Two rooms, two designers, four days, and $25,000. Best Room Wins, Bravo’s newest high end-design competition series, premiered last night and all we have to say is: you're in for a treat.
Hosted by design guru Genevieve Gorder and judged by Siweb's very own Editor-in-Chief Whitney Robinson, each week also includes one rotating guest judge, with some of the design industry’s most celebrated names. Episode one kicks things off in full force, with designer-to-the-stars Martin Lawrence Bullard as both the guest judge and owner of the episode’s inspiration home.
It comes as no surprise that—given Bullard’s signature glamour—this week’s theme was Hollywood Regency. Marked by opulence, bold color, and luxurious materials, the Golden Age aesthetic exudes lavish living and favors a hefty budget. So, with only $25,000, the contestants— and —had their work cut out for them from the get-go. "Hollywood Regency is one of my favorite styles," says Whitney Robinson. "It’s the ultimate design #tbt—glam, elegant, and rife with historical references. And it’s a style with so much swagger and the use of great materials like marble, brass, and lacquer. Pure fantasy!" At the end of the four days, both contestants are judged on the overall look, use of the budget, and client satisfaction. Caution: spoilers ahead.
Watch a clip of the winner reveal:
We first get introduced to Ryan, a born-and-raised Los Angeles designer who launched his own firm at just 21 years old—but don’t let his youth fool you, he’s got major confidence that carries straight into his interiors. A lover of monochromatic spaces, Ryan’s colorful spirit is reflected in small, bold interior pops that he uses to balance his favored shades of black and white. Ryan’s clients, Jamie and Bryan—young parents whose home renovation plans were put to a halt with the arrival of their first child—love the Hollywood Regency style, and requested a living room that is a more subtle iteration of the glamorous aesthetic. Taking inspiration from Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s reflective bedroom ceiling and black-and-white patterned walls, the requested space would be elevated yet comfortable; “baby smart” as opposed to baby-proof.
Next, we meet Caitlin, a Los Angeles-based interior designer and principal of Black Lacquer Design. Originally from Indiana, Caitlin comes across as down-to-earth, but with a classic California coolness. She describes her style as colorful and layered, drawing from many eras and styles that are pattern-punched and texturally rich. While Ryan’s clients wanted a functional and family-oriented space, Caitlin’s clients—a young and snazzy duo whose everyday ensemble includes velvet blazers and sky-high stilettos—had a slightly different vision for their home. Before renovations, Ramiro and Angela’s modestly-outfitted interiors were beige, wood-paneled, and almost Brady Bunch-esq—a complete departure from the couples’ own personal style. With Caitlin’s help, they hoped to ditch the outdated surfaces and soupy-brown shades for a sumptuous space filled with velvet, jewel-tones, and lacquer. "I want that 'wow-factor'," Ramiro said.
As construction began on both rooms, contestants were met with the inevitable complications. Ryan, who was already low on money after the clients’ request for a pricey gas fireplace, had to blow through more of his budget due to a wallpaper miscalculation. Caitlin, on the other hand, was dealing with unhappy clients who felt as though they weren’t kept in the loop. But alas, these are the trials and tribulations of a designer. Four long days later, and Caitlin and Ryan put the finishing touches on their spaces.
In Ryan’s room, the fireplace, curtains, and Chinoiserie bar were all a hit—and the judges were most impressed by the old-school-meets-new-school aesthetic. The attention to detail and use of pattern made the space stand out without feeling overly-glamorous. The shimmery mica ceiling (a.k.a. the budget drainer) was a miss for all three judges.
Right off the bat, the judges were wowed by Caitlin’s living room design (Bullard, immediately bringing attention to the green ceiling, which was inspired by his own home). They were drawn to the marble-clad fireplace, noting that the entire room felt perfectly reflective of the inspiration home. A “glam pad,” as Bullard called it. One detail they weren’t as happy about was the matte black wall above the fireplace, wishing it had been more high-gloss (a part of the original plan that had to be eliminated due to budgeting).
After what seemed like a neck-and-neck race, Caitlin Murray's high-glam living room for Ramiro and Angela came out on top. The statement marble fireplace, glossy green ceiling, and trademark Hollywood Regency vibe was a stark departure from the originally drab space, and reflected both the couple and designer’s charismatic energy.
As the founder and CEO of the award-winning Los Angeles-based interior design firm, , it comes as no surprise that Caitlin took home the gold. Outside of the show, her love of layered eclecticism translates into bold, soulful interiors, which reflect an elevated aesthetic that is equally comfortable and warm. From Century City high-rises to Manhattan Beach homes, Caitlin's diverse portfolio helped guide her throughout the challenge, with a final product that speaks for itself.