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top design interview: margaret russell

yesterday i picked up the phone and had a short chat with top design judge and editor in chief of elle decor, margaret russell. i've been intrigued by margaret's blog for a while now (it's much more candid than the editing makes her appear on camera) and was excited to get to ask her some questions i've been dying to ask for a while now. why so many team challenges? why can't they meet their clients? did the judges regret any of their decisions later? you can hear margaret's answer to all of these and more (and find out who inspired her to see space differently) by clicking play below. thank you again to margaret and bravo for their time (all photos are from bravotv.com).

[stay tuned for photos, another interview and hopefully some insider gossip tomorrow after the meet up tonight...]

[NOTE: all scholarship applicants- please tune in tomorrow for the finalists. there were some techinical glitches with a number of applications so i needed another day to process everything]

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not bad...I'm surprised she liked Goil at all.


12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Grace- can't wait for more Top Design tidbits. I missed it on the blog :-)


12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad the comments are back up- I wondered if we weren't allowed to comment because of Bravo ;)

It was nice to hear her sound a BIT more natural. I think they edit her to be the "mean" judge.


12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never seen this show, but Margaret Russell is hot.

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She always has such nice hair...

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this- It's nice to hear her answer some of the questions I wanted to ask her myself.

Now, about Kelly's clothes..?


12:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised she liked Goil too. Margaret seems so much nicer and more down-to-earth here than she does on the show. Now I definitely believe she was edited to seem a certain way. This changes my opinion - she seems very open-minded, charming and classy.

1:50 PM  
Blogger suzannemarques said...

her blog was so insightful. i loved learning about how well certain issues sold, & expanded thoughts on the designers. i love a peek into the mind of such an accomplished & smart woman.

6:52 PM  
Blogger AfricaLiving said...

Your blog is great. I really hope your liasons with house and garden, and now bravo don't compromise things too much.

But what's up? I'm really surprised to see you pitching Top Design in the end. We all know that show SUCKED for soooooo many reasons (even though I secretly watched every episode, I'll admit).

My only thought is that either Bravo was so desperate they knew they had to get you to give it a stamp of approval for the finale.

Or, Bravo is grooming you for a tv show, which would make the most sense. I think you'd be hot- if you can keep it real. You are the next Martha Stewart. Design*Sponge is a total brand now. Margaret Russel knows that you are the next big thing, and she has to curry favor. Know your worth, girl!

7:20 PM  
Blogger design*sponge said...


i work for h&g like any other writer, freelancer or editor. i've not been asked to cover them, do anything for them that i feel compromises my standards or feels un-d*s. i choose to mention the h&g website now because i build a good portion of the content myself every single week. i consider their trends section to be an extension of d*s now so not to promote it would seem silly. i produce what i consider to be two great columns over there, so i readily share those here because i definitely don't want to work hard to produce content no one sees.

as for top design- i'm not sure if any tv show needs my approval. i doubt d*s did anything for their ratings. i'm sure bravo contacted many design, culture and interiors blogs and i felt it would be relevant to my readers to interview people i heard about in their emails for the last two months. also, i never said i liked the show- i liked goil and his ideas so i kept watching until then. i stopped blogging the show a long time ago because i felt it fell short of its goals.

i can say without a doubt that bravo is definitely NOT grooming me for a show ;) i've been working on some show ideas since 2004 but none of them involve bravo or house & garden.

you'll be happy to know that i've passed on several projects that i felt would compromise the mission of the site. i consider all projects carefully and their possible effect on the goal of d*s.


6:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This interview with Margaret changed my mind about her. She came off as snobby on the show. It's great that she seems more approachable and friendly.


- John

3:58 PM  

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