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Everything came in twos this week on BBC’s Interior Design Masters. In the first double elimination of the series, the eight remaining designers were spilt into two groups and given two very distinct briefs to create sumptuous bedrooms in a luxurious Scottish hotel, with a budget of £2,000 per room.
Travelling to Mar Hall, a five-star hotel in a 200-year-old former hotel on the banks of the River Clyde near Glasgow, Scotland, Charlotte, Ry, Peter and Temi were told to restyle their jaded rooms into relaxing spa retreats. Meanwhile, head judge Michelle Ogundehin asked Joanne, Monika, Jack and Tom to come up with maximalist schemes, ‘for the visitor in search of a truly Scottish experience’.
Joanne Hardcastle was devastated to be called to the sofa to face yet another grilling – for the third week running – from head judge Michelle and her guest judge, fashion and interior designer Matthew Williamson.
Michelle was puzzled by the lobster ornament covered so diligently in gold leaf – saying it was more Surrealist than maximalist – and bedazzled by the eight different fabrics, two kinds of wallpaper, plus pompoms and feather trims fighting for attention in Joanne’s ambitious maximalist scheme.
Whilst Matthew liked the bold statement Joanne had made, Michelle felt it simply didn’t hang together. And so Joanne, 51, a foster carer and content creator from Batley, near Leeds, West Yorkshire, became the first contestant to leave in this week’s double elimination.
In an exclusive interview with House Beautiful, we asked Joanne how she survived all those times on the sofa, and where her shopping habit will lead her next.
How did you cope with the stress of the sofa?
I am very resilient. I’ve been through the mill in my life. In week one it was quite a shock, and in week two, I thought, ‘oh, I’m on the sofa again’. But then it just got easier. I really took on board what Michelle and the other judges had to say. I had so much to learn. I hope you can see I really did listen and progress through the show.
What went wrong?
Michelle said to me, ‘the patterns didn’t work.’ She asked me, did you lay it all out together first? The downfall was the layout of the room, two doors, and a window. It was hard to make the overall design work.
And what went right?
I think I really did show them what I could do. I knew I’d done rally well in week two, just a tiny little telling off, so I felt positive. This week, I made a dressing table and upholstered so many things. I don’t think I had as many skills as the others going into it so I learned everything from scratch. I’d never upholstered before, I just wanted to go for it. Nothing was left untouched. I did something with everything, every bit of furniture, and I was so pleased that Matthew seemed to like my room. I absolutely love him. I did A Level Art as a mature student and I studied him. I told him that too.
Michelle kept saying you are a shopper, not a designer. What did you think to that?
I’m a stylist. I’m all about your finishing touches. That’s my amazing shopping habit, if I see something I love, I will get it. Changing that process round to doing the design for the programme was difficult. I only had a week for each project, so not being able to buy everything but to make the things I included too, meant I wasn’t getting the layers I wanted.
I have dyslexia, so I always like to shop in real life rather than online. I’ve got to see it and get the feeling, get the measurement. I love textures, velvets, furs. I go to antiques markets in France for the weekend and pick of loads of bits there. I also like Dunelm, Homesense and John Lewis.
Tell us one thing about the show we don’t know?
The clothes! It’s all we talk about. The WhatsApp group is alive with chat about what we’re planning to wear for each show, and pictures of different outfits – the outfits are massive. I love shoes, never had the same pair twice. Also, we have two sets of the same clothes for both days, for continuity reasons. No one watching would really know that.
How do you feel about your experience on the show now?
Nothing but positive. It was such a wonderful thing to be a part of. I’m 51 now and it feels like the start of a new chapter. I’ve brought up my family, two birth children aged 24 and 21, and a foster child aged 17, and now I’m excited for where life is going to take me next.
I’ve never set out to do this kind of thing but my Instagram has turned into a career for me. I’ve written one book and I’ve got a passion for writing, so perhaps I will do another book. I’m comfortable in my style and it has evolved over the years, but I’ve learned so much from the other contestants and their different approaches.
Do you have a favourite for the winner?
Ry first of all, because his design is so clean and polished. He still lives at home, yes, but he’s got this attic and it’s so very Ry with loads of plants and a natural look. Jack, I worked with him in week two and he’s amazing. There’s a spark of genius in him, a little bit of something else. And Tom, he’s lovely. He’s so wise, he puts colours and patterns together so well, and he’s the best hugger.
• Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr, series four, airs at 8pm every Tuesday on BBC One. You can also catch up on BBC iPlayer.
Freelance homes and property writer
Jayne specialises in advice stories for House Beautiful magazine and writes about a wide range of topics, from gardening and DIY to decluttering and mindfulness. Based in Yorkshire, she has recently renovated a 1920s house, where she lives with her family.