Stream it or skip it?

Listen, we all love watching shows that have spectacular homes taken to the next level with some really creative designs. But let’s be realistic about what we find most interesting: the lives of designers. There’s a reason people loved the drama that erupted when Upper fixatorChip and Joanna Gaines’ marriage fell apart, and when Jeff Lewis would burst to subordinates on Going crazy It makes for good reality TV. So what will we see on a new Netflix series where a married couple who each run their own design business?

Opening shot: Lots of photos of high end real estate in Miami. “Miami is a designer’s dream,” says Ray Jimenez.

The essential: Ray and his wife Eilyn Jimenez are both interior designers, each with their own design company. Her aesthetic is modern and minimalist and hers is more colorful and bold, but still with an eye for modern furniture and fixtures. They both work in the high end market, designing homes that are worth millions.

Eilyn works with a former NFL player who wants a modern yet masculine aesthetic in his home. His big design features included a metal wine cellar above a marble hearth, which his contractor father had to fix when it started to warp. She also had columns installed to enclose a metal staircase. A problem; the client lives in the house and sees everything in progress. When he calls to say he’s coming home early from a trip to Europe, Eilyn and her team must scramble.

Ray has separated from his business partner and is leaving alone; the two split their time with former company employees, and Ray hopes they will both come to his company full-time. One of his projects involves a couple who want their modern, austere home to be comfortable and fun, and he only has the weekend to come up with a plan.

In their personal lives, they both view their businesses as their children and they each take up a lot of their time. But Ray’s huge Dominican family is pressuring them to start having kids, which Eilyn wants, even though she seems good-naturedly accepting their ribs at a family dinner. They also bought a house which they demolished so that they could remodel it and move in with their dogs.

Design Miami
Picture: Netflix

What shows will this remind you of? There are tons of other design and home improvement shows that feature couples, like Upper fixator. Of course, not all couples on these shows are successful, as in Upper fixator.

Our opinion : If you’re in the mood to watch tons of real estate and design porn, then Design Miami is the show for you. The first episode introduces us to the Jimenezes, establishes their individual aesthetics, and shows why they each have their own businesses instead of working together. We also see the situation of employees at each. Otherwise, there’s plenty of client conversations, shots of Eilyn’s office being renovated, and tons of before/after or before/ongoing shots.

It’s all pretty generic stuff…until parts of their personal life seep into it. The topic of children is a big bone of contention between Ray and Eilyn; Ray says he’s ready but Eilyn is adamant – rightly so – that she won’t be forced to have children until she’s ready. And, given her drive, love of design, and ambition to grow her business, it’s pretty clear that she’s not ready, and may not be anytime soon. During an interview segment, the two bring up the issue of the baby and it’s one of the only parts of the first episode that felt genuine.

As much as we love seeing glitzy homes and interior designs, that’s not what drove reality shows like this; it is a messy personal life or an employer-employee conflict. In the upcoming first season attractions, we may see some of these with Ray, and there may be customer mishegas. However, it really feels like where this show is going to stand out is either seeing Ray and Eilyn compete directly for a big client, exploring their conflict over expanding their family, or both.

Sex and skin: Lots of real estate and porn design.

Farewell shot: As the Jimenezes pass clubs in South Beach, Eilyn receives a call about their client returning from Europe early. So it looks like date night is ending early too.

Sleeping Star: Ray’s family’s teasing that he and Eilyn don’t have kids yet isn’t overbearing, but it does impact them. Eilyn is particularly annoyed, even though she seems to take him head on.

The most pilot line: While walking on Ocean Drive in South Beach, Ray explains how impressive it is that all the Art Deco architecture has been preserved there. It not only feels scripted, but certainly not the most romantic nighttime conversation.

Our call: SKIP. Whether Design Miami starts showing more of Ray and Eilyn’s personal life and marital issues, as well as real estate and design, it might be watchable. But right now, there’s too much of the latter and not enough of the former to make the show worthwhile.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and technology, but he’s not fooling himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Salon,, VanityFair.comFast Company and elsewhere.

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