Interior Design Masters 2023, Episode 6: Slideshow of Duck Corpses

This is how I start all of my conversations.

Send duck pics.

For their Quarterfinal challenge the designers were having to take on Rutland Hall’s luxury wedding suites – with the designers being split into pairs: Jack and Temi doing the bridal suite while Tom and Monika tackled the groom’s rooms.
I do think this might be the hardest challenge they’ve ever done because at once you’ve got to give the wedding party a space that suits potential pre-wedding photography but also not be too cliched and gendered about the whole thing because, in the slightly noncommittal words of the show, “everything is so fluid now” and then you’ve got the unique architecture to take into account

and to do it all with only £1,500 which sounds like a lot but it’s only £500 more than they had for last week’s tiny beach chalets and dead ducks don’t come cheap.

My Bride Or Die

Jack and Temi got off to a good start because they’d at least both shown up to their team meeting with the same colour palette – whites and pale greens to keep things light and neutral while also bringing a bit of the natural surrounding inside – which did of course mean there was a woodland wallpaper going up – it wouldn’t be an episode of Interior Design Masters without one

I did like Jack’s room – the pale pink and minty green are bordering on 1980s bathroom colours and I think it largely works because of his decision to add the panelling following his consultation with The Dark Oracle, Monika

I had expected his handmade floral chandeliers to be a little more abundant and perhaps a bit draped because right now, the test tubes do feel like the focus but are at least far enough away to not look too obviosuly like test tubes

but I suppose there’s only so much you can knab from the nearby wetlands before you get in trouble with The National Trust

it’s giving me Ernst Henseler

and he still had an enter hoop to cover in grass for his photo op bench

that could also be used by the rowdier bride for party games

Jack’s terrace was really good – I think it was a very smart idea to go down the route of incorporating a space with built in photo opportunities which was a common theme between his and Temi’s designs, Temi deciding that what every bride wants is a living room swing

Michelle was right, it needed to be dressed up a little more, but again, there was only a £1500 budget and Temi had a war to wage against a kitchen

the kitchen was such a nothing space and had it not been open plan, I doubt they would have made them incorporate it into their design because truly who cares? It’s the size of a beach chalet and nobody is going to spend any time in there

Alas, Temi had drawn the short straw and her vehement hatred of the the bog standard rental property tiles drew most of her ire and her attempt to deal with them went up in smoke as apparently they hadn’t sent her the correct amount of Batman-esque black vinyl

so she was forced to accept them and her kitchen went relatively unchanged except for some new cabinets and some paint

I do like her paint job though, I think it at least makes the space look a bit more geometric and interesting.

As for the living space, there were parts that were great – the dining room table and the floral garland above it were the highlights of the whole design

not entirely sure on the symbolic implications of having your final meal before before your wedding being watched over by your caged wedding dress though, but that table is beautiful and it was a smart design choice to replicate it on a smaller scale for the coffee table in the lounge area

the problem with the lounge area, aside from perhaps the swing (I don’t know your lifestyle) and the TV on an easel, is that it does kind of just look like an ordinary living room and not in enough of a plush and cosy home-away-from-home kind of way. It was a shame that she didn’t paint the beams black because it would have brought some much needed drama to the space (it worked slightly better in Jack’s room because of the addition of the pink) but it was nice of her to take the wellbeing of the painters into account.

Tick. Tick. Groom.

Tom was trying his best to get off to a good start with Monika by trying to convince himself that her gothic maximalism and his comfy minimalism were more similar than they would expect. Monika was having NONE of it

and imaginably upon her unveiling the dead duck and uttering the words “dark fairytale” Tom looked like he was staring into the fathomless void of unexplored space

Monika had decided that she was going to go Full Monika and at least crash out in a blaze of glory – I can’t blame her, it’s seemed pretty obvious that Tom and Jack are poised for the final ever since they yeeted Ry in episode 4 and then Temi at least has the narrative of her growing as a designer whereas Monika’s main arc has been “What can go wrong this week?” – so if she can’t fly, she might as well fall with style! And she was finally biting the bullet and going with some taxidermy – the looming threat of which has felt a little bit like the main reason to keep her around

we do have to address the ornithological elephant in the room in that that is not a mallard duck, it is in fact a Eurasian Teal but this has not been a great year for bird identification, lest we forget the misidentified sparrow

but I did love the duck, it’s been a weird childhood dream of mine to always own a taxidermied pheasant – some kids dream of being astronauts, I dreamed of collecting dead birds. And it fits really well with the dark academia aesthetic she was going for

Dark Academia anything is hard to do on a budget and it would have been nice to see how much further she could have pushed it with an extra £500 because the ceiling decorations were nice but we needed about 5 more cages (says every bride about her groom)

just to disguise the wiring a little more if anything.

Then of course there was her terrace which did look a little bit like a partially collapsed stick fort you find in the woods

Monika hated it and was fully prepared to just get off the sofa as soon as Michelle looked at her, however Michelle loved it and seemed enchanted by the slight Blair Witch Project feel of the whole thing thus forcing Monika through every stage of grief in the space of 5 seconds

I’m so excited for her next episode, I think they’ve created a monster.

A big part of the challenge was cohesion but somewhere between Monika’s slideshow of duck corpses and arriving at Rutland, Monika and Tom had decided they weren’t going to really care very much about it

come Day 2 and their design courage was faltering slightly and they were having mutual existential crises

because while Monika was going for her dark fairytale, Tom was creating a faux glamping teepee by covering the walls with white muslin

it looks really nice, he was worried that it looked too bridal, probably because he did keep wearing the muslin like a veil and was psyching himself out

but I think it was just a very good way of adding some texture to the walls to make the space feel much less empty and expansive.
As for his kitchen, he too hated the tiles and covered most of them up with copper painted plywood

and it looks good but then you begin to look a little closer and you have to slightly question the execution

I can’t tell if it not quite fitting together is purposeful and meant to look slightly like a Chinese puzzle box that if you push specific spots you can unlock the wall-mounted microwave or if they just had 15 minutes and were hurriedly trying to glue as much wood to the wall as they could.


As there are only 4 designers left, all of them were on the sofa to answer a few questions – one of the big ones being about Jack and Temi deciding to not paint their beams and I do have to commend the two of them for not trying to throw one another under the bus, lest we forget last year’s iconic menace

and with Tom and Monika getting off with fairly light critiques – Tom’s relatively untouched kitchen and Monika’s fight against the ceiling – it was pretty clear they were the judges’ favourites and went on to the semi-final. And if we’re going by actual design, as lovely as Temi’s dining area was, there wasn’t anything notable about the rest of the room whereas Jack’s felt completely made over and reorganised with the curtained off makeup station, so this week’s eliminated designer was Temi

so we’re going to be seeing a lot less things hanging from the ceiling going forward.

And so, we have our 3 semi-finalists: Jack, Monika and Tom

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