Interior Design Masters 2021, Episode 6: I Blame Jimmy James

One of the best parts of this entire show is Alan Carr’s ability to emerge out of nowhere and grimace.

This week the interior designers take on Salons, which makes them the only people who have been in one for like 6 months now.

It’s the quarterfinal (which I absolutely thought was the semi-final) as such it’s a big challenge for the remaining 4 designers who are going to be split into two teams of two in order to tackle a pair of salons in Richmond and for the first time (or so iPlayer informs me) the designers will be able to see the space they’re designing before making their plans which seems like a major flaw in the show to be honest.

Paul and Lynsey make up the first team and are taking on a unisex hair salon which looks pretty incredible from the start

and I’m not *not* saying that they have a massive advantage because of the pre-existing decor but Siobhan and Micaela have been landed with a Barbershop that looks like a continental subway car

Their clients were at least moderately easier to please because they were going to be happy with anything, chucking out such classic ideas as “masculine varnished concrete” while Siobhan just said “art deco rock and roll” and they signed off on it without so much as a second thought.
While Paul and Lynsey had to go home and read the entire Wikipedia article on Feng shui to please their client who seemingly wanted them to rip out an entire baring wall in their 2 day time limit. They politely refuse.

Paul and Lynsey: The Great Placement

Given their client’s very specific brief and focus on feng shui, Lynsey and Paul had to take into even greater consideration where they placed various colours, elements and objects – it must have been an incredibly daunting process to approach given that they both knew nothing about the practice and they did it very respectfully. It did help that because of the amount of exposed brick they didn’t have a lot of painting to do, I think the most they did was paint the ceiling red which Lynsey had some unaired thoughts about

but Lynsey was happy to leave the décor to Paul and seemingly spent most of her time sawing tables in half for shelving and lounging victorious amongst the end table massacre

As for the dressing of the room, both Lynsey and Paul had come to the decision to focus on a very nature inspired look and were replacing the Michelangelo-esque mural with their dizzying floral print mural and were going to create a 3D effect by hanging various pieces of foliage on the wall and across the ceiling

Which is very pretty and striking but is going to be a nightmare to dust!

One of the most important features for Michelle was the waiting area of the salon because it’s where a client will spend a lot of their time and they need to feel relaxed prior to their hair cuts.
They were using the bay window for theirs and setting it with 3 quite rigid looking chairs

it feels at odds with the rest of the room, it has quite a stuffy Victoriana vibe to it – I think a curved window seat might have been a better option and certainly would have pleased Michelle more but there is that pesky radiator to deal with. As for the water feature, I get that it’s there because feng shui told them it should be but it does feel very plonked down without much thought.
The lighting in the area was also a bit of an issue, the hanging poles of foliage didn’t quite have the coverage and lushness of the rest of the room

they looked a little Changing Rooms compared to the opulence of the chandelier laden rainforest going on in the main bit

Michelle and guest judge Abigail Ahern thought it was too busy but that’s kind of the point? Despite the lack of details beyond the chandeliers, it has a real baroque feel of extreme opulence and glamour where it’s a little gaudy and flashy but still takes your breath away.

The real highlight of the room though is the faux-courtyard window which looks like you’re looking into a greenhouse

It really does have a touch of magic to it – it’s very The Secret Garden.

Overall it was a really fantastically handled design that in the hands of many other designers would have gone to hell in a handcart within seconds but the combination of Paul’s flair and Lynsey’s logic worked like a dream.

Micaela and Siobhan: A Barbershop Duet

While Paul and Lynsey sailed through the process without much of a hiccup behind the fact they kept losing Paul in his floral dungarees because he blended into EVERYTHING

He’d win Britain’s Next Top SAS Troop in a heartbeat!
Micaela and Siobhan were rocked by numerous hiccups, the first being the fact they ordered burgundy paint and were delivered a rather concerning shade of strawberry sorbet the likes of which has been outlawed since the 80s ended

which Meant Siobhan had to go and get a shot of black put into it to get the colour she wanted which worked a treat

The paint related drama didn’t stop there though as their one pot of burgundy paint very quickly ran out and their second pot was not burgundy either

“It’s kind of similar” offered the painter as Siobhan stared into the depths of the aubergine abyss. I would say this was the most frustrating part of the whole makeover for Siobhan but she did spend a considerable amount of time trying to apply gold-leaf onto the signage in quite a strong breeze

You genuinely could have held a gun to my head and told me I had one guess to correctly name the Barbershop that they were making over and I would have guessed “Vagabond”

show me a single high street without one. I don’t even know if they know what it means, it’s just a slightly masculine sounding old-timey word. I blame Jimmy James.

The colours of the room turned out to be genius though (down your drinks for heritage colours) and you really couldn’t notice an error in the burgundy or the aubergine

I was slightly worried about that green when they first began applying it because it looked a bit wishy-washy

but in amongst everything else it deepened out and married very well into the seating area which was very much the star of the show, that art deco wallpaper is the stuff dreams are made of, I NEED IT

Micaela out did herself with the upholstery and the fact she bought that sofa for £1 – we can only stan and shall be taking a moment to appreciate her braids

This is a serve.
Micaela had also branched out of her upholstery safety house and had the brilliant of idea of dividing each of the work stations with a metal rail

It’s unobtrusive but still gives an effect of your own space and they fit in perfectly with the vibe, they remind me of old fashioned elevators in New York hotels.

There was a slight clash, not really a clash so much as a miscommunication between Siobhan and Micaela on how to approach the faux-apothecary cupboards that were going to be installed about the mirrors. The sticking point is mainly aesthetic and how the faux-drawers would be built as well as their layout which meant Micaela was frantically sketching a million different designs on the spot like the most stressful game of Pictionary

either way, a solution was found and we ended up with this wall of fake cabinets

they’re a bit too obviously fake, which might be purely down the painted finish but it’s certainly better than a fully blank wall and gels in very well with the rest of the theme, although I would have been tempted to keep this design element

There’s not enough horror films about barbershops built on ancient burial grounds, is there?

It’s a truly fantastic design and they both did a superb job of managing to evoke that 20s/30s vibe without going the very stereotypical Great Gatsby route with flashes of gold and geometric metallic finishes and it was a real joy to see the reaction of the owners when they walked into it for the first time

it makes the fact Micaela spent at least a good hour pulling hair out of the sides of the barber chair she was reupholstering worth it.


Due to the fact both of the designs were so strong all of the designers are forced to sit on Michelle’s Sofa of Crushed Dreams which means that Paul sadly has to pop his sofa cherry.
Michelle mostly wants to understand the individual contributions of the designers which immediately sent panic through Siobhan and Micaela the moment the cursed cabinets were brought up

Paul and Lynsey kind of avoid answering any of the particularly probing questions by using the feng shui defence and going on quite long tangents about it that answer absolutely no questions.
The cabinetry in Vagabond is mentioned briefly and how Siobhan and Micaela both should have pushed for storage space because it’s kind of the sort of thing you don’t realise you need until you have it, but it’s cancelled out by the praise for Siobhan’s work with colour and the metal railings are described as “genius” which practically made Micaela glow

and because of this stalemate everyone is asked why they should be the semi-finalists and I was so worried for Paul because he committed the cardinal reality TV sin of saying “it’s not about the win for me” but Michelle is in a merciful mood and as is now custom on TV competition series it’s a non-elimination week! (I’ll ignore the fact they must have clearly had 4 locations on hand for next week’s challenge unless someone was on the phone to every restaurant in the area that night)

And so still 4 interior designers remain

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