Tonight’s episode of HGTV Design Star finds the six remaining contestants battling to win a feature in an upcoming issue of the recently launched HGTV Magazine. Synergy at its best! HGTV Magazine editor-in-chief Sara Peterson will deliver this week’s challenge and finalists must create ultimate designer kitchens with a sink (yes, a sink!) as inspiration — alongside the show’s venerable host and season 1 winner, David Bromstad, who has contributed to the show variously over its seven seasons.
Bromstad was first a contestant, then a guest judge, and now, is the show’s host. And since he’s been there since day one — and since we’re heading into the final challenges on the show — EW recently asked him to run down his favorite moments from seven seasons of HGTV Design Star. “My favorite moments are largely related to the White Room Challenge,” Bromstad tells us of the annual challenge, which was the second episode of the current season. “It’s where competitors really get to show off their stuff.” Three of his favorite moments are White Room Challenge-related, but the rest — which include a skin-baring moment in season 4 to his own win in season 1 — are a veritable walk down HGTV Design Star memory lane. Take a gander at Bromstad’s favorite moments here:
8. Mark Diaz’s airplane-themed White Room Challenge in season 6. “It was really cool because it was an installation of really cool objects to make,” says Bromstad, “it was something that was really special to him. His grandfather was in the Air Force and flew planes, and it was just really a cool looking thing that he executed beautifully. It was just really creative and out-of-the-box thinking, which I really appreciated.”
7. Emily Henderson’s Glass House Challenge in season 5. “The reason I like this is because Emily Henderson is new and fresh and she deals a lot with accessories,” Bromstad explains. “She knows how to really stage a room for a photograph. I think that’s really interesting because that’s probably the area where I’m the least creative. I do my big moments, and I do installations. I do lighting installations, ceiling installations. That’s where my strength comes in–with the drama. But she brings it in really tender moments through accessories, and I think that’s really smart. This, to me, is where she got to showcase her talent most.”
6. Antonio Ballatore’s “small stroke of genius” in the first challenge of season 4. “In the first episode, Antonio did just a small stroke of genius,” Bromstad remembers. “He got these geese, and he painted them pink and he put them above the fireplace. But when I look back at that whole season, that was one moment where I was like, This guy brings something new every single time! And he did. And he’s doing it. It was an “a-ha” moment! He was the one to watch.”
5. Bromstad’s White Room Challenge win in season 1. “This one is very selfish,” Bromstad says, with a laugh. “It’s me, and it’s when I won the White Room Challenge and Cynthia Rowley called me a genius. That one was fun because we were the guinea pigs with Design Star. We actually went into Design Star without knowing what was going to happen. We had no idea we were going to be doing any manual labor. We didn’t bring paint clothes! It was just one of those things. My White Room Challenge was good, but not because it was so out-of-the-box thinking — it was out-of-the-box because no one told us the rooms had to be functional, and mine was non-functional. All the other designers made theirs very functional and I did one that wasn’t function. That’s where I excelled.”
4. Dan Vickery taking his shirt off in season 4. “He did it pretty quickly, it was probably within the first three episodes,” Bromstad says. “I was like, ‘Okay, I like you. You’re cute.’ Who cares why he took it off! I think he took it off because they were doing an outdoor challenge and it was really hot. It was really hot in many ways!”
3. Todd Davis’ White Room Challenge in season 2. “This was the strongest White Room Challenge that I’ve ever seen, period, even after doing my series and seeing all the Design Star contestants do it over the years,” Bromstad says. “He set the bar for everybody for all years to come. I don’t know if you remember, but he basically took all of his furniture, broke it up, and mounted it on the wall and painted this big wave on the wall that was washing all of his furniture away. It was amazing. It was a super-installation. It was really, really beautiful.”
2. Kris Jenner Kardashian’s appearance on the current season, three weeks ago. “We did Kris’ offices,” Bromstad explains. “She was awesome on it — I was expecting her to be a big b—-, but she was really, really savvy to work with and just really grateful. I was most proud of my designers because they killed it on that challenge. They produced such great, great designs. It was just a fabulous thing for me. They stepped up at such an important challenge. There was no clear loser. Usually in a challenge, you typically have one bummer of a room. But there was no bummer. They were all so strong. They were all so beautiful — it was really hard to pick a winner and hard to pick a loser.”
1. Bromstad taking home the HGTV Design Star win. “That’s my most memorable moment!” Bromstad says. “Of course, if you ask any Design Star winner what their favorite moment is, it would be when they won. I’m completely shocked and surprised that I won the challenge over all these amazing designers and architects. I went in as an artist, never having designed an adult space in my entire life — I had just done mostly kids room installations. But nothing really functional. It was a huge shock. It has been a great little dream of mine, and it has continued. I had never really wanted to go on television. It wasn’t like I was a little kid thinking, I want to be famous! The only goal I had for myself when I was younger was that I wanted to be well-known for my craft. I guess I got my wish.”
HGTV Design Star airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on HGTV.
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky