Earlier this year I art directed Top Chef Masters, a Top Chef spinoff for Bravo.

It was intense, last minute madness and seven days a week.

So, if you know me at all you’ll be able to see my influence in a lot of the design this season. (black was prominent)

Julie, Josh, Shane, Angela and I really raised the bar on what they were doing over there. As a matter of fact some people actually said we raised the bar, and when a producer says that to you it means they are never calling you again.

I think.

I never really knew that until my director friend Danny Boyle told me over dinner. “Raising the bar”, he said “on a show that wants to save money means you spent too much of it”. I am paraphrasing. 

The art department actually saved them a ton of money. Check out these lighting fixtures we came up with LAST MINUTE that ended up being the practical lighting set dressing in the dining room.

snapshot 2009 06 11 11 23 00 Screw these light bulbs.

See that fixture on the column? Here's how it was born.

One trip to IKEA and Home Depot and the dining room looks like a New York City steakhouse. They literally cost less than $20 a piece to pull together.

img 0201 585x780 Screw these light bulbs.

Screw a socket to a piece of wood. It's that easy.

img 0203 585x780 Screw these light bulbs.

Paint it black and screw it to the column.

img 0208 585x780 Screw these light bulbs.

Screw in some Edison light bulbs and you've just saved Bravo a ton of money.

img 0216 780x585 Screw these light bulbs.

Cluster a bunch and spray paint some plastic tubing for booth lighting!

photo 780x585 Screw these light bulbs.

These old things?! I had to take a picture because they use them in all the commercial bumpers!

I know I say it every time but this is why you need a strong art department on your show. The producers could not make up their minds about the lighting fixtures on the columns and above the booths. Finally, the day before shooting we said “how about cords” and 30 minutes later we had a prototype. Bravo loved them and we were able to put out another fire. The art department saved the day. Again, as usual. (OK, was that too much?)

Meanwhile I want to have these in my house but I am too lazy to make them for myself.

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