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TV Appearance

Great Interior Design Challenge


Great Interior Design Challenge winner

What a week it has been since the final aired. There has been just the most amazing response and so many lovely messages. Thank you everyone who watched and mailed or rang or sent cards. Your good wishes have been taken to heart.

I have been in touch with lovely Phillip and Sue from Birmingham and they say they Love their fireplace. It was interior design Marmite, but I think I could have gone safe, and then gone home.

dining IMG_7893Great Ormande Wallpaper

Painted in Waterlogue


If you saw the final you will know it was an emotional ending to the five weeks of filming. I have to thank the lovely editing team for not showing the full tearful meltdown I had when everything got too much the day before the end. Not perhaps induced fully by the stress of taking on such an amazing house, with clients with such fantastic taste, but because on the way home to the hotel we had to pass the best Thai restaurant ever, that served freezing Mojito. You only live once and mojitos are thin on the ground in the village where we live!

Probably my favourite room of the program was the spare room. Made by the addition of some very floral very vintage cushions, but complemented by Farrow and Ball’s drawing room blue.

Winning Spare room


Downstairs I loved making the Bespoke Copper lighting. It has inspired a whole new range in store. And perched in the corner, to complete the zen club room feeling, our local black smith and saddler made the most amazing leather chair. A handmade triumph of verdigris iron and beautifully hand finished leather. A mile away from chintz, it was interesting having to think along different lines and confirms to me that the process was a personal style altering one.

dining room


I met some fab people along the way. Fellow finalist Jordan and husband Russell were great company and my dear friend Maxime Jones-LLoyd did more painting, rug making and general hard graft than you should ever ask someone to do in the name of friendship. We all loved our builders. And the camera men. And the runners and even the Judges. Dan and Sophie: Come along and meet them at a masterclass at Dan’s uber cool studio and at the end of the day you will take away a whole mood board for a room in your house. Access to their black book of phone numbers and design contacts would be worth turning up for alone I think.


Final team


We watched the final in Dan’s Studio. We met all of the other contestants and watched everything on a very big screen. The whole experience was just brilliant and opened up a whole new world.




PART TWO: We all had an amazing time in Dorset in those really pretty cob cottages. The rooms were small and cosy and Lars and Monique could not have been more helpful and friendly.

Their brief was to create a lovely warm homely interior, but with modern, clean lines and lots of woodland creatures and natural ideas included. You really couldn’t tell from the TV, but it had a lovely feeling when the room was finished.

It was the first time that I had seen filament bulbs and the retro flexes. A lucky stop for a sandwich on my way back from a meeting in London meant I parked next to a lighting shop. Who knew how much fun it was to design lights?

We were allowed a budget for seamstresses in each of the builds. Some sewing tasks like piping are too much for me so an amazing lady called Helen Antell from Feathered Nest near Blandford Forum took up the challenge of helping make the tatty sixties sofa into a new and lovely piece for the room. She took some of my vintage fabrics and made beautiful cushion covers piped with thick green velvet trims.

I made one single curtain from an old welsh blanket. I kept it as a whole piece and sewed tabs along the top to bare the weight evenly and lined it with a natural linen sheet. It made the most of the light in the room. You can just see the truckle pepping out from under the sofa too, so that Vigo could play with his toys and they could disappear at night when the room was a more adult space.

I did get off to a slightly shaky start as I left my mood board in Sussex and had to make another one in the hotel from an old atlas that I had in the car and trimmings from the leftovers of cushion making for the sofa..but it would have been too much to hope for everything to go to plan!


PART ONE: At the end of last summer the lovely Donna Flower, queen of vintage fabrics, posted a little note on her Facebook page about BBC2 looking for people with an amateur interest in Interior Design to enter the Great Interior Design Challenge.

It was a quiet afternoon and the forms weren’t too long, So I filled them in! After a few weeks of email contact suddenly a film crew were booked to come and film us at home, I had made it onto the program. I had taken up the challenge.

Filming day approached so I packed up my mood board and materials and headed for North London. It was a little nerve wracking waiting to start, but the crew were really great and when I finally got to meet the lovely homeowner Claire, well, I think that we hit it off from the start.

You didn’t see him much, but Johnny was a great builder who helped put everything together and lovely Charlie filmed me over the two days.

I will post here when the other program that I am in is due out, and heartfelt thanks to everyone for their lovely messages and kind words.

Oh, and by the way. Those amazing rollers are from the lovely crew at the Painted House.  Call and speak to another Clare and say Sarah sent you if you fancy having a go.