Remember hair salons? Us neither....it's been soooo long since most us have been able to see out from under our long fringes, and I think many of us have been grateful for the cold weather so that we can hide our grey roots under a bobble hat.
Alan's 'thing' has been to arrive at each location using a different mode of transport.....
Still, thank goodness for Interior Design Masters, who have delivered a blast from the past with this week's theme: HAIR SALONS! Divided into two teams, each pair were given a Richmond-on-Thames hair salon to make over. Will the end result be a cut above? Will the losers want to curl up and dye? Read on....
The unisex salon obligatory 'before' photo
Paul and Lynsey comprised Team Unisex, and were very lucky to be allocated a Unisex Hair Salon that already looked pretty good. Bare brick, chandeliers, gorgeous mirrors and a Sistene Chapel-esque wall mural showed that the owner wasn't afraid of bold design. The brief was to bring a garden feel into the salon, to provide a better waiting area, and to use the principles of Feng Shui to provide a better energy for the space.
The bold mural! The chandeliers!
Micaela and Siobhan were also given a boldly decorated salon - in their case a barber's shop. Unfortunately 'bold' in this instance meant 'headache inducing', with bold horizontal blue and orange stripes dominating the decor. The barber's shop owners were keen to make big changes, and concepts such as 'varnished concrete', 'cosy whisky 'bar', 'neon', and '1930s rock & roll' were bandied around before eventually settling on 'gentleman's club'.
Pass the paracetamol!
Unless you know a lot about Feng Shui (I am not included in this number), Paul & Lynsey's brief was tough. At least the beautiful exposed brickwork meant less painting was needed (if ANYONE had suggested covering it in paint I would have been VERY CROSS), so a quick coat on the ceiling was all they really needed to do. This left Lynsey lots of time to saw tables in half to make shelving, and Paul time to buy up the entire faux foliage stock in the Greater London area.
Just to clarify, these are not Lynsey's legs
A small selection of the faux foliage Paul had ordered for their design
The foliage was crucial to their 'bring the outdoors in' scheme. The Michelangelo-esque mural was replaced by a floral wall covering, and faux foliage was stapled to anything that didn't have a pulse. It was stapled to the walls, the ceiling, the lights, the exterior signage......I would imagine the first time the cleaners turned up for work they immediately demanded a substantial pay rise. The dusting would take hours!
Paul and Lynsey have by now both been praised for their attention to detail. They surpassed themselves this week by not only sporting identical dungarees - but the dungarees also fitted in with their foliage scheme! The only issue this created was that occasionally Paul blended into the background and it seemed as if a disembodied quiff and a pair of tan arms were working independently.
The waiting area was moved to the generous bay window, and Lynsey used a gorgeous peacock print fabric to cover the chairs. I would have thought that after the camera shop episode Lynsey would have realised Michelle's penchant for a cushion and popped a couple onto the chairs, but Lynsey is currently pregnant and this can play havoc with your memory. On the plus side, I did spot a vase very similar to one we used to sell, so I'll forgive them for the very odd waiting area lighting - constructed in Blue Peter fashion from some cardboard tubes and hanging basket liner.
Love the vase!
Not so sure about the lighting!
Meanwhile, over at the barber's, Micaela and Siobhan had a rocky start.
The burgundy paint didn't look very burgundy
Firstly, the burgundy paint they'd ordered arrived in a shade of strawberry that Siobhan described as 'gross 80s pink' (conveniently forgetting she was wearing a pair of leggings in almost exactly the same colour). She nipped out to a local DIY store and asked them to add a shot of black paint to the tin - which worked a treat. Secondly, the next tin of paint was also the wrong colour, but nothing gets Siobhan down and after sorting that out she spent her time happily trying to apply gold leaf to some signage. Outdoors. In a stiff breeze. I suspect Richmond now resembles Las Vegas, with most buildings clad in random bits of golden sparkle.
Applying gold leaf in a stiff breeze - Siobhan loves a challenge
The hideous striped walls were replaced by darker heritage colours, although opinion in the Snowbunting household was divided regarding the choice of a contrasting bold red and white striped wallpaper (I was firmly in the 'I hate it' camp).
I cannot emphasise enough that I DO NOT LIKE THIS WALLPAPER
Micaela (and her fab new braids - had she sneaked off on a research trip to a hairdresser's and got carried away?), had bought a leather sofa for £1 and made it look a million dollars by re-upholstering the seat. She also came up with novel metal dividers to place between the chairs - of all those left in the competition, she has certainly improved the most.
Micaela in her happy place
In contrast with Lynsey and Paul's forensic planning, Micaela and Siobhan belong to the 'winging it' school of design. Instead of handing over detailed drawings of their 'faux cupboards' to the bewildered carpenter, they were still frantically drawing rough sketches on the back of a fag packet. The carpenter - who has been working on these programmes for years and knows his stuff - enquired as to why the cupboards weren't going to have working doors or drawers, but neither Siobhan nor Micaela took the hint and pressed on with their plans. Cut to carpenter talking to Lovely Builder and a rare chance to hear them talk to each other....."they're not huge on detail, are they?" was the polite exchange for the cameras (I suspect there was another version not suitable for broadcast). What they came up with did look nice, but felt like a missed opportunity.
'Are you really sure you don't want the cupboards and drawers to open?'. Carpenter's hints fall on deaf ears
Michelle and Guest Judge Abigail Ahern (aka 'The Beyonce of Botanicals') were really impressed with both transformations.
Guest Judge Abigail Ahern - wearing her hair as a coat? Or the other way round?
They had a couple of criticisms of both schemes. Paul and Lynsey's was 'a bit busy' and - surprise, surprise there weren't enough cushions in the waiting area, but even more surprisingly neither mentioned the dusting issue (I assume they both have cleaners). Micaela and Siobhan's makeover was also well received, although the faux cupboards didn't pass muster.
I loved the fake glass door that Paul & Lynsey installed
The Unisex Salon ready for judging
All the burgundy cupboards on the right hand side are fake
The barber shop transformation. Loved the art deco wallpaper used for the waiting area, but have I mentioned I didn't like the red and white stripes?
The judges loved the little touches
So it was all to play for when the fab four met up again at Michelle's studio. Alan announced that, contrary to the original rules, Michelle wanted ALL four to be grilled on the Sofa of Doom - this would be Paul's' first appearance (Micaela has a season ticket).
Michelle quizzed each team as to who was responsible for each part of the design that she didn't really like, with Paul and Lynsey falling back on the 'it's Feng Shui, innit?' defence, and Siobhan and Micaela agreeing that the fake cupboards were a mistake. Tears were shed, and the emotional meeting ended with Michelle unable to choose who to eliminate and all four permitted to survive another week.
I wouldn't want to be the member of the production team who had to now frantically search for a fourth location for the semi-final......unless it was planned this way all along? Cynical, moi?