|Andrea Keller||36||Los Angeles, California||Modern, bold and cultural|
|Carisa Perez-Fuentes||26||New York City, New York||Clean and Modern|
|Elizabeth Moore||48||Los Angeles, California||Creative and eclectic|
|Erik Kolacz||28||Chicago, Illinois||Creatively client-focused|
|Felicia Bushman||38||Los Angeles, California||Eclectic|
|Goil Amornvivat||33||New York City, New York||Architectural Ultra Modern|
|Heather Ashton||36||Los Angeles, California||Historical and progressive|
|John Gray||40||Chicago, Illinois||Casual Elegance|
|Lisa Turner||48||Los Angeles, California||Ethnic Modern|
|Matt Lorenz||32||Chicago, Illinois||Current contemporary that's livable|
|Michael Adams||23||New York City, New York||Chic but comfortable|
|Ryan Humphrey||35||New York City, New York||Artcentric Expressionism|
|Matt||HIGH||IN||LOW||HIGH||IN||WIN||HIGH||WIN||WIN||WIN||Winner of Top Design|
|Carisa||IN||HIGH||IN||WIN||LOW||HIGH||LOW||HIGH||HIGH||Runner-Up||Runner Up: Lofty Designs|
|Andrea||IN||IN||WIN||IN||WIN||LOW||WIN||LOW||OUT||Eliminated: Elle Decor Cover Inspiration|
|Goil||WIN||HIGH||IN||IN||IN||LOW||LOW||OUT||Eliminated: Metropolitan Home Suites|
|Michael||LOW||LOW||WIN||IN||LOW||HIGH||OUT||Eliminated: Chef's Choice|
|Erik||IN||WIN||IN||IN||IN||OUT||Eliminated: Life of the Party|
|Ryan||IN||LOW||LOW||LOW||OUT||Eliminated: Garage Band|
|Felicia||HIGH||IN||WIN||OUT||Eliminated: One Man's Trash|
|Elizabeth||WIN||IN||OUT||Eliminated: Life's a Beach|
|John||LOW||OUT||Eliminated: Child's Play|
|Heather||OUT||Eliminated: Mystery Judge|
|Lisa||OUT||Eliminated: Mystery Judge|
The contestants worked in teams of two to design a room for a mystery judge based on five personal items the judge feels represents them. Heather and Lisa did not get along, as Lisa insisted on planning the entire room herself, to which Heather reluctantly acquiesced. John and Michael take an instant dislike to one another, as Michael feels John is too harsh on him, and John feels Michael is too prissy. The mystery judge was Alexis Arquette.
Winners: Goil and Elizabeth
Out: Heather and Lisa
At the beginning of the episode, John announces to the other contestants that he is HIV-positive, and that his aggravation toward Michael was a result of a large dose of testosterone that he received before the competition, to keep his immune system functioning normally.
The contestants are assigned to design a room, and are given a fact sheet about each client. They buy their large furniture at the Design Center, on an $8000 budget. They are surprised when they meet their clients; they are all 9 or 10 years old. After a few minutes in which to talk to their clients, the designers go to Target to shop for more accessories. Each person receives $300 for this excursion, except for Elizabeth and Goil; as winners of the last competition, they receive $400 each.
Despite initial misgivings about Carisa's design with a desk built in to the foot of the bed (one judge remarked that an active boy could easily hurt himself on the rough edges), her design was named one of the best that night. Goil's design, with a bed equipped to roll away inside the wall when not in use, and a crawl space for the child to hide if he so chose, was also liked by the judges. Erik's design, revolved around a wooden "pirate ship" (the client he had expressed an interest in pirates), won top prize.
Ryan was chastised by all of the judges (most notably Margaret Russell) for designing his room around a girl's cat and not the girl herself. John did not finish his floor in time for the inspection, to which Jonathan Adler remarked that John was "Mayor of Excuses Village." Michael's room was criticized for being too geared to the elderly, with judges noting that they felt it resembled an assisted living facility. Due to John not finishing his work on time, and what the judges felt were too many excuses and not enough accountability for his actions, he was eliminated.
At the beginning of the episode, each contestant is given a bag of trinkets which includes a postcard of an "exotic beach getaway." The three postcards depict Miami, Tahiti and St. Tropez. Since there are only three postcards, multiple contestants got the same card, which randomly selected teams. Elizabeth, Erik and Matt got the "Miami" postcard, Andrea, Felicia and Michael got the "Tahiti" postcard, and Carisa, Goil and Ryan got the "St. Tropez" postcard. Their mission is to build a cabana inspired by the postcard, with limited time (16 hours in total) and resources (unlike other challenges, furniture was only allowed to be purchased from Pier One Imports). Since Erik won the last competition, he could not be eliminated during this challenge. This worried Matt, as he could be eliminated a lot easier being on a team with only two viable targets as opposed to three.
Almost from the beginning, Ryan and Carisa butt heads as to the direction of the design. Carisa felt Ryan was not trained enough in actual decorating and design of rooms to make an accurate assessment of the project, while Ryan felt as if Carisa was trying to dominate decisions and pigeonhole him into things he did not have expertise in (for example, Carisa wanting him to shop for fabrics). In the end, Ryan decides he to make himself responsible for choosing the furniture and decorative items, and it is decided that Carisa will shop for fabrics. Elizabeth takes charge for her entire group, which troubles Matt, who does not actively make his own voice heard. The Tahiti group works very well together, with Felicia remarking that Michael has had renewed energy, in her view due to narrowly escaping elimination the night before.
At midnight, their designs are packaged and put on a truck to be taken to the beach in the morning, where the groups will assemble their designs in the sand. Andrea, Felicia and Michael decide to leave the roof off their design, as they feel it is more serene that way.
During the judging process, the judges note that all the teams made progress and also made bad decisions as well. Among the bad decisions noted, the Miami team was criticized for using colors that were deemed too ugly and "not Miami," the Tahiti team was chastised for not having a roof, despite their visions of the project, and the St. Tropez team is harped upon for picking furniture that does not make a statement with the structure. Despite not having a roof, the judges pick the Tahiti team as winners of the challenge. They earn a weekend at the Viceroy Resort in Santa Monica, California, and private use of a cabana designed by judge Kelly Wearstler. Andrea is happy, and remarks that it can be a "girls' weekend" for the three of them.
The bottom three contestants are then selected, Erik, Matt, and Elizabeth. Erik was immune from elimination, Elizabeth gets blamed for the color's that the judges disliked, while Matt did not make his voice heard loud enough for the judges. Elizabeth was eliminated.
Winners: Andrea, Felicia and Michael (Team Tahiti)
The designers had to design a room for a design student. They shopped for furniture at garage sales.
The winner of this challenge got to have the first pick of carpenters the next challenge.
The fifth episode of "Top Design" features the designers working with The All-American family -- three kids, two parents, and a dog -- to create a dream family space in their garage. Since Andrea had the Top Design for her model she presented to the family, she was the team leader of the garage makeover project. They had $5100 and about one day to complete the project.
Carisa, Michael and Matt were chosen for the better design. They chose to hire a bodyguard for outside the party room and the judges all agreed he was a nice touch. Originally, the team was planning on hiring Go-Go dancers but instead went with the bodyguard. Matt was chosen as the winner and was allowed an extra hour in the next challenge. This upset Carisa who claimed that the design for the tent was entirely hers and she should have won the challenge.
The remaining four designers were each assigned one of the four basic elements: wind, water, earth, and fire. Matt was assigned water, Andrea received earth, Carissa was given air, and Goil was given fire. Utilizing the assigned themes, the designers were given three days to design a luxury hotel suite.
The strongest remaining interior design contestants select one of 10 Elle Decor magazine covers as inspiration for their design. Joining host Todd Oldham are judges Jonathan Adler, Margaret Russell and Kelly Wearstler, who - along with furniture and interior designer Michael Berman - will decide who has created the "Top Design," and who will be sent home.
The 'Final Two' are given two months to plan to decorate lofts in Los Angeles, to their own taste and style, and five days to execute their plans.