"You’re gonna be on the edge of your seat with every episode. And these people make seats," says Ellen.
On Ellen DeGeneres’ first-ever competition show, six furniture makers battle to bring home a $100,000 prize. The designers head to Los Angeles to compete against one another—and the clock—in a series of furniture-making challenges. The last designer standing wins the grand prize—and lifetime bragging rights.
“I’m a leader. I think big, I take chances, and I won’t do something you’ve seen before.”
Obsessed with Legos as a kid, this native Venezuelan earned a degree in industrial design before launching his line of Art Deco–influenced furniture in 2009. His best-seller: a walnut bar cart with tilting sides that make it look tipsy.
“The show plays to my strengths. I’m a procrastinator, so I’m great at doing things last-minute.”
Katie started making one-off furniture, like a side table in the shape of a cow’s udder, in college. Now a full-time furniture designer, she’s crafting paper pulp tables, cartoon-bright wool chairs, and eyeball-shaped rugs in her basement studio in Brooklyn.
“Because I’m old. I have experience. Also, I can make something out of nothing.”
At 14, this self-taught designer won his school’s home-ec. prize for his top-notch sewing and cooking skills. Seven years later, Tim founded his own furniture company, selling Western-style pieces he handcrafts from reclaimed wood.
“I’m unique. Being a blacksmith is a dwindling art. It has prepped me to work super hard.”
A blacksmith with a master’s degree in furniture design, Carley opened her one-woman forge in 2013, fashioning everything from hooks to trowels. She creates quirky pieces based on fairy tales, like a steel rocking chair à la the Big Bad Wolf.
“I can step out of my comfort zone and not just repeat designs that have worked in the past.”
Since 2005, the rustic-industrial furniture crafted by this award-winning designer has been featured in museums and magazines, and on you-want-this design lists. His most buzzed-about piece: a log chest of drawers resembling a stack of firewood.
“I’ve survived a cerebral hemorrhage! I always come out fighting when it’s sink or swim.”
Interior designer Leslie added furniture designer to her résumé in 1994. Her solid wood pieces—simple maple bookcases, minimalist birch dining tables—are inspired by American Shaker, Japanese, and midcentury modern designs.