Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Episode 1 Reactions

So, what did you think? Can Top Design fill the Wedneday night void in your life? Post your reactions to the premiere of Top Design here.

To our new readers: we tend to be a bit more lenient of our moderation of the comments on our reaction threads, however we do ask you to review and follow the comment guidelines before posting. Thanks!

Episode 1 Party!

It's Wednesday night party time! The BTD lounge has been specially decked out this evening as we welcome the premiere of Top Design. Everyone watching is welcome to chime in with their witty observations, predictions and commentary during the airing of "Mystery Judge".

And, for one night only, we will even allow some conversation space for you Top Chef finale watchers to pass the time. So, pull up a chair, grab your beverage of choice and come on in!

BTD Live Play-by-Play: Episode 1

The night (some of us) have all been waiting for - it's the Top Design premiere! Follow all of the drama with Tbone as he provides live play-by-play coverage of Episode 1, "Mystery Judge". This weekly feature is especially helpful for those of you without Bravo, stuck in hotel rooms with limited cable access or West Coasters who just can't wait any longer to find out what happened.

Comments on this post are for Tbone's exclusive use, everyone else feel free to chime in at the party room above.

Tbone's Wednesday night vacation is over!

Attention Michael's Minions!

We have received Michael's responses to our interview questions!

1. How did you hear about the show?

They contacted my office so that my boss at the time would try out. He opted not to and I forgot about it. And then my friend Ben read about it online and was going out for it so I did it for fun.

2. Where did you audition?


3. What is unique about you?

I think I am designer who is still trying to find his voice. I am young but am not afraid to go up against someone who has been in the business for a very long time. For every success I have had, I have failed many times.Those experiences have made me a better designer.

What do you bring to the show that no one else can?

I think I am unaffected. I look for the good in people but I am not so naive that I can't spot a snake. But the one thing I do not bring is a filter. I speak my mind, always trying to be nice and funny but sometimes I fail. I also am raw and untamed and will try things. I am young enough to recover so I think I let hang out a little more.

What are you really good at?

Being friend and an enemy. But mostly a friend.

4. How did you learn that you made it onto "Top Design"?

After weeks of waiting I was called by one of the producers. I was so happy but so pissed off that I waited so long. They only gave me one week to get my affairs in order but it was worth it.

5. Where will you be watching the show?

I have no idea.

Thanks so much, Michael; there's no need to defend your youth and your experience level. You can always work that to your advantage!

BTD Commenting Guidelines

Welcome one and all to the BTD community. Many of you have joined us here from Blogging Project Runway and we hope you will find BTD just as fun. It is important to our team to maintain the same level of integrity and respect for each other that we have worked hard to cultivate at BPR. We ask that everyone commenting on our site to please follow these guidelines to help make BTD a place we can all be proud of:

  • Please do not use our comments as a venue to pick a fight or bully other commenters. We have a very low tolerance for in-fighting. We are all friends here.
  • We have a special affinity to the designers on the show and support them whether they are the first ones "latered" or the Grand Prize Winner. Please be polite, no name calling. We expect family members of the designers will be reading your comments as well and we would like this to be a safe haven for them to contribute to the discussion.
  • No vulgarity! Several of our team members have young children that read our blogs and we don't want to be ashamed of anything appearing here.
  • Once you have stated your opinion, you do not have to continue reaffirming it. If someone else has another opinion just let it be. We like seeing all of the different opinions - all are valid and important to BTD. If everyone agreed on everything, our blog would be boring.
  • No spoilers! Speculation is fine but please, if you think you "know" something ahead of time, keep it to yourself so as not to spoil it for those who don't want to know.
  • No links in your comments, please. If you have something to share with the community please e-mail it to the team. Just as each designer has a "point of view", so does BTD. Please allow us to choose what items to feature.
  • Please stay on topic. If the post is titled "Congratulations Designer A!", don't use it as a forum to bash Designer B.

We don't expect you to agree with all of these guidelines, but we do ask that you adhere to them. Although we don't pre-screen your comments we do read every one. We may edit and/or delete any comment we find in violation of our guidelines.

So, once again, welcome and thanks for joining us. We are very excited about Top Design and look forward to making new friends!

So! Much! News!

Ah, this is what it is like being part of the launch of a new program!

The Boston Globe gives a rough critique of Top Design. In another Globe article we get a charming story about Michael Adams and his twin(!) brother, Richard.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch says this show is part of a "quirky, classy niche."

The Washington Post talks about the drama of the premiere episode while wants some Gunn. gives us an Oldham interview as well as a story about a kick-off event that was held on Monday involving a subway makeover. Click here for Bravo's account of the transformation.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer gives us some Ryan Humphrey details and The Boston Herald finds Top Design compelling.

We're sure there is more. Got Top Design news? Write to Team BTD!

Poll Results - Your Selected Finalists

Our very first BTD poll produced some interesting results! We asked you the question, 'Who Will be Bravo's Top Design Finalists.' Elizabeth and John clearly dominated while Goil and Michael were in the next tier. Fun fact: Elizabeth and Goil are a team while Michael and John are paired up in the first challenge.

You can click here to see the final results of our very non-scientific 'Top Design Finalist' poll.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Finally, finally the premiere of Top Design is tonight! It is really exciting to be in on very beginning of this show. Season One. The debut. The freshness. The innocence.

Your BTD Team has been hard at work behind the scenes preparing some new features for this new blog. We are delighted to have your support.

Do you love the colors and the styling of this site? The Scarlett has worked very hard to be sure that BTD had a unique and distinctive look that still coordinates with the theme of the "official" Top Design graphics. In my opinion, Scarlett outshines most of the "professional" web designers, and for you, dear readers, she does it for free.

We call our Phaolo "The Wizard." He is so creative and talented with images that many times they will fool us. We had several wonder if Tim Gunn was really dressed up as Santa, or if Laura K really dyed her hair red, or if they were looking at an actual ad for Laura Bennett's lipstick! Phaolo's humor has been very appreciated by our readers and we look forward to his uniquely skewed perspective on Top Design.

On Wednesday nights Tbone is our star. He will host the "Party" here as well as posting his blow-by-blow account of the show as it airs. Be sure to tune in tonight and add your comments to our party post.

As on BPR, we have some commenting guidelines which we are counting on all of you to respect. Basically, be polite, stay on topic, and don't call the designers or personalities ugly names. This is a family-friendly blog. Thanks for respecting it.

Immediately after the show we will put up our "Reactions" post and then tomorrow we will have a "Congratulations" post for the winner and "BTD Love" post for the "latered" contestant.

Will we agree with the judges? Maybe not! We'll post our "Who SHOULD HAVE been latered? and "Who SHOULD HAVE won?" polls as soon as we can get them prepared. This is one of our favorite features. Also, "Celebrity Judges" are notorious for making unpopular choices.... Hmmmmm....

Also look for our interview with the eliminated designer on Thursday or Friday.

If you are planning to recap the episode, we would love to feature you. Please let us know if you discover a new recapper. Send your links to Team BTD. Look for the Recapalooza on Friday or Saturday.

Your BTD Team members have seen the first episode and have weighed in on what we all think (LauraK's take, The Scarlett's take, Tbone's take, and Phaolo's take). Tonight, it's your turn to watch and weigh in.

Thank you for joining us at Blogging Top Design.

Top Design on the Today Show

Top Design was featured on the Today Show this morning. Click here to watch the segment with Jonathan Adler and Todd Oldham.

Six Videos With Adler and Gunn

Bravo is featuring a series of six brief videos of Tim Gunn interviewing Top Design's Jonathan Adler. Click on each of the pictures above to see a different segment.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Todd Oldham - February Metropolitan Home

Our friends over at Apartment Therapy have some interior images from Todd Oldhams's Milford, PA country home featured in February 2007 edition of Metropolitan home. There are more pics to be found at Happy Mundane as well. It looks like a cozy retreat for Todd as well as Ann, his Jack Russell.

From The Mailbox

Join us in welcoming Pink Navy to the roster of bloggers who are taking on Top Design!

Here is an article in the Mercury News.

Here is an item about Erik Kolacz.

Here is an New York Daily News article that mentions a Jonathan Adler installation at Grand Central.

We learn more about Michael Adams in this Telegram and Gazette piece that mentions his rural upbringing (that's Michael with one of the family's herd)) as well the fact that he auditioned purely in support of a friend.

And, my personal favorite: asks: Is Top Design Bravo's gayest show ever?

Thanks Deb!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Video - Meet The Designers - Click here

Click here to watch a video that introduces the 12 designers. And are we hearing the theme song for the first time? Could be!

Congratulations to our Friends at Apartment Therapy!

Apartment Therapy has been nominated for a Bloggie Award! Please vote for Apartment Therapy in the Best Topical Weblog category.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Poll - Who Will Be the Finalists?

At this point we little to go on; we have the Bravo bios, a few moments of video and a few web pages to explore. Sounds like a perfect time to make predictions!

You can vote every day, for as many designers as you like. Why, it really doesn't get less scientific! We will reveal your choices on January 31, the day of the premiere.

Poll is now closed. Click here to see our results.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Five Questions With Heather

We continue our exclusive Q & A series with Top Design contestant Heather Ashton.

1. How did you hear about the show?

I was cruising Craigslist for a new job in NYC (a little bored of LA) and saw the ad. It was the night before the Burbank casting, which took close to 5 hours and they tried to reschedule me….NO WAY! (a good story in its own right). It went really fast after that. Like a whirl-wind affair……

2. Where did you audition?


3. What is unique about you? What do you bring to the show that no one else can? What are you really good at?

What is unique about you? Ummmm…..I’m just a weirdo…unique is just fancy. I’m mouthy; I’m kind of shy (no joke) and actually hide my shyness by always going big and loud with a self-deprecating tag. I say that I’m a Dachshund hiding in the body of a Doberman. .

What do you bring to the show that no one else can? To be totally “After school special” about this question….I bring me. No one else can do that and thankfully, “Top Design” was open to it.

What are you really good at? I am really good at going way outside convention. I love designing Nightclubs because most Nightclub owners want the “WOW” factor and have the budget to support it. On Privilege, I suggested a crazy banquette and they let me do it. I am not good at half-a$$ing it.

4. How did you learn that you made it onto "Top Design"?

I got the best phone call of my life from the LA production office.

5. Where will you be watching the show?

I’ll watch in LA with a few friends that love me not matter what!

Thanks so much, Heather; can't wait to hear more about that casting story!

Top Design in the News has this interview with Jonathan Adler that gives him the excuse to use the word 'squillions.' There is dissing of Top Design to be found in the (SPOILER ALERT!) Philly Inquirer while the Dallas Morning News says 'Bravo' to Bravo.

Meanwhile the Bravo schedule lists the titles of the first 4 episodes as follows:

Mystery Judge - debuts January 31
Child's Play - debuts February 7
Life's A Beach - debuts February 14
Diamond in the Rough - debuts February 21

Got Top Design News? Send it to your Team BTD!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

"See You Later, Decorator"

Well, it looks like we have the answer to our much speculated on Top Design send-off phrase, courtesy of this less than enthusiastic review from the Newark Star-Ledger.

Help us Heidi!

Five Questions With Lisa

We continue our exclusive Q & A series with Top Design contestant Lisa Turner.

1. How did you hear about the show?

I heard about the show through the casting company.

2. Where did you audition?

I auditioned at the casting office

3. What is unique about you? What do you bring to the show that no one else can? What are you really good at?

What is unique about me is my deep sense of creativity and eye for detail. I bring to the show an ethnic look that no one else can, and my diversity complements my uniqueness. I'm really good at working on deadlines, within budgets and giving my clients the best design within their budget.

4. How did you learn that you made it onto "Top Design"?

I learned that I made it on "Top Design" from the producers.

5. Where will you be watching the show?

I will be watching the show in my home.

Thanks so much, Lisa; we'll talk later about your resemblance to Halle Berry!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Episode 1 Preview Videos - 'Mystery Judge'

Two videos are available for 'Mystery Judge,' the premiere episode of Top Design. Click here for the Yahoo video in which we see the designers shopping at the Pacific Design Center. Click here for the Bravo video in which we see the designers at work.

Clearly the designers are working in teams as follows:

Michael and John
Heather and Lisa
Goil and Elizabeth
Ryan and Andrea
Felicia and Matthew
Erik and Carisa

Who is the 'Mystery Judge?' What is the challenge? Let your speculation begin!

Five Questions With Felicia

We continue our exclusive Q & A series with Top Design contestant Felicia Bushman.

1. How did you hear about the show?

The casting agent contacted one of my vendors, my rep at "Ann Sacks" she forwarded the information along to me.

2. Where did you audition?

I was too late in deciding to audition to make the casting call so I sent in a 2 min video as that deadline was a week later. I was in LA and dropped off the tape to the Majestic office in Burbank. My first 2 callbacks were done at that office.

3. What is unique about you? What do you bring to the show that no one else can? What are you really good at?

I am the whole package. Not only a great designer but through past experience of handling extremely large projects around the world I have gained a world of knowledge on managing a project to get it completed as planned. Execution is half the battle and many designers might be able to dream up the moon but have difficulty in the execution. I think I bring to the show a great confidence in my ability to design under pressure, I am very calm, get along well with people and just know that I am able to accomplish nearly anything.

4. How did you learn that you made it onto "Top Design"?

I received a call from the producers while I was in New York meeting with a client (who's house I had under construction and who I had not told anything about leaving to film the show!) So I had to assure my client that while I was leaving for a period of time and I couldn't even tell her why, her house would be in good hands with my team. Fortunately she was understanding and trusted me!

5. Where will you be watching the show?

I will be having a huge premiere party at one of my client's homes in West Hollywood, actually used to be Jerry Seinfeld's house, beautiful mid-century modern house that I completely restored. Jerry had gutted it in the 80's with another designer and made some terrible choices. For my client, I brought it back to it's original glory. So my party is going to be themed "Mid-Century Mod, think Pucci!" We'll be serving martinis and listening to 60's tunes before tuning in to Bravo. The house has a state-of-the-art theater as well as 3 - 60" plasmas for prime viewing for all! Fun!

Thank you, Felicia. We'd love to see the restored Seinfeld house; send the party pictures our way when you can!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Five Questions With Matthew

We continue our exclusive Q & A series with Top Design contestant Matthew Lorenz.

1. How did you hear about the show?

My friend who is an actor told me his agent was looking for designers. He forced me to go to the audition.

2. Where did you audition?


3. What is unique about you? What do you bring to the show that no one else can? What are you really good at?

What is unique about you? I actually have the talent and am supposed to be designing.

What do you bring to the show that no one else can? I think I bring a unique style and approach to design and solving problems.

What are you really good at? I'm really good at space planning.

4. How did you learn that you made it onto "Top Design"?

It was a Friday night and I got the call that I was in. It had been such a lengthy interview process I was just relieved to get an answer. That night I was mellow and then the following day I freaked out.

5. Where will you be watching the show?

The first one I want to be alone because I'm afraid I'm going to go mental when I see myself. I can’t even handle having my picture taken.

Thanks so much, Matthew; we're going to be asking you all about that playhouse you made the next time we get to chat!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Five Questions With Elizabeth

We asked each of the designers the same five questions as part of a BTD exclusive interview. This Q & A with Elizabeth Moore is the first in that series.

1. How did you hear about the show?

Tracy Herbert of
Ann Sacks contacted and told me to contact Mystic Pictures

2. Where did you audition?

Mystic Pictures in Burbank

3. What is unique about you? What do you bring to the show that no one else can? What are you really good at?

What is unique about you?
Although I may be "approaching 50", I have never felt more inspired and creative, a Phoenix so to speak. I am an artist, designer, Instructor, single mother by choice, I am raising a child who has Autism/Aspergers.

My time working with Prince was the inspiration for my work ethic, dedication, direction, discipline and following my own unique creative voice. I have remained in a child-like bubble of expression and creative process. I still love beautiful things, I love mixing it up, looking at the classics, finding its universal message and then finding the new form. I love teaching, it keeps me current. I have been able to support many talented people to following more fully their own voice and unique quality. I am working on developing a product that synthesizes all of the above, functional art so to speak. I am working on a moveable toy box/play-station, influenced by the needs of my Autistic son and his need for play and organization.

What do you bring to the show that no one else can?
Out of box thinking and the willingness to experiment, in extreme conditions.... !

What are you really good at?
I am really good at listening to clients, creating new ways of looking at things. I love telling stories...

4. How did you learn that you made it onto "Top Design"?

Phone call

5. Where will you be watching the show?

At a party for me in Santa Monica…

Thank you, Elizabeth. We could talk all day about the Prince experience; can't wait until that opportunity!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Top Design on MySpace

We've been lucky enough to find 8 of the 12 Top Design contestants on MySpace. We had already found Elizabeth, Erik, Michael, Carisa, and Ryan but this week Heather, Andrea and Goil appeared. Of course one of the fun aspects of MySpace is the ability to find pictures available nowhere else on the web. Here is a little montage of those pictures:

Friday, January 19, 2007

Everyone Wants a Piece of Top Design

For a show that hasn't even aired yet, Top Design already has considerable interest from bloggers. Perhaps this is because of the presumed built-in fan base from other Bravo shows like Top Chef and Project Runway. Maybe even the success of blogs like our own Blogging Project Runway and our friends at Project: Rungay have inspired development of these new sites. We love the company and we hope that each of the blogs will have their own unique spin on this program. Of course we hope to be the primary source of news and community for this show in the same manner that BPR was your first stop for Project Runway information and interaction during and after each show is broadcast.

In the spirit of community and bringing you all things Top Design, we thought we'd point you in the direction of these other sites so that you can see what each has to offer. Of course we've already introduced you to the completely fab Project: Top Design as well as Chameleon Interior's ::Surroundings:: and Top Design Blogger. We've learned that our BPR friend Kora in Hell will be covering Top Design as well.

Exciting news this week is the launch of Top Design Fan Wiki which allows you, the fans, to edit the content of their page. This should provide some fascinating insight. Who knows, some of the designers themselves may go in and add information!

Top Design debuts at 11:00 on Wednesday, January 31 and we hope that you will join us right here for our very own party post. While your Team BTD has seen much of the first episode, we'll be watching the ending for the first time right along with you. We're excited to start a blog for the first time with the debut of a show; we're going to 'Watch what happens' and we're thrilled to have you along for the ride.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ryan Humphrey Lectures in Fort Worth

On February 20th Ryan Humphrey will participate in the 'Tuesday Evenings at the Modern' lecture series at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. He will speak about his "ambitious and sometimes controversial body of work" and talk about his 'excursions.' It mentions that Humphrey's work "combines gearhead car culture, the music of Eddie Van Halen, surfing paraphernalia, and other cultural signifiers of his youth with art historically significant principles and practice in an effort to reenergize the 'white box.'" Sounds ambitious but will he talk about Top Design?

Click here to learn more about the event.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Goil Amornvivat ...

... submitted a design for the World Trade Center Memorial.

He has also collaborated on 'Hindsight 20/20,' transforming an actual voting booth into a work of art that was auctioned off to benefit Parsons.

Goil is an artist, a designer and an educator. We're looking for his official web site; if anyone has further information about him, please contact Team BTD.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Top Design News From Bravo

Bravo announced their sponsors for Top Design and tells us that they will be involved in upcoming challenges. "GMC Acadia, will be integrated into the series via a branded challenge" as will Bacardi Limon and GE Monograph appliances; this sounds like 3 separate challenges, one involving a vehicle, one involving spirits and one involving appliances. Also it states that "Thomasville Furniture will sponsor a vignette series."

Hmmm ... what could the Arcadia Challenge be like? The Bacardi Limon Challenge? The GE Monograph Challenge? Any guesses?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Please Pack Your Swatches and Go.....???

There has already been some speculation here and here, but we'd like to know YOUR ideas! What do you think the "farewell phrase" for Top Design should be?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Fourth Impressions - Phaolo's Take

The spotlight on Bravo will soon shift from the second season of Top Chef to the brand new Top Design. I got a chance to preview the first episode of Top Design (without the ending) and I think the show has a lot of promise.

I must agree with Tbone that the format stays closer to Project Runway than Top Chef. Even though the characters and the challenges on Top Chef seem engaging, the viewers have to rely on the judges' opinions when it comes to taste. With fashion designers and interior designers, we know right away who has taste - and who doesn't.

Not unlike the first season of Project Runway, these designers waded through uncharted waters. They really didn't know what to expect. In fact, in this first episode we get to see the designers' jubilant reactions when they find out Todd Oldham will be the host.

Todd does an admirable job taking on the hosting and mentoring duties for Top Design. He does make it a point to tell the designers upfront that he will NOT be a part of the judging process. That task is placed in the very capable hands of the venerable Jonathan Adler, Kelly Wearstler, and Margaret Russell.

Even though the Magical Elves (the production company behind both Project Runway and Top Chef) were not involved, the winning formula seems to be there. The producers found a great group of competent and able designers. Hopefully, they will give them exciting and challenging projects to work on.

At first, Laura K, Scarlett, Tbone and I were a little disinclined to commit to this new show. But after taking a sneak peek, we're all onboard for what we hope is going to be a fun ride. At the very least, this could be a nice way to pass the time until Project Runway returns. Oh, and I'll have more people to joke about on Project Yawnur.

All aboard!

Todd Oldham 'Handmade Modern' Videos

Did you ever see the Todd Oldham show 'Handmade Modern' that was featured on HGTV? It must be the only home improvement program on that network that I missed! Luckily for us, several segments are available on YouTube. Watch the Amy Sedaris feature above or click here to see other videos.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Promos: Bringing the Drama, Bravo-Style

Bravo is bringing the drama with its series of commercials promoting Top Design.

Click on each of the images above to see the Andrea Keller, John Gray, Heather Ashton, Ryan Humphrey, Felicia Bushman and Michael Adams promos.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ryan Humphrey - Designer, Skateboarder and Artist...

Here is a little bit about Ryan Humphrey and here is an article about Ryan's art.

Kelly Wearstler's Estate

Much can be learned about Kelly Wearstler's approach to design by examining how she decorated her own home. Click here to go to her website, then click on the 'Project's' link at the top, then on 'Residential' and then click on 'Hillcrest Estate' to see eight images demonstrating how Wearstler surrounds herself with opulence. Don't miss the charming blue space, made cozy with a cashmere and wool blend blanket by Hermes. Does this room belong to one of her sons? Could she adopt me?

You can see more of her home and her style in Domicilium Decoratus.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

From The Mailbox

Here is an article from the Mankato Free Press about Matt Lorenz.
Thanks Justin.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Jonathan Adler's Apartment

Click here for a slideshow to get to know Jonathan Adler through his own personal sanctuary, circa 2005. Don't miss the poodle lamp in the bedroom and the his and his bathmats.

Then click here for Apartment Therapy's 2005 interview with Adler. I don't know about you but I could listen to him all day.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Elle Decor January 2007 Editor's Page

"Never miss a chance to have sex or appear on television." So said the writer Gore Vidal, and although it would be indiscreet to discuss the first part of that maxim, I recently followed his advice on the latter. ELLE DECOR is partnering with Bravo on the network's new reality-competition series, Top Design, which is being produced in Los Angeles, and with barely any warning I found myself literally moving into the Beverly Hills Four Seasons with my laptop, more luggage than you can imagine, and a huge stack of books I was going to read in my spare time. How hopelessly naive of me. There was no spare time.

I honestly can't believe that I lived there for a month, and how much you can accomplish via e-mail and FedEx. And even though I'm addicted to Project Runway and am mesmerized by Top Chef, I still loathe most other reality TV shows. However, the opportunity to spend four weeks with the lead judge - my good friend the ceramist/decorator/shopkeeper/bon vivant Jonathan Adler - was simply too temptimg to pass up. Plus, we were joined by the show's charming host, Todd Oldham, who has designed everything from frocks to furniture, and the glamorous interior designer Kelly Wearstler, my cojudge, whose dry wit made the long days a hell of a lot more fun.

Unfortunately, it didn't start out particularly well. On the morning of the first day of taping, I sliced my toe badly at the hotel, and shamelessly begged the kind UCLA surgeon who stitched me to make the bandage tiny so that I could fit into the absurdly high heels I was expected to wear that afternoon (and that evening and the next morning - little did I know we wouldn't finish shooting until 4:30 A.M.). Once we met the contestants and reviewed the results of the first challenge I was hooked. It was thrilling to see what up-and-coming talents can create in shockingly little time with barely any budget. Frankly, if I were a Top Design contender, I would have been sent home after the first episode; the designers truly acheive what anybody else (like me, for instance) would consider impossible.

The best thing about the experience so far - besides discovering the quickest route from Hollywood to Santa Monica - is having seen how much energy and enthusiasm there is in young decorators, some of them on the first rung of their careers. ELLE DECOR'S involvement with Top Design is just a start; you'll be seeing more budding talents in our pages, and we're going to begin to check out what's happening at the nation's design schools, from Parsons and Pratt to the Savannah College of Art and Design. Good design has to start somewhere, and believe me, we'll be on it. So stay tuned.

- Margaret Russell, Editor in Chief

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Todd Oldham's Loft - A House Tour

Featured in New York Magazine, we get a glimpse into Todd Oldham's personal sanctuary, circa 2003. In the bedroom, don't miss the portrait of Oldham's dog Ann by artist Scott Lifshutz. Note the ample evidence of Jonathan Adler. Click here for the tour.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Third Impressions - Tbone's Take

I will admit right up front that I was probably the most skeptical amongst our team regarding Top Design. I feared we would be subjected to an inferior effort as Bravo continued to milk the reality competition cow. Interior design shows have been done to death on cable. When this show was first announced, we even ridiculed its proposed title, coming up with much better suggestions on our own. In my mind, this show was clearly headed for doom.

And now, after just watching the rough cut of Episode 1, I must come clean.... I loved it! Here's why:

- The show's premise is more similar to Project Runway than Top Chef in that as a viewer, you can judge the contestants designs simply by looking at them. The inability to actually taste the food on Top Chef has always been a hindrance. Here, you can fairly pit your opinion against the judges. Disagreement and controversy are sure to ensue!

- The cast seems more professional and mature than any of those from PR and TC. There is hardly any swearing in this episode. Some may view that as a deficiency. I see it as a refreshing, welcome change.

- Yes, of course there is drama. But it seemed more natural and less contrived than what we've seen on PR lately. For this episode, at least...

- Todd Oldham works in a combination of the Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn roles, serving as host and mentor/advisor. He does not participate in the judging, giving him free rein to express his opinion while evaluating works in progress.

- Much like PR, I found the process of watching talented people create something beautiful from scratch fascinating.

- Echoing Laura K and Scarlett, the judges are absolutely fabulous. Kelly Wearstler is fun and insightful. Margaret Russell brings the requisite amount of snooty attitude one would expect from the editor-in-chief of Elle Decor. And Jonathan Adler is poised to become the star of this show.

- The first challenge is fun and involves a "celebrity mystery client" that is a doozy!

All in all, I think this is a show that PR fans will be able to get behind and enjoy. It shows great promise with an impeccable panel of judges, an experienced and talented cast and a premise that will hopefully continue to showcase the design over the drama.

From skeptic to enthusiastic supporter, I now appoint myself as the conductor of the Top Design train. All aboard!

Judge Bio - Margaret Russell

As Editor in Chief of ELLE DECOR Magazine, “Top Design” judge Margaret Russell has infused the magazine with a singular sense of sophistication, while helping to preserve its mission to inspire designers, architects, and homeowners with the best in interior and product design.

In July 2000, Margaret was promoted to editor in chief of the magazine she helped found. Since then she has spearheaded an award-winning redesign of the publication — one of 23 ELLE DECOR editions worldwide — and shifted coverage to portray an increasingly diverse array of talents through images and articles that blend striking graphics with incisive, personality-driven text.

In addition to overseeing ELLE DECOR,, and the ELLE DECOR series of books, Margaret serves as a trustee of DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS), and co-chairs the series of ELLE DECOR Dining by Design events that take place in eight cities across the country each year.

Stewart, Tabori & Chang, published Margaret's book, “Designing Women: Interiors by Leading Style Makers”, which profiles 16 trendsetters in the design world.

Click here to see Margaret Russell's Bravo Q & A video.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

More Top Design Bloggery

Our friends Tom and Lorenzo from Project Rungay are also going to be blogging about Top Design! Be sure to add Project: Top Design to your favorites.

But wait - there's more!

Also announced today...our friends from Blogging Top Chef will be blogging about Top Design too. They are putting together a great team. Stay tuned...

Edited to add: We've heard from another blogger - Linda at Chameleon!

Anyone else?

Please let us know!

Judge Bio - Kelly Wearstler

“Top Design” series judge Kelly Wearstler ranks among the design industry's most influential new tastemakers. Acclaimed for trendsetting designs, Kelly is the founder and principal of the award-winning Los Angeles-based firm Kelly Wearstler Interior Design.

As the lead creative eye and lifestyle muse for the boutique Viceroy resorts in Southern California, Miami, South Beach, Anguilla and Mexico's Riviera Maya, she has helped make the Viceroy name synonymous with polish, glamour and wit. In addition, she is leading the aesthetic vision for The Tides, a growing collection of vibrantly chic beach resorts in South Beach and the Caribbean.

Luxury design aficionados also recognize Kelly for her creative transformation of the BG restaurant and lounge at Manhattan's Bergdorf Goodman; her celebrity and executive residential designs in Beverly Hills and Hollywood; and her books Domicilium Decoratus and Modern Glamour (Regan Books / HarperCollins).

Kelly's exclusive rug, wallpaper and fabric collections are currently available to design professionals, and her signature bedding, dinnerware and table linens will debut at fine retailers nationwide throughout 2007.

Click here for Kelly Wearstler's website and click here for her Bravo Q & A video.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Judge Bio - Jonathan Adler

Jonathan Adler, the lead judge of “Top Design,” has been celebrated for the mod shapes, vibrant colors and organic eye-popping patterns that are the signature of his work today.

His business encompasses seven retail outlets in Soho & the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Los Angeles, East Hampton, Miami, San Francisco, and Chicago; a thriving interior design business, responsible for the re-design of the Parker Palm Springs hotel in modernist style with a comfy residential feel; a burgeoning licensing business under the brand name Jonathan Adler Happy Home that's expanding into bedding, bath accessories, stationary, dinnerware and table linens at accessible prices; and he continues to sell his wares to high-end boutiques around the world.

Jonathan's “happy, handcrafted, and luxe” designs for the home have become a part of American pop-culture, appearing on the sets of the “Today Show,” “Sex and the City,” “Will & Grace,” and “The Apprentice.”

In November 2005, Jonathan launched his first book My Prescription for Anti-Depressive Living, which combines his wittiness and enthusiasm for creating happy homes everywhere with serious design.

Click here for Jonathan Adler's website and click here for his Bravo Q & A.