“This is Los Angeles where money and style are everything.” So sayeth interior designer Mary McDonald in the opening of Bravo’s newest reality series, Million Dollar Decorators. The show follows the professional and personal lives of five of L.A.'s top-tier interior designers, whose clients don't have budgets and who say things like “Sometimes I think my job is more important than the President of the United States.” Raina Cox of If the Lamp Shade Fits is here to take us through.
During last week’s preview of this episode, Bravo promised "Million Dollar Mayhem." Let's see if the public relations village and a highly creative editing team made that happen, shall we?
The season’s final episode opens with Kathryn Ireland running around in a filmy nightdress trying to rouse her son from his netted bed whilst flipping flapjacks on her red AGA cooker. She has no idea her world is about to be turned upside down courtesy of a curly-haired demon harpy.
An office manager arrives with copies of Kathryn’s new book, when Carol the Design Coordinator phones with bad news from the Factor project (?). Issues with the beach house’s foundations have developed and—surprise!—Shannon is blaming Kathryn’s team. She is demanding a pound of flesh from Kathryn and refuses to take anyone's phone calls.
Kathryn has lunch with Martyn Lawrence-Bullard to vent about the Shannon problem and he advises her to walk away. Returning to the office, Kathryn learns her contractor has been fired from the beach house project and Shannon has absconded with all of the furniture, fabrics, and accessories. (Whether or not she’s paid for them is not addressed in the show. Even though Shannon likes to play decorator she is an attorney by training—this situation may have ended painfully for Kathryn. Or, more likely, Bravo’s deep pockets may have settled the matter.)
Jeffrey Alan Marks and Boy Toy Ross arrive to install the Hungry Cat
Malibu Santa Monica only to find the contractors look to be at least three weeks from being finished. That Jeffrey and Ross have skipped site inspections over the past few weeks is either incredibly poor project management on their part or Bravo producers turning the drama dial to 11 (the correct answer is the latter). An aging goth hipster contractor is furious that extra steps are required to finish the floors (?). It seems a lack of clear communication on Jeffrey’s part is going to delay the install. The moving company dumps the furniture in the parking lot and takes off, leaving Ross and Jeffrey to do the install themselves. Wandering around in Gilligan’s hat, Jeffrey wonders why no one will take him seriously.
They have 12 hours to install before first service, and Bravo has once again conveniently bent the space-time continuum to produce a finished space cleared of contractor tools and debris. Jeffrey and Ross set about placing the furnishings (?), though they struggle to remember the floor plan they designed. Jeffrey changes his mind about the "super-sonically ugly" barstools (?) the restaurant’s owner bought on his own. “I think it adds that sort of accidental clumsy look that I always like in my spaces anyway.”
Martyn is about to have the CELEBRITY experience to end all CELEBRITY experiences. That is, if your definition of “famous” falls somewhere between 1990s boy band singers and fellow Bravo reality show cast members. Martyn is being honored with the Andrew Martin International Interior Designer of the Year Award. Bestowed by a quasi-famous British design house, past recipients include such household names as Jean de Meulder and Zeynep Fadillioglu.
To kick off the celebrations, a small group of family and office staff gathers at OG fashion model Cheryl Tiegs’ house (?). Hers was the first decorating project of Martyn’s career. One can see the baby steps towards his global glam look in this decade-and-half old ode to Trader Vic’s. The Mayor of West Hollywood is also on hand to declare it Martyn Lawrence-Bullard Day, which amounts to 24 hours of free parking for Martyn once a year.
The real party starts later with Martyn arriving at the Pacific Design Center on the arm of metal rock progeny Kelly Osbourne to a red carpet full of fashion police citations and cosmetic surgery mishaps (?). When queried as to why he attracts such a large CELEBRITY clientele, Martyn gestures to himself and and struggles to arch a Botox-ed brow: ”Look—it must be all the style going on—behave yourself!”
CELEBRITY CLIENT Sharon Osbourne presents him with the award (?), and Martyn is overcome with emotion at the thought of so many CELEBRITIES gathered in one spot to honor him. Says partner-in-crime Kathryn: ”Martyn’s in absolute heaven. Heaven, heaven, heaven! No one likes as much attention as Martyn does, except for me.”
Meanwhile, Mary McDonald has been asked to design the entry tent for the Los Angeles Antiques Show. She meets with the event’s co-chairs at their shop and attempts to shoplift a vintage handbag with a built-in telephone: “Hello, Humility? Oh, I thought I’d lost your number.” Inspired by a cocktail napkin, Mary hatches a plan for yet another bold floor and decides to carry the pattern up onto the walls. The event co-chairs eye each other nervously, wishing they’d made a different napkin choice. Back at the Zigzag Fortress of Doom, Mary fiddles with a paper model of the event space (?). One wonders if all of the darting lines will give the show patrons motion sickness. Ever the carefree sprite, Mary laughs off cautions about the scheme: “We don’t ever have to do it again, so who cares if we get fired?” The antiques show is being held in a hanger at the Santa Monica airport. Mary’s team had been given the wrong dimensions, so the planned chevron pattern will not lay out properly.
The project manager cries (?), Mary reluctantly hugs her and lackeys scurry. The painting scheme gets sorted and the Bonfire of the Vanities furnishings are moved into place.
In a moment of self-doubt as rare as planetary alignment, Mary is concerned about what her fellow MDDs will think: “Of course, the entire design community wants to come and trash you, so you have that pressure of everybody wanting to pooh-pooh on your space.” She has nothing to worry about, everyone keeps the bitchy level at low. Jeffrey whinesm “I want to do the tent next year” and Martyn, last year’s entry tent designer, points out that Mary has reused his framed quotes. Mary’s black hole of vanity is not sated by date Nathan Turner’s effusive reaction to the space (?):
Mary: “You’ve not really giving me what I need.”
Nathan: “Wait—what?!—it’s incredible!!”
Mary: “You don’t seem very happy about it.”
Nathan: “What do you want me to do? Do backflips?!”
Mary: “A little bit.”
Nathan attempts a round-off back handspring and dislocates his back. An ambulance is called and Mary is pleased.
The show wraps with toasts of champagne and self-congratulations (?). Kathryn believes that "If you have great relationships in this business (and a well-stocked wine fridge), you can go far." Martyn reminds us that "In life, there is no point doing anything unless you love it. (And a celebrity is involved.)" Man-child Jeffrey is just delighted to earn a paycheck for his temper tantrums: “I’m so happy to get paid for my hobby. I literally don’t know what else I’d do if I wasn’t an interior designer. And fortunately I’m one of the best.”
In a recent interview, Martyn hinted at more to come: "I have got some unbelievable things in my back pocket for Season Two. A huge world magnate who I'm doing a castle for in Italy, a major A-list celebrity who I'm doing a vast, extraordinary Tuscan-style villa for in Hollywood, an Oscar winner who I'm creating a trophy room for, for his unbelievable amount of awards." In the second go 'round, maybe Kathryn will finally see a project come to fruition. Boy Toy Ross will dump Jeffrey for a wealthy hairstylist. Mary will be given her dream commission—an updating of Versailles' Hall of Mirrors. Nathan will carry her purse.
· 'Million Dollar Decorators' Designer Teases Finale & More Celebs for Season 2 [AOL TV]
· Episode Seven: Frankensofas, No-tell Motels, and Purple Lemonade [Curbed National]
· Episode Six: Mary Brings the Bitchy and Jeffrey Tears It Up [Curbed National]
· Episode Five: Permits, "A Passage to India," and Bathing a Deux [Curbed National]
· Episode Four, "Client Control": Just the Best One-Liners [Curbed National]
· Episode Three: Body Issues, a Sweaty Joe Francis, and Bird Poop [Curbed National]
· Episode Two: Hypnotism, a Pick-up Trick, and Really Old Tile [Curbed National]
· Episode One: The Osbournes, Divorce, and Snotty Guacamole [Curbed National]
· All Million Dollar Decorators coverage [Curbed National]
· If the Lamp Shade Fits [official site]