>It Starts Tonight


Design Star starts tonight and, of course, I’ll be watching and blogging. I am just shallow enough to make judgements about the designers based on their photos, and their bios, but I’ll refrain from calling anyone a dumpster diving diva, or a pastor who suddenly is called to design or the rpincess bitch or the hot guy on the show.
Well, okay, so far, the hot guy seems like Alex….or maybe Dan….or maybe Tom.
We’ll have to wait and see.

Twenty-six year old, interior designer and photographer, Alex Sanchez, is from Washington, D.C. and calls himself a Renaissance man, Alex grew up loving to paint, design and take photographs. He graduated at the top of his class from North Carolina A&T State University with a degree in architectural engineering. He earned extra money by selling his drawings and redesigning dorm rooms. Describing his design aesthetic as “urban eclectic with contemporary style,” Alex designs spaces for his young, hip clientele who often live in bachelor pads or one-bedroom apartments. While Alex says he is extremely competitive, he’s more excited to be on HGTV Design Star so he can inspire city kids to study art.

Thirty-two year old Casey Noble is an interior designer and co-owner of Avenue Interior Design in Redondo Beach, California. She describes herself as meticulous, driven, energetic and fun. With an associate degree in interior design, Casey worked for two high-profile design firms and managed several international design projects before starting her own residential and commercial design business.

Self-taught designer Courtland Bascon, 38, claims to have attended “the university of HGTV” while living in Los Angeles. Raised in a strict household in Boston, Courtland says his family discouraged him from studying the arts or expressing his natural creativity. As a teen, however, Courtland convinced his mother to let him take art classes and, once enrolled, his passion for design was born. Like many of his 10 siblings, Courtland spent years working with his father in the family’s masonry business. He credits this work and his world travels for his knowledge and appreciation of architecture and design. Courtland says he is “in it to win it” and wants to become the next HGTV Design Star.

Dan Faires, 26, is an independent contractor, is from Springdale, Arkansas. His love for construction began when he and his father worked on the family’s home, a century-old place that needed constant repairs. Dan was also found inspired, of course, by HGTV and trying the projects he’d seen. He has a degree in biology and was in medical sales until Hurricane Katrina hit. The destruction of so many homes rekindled his passion for building and he soon left his sales job to join a construction crew. He defines his style as “rustic” and believes that “design should always incorporate rustic elements because it adds texture and warmth to every space.”

Thirty-year-old, from Portland, Oregon, Emily Henderson owns a prop, lifestyle and tabletop design business. She developed a creative nature because her family often made their own clothes and reupholstered their own furniture. After graduating from the University of Oregon, Emily moved to New York City and studied design at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Emily’s talent and style is a mix of classical and contemporary design. Today she is an in-demand photo-shoot stylist for top lifestyle and design publications and national retailers.

Interior designer Julie Khuu, 29, from Santa Ana, California, uses her minor in psychology to help her communicate with clients when she’s designing everything from hospitality design to home consultation. With a bachelor’s degree in interior design from The Art Institute of California, this self-described overachiever and socialite says that her favorite projects involve designing spaces for nightclubs. Julie says her design style reflects a “modern global glamour.” She also admits to being “bossy and direct” because of her looks and petite size. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and hopes that winning HGTV Design Star will prove to her family that she is a legitimate designer.

New Yorker Michael Moeller, 30, has won the IIDA award and was named among the top 18 young designers in New York by Boutique Design. As a child, Michael knew he had a natural artistic talent and loved to find creative ways to play a game or rearrange his bedroom furniture. After earning a degree in interior design from The New England School of Art & Design in Boston, Michael moved to New York. His design style is “a natural approach to urban sleekness.” Michael is a design business owner and credits his outgoing personality and problem-solving skills to his success. He grew up as the star in his family and believes that the combination of his competitive nature and outspoken personality will help him become the next HGTV Design Star.

From Brooklyn comes thirty-one-year-old Nina Ferrer, whose career includes designing luxury homes for celebrities and high-end retail spaces. Nina says that from an early age she knew her upbringing was not typical. She describes her parents as very “open, free and artsy,” and says they encouraged her creativity with art and dance classes. After graduating with a degree in architecture from The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, Nina began her career in residential design. She created luxury homes for several high-end clients, including a few celebrities, before shifting her career to commercial work. Describing herself as confident in her design talent, Nina believes that viewers would be eager to see an “attractive, tell-it-like-it-is” Brooklyn girl create beautiful, functional spaces.

Interior designer Stacey Cohen, 35 and from Chicago, specializes in green residential and commercial design and describes her design style as “clean lines and modern principles.”
Stacey says that she was influenced by her parents’ love of art. She believes that the early exposure to art strongly influenced her love of design and sparked the development of her own creative voice. After graduating from Columbia College of Chicago with a degree in journalism, Stacey completed the interior design program at Parsons The New School for Design. Today she owns a successful design business and says she puts 110 percent into everything she does and that when she sets a goal, she achieves it.

Forty-one-year-ole, self-taught designer, Tera Hampton, of Austin Texas, is a self-proclaimed “Dumpster Diva” and wants to make design accessible to everyone. Tera calls herself “the quintessential all-American Texas girl,” and says she plays to win. She owns a successful design business that specializes in home staging, color consultation and interiors, and characterizes her approach to design as “taking what you have and making it better.” Married, and the mother of three, she has a strong faith in God, family and community and enjoys using her skills to help those in need because it “feels good to make a difference.”

From Cairo to Tokyo, forty-six-year-old Tom Vecchione, from New York, is a designer on a global scale. His desire to give design meaning, coupled with his staunch adherence to “re-new, reuse and refurbish,” has made him a leader in his field. For 23 years, Tom has worked at one of the world’s largest architecture firms, and regularly oversees projects for international clientele, many with building budgets in excess of $100 million. Although he has an established career doing what he loves, Tom says his experience, energy and ability to thrive under pressure will make him a standout competitor on HGTV Design Star.

With a passion for travel, designer Trent Hultgren, 41, from Venice, California, wants clients to live like they’re on vacation. Trent says that before he found success as a design business owner, his life had been on a far different track. He spent much of his childhood working on his family’s cattle farm and attending church, and earned a degree in theology. After more than a decade traveling the world as a missionary, Trent wanted to learn more about life and explore his dream to be a designer. He taught himself the principles of design and decor and, with hard work and determination, he launched a career as a designer. Trent believes that he has an edge on the competition because, after years as a pastor and world traveler, his ability to genuinely connect with people will help set him apart from the other competitors.


Filed under Bob, Design Star, HGTV, Reality TV

2 responses to “>It Starts Tonight

  1. >Really interesting group. Let the design begin!!

  2. Joy

    >What were your thoughts about this first group and the competition?

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