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SURPRISE BIRTHDAY BASH: Bowtie wearing TOP DESIGN contestant, Eddie celebrated a birthday during this week’s TOP DESIGN challenge. Always happy to be the center of attention, Eddie squealed with glee as Nathan presented him with a candle-topped cake. Several drinks later, Nathan changed into a curly wig and black spandex pants to spoof TOP DESIGN as a Japanese host. Fellow designer Ondine joined the loud revelry, but perfectly coiffed Preston was the odd man out…again.

Ondine, Nathan, and I are New York,” explained Eddie with a shake of his head. “And then there’s Preston. He’s LA.” The “members only” attitude was summed up best by Eddie’s snarky declaration, “He’s not part of the posse.”

  
 
How does Preston feel about being snubbed from the cool kids’ club? “I need time alone, and I’ve had zero,” he said with one eyebrow up. Preston kept his cool and retired to his room early, but it was clear that the tight trio was dancing on his last nerve.

During the design challenge, Ondine, who was saved from the axe last week by Andrea’s homesick heart, felt compelled to honor that gesture by pushing to win the competition. An easily frustrated designer on a good day, poor Ondine had to overcome a roller coaster of ups and downs as the contest wore on:

UP: Ondine got to choose any room of a townhouse to design and decorate.
DOWN: A bad shopping trip left her worried that she’d forgotten something.
UP: The furniture and accessories arrived on time—and complete.
DOWN: The giant desk that Ondine selected wouldn’t fit into the room.
UP: A team of handymen defied the law of physics to fit the mega-desk through the door.
DOWN: The window was left naked after a botched attempt at creating custom drapes.
UP: Despite the ulcer-causing day, judges loved Ondine’s bold design choices.

Though she looked as haggard as she felt at the end of the day, the results of Ondine’s hard work earned her a spot in next week’s finale. Also rushed off to the safety of the greenroom was pretty-boy Preston, who pulled together another perfectly styled room, despite his outsider status. That left preppy Eddie and avant-garde Nathan to sweat it out in front of the judges.

Although Nathan’s surprisingly subdued room was criticized for missing a provocative edge, Eddie’s design was a major disaster. Pretentious Eddie, whose work has been called “granny” in the past, held a tight-lipped smile as the judges offered their opinions. While Margaret Russell and Jonathan Adler alluded to the outdated feeling of the room, the cattiest comment of the season came from guest judge Jeff Lewis. “It looks like an older demographic,” he said. “And by older, I mean walkers, bedpans, and oxygen tanks.” Ouch!

Luckily, Eddie took the news of his departure like a gentleman, mostly lamenting the break-up of the New York trio he’d come to love. But don’t worry about his future as a designer. Before packing his enormous self-worth into his luggage for the trip home, Eddie left us some parting words, “I have great style, I have great taste, and I’m really multi-talented.”

Yes, Eddie and his ego are going to be just fine.

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