SPOILER ALERT: The Apartment: Design Your Destiny - Episode 9

We finally find out the FINAL TWO TEAMS! The last few weeks have just flown by, and this episode opens with a recap of everything that's happened up to this point. From the auditions, to some behind the scenes antics of contestants and judges alike, the first half of the episode really brought home the fact that the season is coming to a close.

Unlike previous episodes, this week did not see any design challenges. Instead, we continue at design court where we left off: who stays, and who goes home?

Let's start with the bad news first: the teams that are out of the competition are Adam and Adrian, and Pearlyn and Nara. Can I just say I was really shocked? As I said last week, I thought Adam and Adrian were going to win the challenge! I mean, that kitchen and dining area was gorgeous. Hmm.

In any case, the final two teams still in the running to win a rent- and mortgage-free life are:

Deankie and Tiara, and Sonia and Yvette!

They're not going to have an easy time getting that win, though. Just before the episode ends, the judges drop the bomb on them: the final design challenge will require that the two teams design an entire home...in 72 hours.

That is the craziest challenge on The Apartment to date! To say I'm super-psyched for the finale this Sunday would be an understatement. It is going to be epic!

So let's get to know the final two teams as we await the season finale airing this Sunday at 9.40pm on StarWorld (special thanks to Karen K of Jaden Social for the write-up!).
 #teamSonyaYvette – The Fashionistas 
 Yvette and Sonya “bumped into each other” in their shared apartment block in central Singapore; bonding over their love for fashion, it didn’t take long before these neighbors became friends. Yvette earned herself a bachelor in media and communications and has had a successful career as a television presenter (Fashion Basics, High Life), fashion journalist (Marie France Asia, Being Woman), as well as maintaining her fashion blog “Tanjong Bazaar”.  Yvette has a unique, experimental fashion style: “I love to mix vintage pieces with the ultra modern and classic items against interesting textures. I like a splash of something unexpected and tend to avoid a cookie-cutter look head to toe”. 
Model and actress, Sonya, started modeling at the early age of 16 and has been successful in the field of fashion, having also started a fashion line called Glow Maternity – maternity clothing for young and stylish moms. On her personal style: “I am very picky with what I wear. I would describe my style as chic, feminine, and sexy. But beyond this, style is how you carry yourself”.  
Yvette and Sonya were early favourites of the competition, winning two of the first three challenges on series three of The Apartment. Even judge Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen said he “felt almost physically sick” because he hadn’t thought of designing in the same way that they have. The girls are keeping their fingers crossed that they can translate their knowledge and love of fashion into the competitive and ever-changing world of interior design.
#teamDeankieTiara – The Resident Filipino Team  

Friends since they attended the same art school, bonding over their love of design, fashion, and everything about the arts, Deankie and Tiara are the Filipino representatives in The Apartment. Deankie initially planned to enter the competition with his Aunt but after she couldn’t make it, he asked Tiara and rightfully hasn't had a single regret since!  Having battled with revealing his sexuality to his friends and family, losing a father, and facing the imminent threat of repossession of his family home, Deankie has been through many hardships – but you wouldn’t be able to tell from his cheerful personality. A self-confessed antagonist of monotony, Deankie loves “matching random accents”.  Tiara would describe her design style as “modern and sophisticated”, preferring neutral colours with a pop of bright colours to spice things up. However, they both agreed that neon colours would never enter either of their bedrooms. 
With no money and both unemployed, Deankie and Tiara entered the competition with a sense of urgency – literally designing to keep a roof over their heads. Despite both only being 23 and with no real experience beyond art school, they have not failed to humbly impress the judges week after week. Whilst never winning a weekly challenge, they have never found themselves in the bottom two, and instead have been “flying under the radar”. It has become very apparent that the underdogs, Deankie and Tiara, have an unbreakable design chemistry, which they are hoping will allow them to successfully represent the Filipino creativity and take out the title of the winners of season three of The Apartment.

SPOILER ALERT: The Apartment: Design Your Destiny - Episode 8

This week has to be my absolute favorite week so far this season, because the contestants worked on their kitchen and dining rooms! This week, the design brief had one specific direction: the contestants needed to reflect their own personal style. They were helped...well, "helped"...by their friends who sent over some personal items, some of which didn't exactly fit their intended design scheme.

This week was a study in self-esteem and motivation: Yvette and Sonia were in the bottom two last week and it really affected their confidence this week. It was interesting to see how the stress manifested itself - they're usually really calm and confident, but this week they questioned their every move. Despite their worries, though, they turned out an amazing kitchen and dining area! I love love love the rustic industrial mixed with Peranakan theme, but I felt the kitchen was a bit cold compared to the dining area. That chalkboard wall looked great, though.

See the difference between the two areas?
The dining area looks a lot more inviting.
Love that chalkboard wall!

Also, this made me LOL:

Cannot be unseen!
Now let's move on to Per and Nara. They have become the dark horse of the competition, with their designs getting better and better each week. It's interesting how these two paired refinement with a bit of their usual spunk. I LOVE that they had the wet kitchen - very functional! The judges seemed annoyed that the living room didn't fit in with the kitchen and dining areas, but seriously, how the heck do you bring those two looks together?

You can just barely see the living room here.
How to match la, you tell me??

Adam and Adrian did amazingly well this week. That wall is just...stunning. These two seem to have an instinct for good design, especially when they go all out like they did this week: "If we go out, we go out with a bang!". The entire kitchen and dining area just...worked. And I love that they picked up the orange-red of the walls in the accessories throughout the area.

Deankie and Tiara did really great this week too, although I agree with the judges that the beehive thing should have been exterminated. Their ceiling more than made up for it, though. These two are DIY masters, which is something that sets them apart from other teams. They put in their personal touch on pretty much every item in their rooms, which is admirable in any other context, but when you think about how little time the contestants have each week, it makes their DIY-ness that much more special.

Look at that ceiling! So creative.
But this? Just...no.

So, who's in and who's out this week? Well...

We don't know! The results will be announced next week. I think that Adam and Adrian could very well win this week, but I can't think of who'd be going out, because each team did great this week. Hmm...guess we'll have to wait and see. But while we wait, anyone care to venture a guess?

SPOILER ALERT: The Apartment: Design Your Destiny - Episode 7

This week on The Apartment: Design Your Destiny, the final four were given their biggest challenge yet - Luxury on a Budget! With only $2000 to spend, the teams were asked to design a guest room. The teams also had a chance of finding some treasure if they figured out the riddle.

The riddle was a bit like WTF? I couldn't figure it out. Then Yvette & Sonia and Per & Nara figured out that they needed to run to April and Jen's house! There, Laurence gave them access to the "treasure:  The latest collection from House of Laurence. Contestants were saying that the collection was really flamboyant, so half of the luxury concept is done, but the teams still had a lot of work to do. Deankie said it best: Luxury and small budget just doesn't work.

And then the teams were told that they were moving to a new house...and moving in together! Seriously? Please note that this is the first time that teams had to deal with stairs. I remember Phil and Eva telling us how lucky we were this season to have a one-storey home to decorate. I guess they spoke too soon! The stairs are a big factor because the increased exhaustion can be incredibly distracting. I really do hate stairs, can you tell?

The shopping was really exciting this week. I really love the warehouse...why do I not know where that is? I'm making some calls to producers in a bit. However, when you have limited time, the abundant choices and the disorganization can get pretty darn overwhelming!

Central market is probably one of my most favorite places in Kuala Lumpur. I love that it was featured on the show! I've found some treasures there before, so that definitely fit in with the theme of the show.

So, how did the teams do?

Let's get the winners out of the way (yes, that's in plural!):

Per and Nara's room really stood out this week. That is a bedroom I'd like to have! And I have to disagree with the guest judge - if they went with the same tone as the wall, it wouldn't have been classy. It would have been boring. I love that they had a bit of funk in their room with that paint color. Very nice!

Now, as for Deankie and Tiara, I did like some of the pieces (especially that armoire!) and I love them for the same reason Laurence does: they are artisans as well as designers. They put their touch on everything, which is really inspiring. But the room as a whole just seemed a bit...cluttered.

So which teams were in the bottom two this week?

Week 7's bottom two: Adam & Adrian, Yvette & Sonia

I thought that Yvette and Sonia did do too much, and this is SO unexpected from them! They usually keep things really subtle and classy. They took a risk with all that wallpaper, and it did not pay off. This marks the first time they these two have been in the bottom two.

See how classy?
I liked Adam & Adrian's room...aside from that wall, of course. The funny thing is, I think the teal wall with wood panels was brilliant! And I thought Adrian's troubleshooting for his botched sponging was excellent! If you f*ck up when sponging with a light color on your dark base color, use your base color over bits you want to fix. Obviously, it didn't completely remove the problem. But it was a good idea nonetheless.

So who is out this week?

Umm...no one. That's right, no one went home this week! I don't know what to make of this. There are only three episodes left, and four teams left. The math doesn't really add up. I have an idea of what might happen...anyone else? Can't wait for next week's episode to see if my guess is right!

As the episode drew to a close, the teams were reunited with their loved ones. As usual, I cried. I hope that being reminded of their reasons for being in the competition will boost their morale a little bit!

The book: An update!

I'm about halfway through now, and I'm realizing that it's...not easy. LOL. Between the kids getting sick and the constant stream of errands that I need to attend to (the life of every mom, pretty much), writing my first book hasn't been the "typewriter by the lake, hot mug of coffee by my side, autumn breeze fluttering through the open windows, sun streaming onto my work desk" situation that I envisioned as a kid. Instead it's a "let's try and get this paragraph done while one child climbs on my back, yelling FOR CHIMA!! and the other jumping off the coffee table to try different landing styles that may or may not break his legs" kind of situation most days.

Having the kids around has been useful in some ways, though:

Babywearing a pre-schooler isn't something I particularly enjoy doing (my poor back!) but any time I find it difficult to put my thoughts into words, I just grab a carrier and wear Afraz. I hardly ever wear him these days, but his face lights up whenever I ask him if he'd like to get in a carrier, and he goes absolutely limp and relaxed once he's in it (see the picture on the left). So, parents who wonder if their kids ever "grow out of it" and get sick of being worn, I can tell you: most kids will never grow out of wanting to be close and cuddly with their mamas (that's me receiving lots of grateful kisses on the right).

There are a few exciting things I'll blog about next week with regards to the book - and you will have a chance to be actively involved! So watch this space and don't forget to subscribe for updates. And why don't you go and "Like" Glam Mama on FB while you're at it, so you won't miss a thing ;)

SPOILER ALERT: The Apartment: Design Your Destiny - Episode 6

The Challenge:
This week’s challenge is to create the heart of the home: a fantastic family room. In order to throw the teams out of their comfort zones, they are restricted with their color choices for their sixth challenge. With each team being assigned a specific color palette, they have to adapt swiftly and design a family room that is able to cater to the needs of three generations.  
Another spanner is tossed into the works as unexpected guests at the mall greet the teams. Kids twelve years of age and under accompany the teams on their shopping trip, posing as their clients. These kids who are highly opinionated are definitely not the easiest clients to please!

Laurence in that pinstripe suit, surrounded by kids.
Seems like he's living up to that nickname I gave him.
(Hint: it rhymes with Harry Loppins)
Anyone who has worked in front of the camera will tell you that working with kids and animals can be incredibly frustrating and challenging. Add to that the time crunch, budget constraints, assigned color choices, and not one but TWO spaces to design...and our contestants are stuck in possibly one of the toughest weeks this season.

It was nice to see the teams stepping up their game, though! Per and Nara surprised me with their sleek and sophisticated room. I thought the pieces that they put up on the wall (the tree painting and the string art) were incredible, and it's a testament to how far they've come in terms of their skills that they did those themselves.

Meanwhile, Sonya and Yvette turned out a really pleasant room. I like that this week they decided to be subtle without being boring. I think they're injecting a bit of soul in there, to Laurence's delight, I'm sure. I should say, however, that I really love that carpet and I don't think it's ugly at all! I don't get what all the fuss was about.

Now, the deserving winners of this week were none other than...

Yay, Deankie and Tiara! The moment I saw that stunning wall coming together, I knew they'd win. Their room was utter perfection! The wall, the bookshelf, the red chair...these two are great at curating items for their room, and they're talented at making things themselves. They've definitely been proving themselves worthy competitors these past few weeks.

In the bottom two again were the lovebirds:

Why are the judges so insistent on separating these love birds?? I think the bottom two were picked just for the drama :(

To be fair, I really think the boys didn't do too bad. I liked that Hogwarts feel in their family room, and although I get that it's not family-friendly for most of us, I bet the Addams family would feel right at home in there. And that treehouse? I mean, really...SO clever!

But Ines and Jennifer have had a couple of rough weeks with their execution not meeting their expectations. There was the collapsing structure in their garden last week, and the botched paint job this week (points for trying something new with that drip effect, though!). So it's no surprise that...

Ines and Jennifer are out.

These beauty queens were always really sweet and charming in real life and on TV, so I was disappointed to see them go :( At the very least, they've proven that stunning beauty and impressive brains aren't mutually exclusive. Let's hope that beauty queen bimbo stereotype goes away for good!

So what are we in for next week?

These contestants do more cardio in a day than most of us do in a month, thanks to all that frantic running! There seems to be some kind of surprise twist next week and I can't even begin to guess what it could be. Excited yet? Me too!

Oh, by the way, the Dulux Virtual Decoration Tool has just gone live this past Sunday! You can walk through each of the apartments and be inspired by the design choices. Best of all, you can design your own rooms and be in the running to win weekly prizes! So if you think you've got the design skills, now's the time to prove it ;) Make sure to check the tutorial for tips and tricks!

SPOILER ALERT: The Apartment: Design Your Destiny - Episode 5

I will be the first to tell you that I do NOT have a green thumb. So this episode definitely did not get me as excited as Jamie D (he talks about plants the way I talk about Tom Hiddleston - overly enthusiastic and breathlessly enamored).
Design Brief 
We know you've been cooped up in-doors for the past few challenges, so it is time to take you outside and smell the roses. This weeks challenge is what's considered the outdoor room, the Garden. The Garden compliments the home by being an extension of the interior and may provide as a sanctuary. 
You have 17 hours to complete this challenge. You have a budget of just $7,500 to go with your 8 hours of handy man time.
The episode begins with a surprise for Deankie and Tiara: this week, they were helped out by none other than last season's winning team, Phil and Iva! I can't emphasize enough how priceless this help is. Not only are Phil and Iva the overall winners from last year, but they were actually the winners for the garden challenge last season! They live on a boat, and have a real knack for all things nature, so this is very much their forte. D & T got real lucky on this one!

But not all the teams are feeling the love this week. Ines and Jennifer found it hard to see eye-to-eye, which led to a few tears shed between them. Per and Nara also couldn't really get along this week, but it looked like blood was going to be shed instead of tears.

Adam and Adrian were saved from elimination last week, and seemed more determined than ever to win the competition. I LOVED the fact that they used wood on the walls - definitely going to steal that idea for my future home (not that I'm planning to have much of a garden...).

Sarah and Brian went with a Balinese theme garden, which I have a soft spot for. They got a lot of flak for placing a fountain in the middle of the garden, but I really didn't see a problem with it (although Adrian was onto something when he said it'd be dangerous for kids).

Yvette and Sonia did their chic thang with the garden, which I thought was actually pretty charming. I could see my girlfriends and I sipping lemonade and having SATC-style brunches there. Per and Nara had a real "party hard" garden that also, interestingly, had a little play area for little ones. According to Per, kids need a safe spot to play in while mama sleeps off a hangover, LOL.

Onto the results!

First of all, let's get the winners out of the way:

Way to go, Adam and Adrian! Can't keep a good man (or good men) down. They totally deserved this win. This goes to show that people can really surprise you if you give them a second chance.

Now, let's see who's in the bottom two:

At this point in the competition, I'm sure it's hard for judges to pick the bottom two every week. Every team is churning out really good results, so no one is "bad" at design. But Sarah and Brian DID NOT deserve to be up for elimination at all! Frankly, I thought the winning team was going to be a toss-up between Adam & Adrian and Sarah & Brian. To be fair, Per and Nara didn't do great, but again, it wasn't awful...although the hanging plants were a little bit of a mess!

Aiyo, the hanging plants.
In the end, the team that said goodbye to their chances of winning a home was Sarah and Brian :( They did not deserve to go home this week, and I'm still upset by the results. My mother, usually graceful and polite, began yelling at the TV when Laurence announced that The Chens were out. 

Well, things are definitely going to get tougher next week with only five teams remaining in the competition. Who are your favorites for the win??