In which our eight remaining designers were despatched to a ‘luxury’ Sussex hotel/wedding venue to makeover a bedroom each. I use the term ‘luxury’ with some reluctance – the setting and building looked fabulous, but the ‘before’ photos showed the rooms looking so awful that it would be almost impossible to make them look any worse. Almost.
Two teams of four were assembled, with each given one bridal suite and three guest bedrooms to make over. One team were given the brief of ‘Maximalist’ décor, with the other instructed to aim for ‘Understated Glamour’. Extra jeopardy was introduced when the teams were told that two of them would be eliminated this week (presumably as the producers didn’t want to be left with an impossible-to-divide-into-teams seven contestants).
Team Maximalist were Barbara, Peter, Micaela and Jon. Barbara was ‘uncomfortable’ as ‘that’s not my style’; with Peter echoing her fears as he ‘doesn’t do patterns’. Micaela was aware that she had been told to look at the whole room and not focus on details (so planned to concentrate her efforts on making a nice headboard), and Jon’s understanding of Maximalism was to clash as many bold patterns and geometric shapes in the room as possible. Barbara expressed certain reservations about this interpretation, leading to Jon’s genial mask slipping temporarily as he gave her the Evil Eye.
Team Understated Glamour comprised of Siobhan ‘I’m about as subtle as a brick’; Paul, who was looking forward to throwing 50 shades of grey paint all over his room; Lynsey, who had the unenviable task of disguising the awful shape of the worst room in the hotel (the one you give to the Great Aunt that your mother has insisted that you invite); and Charlotte, who was given the large bridal suite. She was so happy that WE SAW HER FIRST SMILE OF THE SERIES! I had to take a screenshot it case it didn’t happen again; which turned out to be an excellent prediction. Does anyone want next week’s lottery numbers?
Off they set to work. Siobhan began by accidentally spilling paint all over the carpet, Peter asked his builder to make him a wooden arch that he hoped might possibly stay up until after the judges had visited (the builder expressed reservations about this), and Charlotte high-handedly instructed her builder to sand the floorboards around edge of her large bedroom using a small hand-sander. And to be quick about it!
Alan arrived to find Barbara spray painting a peacock chair with orange paint – and couldn’t resist asking if she had already used it to paint Paul’s Dale Winton-esque face. He then dropped in on Jon, who was busy painting any surface of his bridal suite that wasn’t already covered with lemurs, flowers, and black and white zig-zags with bright green paint. ‘My room is for a different kind of bride’ announced Jon ‘Bride of Frankenstein?’ quipped Alan as he left to ask First Aid if they had any Migraleve.
Charlotte – her pre-task smile now a distant memory – kept moaning that her decorator wasn’t working fast enough (despite the reason for his late start being that the wallpapering couldn’t begin until her marathon sanding session was complete). Cue a canny editor cutting to a shot of Paul happily pitching in to wallpaper his own room to help speed things up.
Luxury wedding venue in discarded knickers shocker!
Barbara, meanwhile, was in fits of laughter with her decorator when the two of them found a pair of black lace knickers stuffed behind the radiator in her room. I thought I was watching Four in a Bed for a moment. Siobhan (whom I am warming to more and more each week) was assigned Lovely Builder and was most impressed at his ability to remember measurements as he wielded his tape measure and pencil: 'You're just like Elephant Man, aren't you?', she remarked - thinking she was paying him a compliment. Turns out she meant Rain Man.
Micaela and Lynsey got little screen time this week – probably because there were only so many shots of an upholstered headboard that the director could think of, and.... well if you had a choice of literally watching paint dry on Lynsey’s wooden slats or filming Charlotte tearfully blaming her workman for not doing what she asked, there’s no contest. Charlotte demanded that her room be decorated in three hours – to which the decorator replied (not unreasonably) “Let’s not put a time on it”. Charlotte’s response? “I will, because it has to be done by the end of the day”. I’m wondering how long it will be before one of them accidentally locks Charlotte in a cupboard and then wallpapers over the doors.
Charlotte calls down to the building team to demand they stop slacking and run upstairs to help her.
Michelle arrived for the Big Reveal accompanied by guest judge Kit Kemp – who has a portfolio of posh London and New York hotels to her name and therefore knows what she’s talking about. Paul - who was incredibly confident about his decision to take the legs off his bedside cabinets and screw them to the wall instead ('genius, even if I say so myself') - got short shrift from Kit, who 'with my professional eye' liked the idea but said he'd put them in the wrong place. Which was true, as although it looked nice, anyone lying in the bed would need Inspector Gadget arms to reach up to switch off the bedside lights.
Paul's bedroom - cruelly dubbed by some on Twitter as 'very live, laugh, love'
Charlotte, who had taken inspiration for her room design from her temperament, went for flounces - covering her four poster bed in pastel swathes that would make any bridal couple feel like they were trapped in a 1980s wedding dress.
Charlotte's bridal suite. I bet the cleaners are going to love hoovering all those swags.
Lynsey was praised for disguising the awful ensuite with her inventive use of the wooden post, and Siobhan - despite not quite being able to dial back enough to hit the 'understated' part of the brief - also impressed Michelle and Kit with her Japanese kimono-inspired decor.
Siobhan being understated
For Team Maximalist, Peter's room Did Not Impress Kit At All. She didn't like the way he had mixed his wallpaper and headboard patterns, and let's just say that the wise builder had been proved right, and the wooden archway looked like it had been created by the Bodger & Badger Building Co.
Michelle points out the dodgy archway while Kit crosses her fingers that it won't fall on her head
Next door, Barbara - despite her misgivings - was deemed to have got it Exactly Right. Working in a similar room to Peter, and also using bright patterned walls, she had more cleverly tied the colours together (and also cleverly avoided putting up an archway that looked like it might fall down at any moment). Despite it looking like a corridor, I wouldn't mind staying in this room (Kit agreed with me on this point, but I'm not prepared to share).
Micaela's room was felt to be a little underwhelming by Michelle and Kit - too much attention had been given to the headboard and bed canopy, leaving the rest of a room a little bare. I wasn't keen either - the colour choices and fabric patterns did nothing for me, and I couldn't understand why she had added two grey patterned panels either side of the bed.
Micaela and her mustard-and-aubergine room
'Underwhelming' is not an adjective that could be levelled at Jon's room. Jon had predicted that his room would be 'a slap in the face', but the finished article was more than that. It was torture. So much so that one wag on Twitter commented that they thought it contravened several articles of the Geneva Convention. Every surface was covered in pattern - it was less 'luxury bridal suite' and more a cry for help that only an experienced psychiatrist could answer.
I checked on the hotel website to see how many of the rooms were available to book and (surprisingly) nearly all of them were featured. Except this one.
Jon's room - even Siobhan thought it was 'bonkers!'
Back at base, Team Understated Glamour were announced as the winners, and allowed to nip to the nearest pub to celebrate - but not before Paul was chastised for producing a boring room (it was some feat to level this accusation at a man with an orange face and a gravity-defying quiff wearing a large cravat and a burgundy smoking jacket). Barbara from Team Maximalist was also allowed to fight another day, leaving Micaela, Peter and Jon to face the Sofa of Doom.
Micaela emerged triumphant from the grilling - Michelle apparently sees something in her that can be developed into a designer - but for Peter and Jon it was the end of the road. At the beginning of the episode Jon had said his philosophy was to 'go big or go home'. In the end he did both.