HGTV Design Star Season Finale Recap: And the Winner Is...

There was a moment toward the end of HGTV Design Star‘s Season 6 finale where I had a brief fantasy that the judges panel would get inspired by the recently concluded Glee Project and declare multiple winners. Imagine if they greenlit a show in which Karl conceived sophisticated rooms with daring paint choices, Meg picked out jaunty accessories and explained all of Karl’s various design techniques in her gravelly-perky fashion, and last week’s evictee Mark and His Biceps of Doom built small installations while working up a meaningful sweat. That’s worthy of a series recording slot on my DVR.

But nope, my flight of fancy wasn’t meant to be, and thus, we were left with crazy-overenunciating Cylon Tanika Ray scanning Meg and Karl with her laser-beam eyes and declaring: “All of your hopes and dreams, your passiom amd determination, have brought you to this moment.” And then, suddenly, glittery confetti fell from the ceiling, and Meg was declared the winner for producing an appealing pilot presentation called Design Crimes that had her heading into people’s homes to identify problem areas in need of drastic reboots.

Except, inexplicably, HGTV won’t be airing Design Crimes. Instead, Meg has been saddled with a far more generic concept — HGTV Great Rooms — which will find her designing kitchens and living spaces. Um, is there anything Meg-centric about this show? And does the network actually want this woman to succeed? (If they did, they might cast Mark’s green tuxedo shirt and David Bromstad’s gold tuxedo jacket as supporting players.)

Anyhow, whatever commitment (or lack thereof) HGTV is planning to give to Meg, it was pretty clear throughout the Design Star season finale that she was on her way to victory — and not just because the producers chose Mark for her “competitor compliment” sound bite, while saddling Karl with dreaded she-beast Cathy. Nope, from the start of the one-hour telecast — during which Meg and Karl were each tasked with redesigning a room in a Harlem brownstone for real-life homeowners, then turning said projects into five-minute pilot presentations — we saw tons of footage of Meg the Fun-Loving Chicago Gal With a Big Grin and a Sense of Self-Deprecating Humor, while her opponent came off more as Karl the Inventive Paint Wizard With Sweaty Palms and a Queasy Smile.

And so when judging MVP Candice Olson explained that there’s now a ton of design information viewers can get all over TV, magazines, and the internet, but “what they can’t always get is entertainment,” you knew it was going to be Meg.

Ultimately, though, based on their final projects, I’d have been happy with either contestant taking home the crown. Granted, Karl couldn’t have come up with a more generic title than Inspired Design (except maybe HGTV Great Rooms), but I liked the concept of always starting a remodel with an eye on art history or local architecture. What’s more, Karl definitely got paired with the more challenging project — a dumping ground of a living room in which the husband and wife respectively craved gritty street art and Tuscan countryside references. The wave of nausea that appeared to hit Karl as he took note of the couple’s disparate styles seemed to haunt him all the way to final judgment: Dude had to know he was Dead Designer Walking. And yet that didn’t stop him from delivering a funky, innovative living space. The way he created rails around the walls that referenced the cornices of the building across the street, the way he created distinct spaces with different shades of paint, and even the way he transformed an armoire using spray paint in teal, bright green, black, and silver (an idea I was certain would end in disaster) were all total successes. I also loved the shelving unit he placed against the stairway.

Meg’s room, on the other hand, was a tad more generic (and a lot more cramped), but she settled on a dreamy, bluebird-y paint color and wisely chose to showcase her couple’s spectacular Buddha sculpture as a main focal point. I kind of wished she’d nixed the faux-windows concept her homeowners had attempted to introduce on their living room wall, but inserting mirrors in the midst of the curtains turned out to be a decent solution. Plus, there’s no denying Meg works well with others on camera. I couldn’t help but get a case of the warm-fuzzies when she got a hug from one of her clients and immediately cooed, “You do love it!”

Whether or not we’ll be loving HGTV Great Rooms remains to be seen, but I suppose I’ll check out the first episode and see if it’s worth a spot in the DVR lineup. What about you? Will you be watching Great Rooms? Were you happy to see Meg win, or were you Team Karl (or Team Mark)? How did you feel about this season of Design Star overall? Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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