We made it to the finale, and so have Sef & Vivian! One of them is named the winner of Ellen's Design Challenge— who's it going to be?
We start with the contestants getting ready for their last challenge at the hotel—Vivian is nervous, but Sef is cool as cuke because he "loves finales." Me too, Sef, me too.
They meet up to head to the studio and there's lots of hugging. They get to the studio, and there's additional hugging, now with more Chip and Matt. FYI, this episode is 85% hugging.
There's a red carpet rolled out in the workroom and their pieces are on either side. They literally take a stroll down memory lane and while everyone reminisces, there's a montage of hugs. If you're doing shots for every hug, please stop. Think of your liver.
Just when I feel another round o'hugs coming on, the wall opens up and there's Cliff & Christiane, along with a studio audience.
C&C drop the bomb that they'll be making two pieces for the final challenge, but they get an extra set of capable hands. Carpenters Karl and Matt M. are back to help out Vivian and Sef with this huge project. Moar huggzzz.
All you astute viewers will notice that Vivian's dining table and Sef's bed were missing from memory lane. And guess what? Their challenge to reimagine their least successful pieces now that they've grown on the show.
As if that's not hard enough, challenge part two is something never before attempted on EDC—lighting! They'll each have to make a light fixture that complements their furniture piece. Sef is giddy, because his mom was a lampshade designer for 30 years, and Vivian sees Sef's excitement and the terror sets in. They've got three days to complete the challenge and they get started right away.
Sef's redemption bed has an upholstered backrest (because his last headboard was that sharp pointy villain's lair thing) with wraparound molded plywood wings that function as nightstands. For part two, he's designing an oversized LED floor lamp with gold leafing. Cliff cautions that he shouldn't be gimmicky.
Vivian mocked up a steel and acrylic LED chandelier to go over her dining table. Since she was slammed for her dining table's top and legs being too different, she plans to work her winning coffee table into a larger dining table version. The only change beside size was having the metal base interlocking, which was NOT enough of a departure for C&C. Christiane tells her to create something that's new, that will wow them, and that's spectacular. So it's back to the drawing board for Vivian. Meanwhile, Matt & Karl start on mocking up the light fixture.
Team Sef hit the ground running—they got the base of the bed welded before the end of the day, and Vivian still is design-less.
Day 2 and Vivian is back with a new design—a table with an acrylic top, curved metal legs, and wooden trestle that holds legs together. Sighs of relief are shortlived, since there's a ton to do. Karl starts in on the wood, while Vivian & Matt work on the legs. They have to be exact, since if they're not, it won't fit with the trestle.
Sef has the metal frame assembled, and they begin on the wooden wrap. Unfortunately, the plywood keeps cracking as it's bent over the molds, so Sef scores it and secures it with a million staples before setting it in the vacuum to cook.
Vivian’s legs are done, and it's the moment of truth— does it fit with the wooden trestle? Thankfully, yes. Maybe this will be the week they're not rushing to the last second?
End of Day 2, Sef checks on his molded plywood, and it's looking molded and plywoody, so he's happy.
At the start of Day 3, C&C arrive with giant wrapped gift boxes for Vivian & Sef, who are looking slightly worried at the unannounced arrivals. They're gifts from Ellen, they say, and out pops Vivian's wife and Sef's fiancé. Awwww. This episode's hug-o-meter just got cranked to 11. With their emotional batteries recharged, it's back to work.
The teams are def dressed alike today, with Vivian and Matt in plaid and Sef and Chip waving around tickets to the gun show. There are 5 hours in Day 3 and Vivian is just starting the chandelier. She's painting the steel candy apple red, while Matt & Karl figure out the wiring.
It's down to 4 hours and Team Sef hasn't finished bed assembly yet. 2.5 hours, and they just start their light fixture. They cut out all the pieces on the plasma cutter, and it's back to the vacuum because Sef is molding the top out of carbon fiber. It's a waiting game as it molds, but he gets it out with one hour to go to simultaneously paint the inside and gold leaf it using spray paint as adhesive for the leaf. Smart.
Both teams are done with a luxurious 30ish seconds to spare, and there are more hugs. The last challenge is OVAH, and it's on to judging.
The audience is back, and this week's guest judge is design journalist Mallery Roberts Morgan, currently the LA correspondent for Architectural Digest France. Sef is up first.
Cliff calls the form of his bed incredible. Christiane says he redeemed himself, and that the lamination is perfect and timeless. Mallery loves a built-in, so she's a fan. They like the reflective nature of the light fixture and could see it in a variety of spaces.
Vivian's turn, and Christiane calls her chandelier sculptural and a signature piece. Mallery finds the table whimsical and sculptural, but too beautiful for a dining table. She'd stick it smack dab in a foyer where it could be admired. Cliff thinks the chandelier is too big for over a dining table, but overall likes both pieces and was the most excited to see these pieces from her than anything else this season.
The designers wait in the green room, and Ellen comes out to peruse the pieces. Chip and Matt give them a good sell, but Ellen wonders why the upholstery doesn't wrap around the inside of the plywood bed frame. Chip & Matt turn up the sexy in some last ditch efforts to win Ellen's favor, complete with a flower flicker.
Ellen joins the judges and they talk through who should get the title. Mallery thinks Vivian's pieces are the winners, but Cliff & Christiane are torn, because Sef's bed is really beautiful. Ellen talks through whether the winner should be based on this one challenge, the entirety of the season, who's grown the most, or a combo of the above. It's only an hour show, so eventually they come to a decision.
Ellen announces the winner... and it's Vivian! Everyone grab a blowtorch and weld something! I'm feeling some New England pride right now.
As Ellen said, this show's a launchpad for all of these talented designers, and I hope we see more from every single one of them who we got to know this season.
That's a wrap! Did your favorite win? Tell us in the comments!