JUST don't call it "Project Hallway." Bravo TV's new interior decorating competition series, "Top Design," might be a clone of Heidi Klum's "Project Runway," but the vibe says auf Wiedersehen to New York and hello to Los Angeles. Hosted by a chipper Todd Oldham (on the ladder, far right) and based at the Pacific Design Center, the show is a valentine to L.A. style -- and Bel-Air budgets: $50,000 was allotted for the first decorating challenge. Hollywood Regency queen Kelly Wearstler joins Jonathan Adler and Elle Decor editor Margaret Russell as judges, and Los Angeles architect Mark Rios and interior designer Michael Berman will appear in future episodes. The casting is also rich with local talent: Five of the 12 competitors are based in Southern California. Two, however, were shown the door during last night's premiere. The challenge: building an inner sanctum for transgender actress Alexis Arquette, who proved to be a surprisingly astute client. The conceptual gallery with a built-in sandbox and swinging seat by New Yorker Goil Amornivat and Angeleno Elizabeth Moore got the nod and will, we hope, set the standard for creativity. The show moves to its regular time slot (10 p.m. Wednesdays) next week. By April 18, two finalists will decorate a 1,700-square-foot loft in downtown L.A., hoping to win $100,000 and 14 more minutes of fame.
MADE IN CALIFORNIA
Building on blocks
Trained in painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Art Institute and what is now known as the California College of the Arts, Thomas Wold was inspired by abstraction when designing his Block Party series of bookcases and credenzas. "I had this drawing that had layer upon layer of doors and sliders," he says from his Bay Area studio. "It ended up like a Hans Hofmann painting, where the shapes stack on top of each other." Wold's pieces are composed of solid woods and laminates in two palettes: neutral blond and ash, or walnut paired with orange, citron, lime, slate and antique white. Grommet holes on the backs of both pieces allow for audio-video cables, and leg levelers adjust for uneven floors. Wold even designed the lower shelf to accommodate LPs. The $3,990 price (through www.designpublic.com) for either piece includes delivery. Custom orders: www.thomaswold.com.
-- Lisa Boone
A candle that can hold its own
Splurge: Packaged in a boldly graphic presentation box that screams hostess gift, Candle #1 by the London-based design team Fredrikson Stallard looks like a taper placed in an antique candlestick. The twist: The entire object is made of wax. The candle lasts for 32 hours. Priced for as much as $72 on design websites, it is now available for $58 at A+R, 1716 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 913-9558.
Scrimp: This crafty all-wax copycat comes without the quality packaging, and it has a slightly purple cast compared with the original's Goth black, but the price is a mere $14. New Stone Age, 8407 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles; (323) 658-5969.
-- David A. Keeps
A rock for your stone
In collaboration with notable contemporary painters such as Kenny Scharf, Yoshitomo Nara and Ryan McGinness, the online gallery Cereal Art is offering limited editions of whimsical housewares and decorative sculpture. Kirsten Hassenfeld's Treasury is a fanciful and functional piece designed to resemble a diamond nestled among rock crystals. The resin and plastic diamond opens to reveal a tray for jewelry. Lifting the lid also activates a music box featuring two swans circling a lotus flower to the tune of "I'm Sticking With You" by the Velvet Underground. The piece ($400) is on Page 3 of the "Multiples" section at www.cerealart.com. It ships within 24 hours -- well in time for Valentine's Day delivery.
-- David A. Keeps
Reaching the Scout: Submit suggestions to the Home section, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012; firstname.lastname@example.org.