Sunday, December 31, 2006

Host Bio - Todd Oldham

Known as one of the most beloved designers working today, Todd Oldham joins “Top Design” as host, delivering challenges and inspiring and leading the designers to be their most creative and original in their pursuit of creating the “Top Design.”

Originally a New York fashion designer, and the host of “Todd Time” on MTV's “House of Style,” Todd's career has evolved to include all areas of design, from interior design, film and photography, to furniture and graphic art. Todd is the author of Hand Made Modern by Regan Books, and has hosted HGTV's “Hand Made Modern” series of specials.

Todd designed his own line of dorm room furnishings for Target and currently designs a line of furniture and accessories, Todd Oldham By La-Z-Boy. Todd also designed The Hotel in South Beach, as well as The Fairfax Hotel, South Beach, to open in 2007.

Click here to see Todd Oldham's website.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Second Impressions - Top Design Sneak Peek

I had the privilege of watching the 'mysterious' DVD of Top Design. While it said it was a 'rough copy' I have to say that video seemed very polished. I won't reveal any of the plot twists but I will say that so many of the elements of the show were engaging. At one point when the design deadline was nearing I realized that I was feeling genuine stress! This is a sure sign that I was completely drawn in. Now, some points of interest:

1. It was fun to see the designers' reactions when they learned the names of the host and judges. ("Todd Oldham?!? Shut UP!!!")

2. I absolutely LOVE the judges, especially Jonathan Adler.

3. This is the perfect venue for product placement involving home decor.

4. I wanted to see even more of the design process. Of course this means I'll be watching future episodes to satisfy that need.

5. I loved the different and quite distinct personalities of the designers.

6. I'm thinking that I'm going to be inspired to tackle some of my own projects because of this show!

7. I really wanted to see who won and who was eliminated. January 31 can't come soon enough. Hooked much? YES!

I have one big suggestion for Bravo's competition shows (Top Design, Top Chef, Project Runway). They should have the first challenge present only a winner (with immunity) and not an elimination. For me it is heartbreaking to know that I won't learn more about a competitor that I have just met. Well, maybe the eliminated designers will contact us and we can be their forum to showcase their post-Top Design endeavors!

Tbone will receive the DVD later today. Look for his impressions next!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Top Design for the New Year

Going to a chic New Year's soiree and you want to show appreciation to your hosts? Send this Todd Oldham Arrangement and you'll make the most stylish impression.

Click here to see other Todd Oldham FTD flowers.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

First Impressions!

I'll admit that your team has been a little hesitant about committing to the show. Will it be good? Fun challenges? Interesting characters? Qualified judges? Or just another reality show full of bickering and backstabbing?

Blogging (the Team BTD way) is a big commitment and we just weren't sure. But there's a lot of time between seasons on Project Runway and your team is ready for something new. It's hard to imagine that a year ago I was Blogging Project Runway all by myself. Things are much better with The Scarlett, Tbone, and Phaolo on board!

Anyway, a press cut of the premiere episode mysteriously appeared on my doorstep a couple of days ago...

Here are my impressions:

First of all the judges are fabulous. Todd Oldham is a charming host. Jonathan Adler is adorable - I'm dying to hear more from him (always a good sign) and Kelly Wearstler is incredibly beautiful. We are accustomed to seeing Heidi Klum each week on Project Runway and she is stunning, but Kelly is equally lovely. Just my opinion. Of course, Margaret Russell is very professional and gorgeous as well. In all it is a wonderfully balanced panel.

On to the designers... So many designers, so little time. Honestly it seems like we barely get a glimpse of most of the contestants. I'd say in general the guys are getting more airtime than the girls, and the guys (at least in the first episode) seem more interesting.

I'm certain that the girls will come on strong in the next episodes.

The challenge itself is a lot of fun. If you read that the designers have $50,000 for a challenge this is true, but it is $50,000 of BORROWED merchandise that is moved from a showroom into the designers' spaces and then returned. Do not assume that Bravo has suddenly become generous. : )

I certainly have a favorite room. And a favorite designer. I also have a feeling about who will be out. For some reason my version of the show is missing the ending. I can't imagine what happened. Perhaps it was damaged in the mail. I guess I will have to tune on January 31st to learn the results.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ask Jonathan Adler!

"In his never-ending quest to make the world a happier place ... Jonathan now brings you Ask Jonathan. This is a place where your home decorating and design questions can be answered."

Click here to 'Ask Jonathan;' don't forget to scroll down to see the questions that this Top Design judge has already been asked!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Welcome to BTD!

Your BPR Team is taking on a new show! We are very excited about Top Design and we hope that you are too.

You can expect the same positive and upbeat treatment of Top Design that we have given to Project Runway. Also, we plan to offer some of the same features that we offer on BPR. These include:

1. Tbone's live-posting of each episode.

2. The famous "Party Post" every Wednesday.

3. The always emotional "Reactions" post at the end of each new episode.

4. The "Congratulations" post to the winner on Thursday morning as well as the

5. "BTD Love" post to the departed designer.

6. Of course we wouldn't forget the "Who SHOULD HAVE won?" and "Who SHOULD HAVE been off?" polls. These are always interesting.

7. How about some recappers? Who will take this on? BPD needs a Recapalooza!

8. Hopefully we will have interviews with each designer as he or she leaves.

9. Hopefully we will get some previews of upcoming episodes.

10. One of our favorite features is the "Speculation" post where our readers get to predict what they believe will happen in an upcoming episode.

11. Any news coverage or articles that become available will be linked to in BTD. Once again, we aim to be "All Top Design - All the Time!" If you see any news coverage of Top Design or especially if you personally know any of the designers or personalities from the show, please write to us at Team BTD.

We have been hesitating to commit to this because we don't know much about the show. Will it be good? Will we like it? Blogging is only fun if we like the show. Otherwise - forget it!

Fortunately your team has been able to see part of the premiere episode already (no we don't know the results) and we will give you a little glimpse of our impressions. Tune in tomorrow for Laura K's initial impressions of the first episode.

Is anyone getting excited about Top Design?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Designer Bio - Lisa Turner

Age: 48

Hometown: Los Angeles, California, and currently resides there

Profession: Owner of Interior Obsession

Education: Associate's degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles

Lisa was born and raised in Los Angeles. She has a degree in interior design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. She owns her own firm called Interior Obsession in Beverly Hills, California, where she says she works all day and all night.

Designing both residential and commercial properties, Lisa has been published in several magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Black Enterprise and Homes of Color. She has also received honors and awards including the Dupont Antron Design Award, Southern California Building Industry Award and the Élan Award.

Lisa is married with two college-aged children and says she still has talent that needs to be discovered. She loves interior design and says she's never looked back since 1980, when she graduated from interior design school.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Designer Bio - Carisa Perez-Fuentes

Age: 26

Hometown: Highland Park, New Jersey, currently resides in New York City

Profession: Interior Design Student

Education: Currently pursuing a BFA from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City

Carisa attended a special design magnet high school where she studied design for three years as well as fine arts. She worked in scenic design for four years before deciding to fully pursue her passion for interior design.

Carisa is currently pursuing a bachelor of fine arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. And she doesn't remember a time in her life when she wasn't obsessed with interior design.

She believes a great space can change peoples' lives and wants to spend the rest of her life creating spaces for people.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Designer Bio - Elizabeth Moore

Age: 48

Hometown: Los Angeles, California, and currently resides there

Profession: Teaches Pre-Production Visualization, Production Design, Art Direction and Visualization at the College of Art and Design in Pasadena. Also, teaches Concept Development at Otis College of Art and Design and is a self-employed Interior Designer.

Education: Bachelor's degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology from University of Santa Monica

Elizabeth realized she wanted to be an interior designer when Prince gave her money to design the after parties for his Purple Rain tour.

Since 1984, Elizabeth has worked as a production designer in the film industry for a list of celebrity clients. She believes that every space has a story to tell. A true artist – a sculptor, painter, photographer and designer — Elizabeth has shown and sold her art internationally.

While design is her passion, the most important thing in the world to her is her six-year-old son. She is currently developing a line of jewelry, pillows and chairs for the launch of her new company FROOTE.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Designer Bio - Matt Lorenz

Age: 32

Hometown: Comfrey, Minnesota, currently resides in Chicago

Profession: Heads up the Interior Design Department at Darcy R. Bonner and Associates in Chicago

Education: Bachelor's degree in Interior Design from The Illinois Institute of Art

Originally from Minnesota, Matt knew he wanted to be a designer since kindergarten. He considers himself a dramatic designer and believes that in order to be a great designer, it takes a combination of drive, ambition and talent all working together.

Matt says, “My philosophy on life has several steps, but the first two are that life is too short and everyone is %*#-ing crazy.”

Married for 10 years, with a four-year-old daughter, Matt says his biggest accomplishment is the playhouse he spent three years building for his daughter.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Designer Bio - Erik Kolacz

Age: 28

Hometown: South Bend, Indiana, currently resides in Chicago

Profession: Co-owner in Contrast Design Group, Inc.

Education: Briefly attended Indiana State University and studied design at Ball State University. He is currently pursuing his degree in the Chicago area.

Erik grew up in South Bend, Indiana. Completely self-taught, Erik knew he wanted to be a designer from a very young age and worked hard to make that happen.

He has honed his skills in theatrical lighting and set design and at 28, Erik is already a partner in a design firm in Chicago. He believes that he is where he is today because of his drive, and is a self-proclaimed take-charge kind of guy in a competitive environment. He believes that design is a way of life, and not just a job that's over when you walk out the door.

Erik currently lives with his life partner, David, in Chicago and his greatest design achievement is their house. He says, “a true designer is always looking at things to put their stamp on.”

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Designer Bio - Andrea Keller

Age: 36

Hometown: Los Angeles, California, and currently resides there

Profession: Owner of Berry/Keller Architects, Inc.

Education: Bachelor's degree from University of Pennsylvania, bachelor's degree in design and master's degree in architecture and design from UCLA.

Andrea knew she wanted to be a designer at age seven. Now 36, Andrea already has a successful design career, but feels there is no limit to her success.

Hailing from Los Angeles, she teaches restaurant design and exhibition design at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, as well as at University of Southern California. She also owns a very successful design firm in L.A., Berry/Keller Architects, Inc., which specializes in commercial and civic projects.

Andrea is half architect and half designer, and she has shared her expertise with the world in several television programs. Married with two boys, she is part Swiss, speaks four languages, and is in the process of learning two more.

Underneath all the proven accomplishments, Andrea is a self-proclaimed punk rocker, and she prefers to live by the fringe and often dyes her hair pink. She says she thrives on competition and even though she's made it this far, there is no slowing her down.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Designer Bio - Ryan Humphrey

Age: 35

Hometown: Ashtabula, Ohio, currently resides in New York City

Profession: Independent Artist

Education: Associate's degree from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, bachelor's degree in fine arts from Ohio University and master's degree in fine arts from Hunter College.

Ryan is not your typical interior designer. He is also an accomplished artist who lives in New York. He considers all of his education a blessing because he comes from a small industrial town in Ohio where great opportunities were a luxury. He is extremely appreciative of what he has and is not afraid to do whatever it takes to be successful.

Most recently, Ryan took part in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. He does a lot of installations and his work has been shown all over the United States, including Caren Golden Fine Arts and DCKT Contemporary in New York, as well as the Kantor Gallery in Los Angeles.

He is a self-proclaimed rock and roll artist who works 24-hours a day and describes his personal style as “half Henry Rollins, half David Lee Roth, with a sprinkle of Evil Knievel.”

Monday, December 18, 2006

Designer Bio - John Gray

Age: 40

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois, and currently resides there

Profession: Owner Gray Consulting, Inc.

Education: Self-Taught

Completely self-taught with 16 years of design experience, John has proven his design talents in his hometown of Chicago, but now he feels it's his time to show the world.

John started in retail and merchandising and with just $25,000 he opened up his own furniture store. Seven years after opening the store, he sold it to the one man who told him he couldn't start a furniture store with $25,000 in the first place.

Without even a high school diploma, John has parlayed his dream of being a designer into a reality. Now the owner of his own firm, Gray Consulting, Inc. in Chicago, John and his designs have been featured in numerous Chicago publications. He is particularly strong in paint and construction, and focuses his talents on designing homes even though he says he's allergic to the suburbs.

A big personality with the drive to do it all, John has a range of styles and there's never a dull moment when he's around. He compares his life to George Michael (the singer): “I think our lives have both had some serious ups and downs. I can relate to the roller coaster ride.”

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Designer Bio - Felicia Bushman

Age: 38

Hometown: Los Angeles, California, and currently resides there

Profession: Owner of Felicia Bushman Interior Designs

Education: Bachelor's degree in interior design from the UCLA Interior Design Extension Program.

Felicia grew up as part of a very spiritual family in Los Angeles. She knew she wanted to be a designer from the age of seven and began her career right after high school.

Today, Felicia has 20 years of experience and has been published in several magazines including Romantic Homes, Los Angeles Home and Décor and Metropolitan Homes. Much of her work is residential design and she has several high-profile clients. Her aspiration is to one day create a signature furniture line.

A self-proclaimed health nut, Felicia has completed 15 marathons and now does triathlons. She says: “I approach design like a marathon. I don’t stop until the end.”

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Designer Bio - Heather Ashton

Age: 36

Hometown: Gainesville, Florida, currently resides in Los Angeles

Profession: Assistant Designer and Project Manager at Mary McDonald Inc.

Education: Bachelor's degree in building construction from the University of Florida

Heather's journey into design was a unique one. After moving to Los Angeles, she got a job as the restaurant manager at The Standard hotel. When she heard there was an opening in their design department, she convinced the owner to give her a chance. Given her background in building construction and her knack for design, the opportunity provided her with an excellent jumping off point.

In addition to her design work at The Standard, Heather also worked on the Los Angeles nightclub Privilege and a wine bar, Tosca.

Heather is extremely passionate about design as a whole and chose interior design due to its ability to affect thousands of people, whereas a couture dress only has the ability to affect one.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Designer Bio - Goil Amornvivat

Age: 33

Hometown: Born in Bangkok, Thailand, currently resides in New York City

Profession: Self-Employed Interior Designer/Architect & Teacher at Parsons School of Design

Education: Bachelor's degree in architecture from Carnegie Mellon and master's degree in Architecture from Yale

Born in Bangkok, Thailand, Goil moved to the United States when he was 12 years old. After graduating from Yale, he was handpicked by Robert A.M. Stern, a world-renowned architect, to work for him. It was here that he collaborated on a project to design and build the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Goil's work has been exhibited at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. He likes open spaces and can do everything from interiors, architecture, landscapes and product design. Goil believes he has a more worldly approach to his style, and says he's used to a competitive environment and loves to win.

Self-described as “small, spicy and fabulous,” Goil is known to stand his ground and confront his challenger face-to-face when conflicts arise.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Designer Bio - Michael Adams

Age: 23

Hometown: Athol, Massachusetts, currently resides in New York City

Profession: Owner of Michael Adams Interiors

Education: Attended Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T.) and Parsons School of Design. Hopes to eventually earn a degree in decorative arts from F.I.T.

Michael grew up on a farm in Western Massachusetts before moving to New York City to follow his dream. After working in several different design firms in New York, he currently owns a design firm and is working on designing a 20 million dollar home. He is extremely confident and is not intimidated by designers with more experience.

Michael believes in his own talent and his strong contacts. He is likable, funny and not afraid to ask questions. He will tell you, “I'm polite. I'm kind and I'm very understanding. But, push me too far and I will totally burn your house down.”

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Top Design - Official Press Release

Click here for the press release from Bravo that gives details of Top Design. The following are highlights:

Todd Oldham is the host. Jonathan Adler is the lead judge while Margaret Russell, Editor in Chief of Elle Decor and interior designer Kelly Weastler are the regular series judges.

Debut: January 31 at 11 PM ET/PT following the 'Top Chef' Finale, then
Regular Time Slot: Wednesdays at 10 PM starting February 7.

Prizes: $100,000 grand prize from LendingTree, as well as a brand new 2007 Acadia vehicle from GMC. The winner also will be rewarded with an editorial feature in ELLE DECOR Magazine, plus the chance to showcase their design skills at ELLE DECOR'S Dining By Design, NYC.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006