Top Design
Metropolitan Home Suites

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Mr. Sobell: C | Grade It Now!
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The No-Tell Hotel

Let's start things off with sketching portion of our program. We're back at the Pacific Design Center (not designed by Kelly Wearstler), and the designers are hard at work, plotting out the half-baked schemes that will soon by torn to pieces by Jonathan Adler and his band of self-esteem-threatening goons. Matt is turning over a bottle of water in his hands, and I realize that he's doing it to get ideas, and hey, wherever you find inspiration, go for it, but really -- the look of intense concentration on his face as he stares at the water is not unlike the apes at the beginning of 2001 trying to figure out tools, and I find it much funnier than it's probably intended to be. "I think there's a fine line of grasping our element and introducing it into the room, and going crazy with it," Matt says. So that probably means no Slip 'n' Slide in his room. Damn it. Meanwhile, Carisa vows that "there will be no clouds in my design for air. No birds, for sure." That is a bold, bold stance, and a good example of why you've captured America's imagination Sanjaya-style. Andrea is still having trouble with this whole earth thing. "Because if it's a hotel, it's got to look clean and bright and inviting. And rusts and browns -- that doesn't necessarily make pretty." Andrea has clearly never stayed at a nice hotel in the Phoenix area; I was just out there a few weeks ago, and my hotel room had a very nice copper/stone motif with lots of shiny, reflective surfaces. Looked pretty nice to me, but then again, I don't want to necessarily devote my life to emulating Linda O'Keefe and all her teachings. I don't get the mental block against earth -- that's what I guess I'm saying here. But you know what I do get -- shots of designers staring blankly at common household objects. Like Matt and his water bottle, or, in this case, Goil and a lit match. Priceless. High comedy. Please, at some point in this episode, feature Carisa staring at a glass of air. "The one element that kind of perplexes me is fire," says Goil, punctuating this observation with nervous laughter, which is not in any way making me back slowly away from my TV in distress.

It is at this point that the Top Designers notice they all have the same floorplan -- apparently, "Eyes on your own work" is not one of the standing rules at the PDC -- featuring a bed on the sides, plus seating arrangements. This apparently precipitates some sort of minor crisis in the sketch room, though I'm unclear as to why: There are only so many ways you can lay out a hotel room, after all. "Here's where I'm putting the trench, which guests must leap over to prove their worthiness to stay in the room. Then they walk up a 60-degree incline where I've placed an Aeron chair and a box of tissues. The bed is fastened to the wall and the lights blink on and off intermittently. Over there is the wetbar; I have stocked it with peanuts and shame." Matt tells the other designers to change their plans, because he's keeping his the way they are. Goil seems put out by this and Carisa rolls her eyes (Really? Carisa? That's out of character.), but Goil and Andrea wind up changing their rooms anyhow. That tears it -- Matt has to win this thing, as he apparently has the power to cloud men's minds. "I think it's a little bit unfair," Goil sniffs to the camera. Then you have one of two choices, my man: stick to your guns, or stop flapping your lips -- anything else is just noise.

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Top Design

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