint at the beginning of day two, Karl separated his space into boxes to house different colors.

Airplane Engine Construction

To complete his Air Force-inspired room, Mark retrofitted a coffee table top into the engine-holder for his "flying futon."

Last-Minute Decor

Cathy realizes her walls are bare at the last minute, so she adds a little pizzazz with more white mosaics.

The Finishing Touches

Leslie added texture to the floor with a bright-white rug made from salt.

Time's Up! Let the Judging Begin

Which designers wowed the judges and which ones underwhelmed? Read on to see the finished spaces, plus what guest judge Thom Filicia and HGTV stars Genevieve Gorder and Vern Yip had to say.

Doug's Finished Space

The judges loved Doug's glam tribute to Keith Haring, but wished he'd brought a little more of himself into the space. "I feel like I know more about the artist he's referencing than the artist that I'm really interested in learning about," Thom said.

Karl's Perfectly-Painted Room

The judges loved Karl's muted color palette, but felt he went a little too traditional with the design and layout. "We saw with Karl last week that he can indeed paint, so I was hoping to see a new superpower this week," quipped Genevieve.

Inventive Light Fixture

Karl fashioned this modern light fixture with to-go containers and hot glue. Thom was a fan.

Edible Accessories

Karl tucked bamboo and oranges into stock pots to create an interesting accessory for the space.

Kevin's Chic Room

Kevin set out to wow the judges this week, and he succeeded with this creative, cohesive room. The butcher paper provided an exciting yet classy backdrop for the box. "He kept his kitschy and gave us a load of chic," Vern said.

Kevin Gets Creative

Kevin covered his dining table with guest checks from the restaurant warehouse, and fashioned a shag rug out of mops.

Bret Goes 'Bunker Chic'

Bret's bombs didn't play particularly well with the judges; it was too ordered to evoke an industrial feel.

Bret's Ordered Accessories

"I like function. My white box reflects me, because it's very ordered, it's very simple," Bret says. He used ground coffee, red peppers and apples to create a colorful, symmetrical coffee table vignette.

J's Icy White Box

J's uninspired design left the judges cold. "I'm getting no warmth from this, other than the manufactured sternos," Genevieve said.

A Colorful Grouping

J's vignette of fruit, graters and custom artwork looks great up close, but the overall room didn't make a statement. "I feel like this creative mind needs to mature," Thom said of the space.

Tyler's Finished Product

The judges loved Tyler's over-the-top interpretation of the challenge. The chair, made of water bottles and topped with the provided futon mattress, is the focal point of the room.

Double-Duty Chair

An embedded light fixtures naturally draws the eye to the chair. "The fact that it was a light source was innovative, elegant and fresh," praised Thom.

Leslie's Cozy Space

Leslie transformed salt, black beans, floor mats, bowls and soup pots into this cozy "living space."

Writing on the Wall

The judges loved her hand-written walls, but wished she'd extended it all the way around the room. "I'm ping-ponging between these two walls because they're the only thing of interest," said Genevieve.

Floormats, Refashioned

Leslie used cut floormats and candy wrappers to create this blingy wall art.

Meg's Scattered Space

"Uh-oh" was the judges' first response when they laid eyes on Meg's misguided effort. "It's very creepy; everything is creepy," said Genevieve.

Coffee Table Collapse

Meg's coffee table, which was balanced atop painted glasses, collapsed just as time was called. However, even with the table intact, the judges still felt the space lacked a sense of completion.

Meg's Corner Vignette

Meg used coffee to create contrasting "shadows" behind the bright-white furnishings.

Kellie's Finished White Box

Kellie's space showed moments of brilliance but lacked a cohesive message. Vern loved the coffee table made from pizza pans, salt shakers and bowls, while Genevieve praised the petal pink footprints.

Well-Seasoned Pillows

Kellie turned the tops of the salt shakers into textured pillow embellishments.

Cathy's Finished Space

The judges could feel the professional stager in Cathy coming through in this organized, Spanish-inspired room. "I want her to lose control, let her hair down," said Vern.

Spiced-Up Floors

Cathy used ground spices and coffee to create a floor evocative of the colorful tiles in Barcelona.

Mark's Flying Machine

Mark's bold, colorful mural and futon-turned-flying machine were a big hit with the evaluation panel. He was named the winner of this week's challenge.

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