Interior Design Masters ~ Wedding Lodges
In which our four remaining designers are despatched to Rutland Water, to make over two A-framed lodges in the grounds of a popular hotel/wedding venue. They were described as ‘Wedding Lodges’, but a quick look at the ‘before’ photos gave the impression that they were bog-standard guest lodges in search of a theme that would make interesting tv.
The four designers were divided into two teams, with one designer given the living room/kitchen to make over, and the other the bedroom/outdoor terrace to transform. Head Judge Michelle Ogundehin wanted to see the location (on the shores of a lake) reflected in the scheme; for the designers to embrace the triangular shape and high ceilings of each lodge; and to absolutely no-one’s astonishment also wanted to see ‘cohesion’ between the two designs. As always, each team had the use of the show’s resident carpenters/decorators and a budget of £1500.
Monika and Tom were given the ‘groom’ brief, with Monika in charge of the bedroom/terrace, and Tom the lounge/diner/kitchen. Monika – again to no-one’s astonishment – decided that this was the week to ‘do what we want instead of one design’, and informed Tom that she was going full gothic horror meets junkshop with a scheme of dark colours, cages hanging from the ceiling, taxidermy and old paintings on the wall. Tom caved (as he had done in Shop Week with Temi), and agreed that they would work separately and just hope that there would be an accidental element of crossover with his more minimalist and muted scheme. To be fair, he was far more worried about how to freshen up the kitchen than he was about the prospect of Monika leaving an embalmed corpse in the bedroom wardrobe – with good reason, as the kitchens looked like they were modelled on a 1980s episode of Brookside and he had minimal budget to bring them up to date.
Jack and Temi were given the ‘bride’ brief, and in contrast with Tom and Monika immediately began to bring together a scheme that used green paint, natural materials and flowers. Lots and lots of flowers. Temi had enough gypsophila to make twenty bridal bouquets, Jack planned a test-tube chandelier in which each test tube would be a mini vase holding a few floral stems, and his wallpaper would have made Laurence Llewellyn Bowen weep with joy. Which was a shame as he was last week’s judge. Temi had the lounge/diner/kitchen area and was also scathing about the current kitchen, stating her loathing for the tiles on a regular basis.
Beams - to paint, or not to paint?
Both lodges had a plethora of wooden beams as an integral part of the structure which probably looked fantastic when they were first built – but unfortunately over time had aged to a very orangey hue. Both Tom and Monika decided to paint their beams with a chalky wash, whereas both Temi and Jack decided to leave them. Which would Michelle prefer?
The Groom’s Lodge
Tom decided to replace the tired and boring sofas provided in the lodge with a long curved sofa of his own design – which looked lovely, but I’m almost certain would have been (a) uncomfortable; (b) probaby wouldn't pass fire safety tests; and (c) liable to snag the tights of any visiting friends or family. He also decided to clad the walls in a white muslin, hoping to create a ‘glamorous teepee’ vibe – which again looked lovely, but was probably not a very practical option in a room where champagne may be flowing. It’s one thing to wipe a wall down, but quite another to clean a hanging piece of muslin that is stapled to the wall. Still, no-one on this show ever seems to consider cleaning and maintenance – I can’t be the only one constantly crying ‘does no-one think of the poor cleaners?’.
Tom's dodgy tile cover
Tom’s budget presumably didn’t leave much for the kitchen, as apart from badly covering (some of) the tiles with a highly impractical wooden board – I’d like to see someone try and clean that after a spaghetti Bolognese had splashed all over it – he did very little other than paint the walls.
Monika was in her element. Having eschewed cohesion, she was determined to show off her signature style and was sploshing black and brown paint within minutes of her arrival. She decided to cover up the high ceilings by hanging cages full of foliage from the beams, made table lights from antlers, and clad the bedside table with a false front made to look like a set of apothecary drawers. She also mounted some taxidermy onto the wall, for nothing is more likely to soothe a nervous groom than the symbolism of a dead duck being the first thing he sees upon waking. Especially if he’s vegetarian.
'Alan' the stuffed duck
Monika was less in her element when it came to the outdoor terrace, as like all vampires she is not happy in daylight. She decided to tie together five large sticks to make a frame for the existing patio furniture, and to style this with the skins of some deer who happened to stray too close to her lodge (this last part may not be completely accurate).
Meanwhile Tom was indulging in a little subversive cohesion, by doing his best to incorporate some of Monika’s colours into his own scheme.
Tom plans subversive cohesion
The Bride’s Lodge
Next door, Temi was busy painting, building a new dining table, stapling her gypsophila to the beams, bringing in a busboy stand for a bridal gown, and covering all the kitchen cupboard doors in completely impractical untreated ply that would become filthy within hours. What is it with the amount of untreated ply that’s been used this series? Is it purely because it is cheap, or in Real Life are people using it in their homes? I would have gone for painting the doors and changing the handles, but maybe that’s too safe for IDM? The aforementioned loathsome tiles were next for Temi’s attention, but the black vinyl that she had decided to stick all over them was perhaps the only thing she could have done to make them look worse. Luckily for her she hadn’t ordered enough vinyl, so it was removed and the tiles left as they were. Did anyone else wonder if one of the trades people had hidden the last roll of vinyl in a bid to stop Temi making a big mistake?
The unappeeling vinyl tile covering is unpeeled.
The au naturelle beams gave Temi the opportunity for her to indulge in her signature style – ‘hanging things’ – which this week manifested in an indoor swing that brides could sit on for an Instagram-worthy photo opportunity. I’m not sure whether the hotel’s liability insurance would cover a tipsy bride tipsy-ing off onto the floor and breaking her arm but maybe I’m just being picky.
Should the bride survive the swing, her next challenge would be to survive the floral onslaught in Jack’s room. Hayfever sufferers would be advised to book elsewhere. The small room was painted mint green, a pink canopy (that look suspiciously peachy on my tv) was erected over the bed, the test tube chandelier was filled with flowers, and in a last minute bid to join the ‘I must show my signature style’ club he nailed some panelling to the wall. Mint green curtains were hung to divide off a small dressing room area (no room for a big meringue-style dress), and was I the only one who didn’t spot a full length mirror anywhere? I would have thought that a good mirror and excellent make-up lighting would be the most important items in a bride’s wedding lodge, but maybe it’s just me being picky again.
Bridal preparation area
Jack’s terrace area involved lots of plants, new patio furniture, and a seat with a floral arch upon which the bridal party could have their photos taken with the lake framed beautifully in the background.
This week’s Guest Judge was interior designer Shayne Brady, who has worked with luxury hotel brands and almost certainly never used untreated ply in any of his five star makeovers. Michelle was – FINALLY – sporting a decent sleeve, albeit on a pink raincoat. About time.
I appear to have cropped off the sleeve design, but trust me it was very nice.
The judges visited Tom and Monika’s lodge first, and loved Tom’s lounge/dining area, his curved sofa, his use of colour, the painted beams, and the muslin clad walls. They were less impressed with his kitchen (as was I). Upon then visiting Monika’s room both judges remarked how pleased they were with the unifying colours and finishes – the subversive cohesion worked – although they were less pleased that Monika had covered the high ceiling with ‘stuff’. Michelle liked the apothecary cabinet, although I thought it looked distinctly flimsy when it was opened. The most surprising comments, however, were saved for Monika’s terrace. Monika had turned on the weekly waterworks when worrying that she hadn’t done enough to transform the area, but Michelle loved the simple ‘five sticks tied together, a few lanterns and some animal skins’ look and declared it ‘a triumph’. Sometimes I wonder if Michelle has a clue what she’s talking about.
Tom's diner (wasn't that a Suzanne Vega single?)
Tom's kitchen (which looked better from a distance)
Monika in 'covering up the view of the ceiling' controversy
Monika's triumphant terrace
Temi and Jack’s was the second to be inspected, with both judges feeling that not painting the orangey wood beams was a mistake, compounded (in Temi’s case) by not changing the sofas and merely covering them with throws and cushions. Shayne liked the swing, but both felt that there needed to be something in the background to make it worthy of Insta-fame. The ply kitchen cupboard doors – weirdly – were very well received, with Michelle especially loving them. Jack’s room was also praised (apart from the beams), but received similar comments to Monika about ignoring the lovely high ceiling and covering it with a canopy and a chandelier.
Jack's bedroom (and better view of Michelle's sleeves)
Spot the signature panelling
Jack's outdoor terrace
It is worth mentioning that there were no comments from either judge about the difficulties of cleaning untreated ply, the lack of mirrors, the dust trap muslin, the dried flowers that would inevitably start shedding, and the real foliage that would need constantly replacing. Hmmmm.
Back to Brighton, and Michelle (sporting another statement sleeve) decided that all four had Questions To Answer and so should appear on the Sofa of Doom. After a good grilling by Michelle, it came down to Beamgate: should they have been painted or left alone? Michelle firmly thought the former, and so Tom and Monika were through to the next round. That left Jack and Temi for the final place in the semi-final, and Temi not changing the sofas turned out to be her undoing. She therefore left the competition – but has not gone back to law (at least not full time), and now runs her own design business.
So……what do you think? Was it right to eliminate Temi?
Note: Upon reading Temi's exit interview in House Beautiful, it appears that she did have plans to change the legs and covers of the sofas, but due to a problem with the wiring had to use up her budget on the electricians and had none left for the sofa. Electricians are apparently paid for by the hour out of their budget.