Interior Design Masters Re-cap
Series 4 Episode 3: Hotel Week
At last! No more working in pairs – with a slightly more manageable number of designers left in the competition, the production team pulled out all the stops and found a hotel that was willing to let the contestants loose on eight rooms this week. I wonder what sort of deal the BBC do with those shops/nurseries/hotels that are willing to take part? If the owners hate the results (or in the case of the nursery, the local health & safety officers hate the results), do the BBC pay to put the rooms back to their original state?
The obligatory 'before' photo...
This week’s volunteer/victim was the luxurious 5* Mar Hall Hotel Golf & Spa Resort on the banks of the River Clyde just outside Glasgow. The fairly generic and uninspiring rooms looked in need of a makeover, but would they look better or worse for the experience?
The added jeopardy of this week was that it was a DOUBLE ELIMINATION WEEK, with the two designers producing the worst schemes leaving the process.
Peter (the one who likes white), Temi (the lawyer), Charlotte (long red hair) and Ry (looks like Charlotte but with a moustache) were given the brief of creating hotel rooms for guests looking for a ‘relaxing spa experience’; whereas Joanne (Philippa Perry lookalike), Jack (bandana boy), Tom (Irish waiter) and Monika (disorganised goth) were tasked with creating maximalist rooms for the visitor ‘in search of a truly Scottish experience’.
Peter on learning he was in Team Relaxing Spa Room
Hands up all those of you who immediately thought ‘bet we see a stag’s head very soon indeed’? *Raises hand*
Hands up all those of you who immediately thought ‘bet we see a lobster very soon indeed’? *sits on hand*
Guess what Monika has just pulled out of her van?
Joanne's maximalist lobster
Plans for the rooms were then revealed, with Peter (to the surprise of exactly no-one) opting for a mainly white, minimalist room; Ry going for this season’s favourite colour (green) and worrying that it might be a bit dingy; and Temi making plans for extravagant drapery. Charlotte’s room had the best view……making her decision to move the bed so that the view couldn’t be seen all the more baffling. Would she Rue The Day? It was never in doubt.
'That's a nice view' thought Charlotte. 'I know, I'll turn the bed round so that no-one can see it'
Team Maximalist, meanwhile, were spending time working out exactly what Michelle meant by the term. Joanne’s interpretation was to throw as much pattern, colour, quirky objects and naff posters into her room as possible. Jack was more restrained and opted for a nature-inspired palette. Tom – who confessed that maximalism was ‘outside my wheelhouse’ chose a colour scheme which didn’t inspire confidence in anyone (including Tom, although he covered his anxiety with a thick layer of smugness which didn’t endear him to the viewers). Monika decided to do a version of her own house, including a large painting of a stag which she promptly left at home and which had to be couriered up to the location. I wonder if the cost of the courier was deducted from the £2,000 budget each designer was given?
One of Joanne's maximalist purchases
Tom wasn't sure about his colour choices
As the work continued, we saw Joanne making a Blue Peter-inspired lampshade, Monika’s decorator putting wallpaper on the wrong wall (it wasn’t made clear where the blame for this lay), Tom bring in a bright yellow sofa and sew black and white gingham curtains, Joanne gold-leaf a lobster, Peter learn that pampas grass doesn’t always mean ‘relaxing spa’ and can sometimes mean ‘swinger’s sex palace’, and Ry getting busy with a staple gun in lieu of Actual Upholstery. Charlotte made a pig’s ear of encasing Scottish flowers on a resin table (more of this later), and Temi devised some sort of twig trapeze that a prosecco-fuelled hen party would no doubt use to do their best Cirque du Soleil impressions. Jack – despite looking like the lovechild of Justin Timberlake and Stavros Flatley* - appeared to be the most competent and therefore got the least amount of airtime.
Here's one Joanne made earlier.....
'You've put my wallpaper on the wrong wall!'
"Pampas grass? There'll be a line of perverts looking through the window!"
Shall we talk about Tom? I really liked Tom in the first couple of weeks, but went right off him during this task. His lack of confidence in his ability to pull together a maximalist scheme seemed to manifest itself in a thick veneer of smugness, laced with the odd bitchy comment about his fellow designers’ efforts. Was this a one off, or have the production crew finally found the Series Villain?
Once the finishing touches had been put to their designs, it was time for Head Judge Michelle Ogundehin and Guest Judge Matthew Williamson to cast their eyes over the rooms. I’m sorry to say that I found Michelle’s sleeves disappointing this week, but this was more than made up for by the fact that Matthew is slowly morphing into Jim from Friday Night Dinner. With added crochet shirt.
Jim from Friday Night Dinner
First up: Charlotte’s room. The judges loved the colours, the dressing space and the vanity unit….but guess what? They hated that Charlotte had moved the bed away from the view and left the occupants of the bed staring at a blank wall.
Next was Ry. The judges were very complimentary, with Matthew declaring that he ‘loved the playfulness of the headboard’. I liked this one too – although not entirely sure that the sliding door would be compliant with fire regulations?
Peter: ‘I hope the judges don’t think my room is too empty’
Michelle: ‘It’s ever so slightly too empty’.
Temi’s room was the final spa room to be judged. Did anyone else immediately think that Temi had mis-read ‘relaxing spa room’ for ‘glamping safari tent’? I also thought that the highly impractical draped bed was less ‘glamorous canopy’ and more ‘Fred Flintstone’s car’. Still – what do I know? The judges loved it (drapes aside).
Smug Tom was next. ‘I think I’ve hit the brief’ he said, and Matthew appeared to agree with him – judging the design as ‘high end’. Michelle was not anywhere near as impressed, and it became clear that what Matthew thought was never going to really count for anything.
Joanne was next for inspection. ‘It’s got thistles’, she said. ‘It’s got a lobster, a stag’s head, and pheasant feathers. It’s hit the brief’. Matthew: ‘But is it good, though?’. Michelle agreed that the finished product was ‘not 5* hotel material’, and Joanne’s chances of making it to next week started to look slim.
Monika next, and although the judges shocked themselves by liking the end result Monika’s chaotic time management meant that once again the finish was criticised.
Jack was the final designer to be judged, and both Michelle and Matthew loved it. They praised the element of surprise, the ‘beautiful things’, and the ‘lovely finesse – what you want in a luxury hotel’. If IDM gave out the equivalent of a Star Baker apron, Jack would be a certain winner.
The traditional ‘let’s all wander round and review each other’s rooms’ doesn’t usually bring up much worthy of comment…….but this week was different. Firstly Peter and Temi discovered that Charlotte's resin table had set AFTER she had put two champagne glasses on it. Turns out - gasp - Charlotte had never used resin before, and hadn't had time to read the instructions.
Tom, meanwhile, was in Top Bitch mode. His verdict on Monika’s room? ‘I don’t feel threatened’. His verdict on favourite Jack’s room? ‘His room feels more woodsy; mine feels more refined’.
The smug expression was wiped from Tom’s face soon after the group’s arrival in Michelle’s HQ to receive the verdict, with Jack’s room being declared the best, and Ry’s room a close second. Temi and Monika were also spared any further anxiety, leaving Joanne, Charlotte, Peter and Tom to sit on the Sofa of Doom and explain themselves to the judging panel. To no-one’s real surprise Joanne was the first to be sent home, and Bed-gate saw Charlotte join her on the next train out of Brighton station. From reading a post-show interview with Charlotte it would seem that the blank wall her bed faced was supposed to house the tv, but she ran out of time to get it mounted.
I agreed with the judges decision, although if I am honest there weren’t many rooms that I really liked. I wonder how many of the rooms the hotel will keep, how many they will tweak, and how many they will demolish? What did you think? Which room would you most like to have stayed in, and which one would have given you nightmares?
*Thanks to Claire for the Stavros Flatley reference!