Tag Archives: Kelly Hoppen

The Great Interior Design Challenge Final 2017

Series 4 of my favourite cosy, slow television show painted itself off our screens last night after only nine episodes, six fewer than the previous series.

Daniela, a stylish photographer and mum of two, locked cushions with Oliver, a 49 year old hairdresser, redecorating three rooms each in a castle on the Kent coast. The 19th century castle was built by Lord Avery, inventor of the bank holiday and represented by a crest that depicted a pelican, “the symbol for caring and self-sacrifice” according to host Tom Dyckhoff. Pelican heraldry: you didn’t get topics like that on Bake Off (may God rest its soggy bottom).

Oliver’s rooms were much like himself: warm and friendly. A tiny galley kitchen was opened up by replacing some of the cabinets with open shelving that displayed crockery in a variety of textures and colours. An oversized clock raised the eye to appreciate the high windows. I loved the freshness of the colours and the sharp black and white laminate flooring. The bedroom was as opulent as requested – deploying a majestic palm print wallpaper in a burnished gold and moody turquoise, taken over the edges of the panelling to great effect. The four poster bed certainly created a mood of warm opulence; despite the presence of a chandelier and a walnut bedside table he still somehow made it look masculine. The study was a warm, welcoming room; a place you wanted to spend time although the colours were a little off to me, light blue with mustards and greeny cushions, hmmm. In fact, there was altogether too much blue in the latter stages of this competition. Oliver’s semi-final with Nicholas looked like it was being bankrolled by a dastardly Pantone salesman who only traded in the colour of sadness.

Daniela’s brief for her home-owners’ master bedroom was to create a spa feel. She created a clean room: dark stain on the fantastic parquet floorboards she uncovered underneath a drab carpet and crisp white, white, white everywhere else. I loved the glamour of the light fitting, created for around £45 by attaching fringing to a large circle of MDF. It looked great apart from the staples still showing at the top. The application of a ribbon to cover them would have sharpened the finish. The room was lovely but lacking colour, a little oomph.

The living room was dominated by a giant likeness of Napoleon which I am still deciding whether I liked or not. A bespoke, checked TV cabinet looked chic yet a little sterile. A large right angle sofa went down well with the home-owners and the overall affect was radical and inventive. Perhaps so inventive it left me a little unsure, but it has certainly stuck in my memory. I think Daniela’s mood boards were so glamorous and sumptuous I was expecting more of a wow factor.

The kitchen, again a tiny galley, was transformed with a metallic wallpaper on the cabinets to reflect the floor and give a smart illusion of space. There was a playful mixture of textures and materials including a cool marble effect wallpaper. The modern flash of dark orange glass on the exposed shelves was impeccable styling.

Daniela was fierce and won the trophy, as expected. No dinky dolls’ house trophy anymore. Like poor Sophie Robinson it has been traded in for something altogether sleeker. Previous full-time judge Sophie returned as a guest, feathers ruffled. She adopted the approach of a peacock and attacked with a maximum colour offensive: a TV-plasma-melting fuchsia mixed with a cerulean skirt. Plus giant scissor earrings. Sophie Robinson I salute you.

I still love this show but I wish the series had been longer to brighten more of my bleak January and I found the chemistry between original judge Daniel Hopwood and Kelly Hoppen unbalanced. She was too domineering and he too nervous of her. He and Sophie had a more equal chemistry but perhaps that will improve on future series.

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GIDC Final 2016

With a tsunami of creatives’ tears, The Great Interior Design Challenge 2016 brushed itself off our screens last night. Lucy and Sarah had three rooms each to transform in an 18th century neo-gothic stately home in Surrey. They were furnished with £4,000, 2 builders, 2 decorators, 4 days and a friend each for the mammoth task. Sarah’s homeowner asked for an elegant design, inkeeping with the period of the building. So naturally what she got was what looked like a modern, oriental hotel on paper, full of dark green – again! There were objections, tears, hugs, negotiations and eventually a compromise was reached. Sarah has always played quite fast and loose with the briefs and this time she pushed the client too far. However, the room she had to finish by day two (a dastardly surprise sprung by the judges) seemed to embolden the homeowner. She had asked for country house hotel elegance and she got it. The room was beautiful anyway and lilac walls, black accents, dark florals and a suitably opulently dressed bed created something quite wonderful, with a French/oriental feel.

Lucy’s surpirse finsish room on the other hand – a dining rioom – was chaotic, the walls loaded with two different bird prints, stripes, crimson and grey.

The guest judge this time was Kelly Hoppen: a shot of her foot, clad in zeitgeist Versace, dangling out of the car testament to her taste and/or massive wealth. The guest judges have been interesting: the dynamic between louche, playful Daniel and warm, fastiduous Sohpie is so well worn that they seemed a bit nervous with the guests, eager to please. I found that quite sweet.

And so to the big final reveals which were… well, a little disappointing in all honesty.  Lucy’s drawing room was clean and sprightly in greys with a zing of acid green; I liked the silver leaf on the chimney breast which added suitable splendour. It was ok, it was nice. The bedroom was not for me, there was more acid green and it was plain. A double chest of drawers had been split asunder to create two giant bedside tables which was… something to do. Lucy was industrious and enegetic but her finish was not quite there, shown on the bespoke drawing room lampshade. Bespoke? I think it should have kept its mouth shut.

But we knew that Lucy was the lesser designer – I was expecting more from Sarah. The drawing room I found a little sparse, with white and emerald green and myriad animal prints. I know that doesn’t sound sparse, but it was a very big room. Kelly found it “spectacular” but I just didn’t see it, I found it plain, not lavish enough. The dining room was tasteful but it just didn’t have that “wow” impact I had been expecting and the music was telling me to have. I think the compromises Sarah had had to make ultimately compromised her schemes. She won though, deservedly so. In this series there always seems to be acres of talent between the winner and runner up. Not to diminish Lucy, she was a talented amateur, but Sarah was a professional: bold, confident, exciting. She was the clear winner ever since the futuristic putty room. Though I would have liked to have seen what Frankie would have done with the rooms of the final, I think he could have done something truly special. There was an element of grandeur missing from the rooms.

I’ve been much more taken with previous finals – where was the 3D wallpaper, the orange baize for a pool table, the 60s inspired green and white child’s room? I still love this series though and feel inspired to get creative myself.

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