Ellen's Design Challenge Season 2 Episode 6: So You Think You Can Design a Couch?

Ellen's Design Challenge Season 2 Episode 6: So You Think You Can Design a Couch?

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Tara Bellucci
Feb 22, 2016
(Image credit: HGTV)

Don't adjust your TV screens, we've still got four people in the running to win Ellen's Design Challenge. This week, the designers head to Ellen's talk show set and get a dance lesson their challenge from DJ Twitch. Here's how it went:

(Image credit: HGTV)

The final four take a tour of the Warner Bros lot which ends at Ellen's talk show set. Everyone's favorite DJ/choreographer/So You Think You Can Dance all-star, Twitch, is on hand to task the designers with building a couch for Ellen's green rooms. President Obama and Brad Pitt are gonna (maybe) sit on these so they better be comfy and cool. No presh.

There are four green rooms to choose from, and they have to make a sofa that works with whatever else is in the room, which is mostly innocuous. Because she won the last challenge, Vivian gets to pick first, and then pick the order everyone else goes in. She chooses a room with a sectional; Kyle's next and chooses the room with a teak coffee table (natch), Miles picks a larger room with two sofas, and Sef gets the leftovers.

Good news: they have four days to build their sofa. Bad news: they have to build a SOFA in FOUR DAYS. The fact that this is even possible makes me question all the nine to twelve week lead times for upholstery on every website ever. Moving on...

They pop into their respective rooms to take measurements, and then it's back to the workroom to get down to business.

(Image credit: HGTV)

Vivian is doing an L-shaped sofa with a chaise on a raised metal frame with bars between the cushions. Christiane questions the comfort level of basically having steel pop up between seats, because obviously. Vivian is worried she's wasted a lot of time mocking up this idea.

Miles is going for a large 3-seater sofa that's wrapped in metal with room to slide a book in between the frame and the upholstery. Cliff reminds him that scale is especially important in a large room, but that he can't wait to see it. Miles is now questioning whether he should do a sectional.

(Image credit: HGTV)

Kyle's embracing the challenge by going for fun (it's Ellen's green room, after all) with an exposed teak frame and sunny upholstery. Let's hope the judges are feeling the yellow after the pangolin experiment.

Sef believes a green room is a "marriage between a waiting room and high-end residential" and that his piece, a sectional with a corner table, will not be a "nap time sofa." This worries Cliff because for Ellen, comfort trumps all.

After the judges leave, Vivian revises her design to have the metal bars underneath the cushions, Kyle and Vivian eye upholstery, and Miles decides to make two sofas.

We're back for Day 2 and Kyle's quickly assembled a backrest to be first in line with the upholsterer. After that, him and Matt work on their teak frame. Meanwhile, Vivian and Matt are bending metal all day, erryday.

(Image credit: HGTV)

Karl is optimistic that they'll finish their 3- and 2-seater sofas, but Miles is worried since they have no pieces cut and everybody else does. Yikes. Over on team waiting room, Chip is making the steel legs, while Sef is cutting out the wood frame. Miles manages to get both his frames to the upholsterer before the end of the day.

(Image credit: HGTV)

Day 3, and Kyle is turning his legs and explaining the idea behind his sofa. Ikigai is a Japanese phrase that means "reason for being," and Kyle's found his as a furniture designer. Is that wood dust in my eye? He's using the ikigai circle motif as buttons for the back cushions and stitched into his sofa's side panels. Anyway, he finishes turning the leg and fits it perfectly into the frame sans screws because he is a magical wood whisperer.

(Image credit: HGTV)

Viv and Matt are still bending metal pieces for the frame, but they've gotta pause and build the plywood box because if it doesn't get to the upholsterer before the end of the day, they don't have a couch tomorrow. Sef is painting his metal legs, and assembling the exposed wooden frame. He has Chip moving the cushion panels as while they try to find the perfect Goldilocks height.

(Image credit: HGTV)

Kyle gets back his upholstery, and slides in the stitched side panels and they look awesome. Though that's not the case with the backrest—they made the frame too small, so it doesn't fit. Matt pulls out the staples and cuts the frame down an inch or so—thankfully that works and the day is saved.

Miles and Karl are folding the metal sheets for the outer frame, and finishing the metal legs with trussed detailing. In true Vivian fashion, she just gets her plywood frame into the upholsterer at the last second, and Day 3 is ovah.

(Image credit: HGTV)

It's Day 4: Sef & Chip wax on and off, Vivian is still welding with two hours left, and Kyle is staining his piece to match the teak table in his green room. Miles screws on his metal panels, and he's done. Kyle also finishes early and goes over to lend a hand to Vivian. But with ten minutes left, they have all the assembly to do and they have the wrong screws. Matt bolts (heh) for the right ones, and they somehow get it done before the buzzer. That was a nail biter, guys!

This week's guest judge is the ever-stylish Thomas Lavin, who's looking for comfort, shape, complexity, and sophistication in a sofa.

Up first is Kyle, and as he's describing ikigai, he tears up and now that's definitely not wood dust in my eye. Thomas says it's sensationally comfortable, but that the cushions could use some space between them to give the piece air. Cliff loves the motif and that the button is recessed so that it doesn't poke into your back, but wishes it was overall a little sexier. Christiane says the buttons are unnecessary, because it detracts from his beautiful frame.

(Image credit: HGTV)

Miles is next and Kyle calls his sofas clean and tight. Christiane says they're comfortable, and the pitch is on point. It's a bold and original idea, but the color is not right—rust is hard to pull off, though it does look better in the green room.

(Image credit: HGTV)

Sef is shaking since he and Cliff differ on the purpose of the green room. As the turntable reveals his sofa, Cliff's face says it all. Christiane calls it thoughtful, while Thomas says he loves it and it's got a groovy, unexpected Americana vibe. Kyle says it looks like a chair that's reproduced, and it belongs in an airport. Cliff says he loves it from a design perspective, but green room furniture should feel like home, and this doesn't. Sef's all, I made my choices, and Christiane thinks Ellen will love it. Cliff isn't so sure.

Last up is Vivian, and she wanted her design to feel like it's floating. The blue upholstery was a conscious choice to pick a relaxing color. Cliff ooohs as it turns around, says he wanted to clap for it. They all test it out and agree that it's super comfortable, but Christiane thinks it's too tall for the seat depth and that the cushions are too thick.

I don't know what's going on, since I would have pegged Vivian and Kyle as the top two, but it's Vivian and Miles. Vivian snags her second win in a row, and now for the bad news— Kyle's leaving and I'm legit shocked. But the show must go on, and I'm sure I'll make it out of the fetal position by next week. Send me a pangolin to cuddle, please.

That's it for this week! Do you agree with the verdicts? Tell us in the comments!

We'll be live-tweeting the show along with the cast & judges every Monday at 9|8c. Follow us @apttherapy & join in using #EllenDesignOnHGTV. And check back after each show for our episode recap! Also, you can vote for your favorite designer at HGTV.
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