Interior Design Masters 2023, Episode 4: Plenty and Bountiful Sock Bush

Strap in, it’s a bumpy ride.

Some pigeons may have been harmed in the making of this recap.

Having given the designers a taste for working on their own, it was back into teams they went for the annual High Street Shop challenge which is always the most difficult task of the year because there’s so many moving parts to take into account: the needs of the customer, displaying the stock, your client inexplicably wanting his expensive clothes shop to also be Harrogate’s go-to indie music destination, the shops’ facade – the list goes on.

The three shops they would be making over in harrogate this week were a ladies’ shoe shop, a high end fashion shop and a sheepskin shop (because this is Harrogate) with the team divisions being:

Tom and Temi: Harrogate’s Premier Sheepskin Stockist
Ry and Jack: The Ladies’s Shoe Shop
Monika and Peter: Fashion-cum-Radio-1’s-Live-Lounge

with one of each member of the teams being made lead designer after pitching their ideas to the shop owners.

A Wolf in Sheepskin Clothing

Following their pitches Tom was made lead designer because the shop owner wasn’t too keen on Temi’s anti-slipper agenda

but they did like her rusty orange colour for the shopfront, which became something of a point of contention between her and Tom – Temi advocating for black lettering while Tom liked it as white due to the stronger contrast and while either would have been fine, Tom was right to keep it white

this wouldn’t be the only colour issue that Tom and Temi had between them, with Temi not holding back on telling Tom when she did not like something and very much monologuing her evil plan out loud like she’s the villain in a Pokemon game

nobody *has* to play this game tactically and yet somehow it always devolves into 4D interior design chess as they try to break one another

God bless Temi, I’m glad she got more screentime this episode, she’s a natural television personality – although I was worried that she was very suddenly made The Main Character of the episode after three weeks of being a bit more of a background player.

Besides the outdoor lettering, the point of contention was Tom’s choice of brown which Temi stood outside glaring at it like the weird neighbour in a horror movie that you’re meant to think is the murderer

to be fair to Temi, when the paint was on the wall without the rest of the shop being dressed it did, in her own words, “look like a poo-poo”

but once the shop was fully done up and stocked, it did depoop the brown quite significantly

“Depoop The Brown” was going to be the title of this blog entry but I don’t think the algorithm would have taken kindly to it.

Their shop ended up looking great, I do think Temi was right to have concerns about the amount of stock they had on display (70 different slipper models is bordering on unhinged) because it did verge on looking a little bit overwhelming, but they had the benefit of their stock at least being aesthetically pleasing

I’ll never forget Paul and Michaela trying to make a labyrinth of cookware look pleasant to look at

some say they’re still wandering those frying pan passageways.

Michelle particularly liked the rug wall, with Temi somehow not being directly responsible for the installation of sheepskin trapeze swings

although her pitch did have a similar idea but did look a bit more like gallows for scarfs

Interior Designers Say The Darndest Things. (also shout out to Temi’s open tabs “Download snipping tool”, “Morplan shop fittings” and Pinterest. ALSO SAVE YOUR PRESENTATION FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.)

Then of course there was the back area for all your bespoke sheepskin needs

do personalised tails fall under that Bespoke Service?

you might as well tap into that lucrative fursuit market, those jacked anime-haired wolves will drop a small fortune for a good one.

Fashion! Put It All On Me

Monika and Peter probably had the hardest job on their hands because the owner wanted his shop to pull a Batman: high end clothes by day, indie music vigilante by night (leather-cladness optional) and you could just about hear the internal screaming from both Monika and Peter when they came to that part of the brief

Sir, they are trying to win an interior design competition. Throw them a bone my dude.

Monika ended up being the lead designer as he liked her idea for transitionary shop-fittings (which is what I call my gender affirming surgeries now) and they worked out very well going from clothing display cabinets to fold-out tables very easily

it’s a bit like Moe’s Tavern trying to disguise itself as Moe’s Pet Shop during Springfield’s brief prohibition area

but I suppose in reverse. Although I don’t know if the shop owner has his liquor license sorted out but that’s not Peter and Monika’s problem, and nor is the acoustics of the shop. Instead Monika’s Problem du jour was the fact she had accidentally ordered the wrong type of paint, so she was trying to fit 16 hours of drying time into only 12 hours and understandably looked like she’d seen into the future and witnessed the world’s burning demise

the interior decorating Gods, who I believe go by the names Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Michelle Ogundehin, had smiled upon her and the paint had managed to dry by the morning and was at least safe enough to walk across so long as you walked like a dog trying on its snow boots for the first time

I’m glad she stuck with the paint despite the risk though because it did bring some necessary impact to the shop space

I can’t say that raw plywood is to my taste but I can appreciate that this almost barren, very open and airy aesthetic is very on trend within high street shops right now, and it helps when you can actually see what the clothing looks like because it’s very well lit. It’s also just a very cohesive space and the small details like the orange wheels, the orange table top and the orange in the OWL logo created a nice ~design language~ although it very nearly became one of the great lost languages as Peter watched the logo fall to the ground before his very eyes

luckily he had a spare giant orange O, as you do.

Besides the logo design, Peter’s main contribution to the space was a duo of chairs at the back of the room which were trying to play into the artsier side of the brief. His first and more successful chair was his Gym Horse Saddle

I get it as a piece of branding, if you walk into a room and there’s a horse saddle chair you’re going to take a picture of yourself sitting in it and it makes for a cute Instagram photo, word of mouth spreads and you become The Place With The Saddle. Perhaps they could have done more with the background to play into that, but the aged wood and colours at least play into the scheme of the room.
The other chair which looked like it was all dressed up to do a Beyonce number at a drag brunch was a little more incongruous

it reminds me a lot of the sort of novelty furniture you see in the Big Brother house and I do think it could look really good in a space that’s doing more of that sort of thing, it just didn’t gel here but my God did I love the cutting between Monika having a panic attack over paint and Peter sitting under a gazebo doing comically large knitting

he’s like a Borrower trying to make a vest out of fettuccine.

It wasn’t the only piece that felt out of place as Michelle didn’t take too kindly to Monika’s plenty and bountiful sock bush

it’s a little bit garden centre and alarm bells should have been ringing for Monika when everyone was calling it a trellis and she had to insist that it’s actually a display grid

ma’am, you covered it in fake ivy.

If The Shoe Fits…

Ry and Jack both seemed a little at odds with their mandated shoe shop; the pair of them seemingly doing everything in their power to not win the role of lead designer with Ry skeptically saying “rich navy” a few times being enough to lose the game of competitive lowballing

and he did spend quite a considerable amount of the first day gazing upwards like one of Evelyn de Morgan’s subjects being raptured by the angel of death

never has anyone looked more like an escaped pre-raphaelite painting and we live in a world where Florence Welch exists.

Ry’s responsibilities lay more within the front of the shop, meaning he was responsible for the pigeon that was launching a one-bird protest against this refurbishment

only taking the hint to bugger off after Ry, with full BBC safety protocols on show, forcibly moved it

sadly the pigeon did not return with an olive branch because Monika had turned it into earrings

Also, shout out to her tattoos, they are incredible.

Michelle wasn’t entirely sold on Ry’s space

it’s… fine. It makes sense within the Harrogate oeuvre: heritage colours, antique furniture and nods to Victoriana with the table centrepiece but nothing about it feels particularly inventive – I think there was an attempt with the shelving design, which does look very sleek and despite looking modern fits in well with the more antique features and I appreciated the fact the shelf heights matched alongside them

but when you’re competing against Peter’s Silly Chairs, Monika’s Speakeasy Wardrobes and Tom’s Davy Crockett Trading Wall, it’s not really enough.

Jack’s end of the bargain, the back of the shop, was much more successful if a little bit like you might check-in for a night or two (I blame it on the lamp)

Jack managed to capture more of a sense of luxury and comfort in his space, which he needed to because the customers were being expected to drop £335 on a Marc Jacobs tote bag

I’m sure the shoes were equally expensive but while Jack’s individual panelling display showcased the bags perfectly, Ry had sadly relegated the more aesthetically interesting heels to the kind of dingy antique cabinet

so we were just left with a platter of loafers and sandals on display

which to be fair are probably more of the spur of the moment purchases so should be more prominent but as someone who doesn’t wear less than a 3 inch heel because I masochistically insist on being the tallest person in every room I enter, I can’t relate.

Sofa, So Good

Tom and Temi had easily cleared the bar and had the best shop as a whole, proving once again that mind games get the job done. This did of course mean that both the other teams were on the sofa

Jack was more there only as a formality because his side of the bargain had been fulfilled and the 2 girls, 1 pair of shoes chair was the only piece of his and Ry’s design that felt a little bespoke

but that did kind of shine a real light on both Ry’s and Peter’s shortcomings – Ry for not feeling like his part of the design matched Jack’s energy and Peter for not having more comfortable chairs because apparently Michelle is too good to be seen sitting on a saddle on national television. BOO! Monika was also pretty safe because the look of the shop as a whole was really good and it felt like a well lead design, one can easily remove a trellis sock display grid.

Ultimately, given that the product display was a key element of the challenge and Ry had fallen short of it, he was eliminated

I’m not happy about it (I don’t think I’ll be happy about any of the remaining designers leaving) about but I think based on the episode it was the correct decision and Michelle at least had the decency to be sad about having to do it.

And so, 5 designers go on to Recurring Beach Hut Week

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