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Interior Design Masters ~ Series 3 / Episode 4 ~ Shops

Interior Design Masters ~ Series 3 / Episode 4 ~ Shops

After last week’s school common room challenge, we were back on familiar territory this week with the perennial favourite: Shop Week!  Three independent shops in the old part of Salisbury were chosen for a re-vamp, Michelle was back with a fantastic statement sleeve, and Guest Judge Mary Portas (who appeared to have undergone a makeover of her own) was back to cast her eye over the results.



The shops chosen were a Bridal shop (allocated to Banjo and Amy); a Homeware shop (given over to Fran and Dean); leaving Molly to draw the short straw of working with the delightful Paul to update a Lingerie emporium.  Each pair pitched their separate schemes to the owner of the shop, with the designer of the favourite scheme becoming Lead Designer on the project.


The Homeware Shop before its makeover

Paul – who ‘hates lingerie with a passion’ – pitched an afternoon tea themed undies shop, but lost out to Molly’s ‘luxury, British, floral’ scheme.  How would this year’s pantomime villain Paul work as Molly’s underling?  Annoyingly they got on well – I’m sure most of us were expecting (or at the very least, hoping) for a Will Smith/Chris Rock moment.


Viewers were flabbergasted as Amy proposes a 'bespoke wallpaper' of her own design

The bridal shop owner wanted a ‘New York loft style’ makeover, and after Amy and Banjo had both presented their schemes the shop owner decided to appoint Banjo as Lead Designer, but asked that some of Amy’s industrial design ideas were included.  Banjo – despite having an actual real life client – decided instead to design for an imaginary man-eating New York socialite on her tenth wedding.  Banjo had plans for a monochrome scheme featuring lots of mirrors, whilst Amy’s contribution included scaffolding pole hanging rails, designing some wallpaper (surprise, surprise), and a bizarre lazy Susan revolving platform for the bride to be able to see herself from all angles.  The fact that in order to revolve the platform the bride needed the assistance of her burliest bridesmaid didn’t seem to occur to Amy.


Alan plays the part of the bride, whilst Amy and Banjo channel their inner bridesmaid/safety officer

Fran and Dean pitched very different schemes to the Homeware shop proprietor.  Dean stuck to his tried and tested formula of bold, dark, colours (the thought of which clearly terrified the shop owner), whilst Fran won the brief by eschewing her usual bright murals and keeping to the neutral palette requested by the owner.  Dean tried his best throughout the two day build to push Fran to include more colour, but the best he could do was an eleventh hour blue stripe on the ceiling above the till.


Dean:  "Are you sure you don't want to paint everything black?"

The usual (staged?) mishaps occurred during the process:  Banjo broke a glass shelf just as he was describing how vital it was to his scheme; Fran’s table managed to break a leg whilst simply sitting on the back of a lorry; and Amy’s much-discussed scaffolding racks arrived with several key parts missing.  Cue lots of frantic phone calls and much relief when the missing parts arrived (favourite phrase: ‘I’ve never been so excited to see a flange’).   


Lovely Builder in 'Who Broke the Owner's Table?' Mystery

Molly and Paul’s troubles were mostly of their own making – Molly’s ambitious plans for a theatrical shop involved three coats of green paint on just about every surface, a multitude of props for the window (including parasols and lampshades), and about fifty pots of petunias that had to be sprayed black as the plastic brown pots they arrived in looked awful.  I wasn’t sure at all about the flower pots – how were they going to be watered without flooding the window?  What would they replace them with once all the flowers died?


Meanwhile the Queen of Shops had arrived to discuss the tricky task of making a shop into a Destination.  Michelle was looking for something ‘experiential’ to seduce customers away from their laptops and back onto the high street, whilst Mary hoped that the designers hadn’t forgotten The Merchandise.  She was very very keen on The Merchandise and mentioned The Merchandise at every opportunity.  Which of the designers would heed her words?


Yes - that really is Mary Portas!

First up for inspection was the Bridal shop.  Mary and Michelle both loved it – including the scaffolding – and felt it was a simple, beautiful, location for modern brides.  They were both less keen on the lazy Susan turntable, with Michelle causing palpitations to the production’s Health & Safety Officer as she tried to make it revolve.


The Lingerie Shop was finished in the nick of time, although I would have avoided brushing my statement sleeve against any of the vivid green paintwork.  Molly and Paul had little time to display The Merchandise and it showed…..although Paul’s modest verdict was that ‘It’s magnificent; there’s nothing you can critique’.  Mary and Michelle begged to differ; describing it as ‘over-propped’ and not commercial.  


Not enough knickers in the window, according to Mary

Did Molly source the till display cabinets from the Grace Bros skip?  (Mrs. Slocombe's pussy not pictured)

Lastly, the Homeware shop was visited by Michelle and Mary, who felt that – in contrast to Paul and Molly – the designers hadn’t been bold enough, and that the re-design should be stronger.  Did anyone else notice that Michelle can’t pronounce ‘foliage’ and instead says ‘foilage’?



Back at Design HQ, Alan delivered the verdict to the six nervous designers.  Banjo and Amy were deemed to have been the most successful, and were free to play on Brighton Pier for the rest of the day.  The other four – including Sofa of Doom debutants Fran and Dean – were then grilled by Michelle and Mary (who had decided to out-sleeve Michelle and come dressed in a top that wouldn’t have looked out of place at the Copacabana).  Basically it came down to a choice between Paul & Molly – who had Done Too Much – and Fran & Dean, who Hadn’t Done Enough.   In the end it was all about The Merchandise, and Molly’s overly theatrical scheme was her undoing.  Both Michelle and Mary felt that Molly had forgotten that the main purpose of the shop was to sell knickers and bras, and so she was reluctantly asked to leave the process.  


The director had to use a wide angle to encompass the Portas Sleeve

There then followed an uncharacteristic moment of humility on the part of Paul, who felt that he should have gone instead of Molly.  As the nation looked on in disbelief, it remains to be seen if next week we will see if his supreme over confidence has been knocked, or if he will bounce back to his usual arrogant self.


Savour this rare screenshot of Paul Actually Doubting Himself

Have the shopkeepers kept the new designs?  I quite fancy a trip to Salisbury to find out, but in the meantime the owner of the Homeware shop has written a blog post detailing the experience of her time in the Interior Design Masters fold – worth a read for some background info:

So......five designers are left.  Who is the favourite?  I think the smart money is on Banjo, but I wouldn't bet more than 50p each way at this point.





  • Exactly! The lingerie shop even had a selection of empty wire coat hangers displayed on the wall! Very odd that the two designers with no retail experience (Banjo and Amy) got it right, whilst the others got it so wrong.

  • Its like you were reading my mind. Thank you for including all the points I wanted to raise; the Health & Safety red flag of a lazy susan (does my wrist cast look good in this dress?), the multiple, soon to be brown and crispy plants in the window with no way of watering them, Michelle’s mispronunciation of foliage and Paul’s uncharacteristic moment of humility. I thought the lingerie (not pronounced lawngeray) shop was awful. There didn’t seem to be much in the way of merchandise to look at. The lampshade laboratory was the most uninspiring selection of boring cream coloured shades, although this was not the contestants fault. For a bunch of so-called designers they seemed to have zero merchandising skills.

    Claire Hume

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