Top Design: Is Eddie Ross Top Design’s Stephen Asprinio?

Eddie's room, complete with stolen rug-padding textured walls.

Eddie Alert. Eddie Alert. Eddie’s blog has hit the blogosphere with a silver-plated bang, and his home was featured in The Washington Post yesterday. I feel torn, because I actually liked the pictures of his home, and his blog has some really lovely stuff. But I completely dislike his overly competitive, put-down, “I’m fabulous because you’re not” attitude on the show. He really has begun to remind me of Stephen Asprinio from Top Chef’s first season (who, to his credit, got much nicer during the last challenge).  I think the producers are also torn; they clearly like to villainize Eddie because it makes for great TV, and yet he’s a shoe-in to win. In my opinion, it’s either him or Nathan.

Anyway, on to the episode which, like most of the Top Design episodes so far, was pretty downright dull. Although I wasn’t that disappointed, because whatever hopes I had for this episode were dashed when I found out it was the “green” challenge. I know this goes against the prevailing sentiment in TV-producer-land, but I don’t think that “green” design challenges are very interesting to viewers. I’m sure it really changes the experience for the designers, forcing them to use different fabrics and materials than they would otherwise. But for viewers, shopping at a remnant store doesn’t look all that different from shopping at a regular fabric store.

For the “Green” challenge, the designers had to do a “green” overhaul the offices of an environmental consulting firm. They used green materials and reused as much as possible from the original offices. I had a strange sense of deja vu, because the firm’s offices had the makeshift, thrown together, “We got this desk at Goodwill,” look of every nonprofit I’ve ever worked for. I know that some environmental consulting firms have really nice digs, so I wonder if those guys do a lot of nonprofit work or something.

The challenge also had a “twist;” halfway through the show, after everyone had met with their clients and bought their materials, the designers switched rooms. So each designer had to work with someone else’s color and fabric choices. And this is supposed to showcase their individual design aesthetic how?

While this was challenging for all the designers, Andrea especially didn’t fare well with the twist. She’s obviously started to doubt herself and a good deal of the episode was devoted to her fretting about the bright blue wall paint she inherited from Eddie. I actually think that her room was okay, although the white artwork she chose for the walls was a little dull. Having two huge lamps on the tiny desk was impractical — my desk is bigger that desk, and I still don’t have room for two huge table lamps. Still, considering that her confidence has begun to flag and it seems like she not-so-secretly wants to go home, she did a fine job.

Andrea's room. She really stressed out about Eddie's choice of wall color.

Andrea's room. She really hated the wall color, but I kinda like it.

Ondine’s room was fine, if rather unremarkable. She disliked the pale fabrics she inherited from Wisit, especially as her client wanted a “masculine” office, but she was able to put a room together that was clean and professional. The best part of her design was a light fixture she created out of recycled water bottles, which was both creative and green. Preston’s room featured deep greys, with bold lines that looked very polished, but I was still underwhelmed. Nathan had a very nice space and created this very cool table using bright yellow saw horses. Although, once again, the producers did a very poor job of showing the viewers what it actually looked like.

It was Eddie’s room that blew everyone away (surprise surprise) and he won the challenge. But I was shocked that he passed of Nathan’s idea of using squares of rug padding as a wall treatment, as his own idea. I rooted for Nathan to call him out on it during the judging, especially as the judges poured the praise over Eddie for his “innovative” use of the rug pad. But Nathan stayed mum. Considering that Eddie spent the entire episode complaining about the challenge and having to use recycled materials, it just made his win that more irritating.

Nathalie and Wisit were the bottom two this time. I actually have begun to really like Nathalie—she’s very young and I think she’s really creative, even if the judges question her taste level. But I think that she has a lot of talent and has a great attitude, even if she’s often criticized. That’s hard to do. Still, the reception room that she did over ended up looking more like a high school bedroom than a reception area. She put these big fabric panels on the wall, which I actually thought was very creative, but didn’t really give off a professional vibe for the space. And she created this little seating area, complete with understuffed throw pillows, that looked like it should have been in a bedroom.

I liked these fabric-covered boards, but not for an office.

Nathalie's room. I liked these fabric-covered boards, but not for an office.

However, it was Wisit’s turn to go. I think that his understated colors are probably very nice in real life, but on reality TV it just comes across as blah. His big grey shelves, poorly painted desk (the desk had a finish which meant the paint couldn’t adhere), and blah color palette was just so dull. They also criticized him for not being green and innovative enough (when asked what was the greenest thing about his room, he said it was not be wasteful in his shopping), although I don’t really think that being green is what he’s all about anyway.

Wisit's room. It really was this dull.

Next Week: Room of The Future. God only knows what that means. I just know I’ll miss Wisit’s creepy opera singing.


1 Comment »

  1. vulcanella said

    I am starting to dislike Eddie for the same reason you gave – he took Nathan’s great idea and passed it off as his own. I do like his blog, though. I want to make white pumpkins now. I’m glad to see Wisit go. I hope Andrea regains her confidence; she’s my favorite, but I think you’re right about Eddie and Nathan being in the final two.

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