It was a double elimination on BBC’s Interior Design Masters this week with the eight remaining contestants spilt into two groups and given two distinct briefs to create sumptuous bedrooms in the five-star Scottish hotel, Mar Hall, on the banks of the River Clyde near Glasgow.
With a budget of £2,000 per room, Charlotte, Ry, Peter and Temi were tasked with restyling their jaded rooms into relaxing spa retreats. Meanwhile, head judge Michelle Ogundehin asked Joanne, Monika, Jack and Tom to come up with maximalist schemes.
After getting into trouble last week for not trying hard enough with her nursery design – Michelle liked the cosy story time nook she created, but wanted to see much more evidence of her talent – employment lawyer Charlotte Fisher, 36, from Ashtead, Surrey, was nervous, but felt confident when asked to devise a spa-like sanctuary bedroom. The call for soft pastel tones suited her personal style to a tee.
However, taking a bold decision to move the bed to make space for hidden storage and a custom-designed headboard was a risk. The problem? The bed ended up facing an empty wall rather than giving hotel guests a stunning window view of the surrounding Scottish countryside, and proved to be Charlotte’s downfall.
She found herself on the sofa with Joanne, Tom and Peter, and after Joanne’s exit, ended up as the second contestant to be eliminated this week.
When we caught up with Charlotte in an exclusive interview with House Beautiful, we asked her to come clean about the Great Bed Dilemma and found out what happened to the pretty resin wildflower table that refused to set.
So, the bed…
I think if I hadn’t switched the bed around I would I have got further in the competition. The big problem was the blank wall. The truth is, the TV was meant to be mounted on that wall but we ran out of time to mount it. Everybody wanted to know, why was the bed facing that wall, and that is the reason.
Couldn’t you have simply left it in place?
The thing was, the week before, Michelle had said that she really wanted to see more from me. So I thought that moving the bed around and creating the hidden storage behind it – which she and Matthew did comment positively on – would impress her. I got a bit obsessed with trying to please Michelle in week three.
What about that cheeky tailor’s dummy you called ‘Michelle’? Did she see it?
I don’t know but I don’t think she would have been upset. I did make it look nice!
You love pastels, so the brief must have been a dream for you?
I like lots of pinks and mint green. In fact, I’m currently sat in my attic, which we’ve recently converted into two bedrooms. The walls are still the bare plaster, but I’m thinking I like the bare plaster look. I’m going to work out how I can keep the walls peachy pink. But, I have to say, I wish I’d been given the maximalist brief – I think that would have really stretched me.
Your theme was really natural and did work well visually…
I loved choosing all the floral elements, the thistles, and so on. However, the resin table with the wildflowers was a lot more difficult than I’d imagined. I didn’t really read up on instructions on how to do it beforehand. I think I watched a YouTube video, so I had seen it being done.
I got the wildflowers from Etsy and I thought you would get the resin and just pour it in. What I didn’t realise was the flowers would start moving. Disaster. So I had another go and then realised I didn’t have enough resin, but someone did find some in the end.
The problem was you need a certain amount of time before the resin dries. Obviously there wasn’t enough time! That’s when Peter and Temi went in and noticed the glasses stuck to the table. I’ve just left it there – we leave everything that we do, then the client can decide what they want to do with it.
You said you would defend yourself on the sofa…
I think I did defend myself but it’s a tricky one to call. You don’t want to look like you’re just covering up with excuses. All the designers get the same time, the same budget. You have to be careful when you try and stick up for yourself because you don’t want to sound negative. The thing is, the competition is so difficult and the standard is so high. In this episode, nobody did a room that was awful, so everyone is under such scrutiny when it comes to who has to go home.
Tell us one thing about the show we don’t know?
Time would be the thing I would say, it is really time-pressured. I don’t think anyone can prepare you for that. We really do end up frantic. I think in this episode you can see how stressed we are. The actual time you’ve got to do the rooms is so short, you’re under so much stress. I think Joanne’s fringe sticking to her head showed how stressed she was. It’s just all guns blazing the whole way.
What’s your advice for anyone thinking of applying?
As I’m not a professional interior designer, I didn’t really have anything to lose. I’d say have fun, learn from it. What I have learned is that you should trust your instincts. If you like something, just to go with it. I do trust that I have an eye for interiors, but maybe it wasn’t as polished as I would like.
Have you got a tip on the winner?
Because I worked with Tom in week one, I was really impressed with him. He has such a good eye for design. It felt like I was working with someone who really knew what he was doing.
• Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr, series four, airs at 8pm every Tuesday on BBC One. You can also catch up on BBC iPlayer.