Top Design: Metropolitan Hotel Suites

The preview led me to believe that Goil was going to cut himself with a lumber saw. Blood is on the blade and Goil’s exclamations “Oh my God!” He really does not sound like he is in pain, but it could be initial shock. It is but it’s Goil’s reaction to seeing Matt’s carpenter cut his thumb. However, Goil gets cut in the end, given the choices for elimination are him and Andrea.

The four elements were a theme for the Metropolitan Hotel Suites. Earth, air, water, and fire posed some challenges and resulted in some very interesting rooms. After taking in a hotel decorated by Kelly Wearstler and meeting Linda O’Keefe of Metropolitan Home Magazine, the designers were randomly given their elements. Carissa and Matt lucked out with air and water, while Andrea and Goil struggled with what to conceive for earth and fire. When they sketch out their rooms, they discover that they come up with identical layouts, forcing them to modify them. Matt is the only one who doesn’t bend. Then it’s on to realizing their interpretations of the elements.

Carissa and Matt have a fun discussion session about their designs, and Goil feels left out. He’s such a quiet, thoughtful guy who has a lot to say and never feels he’s invited to chime in. He also voices his resentment, wondering if his competitors even see him as a threat, during one of the confession interviews. I can relate to that.* It can be infuriating when your peers seem to exclude you. But, some people are just better at conversation than others, and some very intelligent people ironically need to work on their skills.

Carissa’s room, representing air, is suprisingly good. Judging from the early wall paint treatments, I thought she was going to have a very sloppy approach to air, but she doesn’t. Of course, there was drama as Carissa feels forced to micromanage Carl, her carpenter as she worries about him damaging the vents and makes sure they are thoroughly painted. She catches him obsessing on some finishing touches when time is almost up and she has to tell him to stop. The vents completely cover any gaps in the rectanges on the wall, and one of them makes a very contemporary room divider. When I saw this blue and yellow fabric she uses for the pillows, I thought it was ugly, but it worked on the finished product.

Matt’s monochromatic room from 2001 is supposed to evoke water. All that’s missing is someone in a space suit after a mind-bending encounter with the monolith. Actually, there are some colors, but they are muted, and the mirror dressors and the glass tables provide little variance. A minimalist aesthetic and color scheme are failsafes, especially in Southern California. Good taste also saves him and gets his room crowned as the Top Design for the week, but there is very little innovation or imagination at all. This is, after all, the designer who refused to change anything in his initial layout when everyone discovered they came up with the same thing.

Andrea struggled to get something that showed earth without being too obvious. Her take on earth was where she had difficulty. Even an attempt to break out of her limited color palette was lost on the judges, and they would have like to have seen more green. Goil labored too much over wall panels designed to resemble a sunset, and he got sent home. Too bad. He is more of a risk taker than some of the others.

*When I was in the MFA program, there was one day before a poetry workshop where everyone was having these conversations and I was left out. Even a close friend did this as she talked to another friend. I was so pissed off that I stormed out of the class and took the bus home.

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