Interior Design Masters 2021, Episode 3: Death by Madagascan Wildlife

When you’ve got a wedding at 11:00 and a line dancing hoedown at 12:00.

Do you like countryside estates? Do you like weddings? Do you like headache inducing lemurs? If so, we’ve got the perfect hour of television for you!

After the fairly restrictive brief of office spaces last week the interior designers are this week being let loose within a “deluxe hotel and destination wedding venue” – they say deluxe but please tell me what deluxe hotel has a bedroom layout as abominable as this

and that’s only the beginning of the issues!

For the challenge the teams have been split into 2 groups, one will tackle maximal designs while the others will have to tackle understated glamour but everyone will still have their own bedrooms, one in each team will also have to do a bridal suite but there is no requirement of cohesiveness between the room as we will soon find out. And as an added threat 2 designers will be sent home this week.

The teams are:
Maximal: Jon, Barbara, Peter and Micaela.
Understated: Paul, Siobhan, Lynsey and Charlotte.

Team Understated: Less is Best


By the way, no I don’t know why they did the talking heads in such a way that makes them look like they’re about to go and work in a field for the afternoon.

Out of everyone I think Lynsey got done the most dirty by her room layout with the quite frankly bizarre placement of the sink which she had to then work out how to hide and yet not lose any of the meagre space in this alleged luxury, destination wedding bedroom – I imagine this is the room you give to the bridesmaid you like least. Her solution to the sink dilemma was to create a sort of fence which was at least a better solution than erecting an entire wall but did unfortunately look like the changing room of a gym

And the paleness of the whole room while light and area does make that TV an utter eyesore but I’m not sure how it ever couldn’t be short of removing it entirely. I do think the room turned out a lot better than I thought it would because the 3D design model made it look like someone had repurposed office supplies into a bedroom

Michelle and guest judge Kit Kemp love the whole room though, I lean towards it being a little too spartan and I think a lot of it is to do with the lamps looking quite industrial

Put a shade over them and all is forgiven.


Paul to me came across as the designer with the best grasp of the brief – his moodboard was clear and well explained with his choices of soft metallics and greys – which of course run the risk of being so pale they disappear into irrelevance but he has such a good understanding of aesthetics that I always feel safe with his design decisions, and his banter with Alan Carr that borders on sexual tension? A+ television. Honestly, reboot Changing Rooms to have him on it – Siobhan can come too. BRING ON THE MDF RENAISSANCE.

While Paul wasn’t knocking over Siobhan’s paint… He was busy sawing off the legs of bedside tables like a disturbed child does with spiders

I personally like it, who needs legs anyway? and I will also defend his enormously tall lamps with my last dying breath, I think they’re so absurd and have that real sort bougie vibe to them

The bed on the other hand?

Absolutely not, it is my mortal enemy. Everything else in the room has this featherlight feel to it and then that massive lunk of browny-grey quilted velvet(?) that looks like badly tempered chocolate weighs it all down and I think it could have been better coordinated as we know Paul is a master of the art seeing as he perfectly coordinated with the vacuum cleaner

I didn’t even know you could get a Henry the Hoover in that shade.


The moment Siobhan said she had taken inspiration from traditional kimono fabrics and patterns I knew she was onto a winner, and this grey heron mural that was made by her friend at Avalana Design is INCREDIBLE

I could only dream.
The room has whole has a very rich vintage vibe but manages to avoid being too themed or kitsch – it actually reminds me a lot of the mansion from Sunset Boulevard – which is glamorous but I’m not sure it’s “minimal glamour” – if there’s one thing Norma Desmond was it wasn’t minimal.
But she managed to reign in what could have been by many people seemed as very busy by keeping it all very monochrome with the sagey colours and then the pops of black in the furniture that she painted black to give it that Japanese urushi finish was phenomenal

And because of the strong antique Japanese aesthetic running through it, the two tree like lamps that had a more western retro look to them didn’t really feel like they belonged, but who cares because Siobhan decorated the entire room while wearing a pink jumpsuit with a sequined parrot on the back

Would we expect anything less?


Charlotte got the honour of making over the bridal suite for Team Minimal Glamour which did come with the drawback of being the biggest room and thus had the potential to run the furthest behind time, and behind time it ran! Although not all of it was because of Charlotte because for some reason the show hadn’t given the workmen a proper floorboard sander and the poor guy was having to do it with the world’s smallest belt saw

and the sanding process was absolutely necessary because Charlotte was very committed to her tiny square of carpet that she was putting in the middle of the room. This did mean that while the poor guy was sanding his life away Charlotte was forced outside to contend with the fact nature isn’t a big fan of interior design

I’m also pretty sure that we immediately knew that this was going to end in a turf war between Charlotte and the workmen and sure enough by the end of the day she was telling them they needed to hurry up so that she could hang the wallpaper, do her curtaining and hang up her spidery lighting fixture

I can only imagine that this looked better in person because on television it looked very meagre and distinctly unromantic but somehow Michelle loved it and the “bravery” it took to not hang the lights from the ceiling roses – when will she get that medal she deserves so much?

She did manage to get everything in her room finished by the end of it, I don’t know if it was an entirely successful room because where Siobhan succeeded in creating a vintage feel but not making it ~a theme~ Charlotte ended up with a room that looked like Marie Antoinette on a budget

of the whole room it’s the carpet that’s the most successful, which in a bridal suite might be a slight problem. It’s the colours that really kill it for me, I think they read as more tepid than they do pastel – it needs a real punch of something to draw it out which she almost had in the fabric of the cushions

but even an understated room could have taken more of it – I mean Siobhan made her room look like an RSPB reserve and I’d be much more excited to spend my wedding night in there beneath the gaze of a pair of perving herons.

Team Maximal: MORE! MORE! MORE!


A rough draw for Peter who doesn’t normally use patterns let alone mix them and clash them off another but he was ready to embrace his inner chaos and try his best.
His first port of call was fixing the rather baffling en suite

Can we really call a this an en suite? It feels dubious to me.
His idea to add an arch to the ceiling to make the space look more fluid was a good one but sadly because the time limit and the fact Charlotte has started a turf war with the workmen who I imagine were sending for back-up the finish of it wasn’t quite up to par

The rest of the room wasn’t upsettingly awful though, I’d be perfectly happy with it as a hotel room – there are a few little things here and there like the fact the pink at the top of the wall, while tying in with the pink in the bold wallpaper doesn’t really manage to read as cohesive

but the biggest issue is the yellow headboard which while an excellent contrast to the blue of his wallpaper doesn’t have the same luxury feel – his wallpaper is gorgeous but the headboard looks a little Laura Ashley and the two are refusing to talk to one another.


I think what worked most Peter’s detriment was the fact Barbara was going for a similar look and feel with her greens and oranges with the pop of blue and she pulled it off so spectacularly despite her misgivings about the challenge and the fact if I were her I’d have given up the moment I found the pair of aged knickers rammed down the back the radiator in this “luxury” hotel

I’ve seen people on Four In A Bed refuse payments to a £80 a night B&B in Blackpool for less!
The knickers weren’t the only roadblock as while decorating the, let’s face it unusable, peacock chair Alan Carr managed to break the spray gun by merely touching it

it’s only a matter of time before he accidentally tears down someone’s statement lighting fixture.

It also helped Barbara that no matter what she did to the room she would at least be getting rid of the hideous candy stripe wallpaper that was currently hanging up

Who exactly had dubbed this place a destination wedding venue and how much of the hotel had they seen? But at least it looks like one now

it’s just the perfect marriage of colours and patterns – I would quite happily kill to own that zoological print wallpaper and I am obsessed with these delightfully camp lamps

And I hope this has taught Barbara to embrace this louder aesthetics because she can clearly pull it off aplomb.


It’s been two episodes, both of which Micaela has been told to “stop focusing on the details” and so when presented with one of the larger hotel rooms she IMMEDIATELY focused on the details and became fixated on the upholstered headboard, which looked great

and then the minute she had to expand from the bed she panicked, decided to paint the ceiling black to be ~sultry~ but kind of just opened the ceiling up into an existential void

But what was my favourite little detail of Micaela trying to embrace maximalism? I hear you ask, well it was obviously the few little coloured crystals that she put in her chandelier that was itself dwarfed by the expanse of the black ceiling

it’s such a pity the room didn’t quite come together for Micaela because if has just been braver and brought out that canopy and allowed herself to run rampant with those rich purples and oranges she would have been onto a real winner, instead she added those two greyscale panels onto the wall

At least they match the dire carpet?


Lastly we come to Jon who provided some of the best television we’ll probably see all year as he set about truly embracing maximalism in every single what that Michelle didn’t want him to. I’m almost a bit sad that Barbara scared him off just doing clashing geometric patterns, and she she was really putting her life on the line for it because Jon gave her the most marvellous death glare

Genuinely shocked she didn’t turn to stone – although let’s face it Barbara stops for no man.

Jon then decided that he would take a single geometric design and clash it against something floral. His pattern of choice?

Lemurs! Nothing says “Congratulations on your Wedding Day!” quite like King Julian from Madagascar, after all there’s that famous old saying “Something old. Something new. Something borrowed. Something from the zoo.”
And he wasn’t done there as he then wanted to incorporate a solid colour “to anchor it” and his colour of choice just so happened to be this eye-searing shade of shamrock

that he later spent quite a while trying to convince himself that he definitely liked and was absolutely a good choice, honest, HE REALLY LIKED IT OK? I genuinely think that if it had been a deeper, more jewel toned green it would have made his room look a bit less like a malfunctioning VHS tape of Twin Peaks

that was also somehow the perfect camouflage for Siobhan

She just blends right in!

But I think he would also need to get rid of most of the furniture, the weird muddy watercolour chairs don’t really belong and the only thing the lamps are making me do is crave the sweet relief of the darkness. You can’t even get any relief by looking at the ceiling because he made that look like a video game from the 80s

But behind all the insane set dressing is a genuinely well thought out room – the little dressing area behind the bed is a really good idea

And I do think there is a place in the world for a room like this, it might be a themed hotel in Brighton but it certainly isn’t the Luxury Destination Countryside Hotel Wedding Venue in East Sussex Experience.

An Arbitrary Hotel Room Ranking

  1. Siobhan’s Heron Palace
  2. Barbara’s Blue Jungle
  3. Paul’s 53 Shades of Grey Exactly
  4. Lynsey’s Wedding Changing Room
  5. Peter’s Lesser Blue Jungle
  6. Charlotte’s Barely Antoinette
  7. Jon’s Death By Madagascan Wildlife
  8. Micaela’s Moroccan Void


The day or reckoning comes and all of Team Understated Glamour are told that they’re safe for the day, but Paul is specifically reprimanded for having been too boring and I for one cannot believe that a man wearing a cravat, a burgundy shawl lapelled suit and hair that can only be described as a follicular wonder is getting this critique


And then because Barbara did so well in her room she told that she is also safe and her reaction to this news is a whole three act stage play in less than three seconds

She could not scarper out of that room fast enough.

This of course means it’s a sofa bound tussle between Jon, Micaela and Peter as only one of them can remain in the competition. I truly don’t believe there was any saving Jon, Michelle had made up her mind that he was definitely going home tonight and they might as well have just told him up front rather than have him try to defend any part of that room.
I’m also of the opinion that they could have told Peter he was safe and brought Charlotte onto the couch because her room was the bridal suite and by the end of it looked a bit like you nan did up her bedroom with a big Bingo win.

Michelle’s first question Peter is about why he thought he had maybe missed the mark with challenge and his first mistake was trying to defend his design – which isn’t a bad thing, stand by your guns (it also wasn’t a bad room) BUT within the upspoken rules of a TV competition series you do have to somewhat kowtow to the judges because if you don’t there isn’t a ~journey~ for you within the show and it makes you an entirely expendable character.
Meanwhile Micaela fully listed all of the mistakes she made and what she should of done in such bullet pointed fashion that I was almost sure she was about to whip out a PowerPoint presentation and thus she was saved with a stern warning that it is her last chance and Peter and Jon are both let go from the competition.

And so 6 Interior Designers remain

2 thoughts on “Interior Design Masters 2021, Episode 3: Death by Madagascan Wildlife

  1. Roberto

    Honestly, I look forward to your reviews as much as the show itself.

    As a queer person living in Canada with no other friends who watch it, every time there’s a new post I feel like I’m just catching up with a good friend (who has great opinions) about shows we’re watching (I read the Pottery and Drag Race posts too).

    Thanks a lot for the effort you put on your blog.

    PS: I’ll definitely miss Jon and Peter next week. Wasn’t expecting to see both of them going home so soon.

    1. Ariadne Griffin

      Hi! Thank you so much – I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recaps – I started this blog mostly because I didn’t have anyone else to talk about the shows in this sort of detail so I’m thrilled other people are getting something out of them – it makes all the work very much worth it! And thanks for validating my terrible opinions 😉

      I had also thought Jon and Peter would stick around for a couple more weeks, I even had Peter picked out as a contender for at least the semi-finals but they really took offence over his hotel room!

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