This week on Bravo’s “Top Design,” the contestants were asked to decorate well enough to not only live to see another day on the show, but to literally survive. In a bomb shelter. I’m not kidding.
I can see the producers sitting around and brainstorming ideas for decorating challenges. I can imagine that they were adamant about not resorting to the white cubicles that the contestants were given last season. And then someone says, “But what about instead of white rooms, we make them look like bomb shelters?” Yeah! Brilliant!
Okay, let me back up a little. To introduce this week’s challenge, Todd Oldham wheels an old RCA television set into the designers’ workroom and turns it on.
The video is supposed to be like one of those old films from the ’50s or ’60s that tells you to hide under a desk if an atom bomb hits your neighborhood. The narrator says: “We live in a world of tension and conflict.” One wonders if he means among the contestants on “Top Design” or in the bigger world beyond. “Even under the heaviest possible attack, we can survive.”
Then there is a cartoony mushroom cloud that has everyone doubled over laughing. I’m not entirely sure why this is so funny. Are cartoon mushroom clouds inherently funny? Huh?
The video suggests that you build a bomb shelter in your basement to survive these hilarious, side-splitting explosions.
Ondine looks less amused. Glad I’m not the only one. But maybe it seemed more inappropriate than usual since this is the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
India explains the challenge: “You’re going to design a room you could live in for the rest of your life: a Fallout Shelter.”
The rest of my life? I’d have to live the rest of my life here? No thanks. I think I’ll stay above ground and take my chances.
Natalie comments: “If you have to go live in a bunker, I wanna be able to live and be comfy so I don’t feel like s**t that I’m getting bombed.”
Yeah. That’s the whole purpose of a bunker, Nat. Feel better about being bombed!
They’re put into teams of 2: Robert and Jennifer, Nathan and Wisit, Natalie and Teresa (I don’t even remember Teresa from last week–she must really be flying under the radar), Shazia and Big-Daddy Kerry, Eddie and Don’t-Tell-Anyone-I’m-Married-to-Ricky-Schroder Andrea, and Ondine and Preston.
They get to work making plans and then head out shopping. At a store called Plummer’s, they have $3,000 per team and half an hour to get what they need. Eddie and Andrea make a pile of pillows and stuff that they’re buying, but when they come back to retrieve them, their stuff has been swiped.
Turns out “I’m-an-Architect-not-a-Designer” Jennifer liked it, too. They protest that they had labeled it. Jennifer says–unconvincingly–“I tagged them!” They see no tags that say Jennifer on them. She says, “I don’t know where my tags went…” But she refuses to give them their stuff back.
Andrea turns to Eddie and says: “Karma.” (Do I get a sense of foreshadowing here? Yes, yes, I do!)
Then the crew gets taken to Pier One for more shopping. They have $1,000 to get whatever they want here.
Shazia says she wants to buy 50 votive candles to place around and light them all up and make it real pretty. Big-Daddy Kerry says, “If you’re in a small space like that and 50 candles are burnin’, there’s gonna be a fat boy on a rotisserie.”
Now that the shopping is done, they have 5 1/2 hours to work on their bunkers. They start painting and stuff. Eddie paints “a kind of Tree of Life to bring some nature in.”
Some of the teams aren’t working as well together as others. Okay, so maybe it’s just Robert and Jennifer who can’t seem to get along. Robert wants to divide their bunker in half and pretend Jennifer isn’t even in it with him.
The next morning, everyone’s stressed about not getting done in time except for Andrea and Eddie, who are pretty much done already. Eddie says maybe he’ll take a nap in the bunker today.
Todd Oldham comes around to see how they’re all doing and offer some advice. Have I mentioned how much I prefer him in this role than as host like he was last year? Anyway, he tells Teresa and Natalie they may have over-accessorized just a tad, so they may need to edit a bit.
Here come the judges to see the bunkers.
Oh, my. What’s Kelly wearing today? I love her bizarro fashion. You never know what she’ll come up with. I’d love to peek into her closet sometime.
Today she seems to think she’s starring in a Merchant-Ivory film.
First up for inspection: Kerry & Shazia’s bunker:
Not much to say about this (yawn). They went for “neutral with pops of color.” It does look pleasant enough to hang out in for all eternity, I suppose.
Nathan & Wisit’s Love Bunker:
They explain to the judges that there is only one bed because they decided they would get married and share the one. Wisit says, “When he misbehaves, I send him to the couch.”
I thought they might get points off for this since all the other contestants had to work two beds into their rooms, but I’m wrong. The judges love it. Jonathan proclaims the marriage bed “J’Adorable!” (But as j’adorable as the doggy bed for Liberace last week? I think not.)
Kelly and her fingerless gloves are digging “the canopy tent vibe.” I bet she’s already imagining what crazy clothes she’d wear to live in a tented bunker like this. Maybe she’d go a little more “Out of Africa” for it? What do you think?
Natalie & Teresa’s Zen Den:
Natalie calls their Fallout Shelter “a place to chillax.” That’s chill and relax together for those of you who aren’t hip to these things.
Jennifer & Robert’s “You Stay on Your Side of the Line and I’ll Stay on Mine” Bunker:
Eddie called this room “Tribal meets Cape Cod.” Jonathan calls it a “Buzz-kill.” He asks them, “Didn’t you get along?”
Jennifer says, “It wasn’t that…” Unconvincingly.
Eddie & Andrea’s Country Garden bunker:
Jonathan loves it, loves it, loves it. It’s functional, he says, but beautiful.
Look–Andrea even managed to work in the picture of her husband Ricky Schroder into the room. But please don’t tell anyone that’s who he is. She doesn’t want anyone to know she’s married to Rick Schroder. It’s a secret. Shhh.
Preston & Odine’s Bunker:
They put shiny foil paper on the ceiling and divided the two beds with curtains for privacy “since we’ve got a man and woman situation here,” says Preston. You get the feeling Preston isn’t entirely comfortable with man and woman situations.
Is it just me or is anyone else wondering why there aren’t refrigerators or any other sort of food storage spaces in here? Someplace to pile your water bottles, maybe? I mean, if you’re gonna spend the rest of your life in these bunkers, you might need more than pretty bedding and fabulous tablescapes to get you through.
But maybe that’s being too nit-picky.
Time to file into the Judging Warehouse.
India tells them that they were mostly pleased with the results of their rooms.
They like Nathan and Wisit’s room an awful lot, but the ultimate winners are Eddie and Andrea. They get the “Top Design” of the week. Congratulations Eddie and Not-Mrs.-Schroder!
In the bottom two are Ondine & Preston and Robert & Jennifer.
Ondine and Preston’s room just really didn’t have a cohesive look, the judges feel, and Jonathan really, really, really hated those baskets on the walls that they used for storage.
But in the end, the judges couldn’t live with Jennifer and Robert’s design. Jonathan thinks it was “petulant” the way they divided the space.
India shocks us (well, at least she shocks me) by sending Jennifer home and then sending Robert home, too. I didn’t know two people were going home this week, did you? Wow.
Bye, Architect Jennifer. Bye, Cranky Robert. Sorry karma kicked you in the butt.
So what do you think? Did the best team win or did you like another bunker better? Was it fair to send both Jennifer and Robert packing? Was another space worse than theirs, in your opinion?
P.S. Check out the site Blogging Top Design for all the latest scoop on the contestants and the show!
If You’re Hooked on Reality TV:
- Recap of Top Design Season 2 Premiere: New & Improved
- Bravo’s Top Design Gets New Host for Season 2
- On “Flipping Out,” Zoila Gets the Last Laugh
- Are You Flipping Out?
- Flipping Out Over Ryan Brown Design
- Time to Cry & Cut Again: Project Runway
- Design Star: Rate the Former Winners
- Design Star Recaps: Season 3
Click on the birdie below to see what I’m chatting about between blog posts!
NOTE: I just found out that my blog-friend Amy designed this Twitter button. She’s so creative. Be sure to visit her blog Living Locurto for a tour of her beautiful home this week!