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Interior Design Masters ~ Series 4 ~ Episode 7 ~ Hair Salons

Interior Design Masters ~ S4 Ep7 ~ Hair Salons

In which our final three designers decamp to Bristol to makeover three independent hair salons in need of a change of style.

An upmarket salon charging high prices, a traditional salon with an owner that likes 'glamour and unique pieces', and an edgy industrial salon laid out across two floors were the three projects for this episode, with Head Judge Michelle Ogundehin in charge of allocating salons to the designers.  Would she challenge Monika by giving her the industrial salon to see if she could leave behind her signature style and deliver a different design within the time frame?  Would Michelle give Tom a brief that demanded 'quirky glamour' when he prefers to design laid back and more muted schemes?  Would Jack do panelling whatever salon he was allocated?   The answers to these questions are no, no, and (of course) yes, with Tom being given the industrial space, Monika the quirky salon, and Jack the luxury hairdresser's.  Their place in next week's final rested on their ability to follow the client's brief to create a new look......or rested on the whim of Head Judge Michelle Ogundehin.  One of those.


Tom's salon

Tom's industrial space had exposed brick, workstations featuring copper pipes, and a waiting room on a lower floor that featured a view over the garden.  The owners wanted it to be softened a little, wanted a new reception desk, better lighting, and also were happy for the waiting room to be changed.  What they didn't want was to cover over all the exposed brick (I didn't blame them, I loved it), but were happy for it to be 'softened' a little.  With a budget of £3,000 each, there was a limit to what Tom could do with such a large space but he planned to hang fabric over some of the brickwork, change and enlarge the desk, paint over the staircase mural, and make the waiting room a little more inviting.


Tom's salon waiting room.  Garden view for those with the head-spinning abilities of an owl.

Monika's client was keen for a new look for her salon (I'm not surprised, it was like being trapped in a wedding marquee), and was persuaded by Monika that what she really wanted most in the world was a black space filled with plastic plants.  Who would have thought it?


Monika's wedding marquee salon

Jack's high-end salon clients wanted a luxurious 'Scandi' feel for their salon, but Jack turned his nose up at their request, declared that 'Scandi' was underwhelming (how very dare he?), decided he knew better and opted instead for 'Japandi', which is actually A Thing.  The thing about this Thing is that Japandi is supposed to be a mix of Japanese and Scandi styles whereas Jack's scheme was about 95% Japanese and 5% Scandi.  

Jack's Japan and Scandi mix

Regular viewers will know that almost every week Monika has either forgotten something, mis-read the brief, or ordered the wrong amount of paint/wood/fabric for her design.  Surely she would by now have learned her lesson?  Of course not.  Once her wedding marquee draped ceiling had been taken down, it revealed some (not very nice) ceiling tiles that sucked up paint like one of Monika's gothic vampires at a bloodbank.  She needed (a) to get a little bit upset on camera followed by (b) order some more paint which would come in the nick of time and save her, and this she duly did.  Anyone else getting a bit bored with this?

Monika had enough black paint left over to paint the virgin Mary

Tom gets shaken (but not stirred)

She was not alone in her miscalculations this week, however, with Tom not ordering enough ply for his (rather makeshift looking in my opinion) reception desk.  Tom, who trained as an actor (although he never mentions it) decided that this would be a perfect opportunity for him to audition to take over from Daniel Craig as the next James Bond by surreptitiously stealing some of Monika's left-over ply from her skip.  Alas on the basis of what we saw I think it unlikely that we will see Tom starring in Ply Another Day any time soon.

Jack's Japandi vision

Jack, meanwhile, was painting.  He painted a bamboo mural around the hairwash area of his salon, a mountain mural on the wall, and then painted a golden tree branch made from the ubiquitous ply and cardboard which was intended to hang over the 'VIP' section to make the Bristol celebrities feel special.  At this point I'd like to have a quick word about the 'VIP' section, which looked to be a single chair next to the window so that passers-by could easily gawp at the likes of Stephen Merchant having a trim.  It would take a lot more than a golden branch hanging from the ceiling to make that area feel worthy of Carol Vorderman having her roots done.

The VIP area pre-makeover


Jack's 'here's one I made earlier' Blue Peter-style VIP treatment (which he wisely ditched before Judgement Day)

This episode's guest judge was none other than Mary Portas - queen of the High St and purveyor of harsh criticism and cutting remarks.  Her and Michelle had obviously had a pre-show chat about their wardrobes, with both turning up in flared blue denim (in Mary's case a statement sleeve for the legs).

Mary & Michelle: more denim than a Status Quo gig

Monika's salon was criticised for poor lighting and plastic plants, but Mary loved the colour scheme and the black-painted statue of Mary.

Monika's completed salon

Tom's salon was 'too blokey' according to Mary, who also thought his reception desk looked a bit cheap and wasn't a fan of his mural.  On the plus side she liked his fabric wall, his lighting, and the re-design of the waiting area, but both her and Michelle felt that he should have incorporated some (real) plants in his scheme 'to bring the outside in'.

Tom's completed salon....

Mary did not like this mural

Jack's Japandi salon was praised for the use of colour (Mary particularly loved the washbasin area), they were divided on his 'Mount Fuji' mural, and both thought that Jack should have made the VIP area 'more special'.

Land of the Rising Sun + Mount Fuji = Japandi?

Back to Michelle's studio, and all three designers were called onto the Sofa of Doom to explain their design decisions. 

Who would be eliminated?  The one who ignored the brief?  The one who designed the same way they always do?  Or the one who 'didn't bring the outside in'?  Turns out that the third of these crimes against design was deemed to be the most heinous, and it was Tom who left the process......rather unfairly I felt.  I didn't think that the salon was his finest hour, but he had by far the hardest brief and actually tried to do what the owners wanted.  How Monika is still in the running for the title completely escapes me......but what do you think?  Have we got the right two designers in the final?  Who do you think will win?




  • Hey Nicky, I hear you sister!
    Do you remember a reality TV show on the Beeb called The Restaurant? Couples (one chef, one front of house) competed against each other to win the chance of opening their own restaurant, with contestants being eliminated week by week. The first series was fine. The second however, featured a pair of blokes neither of whom could cook, but one was a cocktail mixer. Their restaurant concept was ‘a picnic theme’ and they kept banging on about scotch eggs (which neither knew how to make). They were terrible throughout, but muddled through to win the final, while far more competent contestants fell by the wayside. It was years ago and it still rankles.

    This was scotch eggs all over again.

    R Walsh
  • They bl**dy chose bl**dy Monika purely for her potential to become a ‘personality/character’ on some g*dawful daytime TV segment didn’t they? I knew they would, esp as last series’ winner was a bloke (and she’s NO Banjo Beale – his Designing the Hebrides has been joyous btw) but Jack was Robbed. It’s been over a week since the final and I haven’t got over it – still furious and may remain so. Those damn tears, the sheer incompetence! Speechless (everyone wishes) Only compensation was return of Mary P. Sooo cross!

  • I’m so glad you posted on this episode! I’ve spent the past week looking for anyone on the Internet I can sound off at about it (I caught up with your other blog posts too: incisive AND a hoot). Goodness only knows how Monika has made it this far; the plastic plants, the terrible fringing, the naked bulbs above the hair washing sinks; it was more of the same and unfinished! Tom might not have been the finished article (I don’t feel like standard has been as good as last year), but his salon was far better than Monika’s.

    R Walsh

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