Top Design
Lofty Designs

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Mr. Sobell: D+ | Grade It Now!
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No, I Don't Think I Will See You Decorators Later

Let's see what Matt has to say for himself. Kelly asks him to explain the floor plan; Matt goes into a long, involved explanation about sound control, which I will now summarize for you -- the daughter's room is enclosed by walls, the master bedroom isn't. There, Matt: Brevity. Soul of wit. Make the connection. All the judges coo over the adorability of Matt's daughter. But you know what's not adorable? Glass furniture in the same house as adorable youngsters. Matt vows to Windex the table clear of any young paw prints -- if so, I guess we know where that $100,00 prize money will be spent. On an oil-drum sized shipment of glass cleaner because while the children may be our future, our future has very sticky hands. "I thought your bathroom was very sexy," Mrs. Sting adds; I think Mrs. Sting and I use that word in very different ways. Less sexy, according to Mrs. Sumner, was Matt's bedroom. Matt does not help his cause by explaining that he wants to come home to a "sterile" room -- I'm pretty sure he meant to say "clean and soothing and simple" but his word choice evokes images of people putting on clean suits before hunkering down for the night. And on that note, Jonathan shoos the remaining Top Designers away, lest we hear what other rooms Trudie Styler considers to be sexy. ("The garage... very sexy! The foyer... not so much. The nursery... ooh, sexy! The greenhouse... also sexy!")

After some brief back-and-forth about how it's all come down to this -- I can't tell if the judges are saying it more with surprise or with regret -- we begin the deliberations. "Carisa is like this 26-year-old girl," Jonathan begins. Wow, that is perceptive, as it turns out she's not only like a 26-year-old, she is a 26-year-old. But Adler's point is that she's young and hip and fresh and bold and ready to take on the world with her ping-pong table-turned-desk. In that sense, then, her design is a success, because it captures those elements of her personality. "I was so prepared to hate that bed she did," Margaret begins, and boy, doesn't that say a lot about the legitimacy of this competition, "and it was really fun." Passion and playfulness and drama -- that's what you get from Carisa, according to Margaret. The judges like the way she divvied up the room and what she did with the kitchen -- "It felt large and wide and fun," Mrs. Sting says. Kelly dislikes the floor, and boy, if Carisa could hear that, wouldn't she regret spending $8,000 on that particular item. Turning to Matt, Jonathan sets a land-speed record for most uses of the word "chic" in a single description -- Matt's a "chic" dude who designs a "chic" space. But what do judges who have more than one adjective at their disposal think? Kelly says the room was monochromatic, but had a subtle use of color -- a flower here, a shade of furniture there -- that worked in his design. "But," Mrs. Sting counters, "I just think he's not an architect at core. I think he's a great decorator." Well, then it's a shame Matt is appearing on a show called Top Architect then; he should have gone on a different program that would recognize decorators for their design skills -- perhaps even determine who had the "top design" if you will. Oh, wait just a minute -- that's exactly what this show is supposed to do. Or to put it another way, cram it, Mrs. Sting. Margaret wishes the coloring and design touches of the bathroom showed up elsewhere. "He really sort of went crazy in the bathroom," Margaret observes. "He should have gone crazier in the bedroom," Trudie counters; that's your cue, Sting. Better start doing the quad stretches and downing the carbs in advance of Trudie's return home. On the bright side -- and I mean that literally, given all the pink in there -- the judges like the daughter's room. "When the sunlight hit it, it just glowed," Margaret said. I guess you kind of had to be there. So sum it up for us, Jonathan Adler: "I think Matt is about order and serenity, and Carisa is about exuberance and life. So there are two very, very different perspectives." What he doesn't say is, thank God we don't have to articulate a reason for picking one over the other, though he easily could have. Let's render us a judgment. Hope you can wait through another commercial break.

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