In the penultimate show of the series, the two designers have to transform two rooms in pretty thatched cottages in Ashby St Ledgers.
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Here in the UK, we're blessed with an enormous variety
of types and styles of buildings that we call home,
from thatched cottages to 1930s Art Deco apartments,
regency terraces to contemporary townhouses.
But sometimes, while the exterior creates a wow factor,
the interior can be distinctly lacking.
So we've gathered some of the UK's most talented amateur
interior designers to show us what they're made of.
In this semifinal, Oliver and Nicholas
will go head-to-head to transform two rooms each
in neighbouring houses...
Perfect, thank you.
There is a plan in place,
but there's also a little bit of winging it as well.
..but only one of them can make it through to the final.
Putting them through their paces and scrutinising their every move,
are judges Daniel Hopwood, designer and a director
of The British Institute of Interior Design...
This year we've got new challenges for the designers.
We're really going to push them to the limit.
..and internationally renowned interior designer Kelly Hoppen.
As a judge in this competition, I want to see perfection.
I think I will be quite a hard judge.
Now we've reached the semifinals, the stakes are even higher.
So the judges are being joined by Michelle Ogundehin,
editor in chief of Elle Decoration,
to help them decide who will triumph.
What makes a great interior designer
is someone that understands that
it's not just about how a space looks,
but it's how it makes you feel.
But it's going to take a lot of creativity and hard work to be
crowned winner of The Great Interior Design Challenge.
This time we're in the tranquil and picturesque village
of Ashby St Ledgers, nestled on the borders between
Warwickshire and Northamptonshire.
For this semifinal, our two designers will be working on
two rooms each in neighbouring thatched cottages.
Oliver and Nicholas will have 48 hours over three days.
With two rooms to work on,
they have a workforce of two builders and two decorators...
Shall I leave the country now? Yeah, yeah!
..and a budget of ?2,000. Yeah.
They'll need to work hard and impress.
This is the semifinal and what I want to see is passion,
great design and something different.
Now they must show they've learnt lessons along the way from their
first two professional projects.
The designers have done three rooms so it's time for them to step out
of their comfort zone and show us something new.
And if that wasn't enough,
their first room must be finished and judged on day two...
I love you!
There you go.
..because at the end, one of them will be going home.
I would like to feel my competitive spirit kicks in.
I do want to go into the final.
Of course I want to win this. Absolutely, a million percent.
I can't mess it up.
The historic village of Ashby St Ledgers was first mentioned
in the Domesday book of 1086.
The original Norman manor house and estate, an astonishing 83,000 acres,
was a gift from William the Conqueror to Hugh de Grandmesnil.
By the late 1300s, the estate had passed to another family,
the Catesbys, who held prominent positions within the royal court.
Two centuries later, it was the turn of Robert Catesby
to hit the headlines.
It was right here in that room above the gatehouse that Catesby,
leader of the English Catholics, set-up his command centre,
planning the biggest plot against the English establishment,
the Gunpowder Plot.
Catesby's notoriety has gone down in history
but for the next 300 years, the estate languished
in rural tranquillity
until its new owner, wealthy industrialist Ivor Guest,
When Guest bought the estate at the turn of the 20th century,
he employed the most promising young architect in the country,
Edwin Lutyens, to remodel the manor house and gardens,
and build this row of thatched workers' cottages in the village.
Today, in this quintessentially English village,
it's the turn of our two semifinalists
to leave their design footprint
as they battle to secure a place in the final.
They will each be handed a lounge and a dining room
in neighbouring thatched cottages.
The first designer to start is 63-year-old Nicholas,
a freelance actor, director and writer from South London.
It's going to look amazing. Yes!
In his first heat, Nicholas showed his flair
for the dramatic by giving a bland Victorian living room
a Japanese twist.
Was it... Was it everything you expected?
Everything and more.
I just love it so much.
His love of theatrics continued in the second round
when he turned a neutral Georgian terrace study
into a '60s inspired chill-out den. Blimey!
This is not what I expected...
His styling is exemplary.
While upstairs, his classical and elegant design
overwhelmed the homeowner.
It's just fantastic.
But does his theatrical style impress the judges?
So, Dan and Kelly, the competition's really hotting up now - semifinals.
With Nicholas, what are you wanting to see?
What I want Nicholas to do is turn his very two-dimensional theatrical
designs into something that's got the third dimension,
which is a human application.
But it's quite interesting because a lot of design is the
first impression when you walk in
and certainly with Nicholas, you walk in and you go,
"Wow, this is amazing!"
But if you just stand there for a few minutes,
you realise that a lot of it is impractical.
I do give a performance in the rooms that I offer
and I would like to feel that that is part of my trait.
The second semifinalist is 49-year-old hairdresser Oliver,
a self-confessed maximalist from North London.
This headboard is pretty spectacular
when it's going to be upholstered in this fabric.
In his heat, Oliver pushed the homeowners
outside their comfort zone
by introducing floral chintz into a forgotten basement guest room.
In some ways I think it probably is
a little bit chintzy for my taste, I guess.
But in his next round, Oliver's Art Deco brief
meant he could play to his strengths...
He's got that incredible eclectic way of doing something.
..and he blew the homeowners away.
It's perfect. It's perfect.
I find Oliver tends to think very much about the client and what
their needs are but I don't want him to max it up.
See, I disagree. I think he's got the right mind-set
which is design for people to live in, rather than to look at.
One of the things that I'm going to do differently,
being in the semifinal, is actually I haven't totally stuck to brief.
So surprise and drama in an English village.
It sounds like an episode of Miss Marple. Both of them...
Both of them are extraordinary.
As the first designer to start,
Nicholas is given the task of transforming two rooms in the quaint
thatched cottage owned by Karen and Mark, starting with the lounge.
Although both designers have had their briefs for just over a week,
this will be the first time they'll be seeing the rooms in person.
The living room, that's got to be a little bit more homely, warm.
It's got a lot of wood in here, a lot of pine.
We've got a built-in cupboard, which we'd like to remain.
I just want to see this as a blank canvas.
At the moment, I feel there's so much going on.
It's all in the wrong place.
We want it subtle, subtle and classy.
Nicholas's second challenge is the dining room.
With the dining room, we've got a fireplace
that obviously has to remain.
There's some tiles around there which are in a dark blue,
we just need that splash of blue in the room somewhere.
I want the dining room to feel luxurious
and a little bit more, sort of, atmospheric, a bit more cosy.
Colour-wise, with my idea, it is going to be dramatic.
It is going to be quite an impact.
I'd like to show you my ideas for your living room.
On hand to assess his mood board presentation
are judges Kelly Hoppen and Daniel Hopwood.
They'll be looking out for strong presentation skills
and an ability to adapt to his clients' wishes.
The pine in the room,
I just felt that this whole corner here gives an imbalance,
so I'd like to incorporate a similar feature here,
as if it has been built in.
Yeah. Are you doing anything with the fireplace? I...
Because it's a different type of wood to the pine.
What I can do is take some of the colour out of it.
Yeah. The coffee table, as it is, dominates the centre of the room.
I have in mind a round coffee table, glass top to it.
OK...I'm not a fan of glass.
Right. Because I've had a glass table before,
and I find that I'm constantly cleaning it.
Obviously, I can look at what the possibilities are,
and we could make a decision on that. OK.
Over here, Kiera's bed. Yes.
This is a 5-star dog bed, so that she has...
The rest will be fine.
With her own tartan cushion, detachable and washable.
These colours I love because they're really muted,
and I like that as well. Are you comfortable with that?
Yeah, absolutely. You're saying all the right things.
No, it's good.
Next up, it's the dining room.
I'd like to do the feature wall coming round the fireplace.
I got the impression you won't be in favour of having
the picture rail painted. That's right.
If we said that we didn't want to just stay with the wood,
would that help you? It would help immensely.
And that would only obviously be on the feature wall?
Yeah. Because of all of that, that looks to me to be a little odd.
OK. The light fitting, I didn't want to go for purely blue light,
because if you sit at a table in blue light,
you actually look either ill or dead...
OK... And the food doesn't benefit from it!
OK. So they have a very fine swirl of red in them.
I also have some blue lights, to go discreetly on the window ledge,
so that you have midnight blue colour
coming through the Venetian blinds.
That's your... Blue room.
..your blue room.
This is rather out there, and I think,
is that fitting in this style of house?
I wanted to go for a rather sumptuous feel.
I think that's the bit I need to see,
it's the bit that's going to sort of overtake.
How do you feel about that? I'm comfortable with it.
Are you? Yeah. I'm hoping that we are going to get a sumptuous,
boutique hotel, something different.
It's... It's something different.
Nicholas is mastering the joinery and has really thought about how to
lay it out properly by balancing that existing cupboard on the one side
of the chimney breast by putting a lower version of the same style on
the other side. The biggest issue I've got with the dining room,
is if a homeowner says to me,
"I would like some blue but I would like to have some greys," or whatever,
I would have accents of blues, but this entire room is blue.
And you know the big problem with that?
Blue, as a colour, is an appetite suppressant,
which is not ideal for a dining room.
Fabulous! Yes, yes!
The jury's out, because he does pull it off,
but when I look at that presentation board, I feel blue.
Hello, welcome everyone.
With his presentation over, Nicholas's 48 hours have begun...
That's the room we've got to finish.
..and he's drawing on all his directorial strengths
to brief his team.
Feature wallpaper up to the ceiling.
Shall I leave the country now? Yeah, yeah!
And as the builders clear out the rooms,
Nicholas starts to repaint a mirror using car spray paint.
The great thing about car spray is
that there are hundreds of different colours,
so it's very easy to get exactly the colour that you want.
This glorious midnight blue colour is in fact, "Peugeot China Blue."
It's going to be known as the blue room, I think.
Three doors down, our second designer Oliver
is about to take up residence in the cottage
owned by Verity and Sean...
Thank you, dear.
..starting with the lounge.
The living room is the main room of the house for us, isn't it?
We use it for everything, really.
It's a really nice size, actually.
We would still like to retain the cottage, cosy charm.
Got a couple of nice paintings in there which we'd like to incorporate
into the design - they're key things.
Paint, light colours I think, because it's a fairly dark room,
especially in the winter.
Sort of country chic with a modern twist, maybe.
Oliver also needs to work on the tired dining room,
which requires sophistication and elegance.
The dining room at the moment is rather cluttered.
Aww, it's really cute!
We would like a little bit more elegance.
A little bit? We'd like a lot more elegance!
Well, a lot more I suppose. Yeah, because Sean likes cooking...
I like hosting dinner parties,
so for me the room would need to make a statement, I think.
I don't want it too fussy. A nice grey-eige colour.
What colour's grey-eige?
Grey-eige is a grey/beige, obviously!
Oh, OK. All right!
It's a new one on me!
So grey-eige it is, then.
Looking at the room now, I know I actually made the right choice
in what I want to do.
So I'm going to start with the lounge and I've come up with
something like this. Wow.
Ooh, I do like those curtains!
We've got like a really soft bluey/grey.
It's light enough that it's not going to enclose the room,
but it also gives a sense of tone.
It's not a colour I would have thought of, you know?
But I can see how it works.
Adding real panelling because you had... Wow, yes.
One of the things you did mention in your brief was about how that window
can appear quite dark sometimes. Mm-hm.
So what we're going to do is do like an optical illusion.
We're going to raise the blinds above the window
and raise the curtain pole... Oh, I see.
..so it gives you a much grander window. Oh, yeah.
Is this covering our existing...?
No, that's a brand-new Victorian pine table
which I'm going to convert into an ottoman. Brilliant.
Thumbs up? Yeah. Yeah.
If we continue on that winning streak,
I'd like to show you what I've got planned for your dining room.
You did say wow factor, didn't you? Yeah. Kind of...
OK. So I've got this.
So you'll have your wallpaper, your curtains
and your Roman blind will all be exactly the same.
It's kind of like a little bit of a maximalist approach,
do you know what I mean? If you're going to do it, do it properly...
Yes. ..or don't do it all. No.
We're going to do the dresser in a really smart grey,
which I think works beautifully with your blue and white china,
which is where I took my cue for this whole room... Oh, really?
..was from those plates. They were my grandparents'.
And covering the... Yeah. Chairs. Good.
So I've got six new dining chairs,
so we'll do the blue and white ikat with navy blue velvet.
It's different. I know.
'Oliver's presentation was very upbeat,'
he seemed incredibly confident from the start and his boards were really
beautifully laid out.
'He's very soft and gentle in the way that he presents,'
but you do know that he's got all the salient points in his head.
He's genius in putting the blind higher
and the curtain pole higher to give it more height.
That's really clever. You know...
I wasn't sure, though,
about the mixture of the cushion fabrics that he's gone for,
because he's got those tartans, and the blacks and all the chintz.
Will that work? Let's move on to the dining room.
Yeah. What is it about blue today?
This is the blue period. I hope we get over it very quickly.
I mean, there's no blue mentioned on the brief,
so this has come from the plates.
I mean, that's quite... It's brave. It's brave.
That paper is beautiful, don't get me wrong, but a whole room...
Oh, I love it! I love it.
The whole room and matching blinds, it's so 1970s posh!
First things first, obviously we've got clear this room.
Oliver's 48 hours have begun,
and he's got a long list of tasks to hand out.
I've got wood panelling to go up in the other room,
so the builders need to do that
and two decorators need to crack on with here
and then, yeah, wallpapered all the way round. OK.
As his team start clearing out both rooms,
one of Oliver's biggest jobs is to upholster the dining room chairs.
Relatively cheaply you can get some nice fabric, stretch it over,
staple gun it and they're good as new.
I got these chairs online and I got all six for under ?25,
which is an absolute bargain.
Having stapled the covers to the chair,
Oliver is using studded trim to tidy up his handiwork.
I think it's very quick and a very easy way of adding some real pizzazz
to, like, pieces of furniture.
Boom! And now I've got five more to do.
With both designers off the starting blocks,
tomorrow's deadline to have their dining rooms finished
is inching ever nearer.
Today, these cottages have been named in honour of Edwin Lutyens,
who'd go on to become one of the most famous British architects
of the 20th century.
The celebrated partnership with the garden designer Gertrude Jekyll
pretty much invented the olde worlde picturesque country cottage style
so many of us hanker after today.
The presence of a thatched cottage is considered to be the final touch
to the vision of an idyllic country village,
while many believe that thatched is the most characteristic
of all functional materials.
You can tell these cottages aren't real olde worlde thatched cottages,
they're just too darn perfect.
This is rustic charm done by an obsessive master architect.
Just look at the perfectly symmetrical proportions
and that thatched roof, with its crisp edges
and that line as if drawn by a ruler.
From master architects to modern designers,
it's time for the judges to see how Nicholas is getting on.
Hi, Nicholas. Hello. Hello, Nicholas.
Hello. Oh, it's coming up.
That was the exciting bit, to see this wallpaper on the wall.
It's really nice, isn't it?
I love this layering, the sort of matt and shiny and the depth in it.
You were absolutely right. Absolutely.
Quite courageous, though.
Well, you wanted to see my style, me coming out.
OK, so this is you? Yeah.
I'm glad to see you convinced the home owners to paint
the picture rail in the navy blue so it doesn't stand out.
Wonderful. What's happening with the remainder?
I would quite like to take the grey colour up and over it.
It's looking magical, already... Thank you.
..and you've only got some wallpaper on the wall.
I'm finding that very exciting.
If you can follow that through in the rest of the space,
I think we've got a winning space.
So good luck. Thank you.
You were really, like, gushing about that wallpaper!
I loved it, it looks great.
But by just hanging that wallpaper on two walls
and then painting the rest of the room in pale grey,
there's no drama.
I love his courage.
He's doing something to kind of shock that room,
and he has, and he's shocked me.
Over at Oliver's, he's turned his craft to the blinds that are the
same print as the wallpaper and curtains.
I've managed to find some Roman blinds that are actually quite sheer
but make a really good backing for much nicer fabric,
so it actually cuts out a lot of the faff.
Using these backings, they were probably about ?17 each,
which is nothing.
I've chosen this fabric because it ties in brilliantly
with the wallpaper.
So the idea is that the pattern starts, you know,
from the minute you go in and continues all the way round.
I think it's going to be a bit of a show stopper.
Meanwhile, in the dining room,
the first roll of matching blue wallpaper is going up.
Hi. Hello. Oh! Wow. We're kicking off.
Look how much bigger this room looks.
Oliver, you've done this room in blue,
and what colour have we got in the other room?
We've got a blue, but it's a different shade of blue.
Right. More of a grey/blue. Yeah, it is, and it's a softer feel.
I want there to be a continuity between the rooms,
but they're separate entities.
Well, you're taking a big risk, because that is a lot of blue.
You've got to make sure that home owner really does love it,
because you've got it all over the place.
Let's see how it turns out.
This is looking so fantastic.
The end of the first day is in sight and in Nicholas's dining room
the feature wallpaper is almost complete.
I love you!
There you go.
For the remaining grey walls to have the impact Nicholas desires,
he wants to paint the wooden rails in the same colour,
but he needs to persuade the homeowners first.
If we could take the grey colour over the picture rail,
I think it would be quite sophisticated and quite elegant.
I've got no problems with it being painted.
If you believe that it's the right thing to do...
I think so. ..then continue with the grey.
Thank you very much.
So you end on there and start again maybe there.
With the dining room on track,
Oliver's turned his attention to the lounge.
That kind of thing. Yeah. I happen to love panelling.
It's just a way of kind of embellishing walls, really.
You know, it stops rooms from looking like shoeboxes.
You add a little bit more detail, another layer.
Fantastic, thank you very much.
It's the end of the day and I really feel that Oliver is just a little
bit ahead, because his schemes are so resolved.
He knows what he's doing, whereas I'm not so sure with Nicholas.
Oliver's just seems like it's more completed...
Yes. ..and because his presentation just seemed so positive.
But we might end up with something that's just too conservative,
and Nicholas comes out with something really daring.
You look very tired!
I think tired is probably putting it mildly. Yeah?
How do you feel about being in the semifinals?
In some ways it's like you're just doing another two rooms,
but actually you've got to kind of pinch yourself and think,
"What's at stake here?" It could be life-changing, so...
Yes, it could kill me!
Let's hope not. Come on.
The first day is over, but the designers won't sleep easy tonight.
Tomorrow, the first of their two rooms have to be completed
and the judges are expecting perfection.
Hello, how are we doing? All right? Fine, fine.
That's the first bit up, fantastic.
Day two has begun,
and our designers can only think of one thing this morning -
getting those rooms finished for the judges.
Ah, good morning. Hiya.
With just a few hours remaining before Nicholas's dining room has to
be completed, the final trace of wood is being painted out.
Meanwhile, Nicholas is turning his attention to his lounge.
So what we need here, Johnny, is the cupboard to come to the wall here.
He's focusing on the new pine cabinet,
which will house the television.
And then the doors to just concertina back,
its tongue groove right to the floor. Oh, right. Excellent.
Three doors down, as the decorator continues to line the dining room
walls with bird print, Oliver is sprucing up the pine dresser.
What I want to do is just smarten the whole thing up using a special
paint for furniture and it's a really nice sort of smart grey,
so it will look... It will give it a proper face-lift.
It's happy days.
Oliver may be feeling on top of things,
but he's about to be thrown a curveball.
Keen to keep the designers on their feet,
the judges are going to give them both an object that they've got to
imaginatively work into one of the schemes.
Hey. It's creative challenge time! OK.
Nicholas, are you ready for this?
I'm sure you will not get hysterical about something...
spherical. How about that?
It's quite good. Yes, it is.
So you've got all the time you need, as long as it appears
in one of the rooms. THEY LAUGH
See you later. See you later. Bye.
Good luck. Thank you, Dan(!)
You mean that, don't you? Yes(!)
The designers' inventiveness with this creative challenge
will be taken into consideration at the final judging,
when Kelly and Dan will be joined by guest judge Michelle Ogundehin.
While Nicholas ponders over the possibilities,
Oliver tackles the challenge head-on.
What I'd like is for that to all come off.
He gets builder Stewart to saw off the top third of the sphere.
So what I've done, I've made it into a fruit bowl.
What I'll do, just to the kind of finish it off is actually go
all around the top with the copper wire, just so it really finishes it.
Attention to detail was also a key factor in the design of these
Arts and Crafts country cottages.
But one feature of the exterior, though, you definitely cannot miss,
is a thatched roof,
that quintessential symbol of the English country cottage look.
But Lutyens didn't just use it for its heritage,
it had practical benefits, too, keeping the cottages snug in winter
but letting them breathe during the summertime.
The most common material used was the straw left over after harvesting.
Rye was a favourite but wheat straw was more widely used.
It was applied lengthways and then trimmed,
a bit like a shaggy hairdo sculpted into shape.
Pebble dash like this was immensely popular on Arts and Crafts houses.
It gave an appealing textured and weathered look,
but it also came in rather handy for keeping the rain off
the bricks hidden underneath.
The Arts and Crafts movement stood for traditional craftsmanship
using simple forms...
..an ideology Nicholas wants to uphold
with the new painted dining room chairs, which he's now waxing.
The wax starts to give it a very different finish.
It's giving it a really good, almost wood-like sheen.
Nicholas's chairs may be on track,
but with just three hours before his dining room must be complete,
he has other vital elements missing.
Hello, Nicholas. Hello. Hi there.
I've heard that there's been a few little hiccups along the way.
The Venetian blinds, they've been made, they've been dispatched...
But they're somewhere in the ether. They are somewhere in the ether.
The cushions are a similar issue
and I didn't have time to make eight seat cushions.
Except, you know, it's a competition and this is about creating something
in the time for the money.
You've had someone do the painting, the electrics, hang the wallpaper,
it was just the cushions. Yeah.
And if I could point out, eight dining room chairs to paint and wax,
that was my priority on the seating, rather than... The cushions.
I'm feeling a little bit irritated after that meeting,
but I'm feeling that you're quite angry.
What an understatement!
We're both thinking, really, he should have made them himself.
Of course he should have made them himself!
The two things that will really finish that room off
are not going to turn up.
What he really needed on those chairs are bespoke cushions
but something just shop-bought
would just look a little bit makeover to me.
He's better than that. He is better than that.
There isn't a contingency plan.
It's in the lap of the gods.
But keeping a tight rein on his designs,
Oliver is making all of his soft furnishings from scratch.
I've made these fabulous curtains
and now obviously they need to be finished.
The hems aren't done, so just a quick sort of hem the ends up.
Nicholas is racing against the clock and time is of the essence.
The dining room furniture is being repositioned...
..and artwork is going up...
That's nice, yeah.
..as are the blue pendant lights.
And just in the nick of time, one of the missing deliveries has arrived.
I've got my blinds up.
This is happy.
Nicholas's time is now up.
I honestly don't need to do any more in this room...
except try the lights, see if they work.
HE HUMS A TUNE
I've had comments from the judges that have said,
"Nicholas, we want to see your style,"
and I can honestly say that doing that room
in those colours is my style.
Nicholas was given the task of creating a luxurious,
atmospheric dining room,
taking inspiration from the blue feature tiles around the fireplace.
Yesterday it lacked warmth and character.
Now, it's got a bold identity with a strong flow of colour.
The feature wall with textured paper
and powerful print adds and air of opulence.
While painting the wooden picture rail in matching grey
gives a sense of space,
and accents of blue in the lights,
picture frames and table accessories tie his scheme together.
They wanted luxurious, they wanted atmospheric.
I think he has created that feeling.
One of the things I find quite clever is this feature wall.
Now, I would have been tempted just to take it to there but in fact he
was quite right to pull it through to the right
because it's almost visually straightened that room out
a little bit because of that awkward corner.
I love the blinds. I think the lights are genius.
This is a big cupboard. Yeah.
By having the smaller lights, very modern, with the blue...
these look like they float. That is very clever.
But I can really do without the blue lights.
Those blue lights,
I think there should be able that unless you're designing
a petrol station, you do not use them.
I think he's working to brief and I think that this blue does work
in creating that atmosphere but I would actually want to imbalance it
slightly, maybe chuck a naughty colour in somewhere,
because at the moment it's too well-behaved.
Nicholas has been working to homeowners Karen and Mark's brief,
so their opinion will be taken into consideration by the judges
when they make their final decision.
It looks much bigger, doesn't it? It does, yeah.
A completely different room.
So the big question, wallpaper, what do you think?
I don't hate it.
Isn't that... That's praise! That's a start!
..but it's not as bling as I expected it to be.
The clever thing that he's done is the picture rail.
Does the room have atmosphere? Yeah, I think so. Yes...
but there's a lot of blue.
Even if these were toned down and that stayed...
..that would bring it down a bit,
because at the moment I think it's, "Wow, a lot of blue."
I've got less concerns about it than you have.
I think it's great way it is. Maybe I'm just a little bit more...
Picky. That's the word.
Picky's the word. Demanding. Yeah, high expectations.
In Oliver's dining room he's also racing against the clock.
Look at that.
With matching blinds and curtains hung
and painted furniture restored,
all that's left is for Oliver to dress the table...
Can't beat a nice white tablecloth, eh?
..and add a few finishing touches.
HE HUMS A FAST TUNE
Oliver's time is up. That's it, done.
With my hand on my heart,
I can stand here and say I really love that room.
I put my heart and soul into it and it's just so amazing to actually see
it come to fruition and to see it in reality
and I hope they really love it.
Oliver's brief was to design an elegant country dining room
to host sumptuous dinner parties.
Yesterday, it was a cluttered, bland space,
overshadowed by large furniture.
Now, it has a grand, elegant feel,
befitting a quintessentially English cottage.
With wall-to-wall matching paper, bespoke curtains and blinds
adding symmetry and refinement to the window.
While bold modern fabrics on the chairs tie in the colour scheme
and give the room a contemporary edge.
This is so enchanting.
It's refreshingly new but actually quite old-fashioned, too.
I think this is quite clever with the matching curtains because we've
all veered away from anything which is matchy-matchy,
yet when you've got a really fussy wallpaper,
if they'd gone for a plainer fabric, it would have stood out more,
but by being the same fabric, it blends in.
But I also like the fact that he's been a little bit naughty.
he's added in this ikat fabric,
so he understands about breaking the pattern at the same time.
This is not my style, end of. Is it not? No.
But the feeling I get is that I'm back at Granny's house
for tea and that was a nice feeling.
A granny who's quite up-to-date. Have you noticed the tableware?
This is absolutely... I know, the sort of rose gold. It's fabulous.
Yeah, I mean, Granny's been out shopping, hasn't she?
Not only has he created good design,
but he's done it in a way like it's been here for a while
and that's really hard.
I was a bit concerned that the light fitting would look too
much like one that you'd find in a snooker room.
For me, it's a shame it's not just a fraction lower.
A bit lower because actually when you're sitting down...
Oh, no! Just think about it. I know, that is a bit of an issue.
You're going to see the light bulbs, so that should have been as low as they dare.
On the brief they ask for a bit of shabby chic.
I'm really glad he moved them away from that
and went to something which is much more, as he said, manor house.
A little bit crisper, a little bit more proud and finished.
Now it's time for the homeowners to check out Oliver's work.
Oh, my gosh! Wow! It's a different room.
Even this looks much better now
because it was lost before and now it's...
The wallpaper brings it out.
What do you think of the wallpaper and the pattern?
I think it's lovely, it's stunning.
Yeah, I quite like that. I mean the way it's framed that window,
it's made that window look bigger.
He's styled your clutter?!
Wow. Yeah. All the blue and white now.
It looks lovely. He's styled the dresser as well.
So you wanted a kind of dining room that was impressive,
where you could entertain, that's got a bit of the old wow factor.
Has it got it? Yeah.
Half the village will want to come for dinner now.
Where are you going to put them all?!
It's the period of the house, I think. It just all works.
Wow. Top marks. BOTH: Yeah.
Day two is drawing to a close and after such mixed reactions of both
judges and homeowners, it might seem as if Nicholas is trailing Oliver
but the race isn't over.
Tomorrow, both designers have a whole new room to finish,
and a surprise guest judge to impress,
before one of them can secure a place in the final.
Good morning. ALL: Morning.
It's the start of day three and with a place in the final up for grabs
and another room to finish, our designers are feeling the pressure.
So good job we've got an extra surprise for them.
The designers don't know it yet,
but guest judge magazine editor Michelle Ogundehin is on her way.
She'll help decide which designer will make it through to the final.
Before she arrives, she's casting a critical eye over their schemes,
starting with Nicholas's dining room...
Having read the homeowners' brief,
I know that the blue original fireplace tiles are important,
so I see that pop of colour,
but what I don't see is how this would all work together.
..followed by Nicholas's lounge.
There's a lot going on in this board.
We've got different types of material,
different textured wallpapers, copper and the pine.
This is... This is going to be a tough one.
Next up, it's Oliver's design schemes,
starting with the dining room.
I'm a bit worried by the rather rampant use of this traditional wallpaper, though,
we've got it on the walls, we've got it curtains and blinds.
I think that might be a bit OTT.
So what will Michelle make of his lounge?
I love how the designer's introduced this idea of panelling,
which is something that's actually very easy to do.
Wonderful mix of fabrics.
I'm wondering how that's all going to sit together.
With Michelle's arrival, the designers are summoned outside.
Morning. Good morning. Morning.
Morning, Oliver. Good morning.
It's the last day of the semifinal
and you two probably think you've got more than enough pressure heaped
on those shoulders but we're going to add just a little bit more.
You're going to be judged not just by these two formidable design talents,
but a third. Oh, God!
Joining us today is the editor in chief
of one of the leading design magazines in the UK.
She's hugely respected and has been in the design industry
for over 20 years.
It's Michelle Ogundehin from Elle Decoration.
THEY INHALE OK.
Great to meet you. In my job, I see thousands of houses,
so what I'm looking for today is something a bit different.
I want to be surprised. I want originality with a twist.
So with three judges to impress today, better crack on.
Off we go. See you later.
Michelle Ogundehin is going to be judging us.
I mean, come on!
The pressure is now going up and going up and going up.
It's a fresh eye and I'm very honoured that she is here.
They might be right to feel the pressure,
as Michelle checks out the rooms both designers finished yesterday,
starting with Nicholas's dining room.
I was really concerned about this one from the mood board.
I really hadn't got a sense of what I was going to see
and I'm very pleasantly surprised.
The homeowner wanted elegance,
they wanted a high-end boutique feel.
It's certainly elegant.
I like the sort of little sweeps of red, that suddenly really pops out,
which again was something that didn't come across
in the mood board, but here it's working.
It's a very formal arrangement.
I can see that working well for dinner parties,
not quite sure how it's going to work with me
with a bowl of cereal in the morning.
Next up, Michelle casts her eye over Oliver's dining room.
I mean, the homeowner wanted wow factor, they wanted pattern,
they wanted some colour, so we've certainly got that,
but I'm just a bit overwhelmed by how much patterned wallpaper
there is here. I think sometimes for a pattern to really sing,
you need to contain it.
When there's so much of it I don't know where to look,
so it's quite busy.
I really like this contemporary modern print in the sort of
dark indigoes against the more traditional wallpaper.
One offsets the other.
It looks like the mood board,
but perhaps it would have been taken to just another level if there'd
been something a little bit unexpected here.
With Michelle's fresh take on the rooms, it's now all to play for.
As the first designer to start,
Nicholas now has just a few hours before his time is up.
Having sprayed the homeowners' original light fitting in copper,
he's incorporating it with the creative challenge,
to create a more contemporary diffused light.
It's interest, so that you look up and you see...
And keen to show his homeowners that he's listened to
their concerns, he's had a rethink about the glass coffee table.
What we were going to do was to put a glass table top on
which was a bigger size.
It's my decision to pull back and not try and be too tricksy with it.
In Oliver's living room, the beaded panelling is up,
ready to be painted the same duck egg blue colour as the walls.
In the garden, Oliver is also breathing new life
into a recycled table.
This was an old table which I've cut down and I've just added this
upholstery foam and then...
Yeah, I'm just upholstering it.
So all in all, this has probably come to...
Probably under ?50.
Having stapled the fabric to the foam,
Oliver is once again using his trusty studs for an elegant finish.
Where is it? No, perfect. Thank you.
As the first designer to start, Nicholas is almost out of time.
Can I have furniture in, please?
Round, round, round, round, round, round, round.
Thank you, God.
Finally, his 48 hours are up.
Guys, thank you so much.
It's now in the hands of the judges.
I honestly can't believe what we have achieved.
It's been incredible.
Nicholas's brief was to bring chic and sophistication
to a tame country cottage
that 48 hours ago was lacking a sense of style.
Now it shouts elegance with its muted colour scheme.
and the abundance of textured fabrics add a sense of class.
The dominating and mismatching pine furniture
has been balanced in colour,
and a new pine cabinet to house the television
has added symmetry to the fireplace.
Accents of burnished copper in the lighting provide warmth
and help soften the space.
Wow, what a transformation. I'm just trying to take it all in.
I do love the fabrics, I love the colours.
His upholstery is good.
I was really concerned by his mood boards,
because I just couldn't get a sense of how this room was going to feel,
but it hangs together a lot better than I thought it would.
I'm quite impressed with what he's done with the creative challenge,
because he's put it up into the ceiling pendant
and I guess when the light's on it's going to cast
some interesting shadows over the ceiling. It's very clever.
With points from Dan and Kelly for the creative challenge,
the judges move on to the rest of the room.
He's done a really, really good job.
If you look at that setting, with the wing chair, those lovely
curtains, that absolutely beautiful window with the view outside,
that is perfect country cottage look.
That's what people aspire to and he's done it so successfully.
It's very calm, it's very considered. It is.
It's a really competent scheme.
Nicholas has added symmetry to the room
and practicality by putting this TV housing here.
I think that the dog is the luckiest dog in the world.
I love this dog bed. I think it's fab.
But that rather lets the whole room down, doesn't it? Yeah.
A coffee table should be the big centrepiece in the heart of the room
and it's not doing it for us.
I think what we're all saying is overall it's a really good scheme,
he did finish it on time, it's on budget,
but is the scheme good enough to go through to the next round?
Nicholas has a lot riding on homeowners
Karen and Mark's reaction to the lounge.
Wow. This is better!
I like this room. OK. This looks fantastic.
I feel a lot better about this room! Because obviously the last room...
You had mixed opinions about. Yes, I did.
I know you liked it... Yeah. I did. This is lovely.
Oh, it is, yeah. And I can't see the TV!
He's made all this. Oh, I love it.
I love it. I honestly do love it.
I can't lie, because it's beautiful.
Oh, this is very classy. I do like this.
Very simple. This is me.
You may have the other room, I'll have this room.
Well, there you go, you can sit in there. Yeah!
You can sit in here. Do you like it? It is brilliant, yeah.
Absolutely. Love it.
Spot-on. Anything not right?
Anything not quite hitting the spot?
The only thing that differs is the coffee table's different
to the mood board presentation of a glass top,
which you had concerns about anyway. I'm happy that it doesn't have it.
Yeah? Yeah, yeah. He's managed to get the new enclosure,
the fireplace and that all looking like they belong together.
Brilliant. Ten out of ten for this one.
I'm really happy with this one. Good.
Meanwhile, with Oliver's 48 hours running out,
he's hanging the curtains and blinds higher up the wall to create
the illusion of a bigger window.
With the bespoke ottoman upholstered,
Oliver just has to place a few finishing touches.
All-righty and then we're done! That's it. That's it.
I've done it! It's done. I can do no more.
Oliver's homeowners requested an English country cottage sitting room
that was cosy and homely.
48 hours ago, it was a symphony of beige
that lacked character and composition.
Now, it's a sophisticated space that oozes warmth...
..with beaded panelling adding grandeur to the room.
The raised curtain and blinds allow additional light
to flood into the room, while the mix of plaids and tweeds
create a sense of finesse and refinement.
Wow, what a difference.
Absolutely loving all the different textures on the cushions.
Absolutely, I really love it too.
I remember seeing all the different fabric swatches
on the mood board and thinking,
"I'm not sure if that's going to work." Yeah.
He's pulled it off.
I mean, he's taken a bit of a risk here,
because the brief was, "No dark colours."
It's sort of just dark enough.
If he'd gone any darker then it might have ruined it as a look.
But it sort of shows his authority as a designer, you know,
to make them step out of their comfort zone just a bit.
You know what I really love though is the moulding.
It feels like it was always here. Yeah.
And the way he's used it to frame the pictures, frame the mirror.
Yeah. I think that's a real touch of magic.
The ottoman's classic, isn't it, these days.
In a country living you've got to have one of these things,
because you can use them both as a seat
and also as a place to put things.
My God, here's the creative challenge.
How clever is that?!
I would've rather liked if he'd done something just a little bit naughty
somewhere that broke the taste.
Don't you think that would've just turned it into being quirky
for the sake of it though?
Well, quintessential English is a bit quirky as well.
I think he's done it with the fabrics.
The fabrics here are different to the fabrics there. Yeah.
That's eccentric enough to me.
You've got the blowsy blooms, you've got tartans, you've got stripes,
you've got the sort of devore.
There's a lot going on in here.
But Kelly's not impressed with the three blinds that have been put up
rather than just one.
I honestly think this is a fantastic room,
but I'm not sure I can forgive him for the blinds.
That, for me, is a mess.
But the homeowners' reaction will play a vital part
in the judges' final decision.
Wow. Oh, my gosh. Different room completely.
That's just lovely. Look at the curtains.
And the sofas, look. They look more stylish now.
That window looks huge now, doesn't it?
The light fitting. Oh, look, look! The mirror...
how it's hung. Brilliant.
Yeah, look, it's hanging off chains. I know, they're so simple.
And this. I know. We've always wanted one of those, haven't we?
Now you've got one. A posh footstool.
A posh footstool! The only thing is I think one of the dogs is going
to think it's a dog bed, but that's not a criticism.
That's all right, that's fine. It's multifunctional.
Oh, it's lovely! It's funny, the colour...
Although it's darker than it was before,
the room looks bigger. I think it's a very calming colour as well.
You wanted comfort and sophistication. Yes.
And have you got it? BOTH: Yeah.
Love it. Love it.
If Oliver was here, I'd kiss him.
The designers can do no more.
It's now a waiting game until the judges decide
who has secured a place in the final.
So, Michelle, as a guest judge how have you coped with it?
You know, from seeing one room to another, two very different people,
two very different designs.
It's always a huge leap, isn't it, to go from someone's flat vision
of what they are presenting to then actually walking into the room
and going, "Oh, is this what I expected?
"Is it more than what I expected?"
And, in some ways,
they gave me that spark of genius that I wanted to look for.
In other ways, it was exactly what was on the board.
So I think there were positives and negatives for both rooms.
Both, in each of their own way, delivered
really quite radical dining rooms
and then pulled it all in and gave us
quite sensible living rooms.
So, judges... Hello! How's it going? Good.
Have you decided, have you decided? No! We're debating.
Debating, and it's not easy because they're both such good designers.
But what did they say? Ahh. We want to know. OK.
Well, shall we start with Nicholas? Yes.
The dining room - very mixed reaction.
He loved it, she was very equivocal about it.
What didn't she like? Blue, very blue.
Blue, blue, blue, blue. I mean, she mentioned blue.
She asked for blue. It was in the fireplace.
But all the same kind of blue everywhere.
She came around to the wallpaper...
Good. But the living room was almost yin to its yang.
She adored it. ALL: Yeah. Both of them adored it because
it had everything the other room lacked.
It had warmth, it had texture, it had lightness, brightness.
You could not have had two more opposite rooms in the same building
as those two rooms.
I think because of the extremes of those two designs,
it shows Nicholas has got quite a wide repertoire, because I think for
a lot of people, they'd love that dining room.
And the homeowner, she asked for a boutique hotel feel
in the dining room and she asked for cosy cosmopolitan in the lounge
and that's what she got.
I thought his sitting room was a little bit country-casual,
but there was no edge to it.
He had a lot of pine to contend with there, though, didn't he...?
Yes, he did. ..that she did not what him to paint over.
Now, Oliver's homeowners...
loved it all. Both rooms.
They were falling over themselves.
I struggled with the dining room.
For me, there was just way too much pattern.
I loved the mix of the modern fabric
with that sort of very traditional wallpaper,
but it was just... It was too much.
What did they say about the living room?
They adored it!
They loved the colour, they loved the curtains.
They adored the curtains.
So, come on, let's go through them, positives and negatives.
I think Oliver has a very simply eclectic way
of design where he creates something that is effortless.
He sometimes over-designs an area.
I think Oliver presents really coherent visions,
so I think I know what I'm going to get.
My concern would be maybe some of the magic gets lost
because he's perhaps fixed on that vision.
In contrast, Nicholas presented a very muddled vision.
I had no idea what I was going to see when I walked into the room
but when I did, I thought he'd really pulled it off.
I'm always entertained with what Nicholas does because he experiments,
he offers us something radical and he offers us solutions to problems
and does that really well.
So we're looking for a finalist. Have you made a decision?
Luckily enough we've got you to help us
because I think we're still at a level of indecision.
Now, the architect of these fabulous cottages, Edwin Lutyens,
was an absolute master of taking tradition
and creating something striking and original with it.
A sensibility which I think you two were absorbing
in your four amazing rooms.
It's been a real honour for me and I can really see that you guys
have worked so hard and there's a lot of time, effort,
dedication and passion gone into these projects.
Nicholas, firstly, you answered the brief.
That dining room wanted atmosphere,
you gave it and you gave it in spades
and then use solved the issue of all that pine in the living room
and gave them a very calm and elegant space.
Loved it. Moving on, sometimes hold back.
Those blue lights in the window, maybe didn't need those.
Oliver, your presentation was so fantastic because what you put on
the presentation, you actually delivered.
But going forward, sometimes you just need to stand back
and check what you've done.
I wish there was space in the final for both of you lovely,
talented fellows, but there's only room for one.
So the designer going through to the final is...
I feel tearful.
I can't believe it!
I am absolutely gobsmacked and that is the absolute truth.
'I've done it. I can't believe it.'
I'm in the final!
You've done a phenomenal job, Nicholas. Phenomenal.
I've got this far and I think I will use this
as a stepping stone.
It's just been a fabulous time and I'll miss that.
Hello there. I didn't get through this round.
Nicholas is brilliant at creating theatre,
no-one better than him,
'but design and designing for the home
'isn't always theatre, sometimes it's just home.'
Do you want some good news?!
Oliver's got a place in the final because he's a really good designer.
There's a little edge to him where he just creates effortless design.
I felt it was so refreshing to see a classical designer for a change
and he tailored his schemes around the homeowners beautifully.
We want you to go on now and win it.
Oh, he will. I'm sure you will. I'll try my best. I know you will.
I'll do my best, my absolute best.
Thatched cottages like these are the epitome
of olde worlde chocolate box charm.
The kind of place where millions of us dream about living in.
They might be cute, but that doesn't mean they're stuck in the past
as our two designers have proved here
at the heart of the English countryside.
Next time in the grand final...
It's a castle! Oh, my God!
What a transformation.
..Daniella and Oliver go head-to-head...
..in the ultimate battle to win.
Oh, wow! It's everything I thought it was going to be.
And the winner is...
In the penultimate show of the series, the pressure is really mounting as our two designers go head to head to claim that final position. The challenge our two designers have to conquer is transforming two rooms in pretty thatched cottages in Ashby St Ledgers. Both designers are tasked with transforming a living room and a dining room. Judging them are regulars Kelly Hoppen and Daniel Hopwood and back to help them, acting as an extra pair of eyes, is guest judge Michelle Ogundehin, editor in chief of Elle Decoration.
The designers have two rooms to transform over 48 hours across three days, a team of two builders and two decorators, a budget of £2,000 to use for both rooms and they both have to complete one room on day two. Their imaginations and design juices are put to the test again as they are both given a surprise item to cleverly incorporate into their overall schemes.
This time, both designers are unwittingly using the same colour - blue - but will this help or hinder their chances with the judges? Will one designer be able to reassure their client that blue is the way forward and be able to fulfill the brief, especially since Dan isn't sure the colour works for dining rooms? Meanwhile, the other designer is seriously out to impress, but will the use of a very detailed and overpowering matching blue print for wallpaper and curtains impress the homeowners or put them off? It could be a design risk too far. Will Michelle Ogundehin agree with Daniel and Kelly or put a cat amongst the pigeons?
Meanwhile, architectural historian Tom Dyckhoff discovers the beauty and origins of olde world picturesque country cottage living and the characteristics of thatched dwelling.