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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

Time for Matt's session of positive affirmation and gently offered suggestions. Todd notes that Matt's floor plan "[lines] things up beautifully with sight lines" and wonders if it was intentional. For you, Todd, everything can be intentional. Matt plans to put the master bedroom up on a platform along one wall and is building a separate bedroom for his daughter. A "princess room" he calls it, and, since his daughter "didn't specify Cinderella or anything," the room is apparently inspired by Marie Antoinette. On the one hand, quite a thematic leap to go from Cinderella to Let 'Em Cake Marie. Then again, at least Matt latched on to Marie Antoinette as opposed to, say, Salome. ("We call this the Bedroom of the Seven Veils. Note the extensive mantle area to store the head of decapitated baptists.") The Marie Antoinette room will be pink and purple, per the daughter's request. As he and Todd chat, Matt voices-over that the success or failure of his design hinges entirely on the performance of his carpenters: "If the carpenters can crank it out, I think it's going to be a success. If not, um. it's going to suck." I've probably made the observation before, but it is a poor musician who blames his heavily unionized, fully bonded instrument.

Todd is just about affirmationed-out, so he sends Matt and Carisa back to the Pacific Design Center to start shopping. As they are stronger folk than I, they don't immediately begin twitching at the sight of the blue-mirrored glass Monstrosity on Melrose. Maybe it's because while they're shopping, crews will come in and magically paint and put the flooring down in their respective lofts. This challenge grows less so by the minute. After some last-minute instructions about carpentry -- Matt will work with Ed, Carisa will work with Carl, and they can hire whomever they want out of their total budget -- it's off to go prop up our tottering economy with some furniture impulse buying.

And it's our very last shopping montage together. I feel like we should commemorate the occasion with a toast or something -- "To better television somewhere!" -- because we certainly aren't commemorating it with any compelling action. Matt is shopping for rugs -- just about the only thing less interesting than buying your own rugs is watching someone else do it -- while Carisa wonders the corridors of the Pacific Design Center tagging anything that happens to strike her fancy. Carisa describes her style as "mid-century pop" -- "Clean edges, hard lines, crisp, modern." Apparently, all those different adjectives can be summed up by the phrase "stuff other contestants have already used," as we see Carisa tagging the dining table and chairs Andrea used to win the chef's table competition a few episodes back. Carisa again speaks of her love of entertainment; as if to prove it she throws down $5,000 a piece on a pair of speakers. I guess her loft will double as a venue for KISS's next tour. And on we go with even more ridiculous shopping -- Carisa looks at a $9,230 sofa bed; Matt enthuses about a $13,533 leather sofa; Carisa eyeballs a $1,580 ceramic tray. All of these figures are, like, science fiction to me. A couple months back, the wife found a very nice mission-style sofa on craigslist for $150 -- maybe one-tenth of its original cost -- and I still dug in my heels on that purchase as if my wife had proposed buying our own island. So I see the dollar figures Matt and Carisa are tossing around here, and, as far as I'm concerned, they might as well be bidding on Park Place or Marvin Gardens or trying to corner the market on railroads. The bottom line: Carisa's shopping spree centers on quantity -- "I went sticker happy," she says -- while Matt has focused on quality. "I would rather have things that are beautiful, quality, elegant," he says. Me-ow -- kitty has claws.

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