Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Eye Of The Beholder

I don't normally watch TV at all.... but lately I find myself hovering in front of it any chance I can get, with all these home renovating shows on at the moment.

I found myself gesticulating my frustration at the judges on one program last night, when one of the judges asked a contestant something along the lines of "do you think your mural takes over the room a little bit?".... ahh, der, she spent 4 out of the 6 hours painting it and it is the focal point of the room. It is meant to 'take over the room'. 

Design is subjective, isn't it. Beauty is subjective. There is no 'right way'. Is there? I mean the room that won the overall 'top design' had a big wooden tree with bicycle wheels hanging from it, yet the other contestants who were crucified for their overall design were asked if their 'cafe' could really function as a cafe'. Well, could the tree room really function as a, errr, a 'tree room'? Where does the principle of 'form follows function' fit in the 'tree room'? Don't get me wrong, it looked awesome.... but what are the rules, judges? 

And don't get me started on the judging of 'The Block'. I cannot understand how a vase of flowers on a stool can be a negative mark against the 'execution' of a room. It is all in the eye of the beholder as they say. 

There doesn't seem to be any consistency in the judging approach in these shows. It appears that even their subjective opinions and personal preferences often appear to override what they have just stipulated as a 'design principle'. I just knew, as soon as the architect contestant mentioned the sun and positioning of his temporary structure in the first challenge, the architect judge would pick him as the winner. A smart way to appeal to a judge's natural bias I reckon!

I am doing the Coco Republic Design School thingy next month..... after watching these shows and seeing the conflict between design opinion and could get very interesting! 



  1. Good morning A-M,
    I too am a sucker for a good Reno show! Sorry Katrina and Aimie but I'm only watching on reveal night because like you A-M the judging, as well as the way the show is edited, is driving me crazy. I've switches to a show I've been waiting for since their first promo... And have not been disappointed... The Renovators. Loving it! There is less focus on the 'days of our lives bickering' and more focus on the design and implementation... Check it out. P.s what a lovely picture ur blog opens with today... I love waiting for ur page to load and wondering what picture will great me!
    Have an inspiring day :-)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I must say I am disappointed in the block editing too. Too much repition and not enough of the hands on. I do love watching the girls though, they make it fun. The renovators is great, you see all the action and a result in the one night. Good luck with your course, should be fun. Keep us posted. ;-)

  4. I use to watch the fashion design reality shows. But, not enough beef in them for me. Too much drama. I want to see talent and technique and details.
    And like you said A-M the judging is very inconsistant and the comments are ridiculous. It is all too much opinion. We all see things differently. And one weeks guidelines are next weeks weaknesses. I feel sorry for the contestants in these shows.
    The Coco Republic Design School sounds very intriguing. Could you elaborate on what the program is A-M for this US based gal?

  5. Mmmm, what a can of worms you've opend there A-M. You are dead right, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. I learnt that at a very early age when I received a 6/10 for an artwork at school yet that very same piece went on to win the Warana Art Prize from entries all over Brisbane.

    It's one of the reasons I like working with people and creating a home they love not one that everyone loves. After all it's their space and they have to feel comfortable in it.

    Styling for sale is completely different and to me it lacks the soul and integrity of a home. You only have to flick through a Real Estate catalogue to see room after room of exactly the same look.

    You will stamp your inimitable style on the rooms you design and will love your design course for that very reason.

    BTW, I don't watch all the design shows and those I do watch I remind myself that it's only entertainment!

    Jennifer xx

  6. I watched TD for a few minutes last night & was appalled at the negativity that was thrown at the unwitting contestants. MOTH walked past the telly as the rooms were being judged & his throw away line was 'Don't reckon this will be back next year' & for once, I reckon he's dead right.
    Millie x

  7. I struggle with a lot of the judges comments too - but have to remind myself that they probably critiqued the rooms/contestants for ten minutes - only to be cut down to 3 five second sound bytes.

    I'd love to audition for the next series of the block - but I'd hate to be on TV. I think K&A have very thick skins and you need to in order to particpate in such shows - you're at the editors/producers mercy and have no control on how you're portrayed.

    I also agree that producers focus too much on the relationship dramas/stress/tension aspect and not enough on the styling and renovating - but again I have to remind myself that us design lovers are in the minority - and the bulk of the TV watching audience that these shows are produced for thrive on the classic reality TV drama. If they solely focused on the design and renovation details it would be a totally different niche show that would never appeal to enough viewers to air in a peak timeslot on a mainstream channel (even though I'd still watch it!).

  8. Well A-M you simply need your own design show or you need to be a judge on the next show. You have the most exquisite taste! Have a lovely Thursday.

    XO, Andrea

  9. So glad you signed up for that "thingy" love.... x

  10. Oh AM! My husband and I were just having this exact conversation last night. Art, design and fashion are all so subjective and being judged out of context is so unfair.

  11. yeah on the renavators the other night, the star judge (for interior design) asks a contestant what style she was going to do, and the she answered "urban chic" and the judge goes "what's that?"

    anyways, yes of course its very subjective, and to be honest I think they all do mostly pretty good (cept some of those on Top Design - they were terrible!!), I loved the flowers on the table in the bathroom, I thought it softened the room, maybe it was too feminine for those male judges???

    I'm so jealous you are doing the coco thingy, but i have to ask, which one are you doing? I'm assuming you are going to sydney to do it, or are they in QLD too? There are none down here or I'd def do a course on decorating my own home, I'd love that to bits!

    Can't wait to hear how you go on the course luv!!

  12. Here, here A.M. the judges certainly have differing opinions/preferences that seem to overide the design principles. My eldest daughter had the pleasure of being mentored by the gorgeous young lady that painted the mural on last nights program. That young lady is an incredibly talented visual merchandiser (retail stylist) who certainly thinks out of the box yet always follows the brief! I think some consistency from the judges is needed...

  13. Yes, yes, yes. Exactly what I said last night watching TD. The judges were questioning if the cafe was functional because waiting staff may not fit between the tables but then commend the winners on their tree and hut. What the... I mean the tree was clever but as you said where was the function in that. The judges contradict themselves all the time. And while I'm on the subject of judges, I would like to say that in The Block, Mr Real Estate needs to say less and let Mr Belle magazine comment a little more. Talk about stealing the limelight.

    Best of luck for design school. Have fun.

  14. Good luck with the course. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it.

  15. I'm addicted to reno TV too - but such a minefield for different opinions. It's just fun to see what others do and get fresh ideas yourself, I reckon! Jane @ the girl in the brick house

  16. I tell you something A-M, if Amie and Katrina dont win this room challenge with that most magnificent artwork (and about time a contestant used art in these houses) then I will turn off my TV in disgust. I cant wait to see their house on Saturday and I bet it is stunning!

    Mrs B xxo

  17. Hi A-M,
    Thanks for your blog, loving the renovators, feels more like a real design program, others are more about gossip and entertainment than anything else.
    Yes I too am bemused at why certain rooms win on the block.
    Have not seen Top Design yet but it look very weak in comparison to the US version think the budgets here in Oz are a bit soft.
    Warm wishes,

  18. I often wonder if these so called expert 'judges' are real life examples of the kind of folk who will buy the house. I tell you, the only person who can design me a house & style it for my large family is ME!! I just have never met a builder or designer who lives my life or understands my concept, like the idea of having a 100 acre block as our back garden, not to farm crops, just big enough to grow our own meat & vegetables with space for the children to run free?? Why do i need to explain this anymore?? Yet i do!! I think it's all subjective & tailored to the motives of the people trying to build personal profiles. The only couple out of all of these shows which i don't watch religiously are Katrina & Amie on The Block as they are real mummies with taste, they are right up my alley & i can relate to them. Maybe even more if they had older children?? They are also easy to watch & enjoy as people too. Love Posie

  19. Hi,
    Love this gorgeous vase of flowers styled next to these vintage books, the colours are beautiful.

  20. Enjoy coco republic would love to hear all about it :)


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave me a comment. I love hearing from you. A-M xx