Antonio Ballatore crowned 'HGTV Design Star's fourth-season winner
By Christopher Rocchio, 09/14/2009
Antonio Ballatore was crowned the winner of HGTV Design Star's fourth season during last night's finale broadcast of the HGTV reality competition series.
The 40-year-old set designer from Los Angeles, CA defeated Dan Vickery, a 27-year-old interior designer and bartender from Portland, OR, to claim the grand prize of his own HGTV series.
"I hope HGTV is ready for me because I'm going bring it," Antonio said after being named the competition's winner. "I'm just actually really excited to have this chance to show everybody what I'm about and to be here and do this."
Host Clive Pearse then explained the final challenge would require Antonio and Dan to each redesign a different home -- including a living room, two bedrooms, and a kitchen. They would have a total of 44 hours over the course of four days, $50,000, the assistance of a team of carpenters, and appliances, electronics and floors provided for them.
Antonio and Dan journeyed to the homes they'd be redesigning and met the families they'd be working for -- with Antonio making over the Starr family's home and Dan working on the Goldberg family's home.
The next day Antonio and Dan got started on their final challenge. Antonio wanted to make the Starr family's house "more functional and open," and knew that would require him to remove and put-up some walls. Dan also wanted to create an "open and flowing home" for the Goldberg family that was more functional.
While the carpenters got to work demolishing the old spaces, Dan and Antonio went shopping for supplies. Both focused on new kitchen cabinets, appliances and paint. Since his carpenters were making such good progress, Antonio decided to have them undertake the master bathroom as well.
"The master bathroom is not a part of my challenge. I can get away with not doing that if I don't want to," he said. "But if I'm going to do this I'm going to do it right. I'm going to take the risk and I'm going to go for it."
The second day began with both Antonio and Dan hoping to complete construction and floor installation while also doing some shopping for furniture.
"I get back from the shopping trip and we have new hardwood floors and brand new cabinets," said Dan. "I'm hoping tomorrow I can get the rest of the shopping done and then just come home and execute in a way that is going to make me the next Design Star."
The third day commenced, with work continuing on both homes. With only eight hours in the final day, Dan and Antonio got right to work. Antonio had the kitchen repainted, and Dan ran into some problems when the washer and dryer wouldn't fit into the cabinet he had built for it. He got the washer to fit and did some last-minute shopping, as did Antonio.
The challenge then concluded with both Antonio and Dan pleased with their finished products.
"Win or lose, I feel like I've done the best I could," said Antonio. "I feel like I showed what I'm really about on this last challenge."
"I've been waiting for this moment for so long," said Dan. "I feel like I've done absolutely everything I can, and the elimination is up to the judges."
Antonio and Dan then met in the studio, where they were met by HGTV Design Star's fourth-season judging panel, which consists of HGTV designers Vern Yip, Genevieve Gorder and Candice Olson.
The finalists would be judged based on design sense and hosting skills.
Dan went first, and Vern thought he had "improved significantly" in his hosting skills. Genevieve agreed. Candice liked the "unexpected touches" in the living room, however Vern called the backsplash in the kitchen "a bit of a mistake" because it looked "unfinished." Both bedrooms received good reviews.
"What I love week after week is that you always think outside the box," said Candice.
Antonio's hosting skills were also complimented, despite how untraditional it is.
"It's so refreshing," said Genevieve.
The living room received good reviews from Candice, however Vern thought Antonio's space plan was "really off" due to the sofa in the middle of a narrow room. Genevieve disagreed and liked the overall vibe of the room, calling it "extraordinary." The kitchen and bedrooms also received compliments, with Vern adding he loved the fact that the master bathroom was closed off.
The judges then deliberated their decision before Clive revealed Antonio as the winner.
Antonio will renovate his own home during The Antonio Project, an HGTV special that will air next Sunday at 10PM ET/PT.