What is the worst "designed" room you ever saw?

EG3dAugust 19, 2012

What is the worst "designed" room you ever saw on tv or in person? I remember that room Hildi from HGTV did where she glued straw on the walls and I think the kid was allergic or at the age where he would eat the stuff off the walls. Horrible. Also didn't she do the all black room? The people hated it. Which ones do you remember?


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Remember the striped room w/sand on the floor ?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 1:05PM
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Any room Hildi did on tv would qualify for worst. No doubt that was all a ploy for ratings since people did tune in to see what outlandish thing she would do next. I wonder how much personal business she lost IRL though because it would be hard to trust her as a designer.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 1:40PM
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I went to a talk by Frank, and I liked him as a person, but I thought a lot of his rooms were kinda on the amateurish side. Frank's lips headboard sticks in my mind as one of the bad ones.

I think that Hildy went in for shock value on purpose, and as if she were saying "okay if you are cheap enough to give up all control as to what your room actually looks like and have the work done in a hurry by people who don't know what they are doing, I am going to give you exactly what you deserve."

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 1:49PM
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I remember Doug decorating a bedroom with a graveyard theme.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 1:54PM
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I think that was Hildi who did the graveyard..

Doug is famous for making "Pam Cry" for covering her fireplace

click on "switch"to see the after..
then you have to click "next" to see more examples..
odd web design...

Here is a link that might be useful: http://tlc.discovery.com/fansites/tradingspaces/topten/badreveals/badreveals.html

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 2:31PM
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I was particularly disturbed that this made the cover--it reminded me of the Trading Spaces graveyard room

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 4:21PM
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The master bath Hildy did where she glued flowers on all flat surfaces!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 9:41PM
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Yes, Hildy definitely came to mind! Wasn't there a room where she painted her face all over the wall? The flower bathroom was a classic too. I figured they wanted the slot machine aspect-- you could get Verne or you could get Hildy. Hold onto your hats!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 9:49PM
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I actually think that the Pam's fireplace room looked better after Doug did it. Frank stapled placemats together for a window treatment in the other house, if I remember.

The bad part was that they clearly stated they did not want the fireplace changed, and he could have kept some of the brick exposed, but that whole drama was a bit much. But again you are signing up for a crap shoot.

I assumed the people who got the flowered bathroom were planning to demo it anyway and decided to have some fun before the "real" bathroom was started, because they seemed rather unaffected by the final result

I think the whole show really gave legitimate designers a bad name...that designers wouldn't listen to the client, would pull some crazy idea out of their @$$es and pull it off in a day. I think people think that is the reality of it.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 10:09PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I've seen only a few Trading Spaces episodes but I did see the one where Pam cried. I was appalled that Doug ignored all her requests but also how narrow minded she was. That episode is classic!
I liked Frank and all his homespun country craftiness.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 10:17PM
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Elraes Miller

Well, that show definitely made itfor the worst designs. I remember the ones all of you wrote about. When seeing the flower walls and the one with old vinyl records all I could imagine was the mess after to remove.

One I do remember as "what the heck" was when they removed a perfectly good railing and put chicken wire in, without even supporting it. And all of the shelves/builtins from plywood. Camera shots made them look sort of good, but we all know what stained plywood ends up to be....plywood.

Even now I come across a couple of shows (can't remember the name of recent kitchen re-do one). But the painting eludes me, they are always a mess where the top of the ceiling and wall meet.

I enjoy the before/afters (some), but get very bored with all their chatter and little of how they did that. Suspect they don't want us to know how it really happened.

Recently I started watching Restoration Houses UK. Mostly enjoy their search for the history of the houses which date back to the 1700s. But then again, they chatter on, and only half the show is restoration. Am not thrilled with what they do with them either. In the end they keep as much old as possible, but there is a lot of hiding what can't be restored and not always in a good way.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:43AM
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I remember all of those, and that cover, Pal. Horrid.

What channel is Restoration Houses UK?

Who remembers the show where Dough and one of the two girls he was working with were all over each other by the end of the show?

A friend of DD2's had her bedroom done by While You Were Out. Her brother wrote the show. It was the underwater horror bedroom. She said stuff started falling off the walls before they pulled out of the driveway. They called it Imaginarium. She was 16yo! At least she was in NYC working with Cosmo Girl magazine for a male model shoot during the show, so she had some fun!

That kitchen someone posted her with the scrolled wrought iron sconces on each cabinet door is still burned in my brain. :-/

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 11:21AM
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Oh wow... I just looked up Hildi's "design style" on her TLC bio page. She describes it as "Simple elegance." REALLY?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 11:54AM
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A well-respected (by some) husband and wife team come to mind, not named to protect the guilty. I saw a little of their stuff as I checked HGTV to see what was on, and the last time seemed to sum up why I really tried to avoid them altogether--a bedroom, totally plain and ordinary, to which they'd added "special interest" by mounting a louvered shutter they had lying around horizontally across the top of an otherwise uncovered window--voila! Instant creative window treatment in the time-honored Apathetic style.

I'm know I've seen plenty that were dramatically worse, but those at least were stimulating in their awfulness.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 12:21PM
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Actually the one who I was eventually most disappointed with was Vern, because he has turned out to be a real one trick pony--and he has done stuff that is really impractical (over and over) like those giant wall grids of candles (in a fraternity or sorority of all places--just the place for two dozen untended candles) --and hanging fishbowls was another.

Those things are going to look like $h!7 in about 5 days.

I have never watched the show with the unnamed couple and their brood, and I don't want to.

I thought Hildi was interesting because she was at least "high concept" --and because I think she was torturing the people she got on the show on purpose.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 3:15PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

In my mind, Vern = a wall of votive candles.

Yeh, they'll be lovely after using once!
And all those holes in the wall to patch, ugh!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 3:40PM
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While their green and white living room remains one of my favorites,
the house Diamond Baratta did for this couple in Greenwich CT is my all time worst-decorated-house-ever.

These guys aren't amateurs either, and it must have cost a fortune.

It hurts my eyes.


Here is a link that might be useful: Diamond Baratta house in Hooked on Houses

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 3:53PM
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Trading Spaces started as a show in the UK on the BBC, I think it was called Changing Rooms. That show was even worse than TS because the design was always outrageous and they were often desecrating 500 year old stone cottages, not 80's tract homes. Most of the rooms ended up looking like something from Rocky Horror, a high school play set or a cheap brothel. The designer who appeared on most of them reminded me of Frankenfurter from RHPS, and he decorated in magenta, lavender and anything mirrored. I watched it in the same way you watch a train wreck.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 3:56PM
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emmatux I didn't know what show it was but I was also going to mention that icky bathroom with the flowers glued all over the wall! How gross!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:07PM
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Wow, all those patterns in the CT house are making me dizzy. I would never be able to sleep in the bedroom I linked, either (scroll down in the link).

Here is a link that might be useful: Mountain Living BR

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:19PM
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OMG - all those patterns make that huge bedroom feel claustrophobic. That is awful, by any standard!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:25PM
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A picture says a thousand words.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 8:28PM
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The house feature on Hooked - "2011 UPDATE: I had removed these photos two years ago because another site picked up the story and the homeowners were concerned that the negative comments about their decor would make it harder for them to sell their house. They asked that site to remove their post and the comments. They didn�t ask me to, but I did anyway. Now that the house has been sold, I�m putting them back up because I think the rooms are fun to look at, whether you like them or not!"

Bless their heart.... I'm sure most of the interior was ripped apart when they sold. Way too much for my eyes.

Newdawn, the red room gives me a terrible taste!!!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 10:21PM
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Some Diamond Baratta is fascinating. But any misplaced object (or probably the wrong clothes) look out of place.

Their work is VERY expensive, requiring custom dye lots with multiple sampling etc.

I like some of it okay. I liked the room with the braided rug that was about 40 feet long, just because it was so out there. The red room doesn't bother me too much. I think it's better than Diana Vreeland's living room. Their aqua rooms bother me a lot.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 10:28PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I kinda like the mountain living bedroom, although the lampshades are a bit much for me.
But I could never live in something like that.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 10:29PM
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I admit I do like some pattern, after the overabundance in the 80s' we've become scared of it.

If you want to see some amazingly horrible rooms, Interior Desecrations by James Lileks is a hoot. The commentary is amazing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Interior Desecrations

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 12:00AM
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Allison~ I remember the flirting one w/Doug !!!I really never saw that coming :)

Although there are many references to "Crying Pam" I can not
find the video anywhere.
There's a great one attached where the home owner really gives it to Doug and Hildi.

It's the 12th video with the lady in the orange shirt..

Here is a link that might be useful: http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/tv/trading-spaces/videos/reveals.htm

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 12:48AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I just watched that, the producer comments were accurate!
Still, it was sad.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 8:17AM
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I don't know if this is the couple to whom Rosie refers, but my vote goes to anything designed 'by Novogratz'. Oh my GAWD those two are awful, awful, awful. Happened to click onto their show this weekend at the end of an episode. They had ruined a beautiful brownstone by tricking out the kids' bedrooms in simply eye poppingly ugly style. The nadir was what they did to the ceilings. One was painted a *bright* green, the other IIRC a bright purple. The poor homeowner, a British lady, kept trying to say how wonderful it was. But oh she was subdued.

It isn't decor but I'm going to dive deeper: I can't stand their entire persona as a couple and individuals. Courtney is grating in the extreme, he is too and together they have this smug we're-such-NYC-hipsters vibe that is like nails on a blackboard to me.


Here is a link that might be useful: ACK!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 9:32AM
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and in the room with the hot pink ceiling,what's with the portrait above the bookcase? It's hideous!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 10:29AM
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I kinda dig some of the rooms on the "Interior Desecrations" link, many of them had great art and elements, even if the whole room was a bit over the top. My 14 year old loved most of those rooms (not the one with the keys or the "sewing machine + guns" number), she thinks the 70's look is very cool.

We don't have cable, so I have never seen the HGTV designers, but IMO anything by Charles Faudree is a worst designed room, nothing but gilt, glop and ginger jars from one end of the room to the other.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 10:47AM
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Hi, Runninginplace. No, "my" couple had a very popular, long-running HGTV show that appealed to probably young housewives with more scrap shutters and old unmatched furniture than money. You'd recognize their name. I just felt their eager audience deserved much better quality design suggestions. In their hands a $50 one-hour project never looked like anything more.

I have to admit, I enjoy the Novogratzs' creations, if not all. Some of the stuff they pick up on their blitzes through secondhand shops is *incredibly* ugly, yet they manage to combine all this stuff into cohesive wholes that are far more than their parts. I couldn't possibly turn them loose on my own home, no matter how in need it is, but they are certainly very competent and talented designers.

I have the same sort of different viewpoint regarding Newdawn's example of an awful room. I personally OD on bright pinks in approximately a single glance ("awful" color for me), but that's a nice room. And it obviously belongs to someone who can afford to redo any time she or he feels like picking up the phone.

In any case, what we find "awful" because we don't like it (that peculiar portrait) and what's awful because it's bad design (fire hazard mess on sorority wall) are two totally different things.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 12:16PM
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Rosie, I think I know who you are referring to (his name starts with M?), but they weren't a married couple, although it kinda seemed like they were. They had a playful banter back and forth, as I recall.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 1:10PM
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I pretty much like the red room! The only thing that really sets my teeth on edge are the red/white gingham curtains. Without those, it reminds me of a painting,(of course, the name of the painter eludes me right now).

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 9:50PM
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Matt fox and Shari Hiller. Room by room. Everything they did looked like my grandmother's house.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 1:20AM
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At least Grandma never had straw glued to the walls.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 3:35AM
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Lileks! Thanks for posting that link.

Haven't been to his site in ages.

Love his cookbook comments.

it's more the comments themselves than the rooms (or food).

"...3 shaved cat butts"!!!!!!!!!!


    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 2:01PM
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Thanks, GMP3, the Interior Desecrations commentary is a hoot. Some of those rooms are great, though, and I wonder how many people seeing them secretly wish they had "permission" to strike out boldly where once people went before.

You know, "Explosion in a consignment shop" was one of my top favorite inspirations for a very long time, and some variation on that is still among my favorite looks. This is why I never could or would buy a current "collection" from a furniture store. To this day many of my favorite rooms have every item chosen for itself from many consignment shops, etc., and brought together in an explosion of...personality, if not always of talent.

BTW, that special infusion of humor is actually hard to avoid this way, no matter how serious one might be.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 2:50PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

To me, there is a difference between a well designed room and an overuse of pattern. In some of the above rooms, the layot and function of the room are great, it's just the wild patterns everywhere that distract.
To me again, and I wish I had a picture, although I've seen this room a thousand times in House Beautiful, it's a living room with no place to set a drink while seated, no reading lamps and yep, no tv.

I don't care if it's hidden in the floor and rises at the push of a button, most "living rooms" need a tv.

I tend to think that everyone, except for the very wealthy, need relatively functional rooms. The very wealthy can go live in one of their other homes while the "dirty carpeted, white sofa home" is redone ( with the supervision of an employee) and not worry about such mundane things.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 4:54PM
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The worst was Hildi's feathers glued all over the wall.

Shari Hiller is a very good designer if you like traditional. Not everyone hates what some describe as "grandma's style." I miss Shari and Matt terribly. Instead they are replaced by so called designer's that throw things together that looks like you know what and the viewer is "convinced" that it looks good. Candace Olsen was the only real designer HGTV has had on in many years. When the oldies but goody "grandma designer's" were kicked off, we were given shows that were low budget and had no style and taught us nothing.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 10:29PM
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My husband gave me a copy of the Interior Desecrations book along with the food version Gallery of Regrettable Food. The food book is even funnier.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 10:56PM
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