Episode 1 - It’s a VIBE!
The premiere episode of FREESTYLED is one of my favs. Not only does the renter friendly design scream bold, vibrant and custom but I got to do it for my hair dresser and good friend Chelsea Hood! As a single mom, entrepreneur and aspiring artist, both Chelsea and her son couldn’t be more deserving of a TWEAK iT redesign in their living room.
Chelsea’s episode was the first one we shot. Justin Herman ( Show Runner/Producer/Director ) thought this would be best for me to get the jitters out, get into a good rhythm with the crew and start with a design that was all the way in my wheelhouse… Like in the concrete of the foundation of my wheelhouse!
FUN FACT: Chelsea did a little impromptu freestyle action during her initial zoom casting. It was EPIC! We knew right then and there that we had to cast her on the show FREESTYLED - How could we not?
SET THE SCENE:
Its 7am on a snow flurry day in April. Crew arrives about an hour or so before me to get set up. Keep in mind this property is the only rental apartment out of the 6 episodes. So there were some tents set up in the parking lot to allow for more work space. After formally meeting everyone, going through safety meetings, Covid protocols, enjoying some Starbucks and getting mic’d up… it was finally time for some lights - camera - action!
Chelsea had to hook your girl up with the flat iron … The perks of casting your own hair dresser! I was not ready for this snowy weather and the first scene was outside! Of course the one day I planned to wear my hair straight.
THE WALK UP:
The walk up is the first part of the episode when I breakdown all the info about the client we’re about to meet. Justin usually feeds me my line right then and there hoping I can memorize it ( memory not my strength ) and deliver it straight to the camera as I’m walking down the street, in this case the parking lot of Chelsea’s apartment building. This took me about 6 takes or so to feel really confident we had something we could use. For the record, I nailed it on my first take but we switched the script a little for the remaining takes. I wasn't messing around! I was determined to get out of the 40 degree snow flurrying weather.
MEET AND GREET:
Back inside, we kicked off with the meet and greet scene so that Chelsea could leave the property and we can dig into the re design. Now, as you could imagine this was super easy for us both because we knew each other. Outside of awkwardly acting like it was the first time meeting, our casual conversation about what Chelsea wished for in her living room was super natural, easy going and lots of fun! Just two friends kickin’ it.
DESIGN WISH LIST:
•Music studio vibes / lounge
•Place to write music/feel inspired
Now of course I learned about the wishlist during pre production zoom calls. With the help of Casting Director Tara, I got a tour of the apartment and asked all the design questions I needed to come up with a master plan. Production Manager Nicki and Jack from my design team did a quick site check at Chelsea’s - took pics, grabbed some measurements and scoped out furniture with TWEAK iT potential throughout the home. I then created some mood boards for inspiration and selected paint colors. Once network gave me the green light on the design, the art team and I began sourcing everything needed to bring the mood board to life. FUN FACT: Every time I was in the hair chair, Chelsea was dropping all the hints of what she wanted her living room to look like! She made it known COLOR. MUSIC. LIGHTS.
Once Chelsea left we got right to the design. My art team ( Angie & Jack ) weren’t messing around … The room was cleared out in minutes! We began prepping walls for painting and getting art tents outside setup for all things spray paint. Anxious to get started, I began rolling paint on walls as Angie and Jack continued prepping next steps… the cassette tape wallpaper and microphone chandelier!
After lunch Angie and I started with the wallpaper install as Jack was fine tuning the structure of his chandelier masterpiece. Although I’m in love with how this wallpaper turned out … girl, was it tricky to put on! Instead of vertical panels, they were horizontal which made it super challenging. So we cut them into the smallest sections so we had more control and slowly worked our way up the wall piece by piece.
FUN FACT: As we were nearing our last row of wallpaper, my gut told me we were going to run out… we didn’t have enough!! So we got creative and left the section behind the big mirror blank to make sure the wallpaper went all the way to the ceiling line. Whew! JUST enough.
The last piece we wanted to install before the days end was the soundproof ceiling paneling and microphone chandelier. How amazing are these soundproof panels?!? Who knew they came in really cute colors? As soon as I saw these it was an immediate yes for me. With the walls having lots of color and now pattern, the only place left in my mind was the ceiling! I figured it was a dope TWEAK iT twist on music studio and helps make a bolder statement out of the microphone chandelier… I really wanted this to be the focal point in the space.
We installed the panels at first with a staple gun but noticed they weren’t laying quite right so we removed and tried again with carpet tape… Success! I played around with a few different shapes and color ways, then we landed on the final look. And SHE’S CUUUTE!
Throughout the day I did some scenes outside in the art tent spray painting Chelsea’s coffee table, speaker side tables, boombox and microphones for the chandelier.
Once the microphones were attached and Jack wrapped the base with LED light strips, it was time to hang! My design concept was built around the pre existing ceiling light in Chelsea’s rental that we couldn’t change … so why not build around it!
It was getting late and our 12 hour day was coming to an end. So we quickly added ceiling hooks to the top of the chandelier and up it went. Although the microphone wires weren’t cut yet, I was eager to get the full effect with the LED lights. We played around with lighting colors with the remote until we landed on a glow we thought complimented the wall paint colors.
In just 12 hours, this room has GLOWN all the way up. Back at it tomorrow for furniture load in, styling and the big reveal!
And Day 2 was just like that. First thing, we loaded in furniture and got the LED light strips installed on the baseboards around the room. Styling with some pillows, plants and music studio equipment - This music studio living room lounge was ready for the reveal!
Wow. What a FREESTYLED transformation.
One episode down, 5 to go!
Watch the first full Episode of HGTV's FREESTYLED HERE!