Interior Design Masters 2021, Episode 5: Multicoloured Silence

I hope whichever production assistant that got to make those sandcastles had fun.

This week the designers take on the glorified sheds we call beach huts – there’s wind, rain and an insect massacre.

As we have reached the final 5 Alan Carr has decided to go Full Drag Race and asks them who their biggest competition is. Lynsey tries her best to be diplomatic and say that everyone is her competition which Alan is obviously having none of BECAUSE THAT’S A BORING ANSWER LYNSEY. He eventually cajoles her into the obvious fact that Paul, who has managed to avoid The Sofa of Sadness, is the biggest threat. Meanwhile Paul’s biggest threat is his ever increasing cravat that threatens to engulf his entire being

Meanwhile Siobhan sits there in multicoloured silence wondering which wig she’ll wear to everyone’s funeral when she fully destroys the competition.

This week’s brief is for each of the designers to take on a beach hut with a very specific brief (sometimes too specific). There are a multitude of issues to contend with – the obvious being the fact the beach huts are tiny at only 3 by 2.5 metres so clever storage is essential, as is making a big impact in a small space. They are also on the British coast

which is mainly an issue for anti-outdoorsman Paul who spends most of the episode glaring at the ocean like it personally insulted him – we would be kindred spirits but he called me ugly on Twitter so I think we’re mortal enemies now?
For the record I was rude about his enormous cravat and may have fully deserved it.

Michelle also proudly announces that this is the first time the designers will be working on their own… unlike the hotel or the show home episode where they were pointlessly put in teams despite the rooms having nothing to do with one another other than the fact they were in the same building.
But I get that this time everyone has wildly different briefs and nobody to really bounce ideas of off other than Alan who sits there in abject silence thinking of something biting to say.

Lynsey – We All Scream For Ice Cream

I cannot believe that Lynsey waited for halfway through episode 5 to drop the “I’m pregnant” bombshell – it’s a plot twist that M. Night Shyamalan wishes he could have pulled off!

Her brief was simply “ice cream sundaes” which I think is deceptively simple and can certainly lead you into the sand trap of being slightly too literal about it – we’ll get to that later!
Her colour scheme was very much classically Neapolitan colours with her pastel tiling, which I really liked

I did roll my eyes slightly when she was telling us about how the texture of the tiles was like ice-cream and this was only the beginning of Lynsey being a little too literal about the ice cream briefing.
She was also drawing inspiration from retro ice cream parlours, something I think she could have afforded to do more of, with her black and white flooring – it was very Twin Peaks in the 3D design example

and I was pleased to see that her actual choice was a much more modern geometric pattern

If only because I would rather not be reminded about Paul’s Madagascan Bridal Suite right now.

After having spent the previous episode in the shadow of the monolith that was Barbara, Lynsey was keen to show off all of her architectural prowess and began turning everything into some sort of storage space, so if anyone in Walton-On-The-Naze needs to hide a body, Lynsey’s beach hut has got you sorted!
Her pride and joy was her trellised peg board that allowed anyone to customise its use to whatever they wanted whether it be a self or a hook, or a potential safety hazard for your fingers

and it is very a very clever piece of design, the only real big issue being that the untreated starkness of it doesn’t really marry well into the glossy pastel appearance of the rest of the room. If she had had time to paint it so that it matched better I don’t think Michelle would have had nearly as much to say about it as she did.
I also don’t think it really helped its cause that it was on the wall opposite the wall of facetted mirrors that was Lynsey’s one piece of décor that she felt was herself letting loose

Meanwhile Siobahn and Paul are down the road hanging records and grass skirts from their ceilings.

Although Michelle was never really going to love Lynsey’s design because she had committed the cardinal sin of not speaking a uniform design language with her gold “twinky” finishes, the bare wood and the black metal work

the black is a very heavy feature and is unnecessarily industrial amongst the rest of the décor that is its polar opposite but I will never recover from the whiplash caused by Michelle and guest judge Sophie Robson talking about how much they loved the room and then suddenly hating it because of the black framework.

Charlotte – Not This…

Charlotte’s brief was “New England Hamptons but not The Hamptons” – which is absolutely a brief specifically designed to send you home – WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? Charlotte also seemed very aware of how this was all going to go down

She was also the only designer who was told that they had to keep a pre-existing element of their beach hut, which were these stained glass windows

Which very much do not read as “The Hamptons” – New England or not.

Nonetheless she took the brief in stride and tried her best to figure it out by mainly just avoiding that classic nautical blue that features in a lot of Hamptons inspired décor and swapping it for a very heavy shade of forest green which did make the back of her beach hut look a little bit dark and dingy

I love that shade and would fully paint my dream living room in it, but it just didn’t read well in the context of a beach hut, and the fact she didn’t have anything hanging on the walls in the backroom except for the aggressively jutting poles didn’t help

The starkness really drew it away from luxuriant and into austere.
I did enjoy the very subtle foreshadowing of Charlotte literally ripping out the heart of the beach hut

That’s on the nose even for Zach Snyder.

In her attempt to create a sense of affluence, which is one of the defining traits of The Hamptons, she had decided to implement a Jackson Pollock style abstract design onto her table because rich people love to attach exorbitant monetary values to nonsense

If the whole design thing doesn’t work out, Charlotte could make a killing as a YouTube philosopher.
That wasn’t the only piece of art she going for as for reasons only known to her she began scratching a sort of sgrafitto-esque floral design into the minty white paint of the front room of the beach hut which may have seemed like a good idea on paper but did unfortunately look like the frantic scribblings of an angry ghost child in a supernatural horror film

They’re here….
And while she’s going all artsy-fartsy she could say the insects that she had doomed to a death by paint were a take on Damian Hirst

She was getting on well with the workmen, she had to kill something!

Charlotte did do her best to work around the the stained glass windows and I think the most successful part of the beach hut was her little kitchen area, which amongst everything else was a pleasant ray of sunshine

Also, a big fan of the paint splattered bowls thrown in just so that Michelle couldn’t tell her that the Jackson Pollock’d table wasn’t out of place – Michelle still hated the table but I admire the effort!

Micaela – Home, Sweet Home

While Charlotte was served a cryptic crossword clue of a brief, Micaela got one of dubious simplicity – “Home away from home”, which isn’t the most inspiring or original phrase and certainly not one that I associate with a glorified shed.

It did at least suit Micaela’s fondness of upholstery as she set about trying to make her beach hut as cosy and comfortable as possible, which was by far the best approach and her choice in fabrics was an excellent as it always is

and it was nice to see Micaela branching out of just relying on her upholstery and fabrics skills but trying to do an ombre paint effect on the walls, I think her partnership with Paul in the cook shop has done her confidence wonders, which could be seen by the fact the moment she entered the beach hut she went full full Mommie Dearest and asked them if they removed that bitch of a baring wall

Well, almost.
I’m not sure how well the ombre effect ended up working, I think the paint might have still been wet though

which isn’t Micaela’s fault because someone decided to make them do beach huts during the British rainy season.

I did feel really bad for Micaela as she scoped out everyone else’s beach huts and began to realise that she hadn’t been as inventive or creative with her storage options and looked increasingly shook

although I think Lynsey’s Inspector Gadget style beach hut would have intimidated anyone – you could quite easily convince me that it turns into a car or some sort of war machine with one flip of a banquette.

But I think Micaela kind of did all she could with the brief, the final result had that very holiday cottage vibe

It does look a little bit like a lovely elderly couple owns it but is that not the core demographic of a beach hut? Also, those fish shaped plates are adorable and I want them, and I genuinely think the straw hat-esque mirror was the best piece of décor used this episode

Don’t worry, Siobhan’s toucan wallpaper was a close second.

Michelle and Sophie didn’t exactly hate it either, they just thought it was a bit pedestrian and took the fact Micaela had dared to put a wool rug in a beach hut as a persona slight against them

I’ve not seen a rug this controversial since that time IKEA made one that looked like a wall of willies.

Siobhan – A Tiki Timebomb

After having leashed her to constrained design briefs such as minimalism, Charlotte’s pet shop, show homes and a Tech company, they had finally decided that it was time to let Siobhan soar with a brief of simply “Tropicana” and if you’ve been on her Instagram you know this was literally made for her. So much so that I was a little nervous when she said she was going full Tiki Bar and brought out the grass skirts and everything

Her approach was to make the beach hut very “Instagram ready” – which is probably the best way to go with a brief like Tropicana that is all about that novelty campness. This did of course mean she needed the brightest, most eye-searing shades of pink and orange that she could possibly get her hands on

If you’re going to go tropical, you might as well go Full Tropical – and just to drive the point home of course there’s toucans.

I wasn’t sure about how much bamboo she was putting it at first – I was worried that it’s beigeness would ruin the fun of the rest of it and while I’m still not a fan of it as a design element I full understand why it’s there and the job it does of at least breaking the space up

I’m also amazed at how spacious and uncluttered it looks, especially given that she’s got that whole table at the back as well as the curved corner bar on wheels

I’m also kind of shocked that she was the only one that put a full mirror at the back of the hut, and not Lynsey’s tiny little rear-view mirror tiles

That would have been my first port of call!

Paul – Dining Out

Paul’s brief was “1950s American Retro” which is a brief littered with potential landmines, especially given that the go-to aesthetic is that of a 1950s diner in all its bubblegum pink and turquoise glory, which invariably means you run the risk of creating something that looks like Grease themed restaurant – which sounds like Hell.

Paul really wasn’t holding back on the theming either and was creating a whole diner booth for the back of the hut

I cannot tell you how much I love this little drawing, put in on the fridge and then put that fridge in The Louvre.

Unlike everyone else Paul had started by painting the outside of his beach hut first and was doing it in a polka dot pattern, this did mean we found out that Sophie Robson pronounces “polka dot” by accentuating the L which means we have no choice but to toss her into the sea.
One of my favourite parts of the show was the peeling of the first polka dot and Paul’s delighted reaction

it was quite the stark contrast to the moment it started raining and he was forced to hide inside as his quiff rapidly started to deflate from the moisture

When is the haircare tutorial dropping, it’s so luxurious.

Luckily for him the rain didn’t seem to have too much of a set back on the rest of the design and it was the wind that he should have been worried about as it blows over his antique cabinet and smashes its windows

And I definitely mean the wind and not Charlotte.
All this really means is that he needs to get new glass fitted, and paint over the giant splinter that the fall took out of it that the workmen did their best to not let him see.

While the outside of his beach hut might have been striking and vivid shades, the inside was more subtle or as subtle as a 1950s American Diner themed beach hut could be. He was definitely toeing the line of taste with the diner booth seating area, the checkerboard flooring and signage

and Michelle was concerned that it was “too kitsch” which is nonsense given that a beach hut is kind of kitsch by nature, and I think it was saved from looking too much like a very good diorama of a 50s diner by the music record lighting

It’s just fun isn’t it?
We wont talk too much about the random piece of wall art that looked like something Phoebe Buffay made

It definitely didn’t need to be in there but I would rather the only slip up be something that can easily be removed than something etched into the wall like someone counting their days in prison.

An Arbitrary Beach Hut Ranking

  1. Siobhan’s Clubland Tropicana
  2. Paul’s Diner Throwback
  3. Micaela’s Well Upholstered Home
  4. Lynsey’s Ice Cream Dismay
  5. Charlotte’s Harumph-tons


My second favourite moment of the episode was before the results were revealed and Alan said that the judges had said that “the challenge wasn’t as easy as it had seemed” and Charlotte just nodded conspiratorially

She REALLY hated this whole episode didn’t she?

The two safe designers are of course Siobhan and Paul who nailed their briefs and knocked the whole challenge out of the park – at this point it very much feels like it’s a two horse race between these two for the win and Micaela getting the full third place underdog treatment.

This does of course mean that Micaela, Charlotte and Lynsey are all destined to be seated on The Sofa of Sadness and you would think after Michelle’s previous warning that Micaela would have been a goner in this situation and she probably would have if she hadn’t been in a very obvious third position with a brief that was never going to let her win.
All they could really question her on was why it was so predictable and the obvious answer being “because a home should be predictable?” And she did apologise for the rug and didn’t go on a rambling screed defending it, which always helps your case.

Lynsey got a lecture about ice cream sundaes and about how chocolate sauce isn’t black after she tried to sell the industrial looking framework as such and Alan very gallantly came to her defence because she had been the most ingenious about her storage solutions after she said they gave her the heebie-jeebies

she had just got a bit too carried away with it and turned her beach hut into some sort of ancient Chinese puzzle box.

Charlotte of course got a grilling for her colour choices and her reasoning of that forest green being a good contrast colour to the stained glass window was solid, it just unfortunately came at the cost of it not being very beachside friendly.
Michelle had the audacity to suggest that Charlotte should have Jackson Pollock’d the entire beach hut, to which Charlotte, correctly, pointed out that she would have then been told she was going to maximalist, which is the opposite of The Hamptons style of very crisp lines and minimal colours which dead-ended the conversation because Michelle had fully decided it was Charlotte’s turn to be eliminated

Charlotte had a really rough time over on Twitter with people acting as though she had literally kicked a puppy and sure sometimes she came across as a little unprofessional but you try keeping it together with low blood sugar and a whole production crew filming your every move in a very pressurised situation!

And so, 4 interior designers remain

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