Episode Six : The Study

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It’s hard to believe that we are past the halfway point in the competition. So far this whirlwind experience has been physically, psychologically and creatively draining… For weeks now we’ve been fueled solely by strong, volatile adrenaline and our anxious desire to win. After surviving last week’s elimination, we enter this week’s challenge knowing all too well that we are now at a crucial point in the game. The pressure escalates as we realize the stakes are suddenly very real.

Excited at the Start of the Challenge

As Jamie presents the challenge, Phil and I are excited and somewhat relieved at the thought of doing a single, smaller space. Before living on his boat, Phil had worked from his Kuala Lumpur apartment and we both immediately loved the idea of integrating a home office into our East Residence. As this was another Rapid Design challenge, we had little time to discuss a clear concept – which worked out well as we decided to take a direct cue from our assigned Dulux Color Trend for 2013 : Home Factory.

Dulux Colour Trend 2013 : Home Factory

The catalogue described the palette as a creation for those who long for a return to more a more traditional and natural way of life, with self-reliance in mind… Which if you think about it, is perfect for boat dwellers. Phil and I quickly agreed to pursue our exploration of creating modern spaces with raw materials.

Our shopping was as hectic as ever, though with different priorities as we found ourselves motivated to buy sustainable or repurposed goods. After last week’s polished concrete attempt, our ambition was still growing and we prepared for another very hands-on approach to design.

As the clock ticked, Phil began to acquaint himself with the craft of carpentry. With planks of wood and custom-made wooden shelves, we were able to create a feature corner on the wall that was both functional and decorative, in keeping with our theme. Phil also customized the bottom of the chairs we had bought to serve as bookshelves or additional storage.

Customization of Table from ED Carpenters

I felt very proud of my boyfriend as he quickly acquired and improved his manual abilities, surprising the both of us and providing a huge advantage for our team. At the same time, we hired Sasha’s handymen to help us with the wallpaper and though the room began to take shape, we soon realized that we had undertaken a few too many projects.

Failed DIY Project!

The bigger part of our ten hours had passed and we entered frenzy mode. Having to work around each other is not easy, especially given our reduced space and added pressure.

Having watched the advertisements for this week’s episode, Phil and I were both dreading having our personal disputes transmitted in more than 25 countries. Less teams means more airtime and fewer distractions, and it was the first time that the drama centered on Team Dali.  We were curious to see which direction the editors would choose. With such large amounts of footage at hand, the same exchange or argument can easily be portrayed in many different ways – all with a few clicks of the mouse! we must admit that all in all, we seemed to remain quite civil.

The best part of this show is that in living such an intense and condensed experience together, it forces Phil and I to discover sides of each other that we perhaps wouldn’t have faced until much later in our relationship.

We finished our study and I remember being in awe of our work while we waited for the judges. Although we always want more time for each challenge, I could not believe how finished the room looked. It felt like the first time during the competition where we felt we had successfully translated our initial ideas into a solid design… And the best part was, the judges agreed!

Paula Malai Ali & Jeremy Rowe

Feels great to have won this challenge, a victory that encourages us to push further and also confirms that we are improving along the way.

Til next week!


Click here to continue to Episode 7: The Guest Room

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