Emily Henderson & Michael Moeller, Finalists, HGTV Design Star
Well here we are at the end. This Sunday, HGTV will crown a new Design Star from the Final Two (who were actually paired up from the beginning in the White Box Challenge).
Will it be Emily or Michael? Fashion or first apartments? Matching homes to their owners or helping those owners adapt through transitions? Both designers took time out of their busy schedule to talk with us about the show, their possible futures, and how cool it would be to hang out with Don Draper.
TheTwoCents: Congrats to the both of you on making it to the finale! In the penultimate episode, you had to design a space based on your potential show concept. Can you each talk a little more about what your HGTV show would be like and what you would contribute to the HGTV design family? Ladies first.
Emily Henderson: What I’m most obsessed with, besides watching reality shows, is styling spaces – which I’ll go ahead and define as injecting a specific personality into space and opposed to simply designing it. I think that we all have a few different style inclinations. I’m not just mid century modern, for instance. I’m 1/3 mid century, 1/3 Victorian and 1/3 complete raging hippie. And that is what my home looks like. I want to figure out what the clients specific brand of style is and mix them together for a perfect cologne, if you will, of style. I think it would be the great addition to all the more traditional design shows on HGTV.
Michael Moeller: As a designer I feel very strongly about creating environments that not only reflect the individual, but also set forth an intended emotion. Interior design is so much more than just how something looks, it is how it makes one feel. Properly designed spaces can stimulate and motivate to relax and sooth. I want to design spaces for people undergoing a transition in their life, whether it be a couple expecting a new baby, a family moving into a new home, or as said in the last episode a college graduate moving into their first “adult” apartment. People should live in dwellings that are particular their place in life and make them feel deserving, worthy, and as great as they possibly could.
TTC: What has been your favorite challenge so far?
MM: I really loved the “Redbook” challenge inspired by fashions. The guys really let me take the lead on the shopping and decoration of the place since I am the most seasoned interior designer and a New Yorker who knows the spots to shop. Plus having a van run you around New York frivolously spending other people’s money, taking design risks that have no client attached to them, and working with an awesome group of guys was a great time!
EH: Hands down the Glass House challenge. I liked some of the designers a lot, I did, but was pretty sick of designing by committee. My style is specific and its too easy to be democratic and not make sure that you are doing exactly what you want to do when working in a group. So having freedom and independence was a huge, huge relief. And I still love what I did.
TTC: What was the challenge that made you want to claw your eyes out?
EH: Um, you would think it was the white box challenge, but that came in second. The first group challenge was the worst. Working on a team that wasn’t getting along took all the fun out of designing, and I was either going to turn into that person that I really don’t want to be (which does live inside me, btdubs) or shut down. So I shut down, and it sucked.
MM: Hmmm, hard to say, not meaning to sound totally cheese here but I really did not “hate” any of the challenges. Don’t get me wrong, I think every challenge had a point when I wanted to claw my eyes out, and for the most part it was that final 45 minute scramble… That doesn’t happen in real life, and that’s for the most part when bad decisions were made.
TTC: What has surprised you most about watching segments of your life edited together months after they happened? Has the package been true to what you remember experiencing?
MM: Editing can be a scary process in a reality show. A producer really does have the liberty to take the footage they’ve captured and edit it to a story line fitting for TV, and it’s no secret drama was a key in this season of Design Star. Overall I am happy with the way I’ve been portrayed, my snarkiness has been peppered with humor, my bossiness watered down with motivation, and most of all my talent, wit and charm, well that goes without saying.
EH: Yes its accurate, but its interesting watching yourself. I know I’m self-deprecating and I don’t take life too seriously, but I think I see that more than I want to on the show – I don’t exude the expertise that I actually have because I don’t want to come across as a know it all – even though I might… know it all, that is. Kidding.
TTC: Finally, since we are a television-based website, for what show (current or past) would you like to be a set designer? (Emily: you already answered this in our first interview, so what would be your second choice?)
EH: Mad Men. The world they create is so beautiful I can taste it. I wonder if I would get sick of just shopping for 60’s pieces, but everything from the lighting to the scotch is so art directed and diving into that world and becoming an expert on that style would be a blast. Plus then I could hang out with Don Draper.
MM: Mad Men hands down. I love period pieces especially when they are done as flawlessly as Mad Men. Interior Design came to life in this era, having a “decorator” was a social status, furniture developed ergonomically and aesthetically, and the office became less utilitarian. It’d be a blast to design for Betty and Don Draper!
Might I mention that my home was built in ’62, has never been renovated, and is referred to by my friends as The Drapers? I’ll just go ahead and wait for a call from someone at HGTV headquarters! Good luck to you both and thanks so much for the interview! And to the readers out there, don’t forget to tune into the finale of HGTV Design Star this Sunday at 10/9c… then come right back here on Monday for our Recap & Review! Who will win? Sound off in the comment section below!