Design Star Season 7: Photo Highlights From Episode 4

The remaining eight designers take on their first challenge for real homeowners: a makeover of an indoor space with an adjacent outdoor space for two Los Angeles neighbors.
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November 25, 2014

Photo By: Design by Kris Swift

Down to Eight

The pressure builds for the remaining finalists as numbers in the house dwindle. "Now I feel like this competition is a pressure cooker," Hilari says. "After being at the bottom for two weeks, I need to hunker down and get it together."

Guest Judge: Sabrina Soto

This week, HGTV designer and host of The High Low Project Sabrina Soto joins the panel to judge the designers' first homeowner challenge: an indoor-outdoor living space makeover for two neighbors.

Another Team Challenge

The designers are split up into teams of four to tackle each house. Britany, Hilari, Stanley and Mikel are responsible for one of the homes.

Team Outdoor Room: Stanley and Britany

Stanley and Britany team up to tackle the homeowners' outdoor space. The couple's requests: Create a space that extends their living area. They'd also love to break up the excessive concrete in their yard. The team decides to build an outdoor cabana with draperies. Stanley wants to tackle a reclaimed lumber deck, while Britany designs a herringbone-patterned privacy fence.

Carpenter Stanley?

Stanley takes the lead on construction for the fence, deck and cabana — and starts to feel the pressure as time runs low. "I'm outside, working on my tan and I'm building stuff. It's awesome," Stanley says. "Maybe I got a little crazy and wanted to build too many things...At this point, I have to get it done."

Lots to Do

Britany takes on the design details, like custom drapes and accessories, but she worries they won't finish. "Stanley has to physically build everything that I've designed in the space, so I'm just a little bit worried that we've taken on too much," she says.

Before: In Full View

The homeowners wanted to preserve their view but gain additional privacy.

After: Graphic and Functional

Stanley and Britany collaborated on this herringbone fence that's both graphic and functional. "It's art and a fence at the same time," Vern says. A custom high-top table can double as a bar or buffet table for outdoor parties.

Pretty Privacy

"I love that you finished it with points and not with a straight edge," Genevieve says. Build your own version of this fence with our step-by-step how-to instructions.

Before: Concrete Jungle

That's pretty much all there is: a pool and concrete. The homeowners requested warm elements to break up the cold, uninteresting pavement.

After: A Place to Lounge

Cedar accents warm up this outdoor area, while the custom-designed cabana provides a destination to relax outdoors and enjoy some shade.

Reclaimed Patio

Stanley's reclaimed wood deck adds visual interest to this backyard oasis. "This is a really nice diversion from concrete on concrete," Genevieve says.

Outdoor Living Room

The designers built this outdoor cabana to extend the family's living space, complete with a chandelier lit by battery-powered candles.

Too-Small Furniture

While the judges love the idea of the outdoor living room, Vern questions the furniture choices. "The furniture in the cabana was way too small. It didn't feel like a place you wanted to go and lounge," Vern says.

Cohesive Patterns

The designers brought the chevron pattern from the fence into the cabana and seating area, creating a cohesive look throughout the patio.

Mobile Garden

Stanley and Britany added life to the patio with pots of flowers, ornamental grasses and succulents.

Safe Again

The judges caution Stanley to spend more time designing and less time building: "You don't want to fall into this hole of the person who is there to execute. You want to take control of design," Vern says. Stanley and Britany are both safe this week.

Team Indoor Living Room: Hilari and Mikel

Hilari and Mikel take on the same home's indoor living space. The homeowners want a inviting place for people to relax, and request earth tones and a sophisticated, flea market-chic look. The pair's friendship makes it a snap to work together: "It makes a such a difference to work with someone that's on the same page as you," Hilari says.

Space Planner Extraordinaire

Desperate to free herself from the bottom of the pack, Hilari takes on the space planning for the living room. "There's so much space here...I'm good with space planning, and I need to get back on top," she says.

Strong Camera Challenge

For her camera challenge, Hilari demonstrates how to use faux greenery to bring an outdoor element to a glass lamp. David's impressed by her straightforward instructions and engaging camera presence.

Before: Too-Small Furniture

This large space has high ceilings that dwarf the homeowners' furniture and accessories.

After: Cozy and Inviting

Mikel's sage green paint color choice and furnishings with a collected vibe make this room feel cozy and inviting.

Gallery Wall

To make it appear that the pieces on this gallery wall were collected over time, Hilari and Mikel used coordinating but not matching frames.

Ready to Lounge

A large sectional (selected by Hilari) outfitted with lots of throw pillows creates an inviting spot that seats a crowd.

Before: Out of Balance

The ceiling details and large windows stole the show from the furniture and accessories in this space.

After: The Right Size

Furniture in the correct scale and artwork that fills the vast wall space keep the room balanced.

Before: Unused Entryway

The nearly-blank entry walls didn't make a good first impression.

After: Storage and Style

Hilari and Mikel transformed the entryway into an area full of style and function. Abstract art greets guests first-thing, while a side chair provides a place to sit mail or groceries and doubles as additional guest seating.

Industrial Chic

A worn, wood-and-metal shelving unit adds a time-worn quality to the entryway, and a place for the homeowners to display their favorite accessories.

Living Room Workspace

Mounted wall cubes and a vintage desk give the homeowners' a compact place to write letters, pay bills and contain paper clutter.

The Big Reveal

Host and mentor David Bromstad reveals the makeover to the startled (in a good way) homeowners.

Color and Texture

Velvet pillows perfectly juxtapose these rustic, rough-hewn chairs, while the modern pattern of the second pillow provides an interesting counterpoint to the more traditional rug. "It is very inviting in here...there are so many different on," says guest judge Sabrina Soto.

Before: Where's the Color?

White walls and a stark fireplace alongside hardwood floors and a wooden table left this room in need of some color and warmth.

After: Warm Earth Tones

Warm neutrals paired with sage green walls make this dining room an inviting spot to enjoy a meal. A pendant light over the table creates mood lighting for diners, while the wooden mirror frame adds warmth to the bright white fireplace surround.

Reclaimed Wood Mirror

Mikel took a store-bought mirror and made it special with a reclaimed lumber frame. "That mirror where you took pieces of wood and glued it on was perhaps one of my favorite things," Vern says to Mikel at evaluation.

On Top at Last

The judges thought Hilari and Mikel created both the best-looking room and the best version of what the clients requested. Hilari's strong camera challenge made her a shoe-in for her first win!

Meet the Neighbors

Across the street, Kris, Rachel, Miera and Danielle worked together on a second indoor-outdoor makeover.

Design Consultation

The homeowners would like a family-friendly space they can enjoy with their four-year-old daughter. Outdoors, they'd like more entertaining space, while they're looking for more hidden storage indoors.

Team Outdoors: Rachel and Kris

Rachel and Kris decide to work together on the family's backyard. "I am super stoked to work with Rachel. I finally able to collaborate with someone who is on par as a designer," Kris says.

Family on the Brain

When Rachel learns the family has a four-year-old girl, her mind turns to thoughts of her own daughter. She decides to create a kids' play area with the child's new and existing plastic toys. "I'm nervous because I get really easily distracted by thoughts of back home, and I don't know if it shows in my design. I'm worried," Rachel says.

The King of Succulents

Kris comes from a line of gardeners: his mother is an avid hobbyist and his father is a landscape designer. "A tip I've learned from [my mother] is that you need thrillers, fillers and spillers. Thrillers are large architectural plants, fillers are what go around them, and spillers are either ground cover or something that trails over a pot," Kris says.

Before: Blank Slate

Except for a lonely table and chairs, this backyard is free of furniture, and the plants, the homeowner quipped, are more "brownery" than greenery.

After: Seating for a Crowd

A comfortable seating area is large enough to house a crowd, and the dining table features chairs for the whole family.

(Almost) Free Chandelier

Kris used a tumbleweed he got at the garden center for free and an umbrella lighting kit to create this one-of-a-kind chandelier. When it's not in use, it can sit in a planter and provide ambient lighting.

Tree Stump Tables

Rough-hewn tree stumps make excellent side tables for outdoor rooms.

Succulent Details

Kris drilled holes in the surface of tree stumps, then embedded small succulents on top. The result: A living table! "It adds an architectural element to the many times people don't know you can do that with succulents," Vern says.

Before: Tired Metal Awning

Shade is a must-have for this sunny backyard, but this outdated blue metal awning isn't the look this modern-leaning family is going for.

After: Architectural Details

Wooden slats add stylish architectural details to this overhang, while wooden boxes hide the existing metal support posts.

Made for Shade

The pergola-style construction lets just a bit of light in.

Table for Four

Rachel and Kris created a cozy dining area perfect for Sunday family dinners.

Kid's Corner

Rachel's misguided kid's corner perplexes the judges. "You just brought plastic toys outside," says mentor David Bromstad. "It's right by the trash," added Vern.

See You Next Week

While the judges questioned Rachel's judgment on the kids' area, her crimes weren't egregious enough to send her home. She and Kris are both safe until next week.

Team Indoors: Danielle and Miera

Miera and Danielle partner up to tackle the home's indoor living space, but they clash from the start on time management and design decisions. Miera insists they create a built-in shelving unit, even though Danielle is worried they won't complete the project. "I have more experience than Danielle...I know what I'm doing," Miera says.

Shopping for Trouble

After the last challenge, Miera is determined to let her vision much so that Danielle's goes dark. "If I'm not totally on the same page as Miera design-wise, she gets really irritable," Danielle says.

Danielle Struggles

At 30 minutes left, many details are undone. Danielle helps Miera finish the built-in, at the expense of her personal projects. "This is for a client. I'm not just going to sit back and let it fall apart. I don't know if that's a good philosophy or a bad one or not...good for being a designer, bad for being a competitor," Danielle says.

Built-In Blues

The designers install the built-in shelving at the nick of time, but the finishing touches aren't there. "It's not quite detail-finished. I'm hoping that when the panel goes through our room, they don't have a magnifying glass," Miera says.

Before: Slim on Seating

This dining table had four chairs, but it was barely big enough to seat two.

After: Dinner Party-Ready

A new dining table with seating for six is topped with a dramatic, organic chandelier selected by Miera. Two sideboards create space for serving buffet-style and storing dishes for entertaining.

The Perfect Pendant

Miera's contemporary chandelier is a hit with the judges. "It added textural element that the space desperately needed," Vern says.

The Big Reveal

The homeowners are shocked at the transformation when David walks them through their brand new indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Before: Mismatched Furniture

The homeowners have some nice pieces, but they don't mesh well or meet their needs in the space — a kids' table next to the sofa?

After: Comfortable and Chic

A cohesive gray-and-white color palette brings this living room together. Danielle and Miera dress up the homeowners' existing sofa with trendy new throw pillows.

Not Quite Done

The unfinished details raise questions with the panel. "Right off the bat I see a few problems. Why customize something and not finish it? The art's on the floor. They clearly ran out of time," guest judge Sabrina says.

Bad News Built-In

The built-in is left with rough-cut edges and sloppy styling. "I think the general design idea was great, but I didn't have time to execute," Miera says.

Unfinished Art

Danielle runs out of time before she has a chance to hang the majority of her gold accents, leaving the wall nearly empty. "The sad little Xs are completely dwarfed by the negative space," Genevieve says.

Contemporary Entryway

One bright spot for the judges: Danielle's contemporary entry table and mirror.

Bye Bye, Miera

"Both of you had the best of intentions going into this, but neither one of you fulfilled the promise," Vern says in the elimination studio. Miera's clumsy camera challenge and botched built-in made the judges say goodbye to her this week. See what she has to say about her elimination.

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