Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Design Star & HGTV.com

Once upon a time, I thought it would be a good idea to try out for HGTV's hit reality show "Design Star".


I thought it might be a fun experience and that I might actually be able to keep up with the hundred-million-mile-an-hour pace the contestants endure while they're filming the show.


And it wasn't until a casting agent for the show contacted me and told me I had made it past the first round of the audition process, that I really started to think about what it would be like to be on the show.

(Insert nervous stomach and a mini panic attack here.)

Long story short, I didn't end up getting cast, and although I had already convinced myself that I probably wasn't cut out for the show anyway, for some reason I just couldn't help but get all emotional the day I received the thumbs down from the casting agency.


I'll never forget the day they told me. I was home alone. It was Valentine's Day, and because he was on tour, I hadn't seen Kevin in weeks.
Oh yeah, I'm talkin' major pity party that night.


Not to worry though- time heals all wounds. And amazingly enough, I actually ended up signing a contract with HGTV.com earlier this year.
(High five!)

I'm writing articles for their website, which I absolutely LOVE doing.
And the gig is not only fun, but it's completely stress-free too.
No other contestants to battle against, and no nervous moments standing in front of the superstar judges every week. LOL!




So today, I thought I'd show ya what I've been up to over at HGTV.com this Summer, in case you're looking for inspiration regarding any of the following topics...

(click on the photos below check out the articles)

Bedroom Updates For Any Budget


Budget-Friendly Dining Room Updates


9 Tiny, But Beautiful Bedrooms


Turn Your Before Bathroom Into An After Bath


And here's one called "10 Stylish Dining Room Storage Ideas".
(I didn't write this one, but I was one of the "expert designers" Kayla Kitts interviewed for it!) :-)



I'm currently working on a series of articles called "Fast Fixes" that will be published on their site between now and the end of the year. I'll be shooting step-by-step footage and writing about a wide variety of interior and exterior projects. Everything from how to transform a vintage wall-mount sink into a birdbath, to how to antique kitchen cabinets, to how to create end tables out of architectural elements- and many, many more.

I'll continue to post links to the articles as they appear on HGTV.com on our Facebook page, and I hope that you can draw inspiration from a few of them along the way!


In the meantime, let's check out what the original Design Star, David Bromstad, had to say about last weeks episode of the show...

What do you think?
Any thoughts on who's gonna win this year?


This post brought to you by...





Need help arranging your furniture?
Need design help?
Check out my e-book!


Allison {A Glimpse Inside} said...

Sorry you didn't get on the show but Congrats on writing for the website! How awesome is that!!! :)

glenda said...

Great job Layla! You are so talented.

Miranda @ Pressing On said...

Gosh, I love the features you're doing. I think Design Star would be a nightmare in some ways and a persons freedom to design the way they want to (what makes you so unique) would be squelched. I love what came along for you instead!

It appears to be a great fit. Congrats.

I missed last weeks episode, but I really like the young blonde girl. I haven't picked a winner yet, but I know who I don't like ;)

Cookie said...

Big Hugs to you Layla! I am just so happy we all found you! We LOVE ya!!!

Thrifty Decor Chick said...

I'm SO glad you didn't get picked. (I mean that in the nicest way possible -- you are TOO sweet for that show!)
I would never do it -- (like I would ever be asked anyway) -- just cause I don't want to leave home. :) OH yeah, and because they. are. harsh!!!
You don't need it -- you have this fun job. :)

Cheryl said...

I agree with Sarah . . . you are too good for that show. Too classy. Too sweet. :) I think you would be better as one of the judges. You're that good.

ThisAmericanWife said...

I can't believe that you didn't make it on the show!!! You are SUCH an amazing designer. I'm selfishly glad you didn't though, we would miss you too much here!

Unknown said...

im sorry...but that is rEALLY awesome that you get to write for them.

My Neighbors sister is Emily on the show....its cool to know someone on the show..love it!

Sawdust Girl said...

Well, you are fabulous and I'm sure you would produce great designs but I agree that it would probably not be a fun experience. It is too stressful and they almost set you up for failure by putting you on teams with your competitors. It is not Survivor, where the person who wins is the one who plays the game well by sabotaging the other contestants. (Like Nina did the very first challenge) I think the true Design Star would be better chosen by selecting the contestant that consistently delivers week after week on their own. After all, that is what an HDTV host would have to do. YOU would definitely be great on that kind of DESIGN STAR SHOW!!!

Shari said...

Layla, I think of you every time I watch that show. I've been watching you do it your own way instead and you are off and running! I love your designs and I love that you actually listen to the client which is the #1 reason that more real people don't hire designers. So often when the client says don't paint the furniture, that is exactly what they want to do. Sorry, but Genevieve has a habit of being that way though she has improved. I don't always agree with the judges on Design Star and I will miss HATING Nina, but I don't think it would have been fun to be on that show. Maybe someday you will be on as a JUDGE. Keep up the good work.

Jade @ Flip Flops + Pearls Design said...

It's so true that when one door shuts, another opens! I am looking forward to reading your articles!

Shari said...

P.S. I love when you take on some of the challenges on your blog. Especially when you use the presto-chango photos. And I like your designes on HGTV.COM. Have to check that out.

carolyn said...

Hi Layla- You're a perfect example of one door being closed and another being opened. Everything happens for a reason.....

So great that you're where you are with HGTV!

Who will win on Design Star- hmmm, I'm not in love with anyone this year- Casey or Emily maybe? I'm liking some of the new format- but miss the individual challenges because I think we got to know people better that way.

Happy Wednesday!

Sandy said...

Well, in my opinion (for what it is worth), you do not need HGTV's "Design Star". You are already a "Design Star" in your own right. I think you and Kevin would be so wonderful hosting your own show just like you host your blog. I can't believe how talented you both are at such a young age.

Unknown said...

Congrats on the HGTV articles! I am stumped on who's going to win-

Tanya said...

I think you'll go above and beyond a show like that. You don't need to "win" your way in, your talent will bring you there!


Oh Layla.......It might be fun....but it is like a "lion's pit"! Vern has been incredibly cold and mean this year. I agree with David....some of those comments would have left me crying in a heap on the floor.....on NATIONAL TV no less!

Olde Tyme Marketplace said...

I was just thinking about Design Star and even wrote a little blub about it on my blog the other day.
The judges( mostly Vern and Genevive )are so entirely mean this year and I can't understand why. I realize they have all this experience but neither compare to Candice who is amazingly talented. I almost flinch when I watch the judges discuss the contestants right in front of them. It's so rude. It makes me hurt for them.
I can't tell who is gaining momemtum there yet as far the designers go but it should be interesting from here on out.
Everything happens for a reson and I believe that had you been a part of the show~ you would have won hands down BUT then you wouldn't have had time for all the adventures you have been on since.
Plus I would have hated seeing you be ripped apart by those pesky judges!
You are awesome doing what you are doing!!

Linda said...

I haven't enjoyed the show this year...and last week I hated what they designed for the Firemen...it was awful!

I don't know who's gonna win, but I hope their designs get better.

My daughters like your blog and My daughter Lynnette blogged about you today, so I came on over to see what they were talking about! (:>) I must say I love your look and what you write about here.

I have always loved design and decorating, so your blog will become one of my favorites too!

Have a great day and congrats on your HGTV job!

Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

Between Blue and Yellow said...

Way to go Layla! I think HGTV fits you better anyway.
Please come on over and join my linky party today at

KellyMellyBoBellyBananaFanna said...

You're so sweet.

I'll definitely check out your articles.


Elizabeth said...

i just have to say that maybe you were just too good to be cast on the show. my friend and i were talking about this the other day wondering why they didnt cast you and that is all we came up with. you need your own show. i love your blog!

Rachael Taylor said...

I totally agree with you! I will watch any reality tv show that involves talent (with Design Star, Project Runway and Top Chef being my favorite). I think it's so easy to sit on our couches at home and judge people but you hit the nail on the head, they are basically trying to perform in a pressure cooker.

I do have to admit that I'm slightly dissapointed with Design Star this year but I think I may think this every year. And then, once they wittle it away a little more people will truly start getting a chance to shine.

Congrats on still getting hired by HGTV though! Obviously they knew good talent when they saw it :)

The Pennington Point said...

I have often wondered where they get these people from. I mean, some of them are awful designers! But I am glad for you that you won't be on it....it seems brutal.

I really thought Dan would win and was disappointed to see him go. Now I don't know. No one really stands out. The firehouse challenge was a disappointment. Lisa~

Unknown said...

I'm sad to say,I'm not loving Design Star this season. Too bad you didn't make it....that would have been spectacular!!

Megan said...

SOrry for you not getting on T.V. but like you said stress free. No catty fights so way to go! I loved watching David Bromstad talk about the design stars, I love him!

Anonymous said...


You are so talented you do NOT need to compete on a reality show to get noticed -- magazine, television, etc -- it will all be yours without a race to the finish line.

Your Friend,

Ginger@cottageonrosewood said...

Congrats on the HGTV.com gig. I think it is perfect for you. Design Star this year is a big disappointment. I am glad Nina went home. She gives designers a bad name. She was such a bully. I think Design Star has run its course and the only talent they really got out of it was David. Let's face it...Antonio? BTW, where is he now????

Ashley Pepitone said...

Love it Layla, that is super awesome! My mom met Vern Yip shopping at the North Georgia Premium Outlets (at Pottery Barn) and she said he is SUPER nice!

Carolyn (Cari) Foster Spano said...

Layla, You have been an amazing inspiration to me. I don't know how I found your blog, but I will be forever grateful that I found it. Just two days ago, my sister and I were discussing you, (did your ears burn? LOL) and how good you are at what you do, what a wonderful person you seem to be and how we just could not understand how HGTV didn't cast you for the show. I was seriously considering sending an email to HGTV telling them all about you. Well it looks like they found you! Yay for you. HGTV will be all the better for you being a part of their family. Now, if they will just give you a TV show for us to watch, it will be perfect. I completely appreciate that you decorate in a way that is affordable to the every day person. There isn't enough of that on HGTV these days. Thank you so much for all you have done to inspire me.

Beth R said...

Design Star doesn't know what they missed out on with you!!

I can't say I have a current favorite but I can say Nina can pack it up and go!

Also, who would have thought that sweet little Vern Yip could be such a hardass!

Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

First, I can't believe they passed you up. That is crazy and messed up. Second, I love all your articles. I just read them all and bookmarked a bunch of great tips. As we get prepare to move into a much smaller (960 square feet with two kids) house, I'll be needing them!

Annelies said...

Ok...have to admit it is MY fault you are not on the show. I have been silently praying that you continue to be OUR Layla and Kevin and not THEIRS. Selfish, huh??? I have followed your blog from the time you were teeny and even won one of your blog contests ( I think there were a handful of people...and I won sticky note letters). You both are SOOO inspirational and quite honestly your blog is BETTER than most design shows. So if you want me to, I will stop the praying, but I know that deep in your heart you know your success is based on being one of "us". People with small budgets and real desires to have homes that are joyous and welcoming. Continued success....but more importantly, continued joy.

Anonymous said...

I have never been a fan of Design Star. The judges are ruthless and who says design is a science anyway?!! So much of it is personal taste & opinion. I personally don't like what Vern designs - & sometimes Genevieve. You ARE too nice & thoughtful for the show. I actually can't see you as a judge either - you're much better than them.

Barbara said...

First of all CONGRATS! You sooooo deserve it! I have to say Im glad you didn't make Design Star YOU ARE TO GOOD and I think they knew that, they were saving you for bigger and better things....think about it out of (what is it 4 Design Star winners) only David is the real STAR!

I also am not liking Design Star this season and sorry everyone I just don't like Candice, her designs are great but how many of us really can go in and do the extent of remodel/decorating budget she does!

Give me Layla and The Lettered Cottage with a sprinkle of Kevin and thats my FAVORITE Design Show ok ok maybe its a blog!

Thanks Layla and keep true to your design ways!

Cara Sexton said...

I'm glad that the whole Design Star thing worked out in your favor -- seems like a much less stressful area for you, and everything you do speaks for itself anyway. Congrats on writing for HGTV, so awesome.

No guesses as to who is going to win this week. Watching has become like looking at a train wreck -- the negativity and cattiness just makes me squirm, but I can't look away! Just glad, honestly, to see Nina gone.

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

First of all...WHERE DID CLIVE GO??? He added a much NEEDED lighter note to the show, if you ask me...which they didn't....

I am SO glad Nina is gone! She thought WAY too much of herself and it was her way or the highway, OR she threw you under the bus...whichever came first....

No clue on who is going to win....no one has really just WOWED me yet....

Vern, Candace and Genevieve are so SERIOUS!! For pete's sake!!! It is DESIGN not open heart surgery!! There is a learning process involved here....lighten up!! VERN never smiles anymore! What is up with that? I can remember watching Genevieve on Trading Spaces back in the day and she was the silliest thing...she has matured, evolved and I love her, BUT remember where you came from girlie!

I would be a mess if I were on there because of all of the DRAMA!!! I don't like people being mean to me~!

I am so glad you are writing for HGTV~PERFECT!!! I am fixing to go and read them all!!

Whew! I am long winded today!!

Lou Cinda :)

Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

Yay! I'm so excited about your articles. My family finds the judges so, well--- judge-y this year. I mean, I thought Vern was going to start throwing some punches (literallly) this week. Yikes.

Preppy Mama said...

Congrats! That is amazing news and I can't wait to follow along! I love stopping by to see what amazing spaces you have created. You and your blog are so inspiring. Wishing you all the best!!

Anonymous said...

Layla, forget auditioning for HGTV. They should just give you your own show. You and your cute hubby. Really. Call them up and tell them your blog readers demand it!

I have loved the posts about The Screened Inn. Y'all did a wonderful job - it looks just like what I would want in a beach cottage on Tybee.


s as in tset said...

You are so inspiring! Not only do you have great design ideas, but you also inspire me to live boldly and try new things. Thank you! Keep it comin'!

Kim-A Creative Spirit said...

WOW Layla, to even be considered for the show is a GREAT accomplishment. As a designer myself (semi-retired) I thought it would be a blast to be on that show, but not sure the fast pace and the back biting were my style. I think you have landed in a much better gig-one that suits you much better. Love following you .....

CalleLillyCafe said...

Bittersweet & HUGE! Congrats! I'm off to check out the articles! =)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your articles! That must be so much nicer than all the design star pressure! Although I do love the show...David was so right that Nina needed to go...a while back if you ask me! But glad the attitude is gone! I think my favs woulod be between Courtland and Michael...I am not really impressed by any of the girls this time around. Alex is sweet but he doesn't really shine. Tom good...but his nervousness well, makes me nervous...am gonna go check out your articles!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

Debra @ Life in a 320 square foot home said...

Way to go! Happy for you on your contract.... Love reading your posts, This is my coffee in the morning :-)

Debby said...

I wish you were on Design Star. Can't believe that you weren't chosen. I have been disappointed so far this season. They keep focusing on having the designers doing something to reflect their own style. Either they are getting it or I am out of the loop. I think it is really taking away from the show.
Anywhooo, who am I.
I am glad that you are under contract with HGTV, my favorite show......I love your blog and what you do.

Debby said...

I wish you were on Design Star. Can't believe that you weren't chosen. I have been disappointed so far this season. They keep focusing on having the designers doing something to reflect their own style. Either they are getting it or I am out of the loop. I think it is really taking away from the show.
Anywhooo, who am I.
I am glad that you are under contract with HGTV, my favorite show......I love your blog and what you do.

Rie said...

Yahoo Layla! I'm so happy for you. They are lucky to have you as a writer for their website. And you are too sweet for reality tv. I've never seen the show, but if it's like other reality tv...

Thanks for including my bedroom shot in your post. Love your style, your spirit, and your blog!

Erin Southwell said...

For me, being on a reality tv show would be like the 7th ring of hell :) God definitely had a better plan for you!! I'm so proud of you friend and all you have done!!!!

Wander said...

Oh My Granny!

You are very deserving, Layla! You rock!

I'm really excited for you! You Go Girl!

Claire DeRosa said...

You r just too cool! Love ur blog!Your personality comes through. Good luck with your new assignments.

Anonymous said...

Things happen for a reason Layla...you are a real shining star now!!!!

Good for you


Melissa Stover said...

i think you got the best deal! congratulations.

Kathy@ uptodateinteriors.com said...

I love all of the articles you have done so far for HGTV. Every time I am on their website I have to shift through all of the articles and pictures to find the ones that mesh with my traditional/cottage style. If I read yours, I know I will love ALL of it!! Looking forward to seeing more.

My Cottage Charm said...

Hey girlie! you know, I'm sorry you didn't get picked for design star, but on the same hand kinda glad you didn't get picked, cause you probably would have been way too busy to keep up your blog, and I would have missed you more than you could ever know! :-) Although our personal styles vary a little, you still inspire me and make my soul happy each time I read your blog. :)
How sweet is it to get something fun in the mail!! I SO love getting unexpected goodies through the mail..it makes my heart swell with cheer! I love your sign...it's so sweet. :)
Ok, David is just too funny in his video...so forthcoming and honest! He cracks me up! We took our cable out last year so I haven't been able to watch design star..urgh! (but at least we don't have a $60 a month charge for the tv we hardly ever watched....can you say extra shopping money?! lol) :)
Have a great week my friend and I'm so proud of you for getting that contract....you're a cutie patootie with SO much talent! :)
Blessings & Hugs
Missy :)

My Cottage Charm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frugal Jen said...

I think it's only a matter of time before you have your own show on HGTV. Can we mail or email our request?

Plus, you are so talented and beautiful. You have the "it" factor they talk about for TV.


Erin @ Two Story Cottage said...

I used to think that being on Design Star would be the coolest thing in the world. Now I'm not so sure. I agree with the other readers- not sure I could handle the meany judges. When did all my fav hosts become so uptight? And just not nice?

You don't need silly challenges to prove your design worth. Your blog says it all! I don't always watch Design Star anymore but I never miss a TLC post.

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

I can't imagine why you didn't make it on the show Layla, because I've seen your videos on your blog and both you and your husband are absolutely adorable. Your persona is so approachable and your talent is amazing. I look forward to seeing what you will do next!

MaxsonTrio said...

I know this is totally off topic but can I just say that Mr. David Bromstad is one of my favorite men?!? He should be my second husband, in my opinion. But it is a crime against humanity that he's not interested in women. Ugh. Such a cutie.