Top Design, Episode Two: Fallout Shelters? So Does China Really Has A Secret Transformer Arsenal?

Wednesday was episode two (‘Artsy Bunker’) of Top Design, where the designers worked in teams to design fallout shelters. The concept made for a decent challenge, but I wonder why exactly they thought fallout shelters were a timely concept. I mean, maybe in the 1950s, but nuclear fallout isn’t exactly high on the list of national priorities right now. Or is it? Do the Bravo staff know something we don’t? Is this a secret government message about Iran’s nuclear ambitions? Is there something to Kimberly’s theory that nuclear fallout would happen because “the Chinese were to build the transformers because they were pissed about the Hiroshima?” (Did you just hear that? It’s my generation, shuddering with embarrassment.)

The designers got to pick their own teams, which actually cut back on the drama factor (bummer), since most of the teams got along well. In fact, Nathan and Wisit got along so well that they did away with the second bed in their space and decided that, if they had to live in the fallout shelter, they might as well get married and share a bed. I actually thought the judges were going to criticize them for this (like, seriously guys—if you’re stuck alone in a bunker for decades you may want to sleep apart for a night or two), but everyone just laughed and thought it was cute.


Note the one bed. I think it needs more stuff on the walls, but I like the tenting on the ceiling.

The one team that really didn’t get along was Robert (super-uptight Houston designer) and Jennifer (architect who has never actually designed). Maybe I just sympathize because I’m a chick, but I felt like Robert’s attitude towards Jennifer was: “you aren’t experienced, thus you have nothing valuable to say and I will take none of your suggestions seriously.” He refused to work with her, pretty much dooming them to failure in the first few moments of the challenge. They ended up designing a room that quite literally was divided in two — and the designs on either side were completely disparate. In a not-so-surprising twist, they both got the boot.


The losing room. This looks like a set piece for some TV show about siblings who don't get along but have to share a room.

The winning room, Eddie and Andrea’s, really was lovely—which makes sense, since those two got along like white on rice. They painted it a nice soothing green color, and used contrasting dark wood tones and pops of white to add interest to the space. The mixture of textures and colors worked really well, although I wasn’t crazy about the tree “mural” on the wall (although wonktheplank liked the mural, so who knows). You can tell that Eddie is the Senior Style Editor for the Great Martha—the styling was perfect, and the room had a whole “traditional with modern touches that is actually incredibly expensive and don’t even think about recreating this on a real budget” look that Martha Stewart Living has perfected.


The winning room. I love the warm lighting, soft green walls, deep brown accessories, and pops of white.

Oh Serge, how I missed you in this episode. I bet he would have filled his bunker with a large wall decorated entirely with broken glass bottles—so if the people stuck in the bunker went insane, they would have, you know, a “way out.” But it also would have made an “artistic statement” about how life could be rebuilt after nuclear warfare from the shards of our shattered civilization. Who knows what lovely strange things he would have done in that tiny space. Now we will never know.

Next week: Oh my god! Santino! Andrae! Other Project Runway designers whose names I don’t remember! Apparently the designers are going to design window displays (and possibly stores – I couln’t really tell) for former Project Runway designers. This has got to be good. By the way, for those of you who missed last week’s episode, you can see the whole thing here.

Edited To Say: Thanks to commenter Lillian, for setting me straight on the teams. They did not choose their teams, but were picked at random. There still wasn’t enough team drama, however, random or not!



  1. Joellen said

    I think they got the idea from the latest Indiana Jones movie. You know, the one where he had to hide a in an old-school fridge to make it out of the nuclear bomb or whatever it was that went off. I know that was the first thing I thought when I heard “fallout shelter.”

  2. Lillian said

    Correction: The contestants did not get to chose their teams in this episode. They used the trusty “pick a paint swatch” method.

  3. moderndomestic said

    Lillian–thank you! This is what happens when there’s an important sporting event on and someone who shall remain nameless has to flip between shows.

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