Interior Design Masters 2021, Episode 7: Anti-Duck Egg Stormfront

Rocking up to the semi-finals dressed like the governing villain in a YA novel is one hell of a flex.

It is of course the semi-finals and with only two days and a very exacting brief on hand the pressure is rising and heads will butt…

For the penultimate challenge the designers will be taking on a pair of Yorkshire based restaurants in Hebden Bridge that at the moment look like every small village café in Yorkshire

It’s just an aesthetic that we have – I can’t explain why but there is always a very exposed ice cream freeze.

For the challenge they’ll be taking on the cafes in pairs with each of them focusing on a different level of the building as a solo project but there must be cohesion between the two spaces and a focus on the client experience

Alan, we’re in the middle of a pandemic! I can barely remember how a restaurant works anymore!

The two teams are:

Siobhan & Lynsey
Paul & Micaela

Why must we constantly split up the dream team that is Paul and Siobhan? Why can’t we have nice things?
They’ll have the usual 2 day time limit and £3000 per building as well as a meeting with the owners of each establishment.

Lynsey and Siobhan: A Fine Wine Pairing

From their meeting with the owner of their restaurant Lynsey and Siobhan were able to quickly establish that Siobhan’s downstairs area was a more casual, daytime setting while Lynsey’s upstairs was for the evening and fine dining. They’d also settled on the idea to involve local artists into their design schemes because of Hebden Bridge’s arts and culture history. Sadly they ignored the fact Hebden Bridge is apparently “the Lesbian Capital of the UK” – turn the small cafes into exclusive lesbian bars I DARE YOU.

Siobhan’s art installation came from a local artist in the form a mural reading “EY UP” by Third Eye Signs (who also made shop front signs for It’s A Sin) which had a few issues because of the fact they didn’t really have enough time to remove the rather pointless wall lights which I think made the mural a little smaller than Siobhan probably would have liked

It’s still graphic and bold and sits very well into the quite young and youthful vibe that she was going for with the statement copper leafed bar top

I personally don’t like the birch strips she glued to the Yorkshire stone but I might have a different opinion if it was completely done.
The flashiness of the bar area does make it look a lot more of a night time destination bar of people in a big city, not the 4500 population of Hebden Bridge but it’s very pretty and she sacrificed a lovely jumper to make it happen

I really want to know if she managed to get the copper leaf out of it or if it’s still shedding sparkles everywhere it goes. Although let’s face it, this is Siobhan, she leaves sparkles wherever she goes anyway.
Lynsey’s choice of artwork for her upstairs was much more muted and moody with a contemporary, almost impressionist landscape mural across the entire back wall that she was elongating with mirrors

It very much set the tone for the rest of her design with the rich, deep colours and sophisticated styling that very much linked into Siobhan’s colour scheme downstairs – and just to add that extra stroke of cohesion they were both using the same floral fabric – Siobhan on her cushions and Lynsey on her £5 banquette seating

They try to claim that Lynsey’s banquette seating was the bargain of the series but I will stand firm in favour of Micaela’s £1 sofa from the previous episode.

One of the biggest complaints the that the restaurant has received was that it was a very echoey space which is not surprising because before Lynsey had her way with it looked like some sort of 19th century classroom

Nothing says “bonne appetite” like bare wood and not a single curtain and expectation of a ruler brandishing nun to storm through the doors. Lynsey quickly put an end to the austerity by, in the words of Nisha Katona, “having the bravery to hang curtains”

Has it been so long since I’ve been in the restaurant that I don’t remember the unwritten policy that they’re meant to be curtainless? Is Nisha just Mona from the first episode in disguise?
I really like the wine red lacquered tables Lynsey used as they blend very well into the landscape of the room, whereas Siobhan’s were quite stark and flattened out the space quite a bit

It’s also a personal thing – I’m very much on record as not being a huge fan of pale wood and I imagine it was also a little bit due to the budget which I would hazard a guess went mostly onto the copper leaf and the mural.
There was some debate about the colour of the ceiling with Siobhan painting it a very dark burgundy colour that gave Lynsey flashbacks to Paul’s red ceiling during the previous episode

everyone stop putting the pregnant woman in distress please!

Overall it was a very good collaboration with a clear theme running through the different floors while managing to keep them as two distinct and separate spaces for different patrons.

Paul and Micaela: A Stairwell to Hell

While Siobhan and Lynsey heard their client’s brief and tailored themselves to it, Micaela and Paul heard their restaurant owner tell them about how the space is a family run business specialising in homecooked meals and that duck egg blue was a very important part of the restaurant’s branding and both them pretty much looked at each other said “I hate duck egg blue, he can rebrand.” and continued on their merry way.
In their defence, I don’t feel that duck egg blue is a particularly good restaurant colour and I think people tend to say “duck egg blue” because it sounds sophisticated but we’ve reached a point where it’s kind of just a little chintzy and dated – much like the space they were doing that came with such knickknacks as a basket of glued together rocks

Which both of them mercilessly insulted and by the end of it Paul had adopted them to put on his windowsills

I like to think they found out they were actually very sentimental heirlooms and flipped a coin to see who had to keep and find a space for them.

With Paul and Micaela having successfully established the Anti-Duck Egg Stormfront you would have thought they would be on the same page for everything else but apparently not as they kind of bumped heads on how the staircase should be painted with Micaela wanting to make it lilac and Paul realising that that wasn’t going to jive with his colour scheme of browns and greens. Eventually a compromise was reached and they go full The Judgement of Solomon and get to paint half a staircase each.

Paul was sticking hard to the earth tones with a rich olive and wood cladding that made his space look like more of a collaboration with Siobhan than Micaela

I adore that little space under the stairs – it looks very inviting, I do think the olive green could have been better if it had had a more yellow-y undertone and just a touch paler, just to liven and warm it up a bit.
With Paul there is always going to be a statement wallpaper and you can see it featured slightly under the stairs where it works very well to add a sense of interest, on the opposite wall however it is dominating everything

Michelle thinks it doesn’t belong on the grounds that it looks like the tin plate ceilings of Victorian New York but out of all of Paul’s design elements it’s the one that marries the most with Micaela’s space because she had decided to paper just about every wall so that it looks like the floor of a 70s kitchen

and yet somehow it works? There’s something delightfully Flintstonesy about it in the pastel 70s colours and the geometric shapes. Nisha Katona describes it as looking like a place that teenagers would want to hang out and I’m not entirely sure which teenagers she knows that are obsessed with peach and lilac at the moment.
I did really like this little seating area that very much looks like her second go at designing a beach hut

I could see a pair of 70 year olds really enjoying it.

The general vibe from Micaela and Paul was that it felt like they knew they were going home and had settled on going out in a blaze of glory and throwing everything at the wall, including this art installation from Micaela

I’m sure Book Twitter had something to say about that.

It may not have been the best collaborative effort in the world and there were clear hits and misses in both of their designs but they did both show that they’ve been taking in Michelle’s feedback and trying their best to build on their skill sets.

SOFAGEDDON

Due to the unmitigated success of her design they don’t even entertain the idea that Lynsey was going to go home and put her straight through the final,

which also pretty much confirmed Siobhan was going to go through as well considering their designs were very similar and the flow was better executed than the other two, but they tried their best to keep up the suspense.

The one thing they can clock Siobhan on was the lack of thought put into the lighting of the tables and the darkness of her ceiling is a slightly contentious issue – the good thing though is that Michelle is firmly on her side. Ultimately it comes down to the collaborative work and it’s a very sad farewell to Paul and Micaela

I had thought after the last few episodes in which he truly excelled that Paul was a sure fire bet for the final 2 – I’m less surprised about Micaela’s elimination but gutted nonetheless because I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching her grow with the show and I think a lot of her design work went very underappreciated. They’re both very talented people and deserve nothing less than the world.

This does mean it’s Siobhan who joins Lynsey in the final

and I for one cannot wait to see what she unleashes in next week’s solo project – LET THE MAXIMALIST CHAOS RAIN DOWN.

And so 2 Interior Designers remain

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