Sunday, October 30, 2011

Design Star 5

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" haha

I won't bore you with reflection from Design Star Season 5 (because that's old news). But, I will say that with all of the "flack" that Mark Burnett Productions took for the lack of design in our season, I'd say that it is pretty obvious that they have mastered the art of casting.

We're up to 4 out of 12 who have successfully locked in their own shows! Which is unheard of in season's past. I was excited to see Todd Davis from Season 2 lock in a show on HGTV, but have been even more ecstatic to watch my new friends (via design star) find their own tv success so quickly!

After Design Star, I honestly told myself that the BEST thing I gained from the show was the relationships that I created (both with cast members and production/industry folks). Amongst the cast, tight bonds were created quickly due to extreme stress, crazy situations, and limited resources on a show where your fate "hangs in the balance" each week. Although I left a bit earlier than I expected (and feel like I may have missed out on some great experiences/opportunities), I will say that I am thankful for the experiences I did have and the memories that I was able to make in this "once in a lifetime experience" on HGTV.

Post Design Star, I kept in touch with my new found friends, and have had a blast hanging out and getting to know them in REAL LIFE SITUATIONS.

Turns out, Michael Moeller and I live just blocks away from each other on the Lower East Side in New York and just so happen to attend the same gym, Ludlow Fitness! As we both settled back into "normalcy" and began to pick up new work and new clients, I had the privilege of working with Michael on several projects that included building some custom Capsule Furniture pieces for him. Although he was bummed about coming in second on the show, he was always optimistic about it and I KNEW WITHOUT A DOUBT that he had the personality and the design savvy to be a successful t.v. host. Outside of work, we have enjoyed house parties and great brunches in our neighborhood! My wife, Dasha, and I always look forward to our next adventure with Michael and his boyfriend, Tobin! A few months ago I was excited to hear from Michael that he and Nina Ferrer (also from Season 5 of Design Star) had landed their own show, Clean House New York, on Style Network!

It is so exciting to see Michael and Nina working and laughing together on Clean House New York. It's sort of like a "flashback" to the final challenge on Design Star. Obviously Style Network saw an element and excitement between these two that they love. They are seriously two peas in a pod and are individually and collectively SO talented! I see a bright future for this new show and for each of them as VIBRANT personalities on such a major network like


We all know the beloved Emily Henderson who actually WON Design Star Season 5! Her show, "Secrets from a Stylist" has received wonderful reviews and enjoyed two very successful seasons on HGTV. I'm sure Secrets from a Stylist is headed for another 4 or 5! Emily, who is as cute and quirky in person as she is on TV, graciously invited me to be on her show in the spring and build a custom coffee table for one of her clients. If you missed it, you can watch the full episode below:

I had a blast spending time with her both on screen and off. She SERIOUSLY is the biggest multi-tasker and craziest work-aholic I know and I'm certain it's one of the many reasons that she will continue to be successful in the industry. Literally every morning while she is getting her make-up done or anytime she has downtime from the show, she is on her Mac doing research, e-mailing, or updating her very successful blog, Style by Emily Henderson!

The good news too is that I guess I did a good enough job last time I was in L.A. to be invited back! Haha Emily had me back to build some custom furniture pieces that you will see soon in her 1 hour Christmas Special on HGTV. This trip was even more fun. Not only did I get to hang with Em, but I had a blast getting to know her #1 sidekick Orlando as well. He has such a great sense of snarky humor and is the perfect yin to Emily's yang.

I also love Emily's bio on because the way she was raised sounds IDENTICAL to how I grew up in Arkansas!

And the contestant behind door #4- CASEY NOBLE!

I have to say that I dig Casey's bold shift from high-end hospitality design to host of "Design on a Dime." She is a very educated designer, who believe it or not worked with Michael Moeller in the hospitality industry back in the day before they each started their own respective and very successful design businesses on opposite coasts. Casey's expertise will help bring new life to the classic HGTV show Design on a Dime, which I actually used to like as a youngster, but realized was a bit cheesy as I got older.

I have enjoyed getting to know Casey since Design Star too. I stayed with her when I was out in L.A. in the spring doing some work for the Oscars. Her and her husband Peter were great hosts and have quite a stylish home full of a few "design on a dime" features of their own! Casey's sense of humor is sly, but addictive. She instantly became the sister I never had, and when we weren't sarcastically bickering back and forth, we had a good time acting like 5 year olds who needed to be put in a cage. My most recent visit out to L.A. to be on Emily's show sparked a visit to Casey's house where I earned the nickname "screen door" which I'll explain in further detail to anyone who wants to listen. haha

Casey has visited New York quite a few times since our crazy experience together and each time is more exciting than the last. Hanging out with her and Michael together is about as close as I think I can get to an insane asylum without actually checking in! lol j/k y'all... I love ya! Here's a pic of one of our fun nights out in NYC!

I see Casey doing very well with her show and was excited to see snippets of her wonderful personality on the Season Premiere of Design on a Dime last night. The more they capture of the real Casey, the more America will continue to fall in love with her... I just wish she was easier to look-at! haha

I didn't find a link to a teaser or an actual episode of Casey's new show "Design on a Dime", but I did have a great time reminiscing and watching this video of her after she was kicked off of Design Star. It looks like she learned from her experience pretty quickly and has been doing some "on camera practicing" since, b/c she did a great job last night in the premiere. Congrats Case!

All in all, I can't help but smile from ear to ear when I watch each of my respective Design Star mates on their shows. Knowing them prior to their success and watching them blossom into successful TV show hosts is fun to witness. Regardless of their success, I feel blessed to know each of them and know that we will remain friends for a long time!

As far as advice for others, keep doing what you love and chasing your own respective dreams... Life is short and the opportunities that await you are countless!

Love y'all,



  1. I love the chandelier you made on Emily's Christmas special. Any chance you have more pictures to post online?

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  3. Hi Maha,

    I do have more photos of the "dandelier" (declared by Orlando Soria).

    I will try to post an entry with them on my new blog soon and will let you know! -

    Thanks for the encouraging words and for showing your support/interest!