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Matt Lorenz crowned the champion of Bravo's 'Top Design' reality show


By Christopher Rocchio, 04/12/2007 

Matt Lorenz, a 32-year-old from Comfrey, MN, was crowned the winner of Bravo's Top Design during last night's finale of the reality competition series' first season.  The head of interior design at Darcy R. Bonner and Associates bested Carisa Perez-Fuentes, a 26-year-old interior design student from Highland Park, NJ, to take the crown.

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"I won.  I had the top design.  Was there any question really?  Seriously people," Lorenz told the cameras upon learning he was the winner.

Lorenz will receive a $100,000 grand prize from Lending Tree; a brand new 2007 Acadia vehicle from GMC; an editorial feature in Elle Decor magazine; and the chance to showcase his design skills at Elle Decor's Dining By Design in New York City.

"I get a spread with [editor-in-chief Margaret Russell] in Elle Decor... like seriously, is this s**t happening to me?" added Lorenz.

The 12 contestants who began the season competing on Top Design were narrowed to the final two by the judges: Russell, designer Jonathan Adler and interior designer Kelly Wearstler.  During the finale, film producer and actress Trudie Styler served as a special guest judge to help decide the winner.

For their final challenge, Lorenz and Perez-Fuentes had to design identical 1,700 square-foot lofts in Los Angeles.  Instead of working under the gun, the finalists received two months to return home and perfect their designs.  Then, they returned to Los Angeles and received five days to build and install their design.  Their budget for the final challenge was $12,500 plus a $150,000 credit to pick-out whatever they wanted from the Pacific Design Center.  The surprise twist was that -- rather than designing for somebody else -- Lorenz and Perez-Fuentes were their own clients, giving them free-reign to be as creative as the wanted.

Adler described Lorenz's loft as "sophisticated" and said the room her designed for his daughter as "magical."  "It felt like you already lived there and it looked really expensive," added Adler.

He described Perez-Fuentes' work as "graphic and bold," and added her loft design was "confident, beautiful, functional, and a place we'd all want to hang out."  He added the space felt "open and airy" and described her bedroom's sunken bed as "fierce" and a "really fun surprise."

"This is the best possible outcome and I'm really pleased," said Perez-Fuentes upon learning she was eliminated.  "If Matt had not won today, he would have left here devastated.  I didn't win today, and I'm not leaving here devastated, I'm leaving here really damn proud of myself.  I feel like, 'Good job Carisa... way to go.'"

In addition to the prizes given to Lorenz, his carpenter Ed Schoen also received $10,000. "I could not be here without Ed.  I can design, but I can't built it.  Ed's the man," said Lorenz.

(Photo credit Bravo/Trae Patton)

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