Today’s cuppa: Irish breakfast tea

It’s a happy day in Cuppa-land when I can shout out to a bunch of my favorite folks and shows all in one place! I love the home-improvement shows (Norm Abram is a carpentry genius!), I love "CSI: Miami," I love "Top Gear" and I love Thom Beers’ shows.

On Sunday, HGTV offers the finale episode of its "Summer Showdown," four specials in which dream teams of the cablenet’s designers and carpenters have taken on the challenge of redoing a space desperately in need of help in eight hours — but not really. Homeowners have submitted rooms — or in the case of Sunday’s episode, a terrible backyard — and then exact replicas of the offending spaces have been built in HGTV’s Designer Dome.

The teams then transform the spaces, with celebrity judges declaring which is the best makeover. The owner of the real room then gets the cash to redo it themselves. The host is George Gray (on the right in the pic below; all pics courtesy of HGTV).

The finale features designer Lauren Lake and carpenter Eric Stromer (left in the pic on the left), who is one of the trio of hosts in NBC’s version of the BBC auto reality show (and one of my personal obessions), "Top Gear." Click here to see an interview I did earlier with one of Stromer’s co-hosts, Adam Carolla.

Lake and Stromer take on designer Sabrina Soto and carpenter Steve Watson (below), who used to be the host of Discovery Channel’s "Monster House," one of my all-time faves. I met with Watson on a couple of mad "Monster" rebuilds, one transforming a Valley tract home into a mob hideout, and one creating a recreational space for Los Angeles firefighters.

It was at the Valley location that I first met producer Thom Beers, who has gone on to produce "Deadliest Catch," "Ice Road Truckers," "Ax Men," "Black Gold," "L.A. Hard Hats," "Verminators" and NBC’s new "America’s Toughest Jobs," which also launches on Monday.

(I did a story on that show — link to come)

Among the celebrity judges are Keenen Ivory Wayans and "CSI: Miami" star Emily Procter, who’s one of the nicest folks in Hollywood (click here to read about my encounter with her in July), who’s also involved in home remodeling and interior design.

And while I’m at it, I’d also like to give a shout-out to another HGTV star and "Summer Showdown" competitor, "Myles of Style" carpenter Anthony Gilardi (below), who just happens to be my neighbor.

Posted by:Kate O'Hare