For the past 10 weeks, Northeast Ohio furniture designers Jason Radcliffe and Freddy Hill have competed against 12 other contestants on Spike TV
’s furniture design-build reality competition “Framework
.” The two made it all the way to the show’s finale.
Ultimately, Hill placed second last night and Radcliffe placed third. Jory Brigham from San Luis Obispo, CA won the competition, taking home the $100,000 prize, $20,000 worth of tools from Ace Hardware
and a chance to have a line of furniture with CB2
Radcliffe, owner of custom furniture design company 44 Steel
and founder of the Cleveland furniture show The F*Sho
, and Hill, owner of Freddy Hill Designs AKA the Bomb Factory Furniture
in Lakewood, have known each other for years and have collaborated on projects together in Cleveland. The fact that they came together on “Framework,” and both made it to the finale, was a coincidence.
“Freddy and I work together all the time,” says Radcliffe. “He’s a great woodworker and I’m a great steel worker. Basically if he needed a steel item I did it for him and if I needed a wood item he did it for me.”
But the two each took different routes on the show. Radcliffe played the straight and narrow. Hill, however, earned a reputation for being a jerk. “I’m a real prick, but I’m not the person you see on the show,” says Hill. “I never criticized anyone’s character but I didn’t shy away from criticizing people’s work. It I thought it stunk, I told them. It really worked by the end, but it was a character. When they would call ‘cut’ I’d walk up and smack someone on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey, great job.’”
Both Hill and Radcliffe say the show was taxing. “It was grueling,” says Radcliffe. “We were running around, all stressed out, working against a clock and then you hurry up and wait. I was living on Red Bull and Coke. Halfway through, I thought, 'I’m done with this. I don’t care anymore.' I’d been married for two months and I wanted to go home.”
Hill felt the same. "It was a miserable experience, to be honest,” he says. “You’re overworked, eating terrible food and stressed out. Two weeks into it, a piece of bone broke in my jaw and I had to have emergency surgery. I had won the first two, then plummeted to the bottom on the next three. It was not enjoyable. It was just hard.”
But dreams of putting Cleveland on the map for furniture design kept both Radcliffe and Hill going all the way to the finale. “One thing Cleveland does well is very honestly display industrial design,” explains Hill. “Environment is going to influence you to some degree. It’s a great time to be a designer in Cleveland.”
Now that the “Framework” is over, Radcliffe is busy promoting a Los Angeles version of his F*SHO, the LA*SHO, which will feature many of his competitors on the show, including Hill, and designers on HGTV
’s “Ellen’s Design Challenge
Back in Cleveland, Radcliffe created the annual F*SHO to showcase up-and-coming fabricators, designers, companies and students in the area. “It’s bringing new light to what people are doing in Cleveland, bringing makers to light,” he explains. The location changes each year. “It’s always a random, obscure, usually abandoned building. It brings to light a space in need of a home. It brings to light the space of the building itself.”
Radcliffe held a finale watch party at Kenilworth Tavern in Lakewood. His work can be found around the region in places like Lola Bistro
and Lilly Chocolates
. His furniture is for sale at New York’s ABC Carpet + Home
, and online retailer Rypen
. One of Radcliffe’s most popular pieces is the mouse desk, which Madonna purchased.
While Hill's work is mostly on commission, it can also be purchased at Wine & Design
in Tremont and Hazel Tree Interiors
in Akron. He also has a handbag business and sells them at NOTO
in Akron. Hill's work is featured in Tremont's Studio Le Beau
and Akron's Nuevo
restaurant. One of Radcliffe's and Hill's many collaborative efforts include the tables upstairs at the Ohio City Mitchell's Ice Cream
Hill is also working on a project in California with Brigham. The two watched the finale together.