Ellen's Design Challenge Episode 2: Storage Locker Showdown

Ellen's Design Challenge Episode 2: Storage Locker Showdown

Jennifer Hunter
Feb 3, 2015
(Image credit: HGTV)

Buckle up, Design Challenge viewers because it's time for another rehash with plenty of totally subjective commentary by me. This week the gang raids a storage locker (which, as we all know, is where you pay to put your extra stuff for a few years before you decide to just throw it away) and goes through all the formulaic reality show motions for another week of furniture building. C'mon, dive in.

• Five designers left this week: Katie, Tim, Leslie, Gaspar and Carley.

• This week: themed storage lockers. Now, I love anything with a theme but one has to wonder if the producers are just jumping on the storage locker bandwagon that's been happening on basic cable for a while. Trying for a little of that Storage Wars audience? That's below you, Ellen. Anyway, each designer has to build furniture to store the clutter that's in their locker.

• Gaspar picks a locker crammed with dusty dishes, Katie gets women's clothing, Leslie is thrilled with her baby products selection (kidding, Leslie is never thrilled, that's becoming clear).

• Dishes? Clothes? I'm disappointed. I was hoping for themes more along the lines of Mardi Gras and Under the Sea. Those are the themes I'm comfortable with.

• There's a twist (naturally)! Tim won last week so in a perk straight from the White Elephant playbook, he can steal someone else's locker or take the last one for himself. He steals Carley's barware. She's pissed as she should be; that was totally the best theme. So what does she get instead? The door swings open, her face looks shocked but we...cut to commercial (you know how this works).

• Random tidbit: one of the singers in that awkward/cute Wayfair commercial used to teach me hip hop dance classes in LA.

• Okay, we're back. Carley's new locker contains arts and craft supplies. Meh.

• Katie's excited, she's talking an inch a minute (that's a joke, she's somewhat of a slow talker but really makes up for it with plenty of extra hand gestures). She's planning a Memphis-style wardrobe. It's red, it’s mirrored, it’s Italian-inspired. We’ll see.

• Carley and Jeff are up to their usual adorable antics. Oh, he blessed her pencil for good luck did he? Just quit the show and go have babies already.

• TV Ellen shows up. She wants them to get inspired by one of her favorite pieces: a Jean Prouvé suspension cabinet. Did Tim just say the cabinet “defines gravity?”

• They get to work. Christiane Lemieux shows up to talk to Gaspar. He’s planning a wood-grained cabinet with curved legs. She warns him not to overdo it (as per the birdcage/chair debacle last week).

• Leslie is making a cabinet with a changing pad on top (I assume to skew it baby). It looks like any (nice, well-crafted) dresser, despite the groundbreaking non-matching pulls that I think are supposed to be "fun." Christiane warns her to do something different to stand out from the multitude of baby gear on the market already, but, shockingly, she’s not really in a collaborative mood and tells us she’ll most likely ignore that advice.

• Carley is challenged to leave behind her safe arts and crafts cabinet idea in favor of something that will highlight her materials. She decides to make three quirky birdhouse-shaped cabinets to store her craft supplies. She calls it Appalachian art. Hmmm.

• Tim’s behind again! Every week with this guy. Maybe he’s just a slow starter. He’s too worried about everyone else’s timeline. Listen Tim, you were in the exact same situation last week and you won. You seem to thrive under pressure. Don’t sweat it.

• Leslie explains to us that she's accepted the fact that she and carpenter David don’t like each other and she's fine with that.

• Katie’s etching again. That girl loves a pattern. She ruins one sheet of red acrylic but somehow gets someone from the etching machine company on the phone to help her use the machine properly. I call foul. How did she get a person on the line so fast? Either that's great customer service or clever camera tricks.

• Tim’s bar has a cool, checkerboard butcher block-type top. He’s worried it’s too masculine but it’s too late to do anything about it now. He's using the legs to artfully store bottles and glasses which looks a little precarious.

• Gaspar makes up a little song/motto: sand it, band it, stain it, install it. He cuts himself (stop singing and pay attention! Power tools!) and then starts polishing his cabinet with the bloody rag because he is hard core. Gaspar's wood grain looks awesome. Gleamy and rich, I like.

• Now we're ready for the judging. Guest judge this week is Cliff Fong.

• Tim's bar looks great but yes, the judges think it's overly masculine. Christiane calls it “mancave" and Cliff thinks it would be too easy to hit a knee on an exposed wine glass.

• Carley explains her journey that led to the birdhouses. The birdhouse/cabinet door is lined with chalkboard, a nice touch. They’re cute for a kid. Cliff hates it. He thinks there’s not enough design flair to make up for the “humble material” of pallet wood. Jeff comforts Carley after her criticism with a nice lingering hug

• Leslie’s cabinet is fine, but too simple. The judges call it tasteful but point out that it doesn’t exactly say "baby." Christiane notices that the changing pad isn’t even secured to the surface in the most dramatic way possible: by shoving it off and letting it fall to the floor. Don't kill the baby!

• Gaspar reveals his fab cabinet. It’s gorgeous with amazing wood grain, sculptural legs and it even has pull out shelves for easy access to his china storage (as per his assignment). Love it.

• Katie really dressed up for the judging. She’s wearing a tartan/grunge poncho. That sounds impossible, I know. It's not. Her wardrobe is geometric and veeery red. The inside is nice; it’s adjustable with cool bins for stuff like socks. Clever. The judges love it.

• Katie and Gaspar make the top two. Katie wins. Whoa. I would totally have given it to Gaspar just for the improvement-factor alone. Then again, his piece is more my personal style.

• The bottom two are Leslie and Carley. Noooo don't let Jeff's future wife leave before they're done falling in love. Phew. Leslie goes home. She “doesn’t agree” with the decision. Obviously. Sorry not sorry to see you go, Leslie. Is that phrase over? Well, so is Leslie.

Already forgotten last week? Read about Episode 1.

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