Interview with Alan Carr on 'Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr'
"Your favourite shop, restaurant or even pub is probably your favourite because it makes you feel a certain way - and that will be more often than not down to lighting, space and decor. If I’ve learnt one thing on this show is that interior design is like the dark arts" — Alan Carr
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What attracted you to take part in the show?
I’d never really hosted an interiors show before and fancied it. Plus, I think people have found, like with Joe Lycett’s Sewing Bee and the Great British Bake Off that there can, if you get it right, a real opportunity to add some fun and humour to craftwork, baking and the creative process. So why not with interior design?
The first series was so popular with viewers and Fearne did such a brilliant job that I didn’t want to come in and spoil it, but I think we got the balance just right.
Can you tell us what viewers can expect from the second series of Interior Design Masters?
Well frankly a lot of honesty. I was told by the producers that not only was I the presenter, I was also meant to represent the people at home watching and that I should be brutally honest and say what the viewer was thinking. So, if the hallway is painted baby poo brown I’m going to say it, or the dado rail is wonky I will bring it up. Basically, I’ve been employed because I have no filter. It’s not a complete bitch fest I do dish out a lot of praise, because they were all so talented. The prize is fantastic for someone who wants to pursue a career in interior design so there feels like a lot at stake. If you loved the first series, you will not be disappointed.
For you, was there a stand out design this year?
No spoilers here, but the two finalists blew me away and the poor judge Michelle Ogundehin was deliberating for ages because both designs were so breathtaking and clever. The fact they had to do so much - the upholstery, the lighting, the colour choices - all in the full glare of a camera crew, in a limited time and on a budget, plus in a lockdown is astounding. You will have your mind blown I promise you.
Are there any design ideas you took from the series, that you might incorporate at home?
There was a lot of upscaling going on, we had a lot of contestants who loved a rummage through a skip. I would see a knackered old chest of drawers on a Monday that they’d bought for a pittance and by the end of the week, with new knobs and a lick of paint and a whole load of TLC they were transformed into something so beautiful that you’d pay a fortune for. They’ve inspired me that doing up a house doesn’t have to cost the earth. Plus, I learnt what ombre is, that's when a colour or a pattern fades into another colour along a wall. If done well it can be beautiful plus it makes your rooms look taller - see, you learn something new every day.
What do you personally love about interior design?
I like the way it makes you feel. People just assume it's the prettying up of a room, a doily here, a vase here but its more subliminal than that. Your favourite shop, restaurant or even pub is probably your favourite because it makes you feel a certain way - classy, safe, relaxed, exclusive, and that will be more often than not down to lighting, space and decor. Interior design! And yet, if you get one of those things wrong the room won’t work and won’t be a success. If I’ve learnt one thing on this show is that interior design is like the dark arts.
What’s your design style like?
I am in complete awe of interior designers who just go for it! I’m just not that brave. Get me on stage at the O2 Arena to perform to thousands, no worries, but get me to decide on a roll of wallpaper I come out in hives. Thank god my partner Paul is creative when it comes to interiors. I will consider a potential lampshade for weeks on end whereas he will have no qualms of barging through the door with a bit of taxidermy tucked under his arm or something ‘rescued’ from a flea market and stick it up on the wall.
I’m getting better at pushing my creative boundaries and recently I’ve become a sucker for a tile, I decorated the downstairs toilet with a gorgeous Bert and May Tile and a flamboyant wallpaper, and do you know what, it worked!! So now I’m feeling a bit more confident I’m doing our main bathroom now - wish me luck!
What’s the boldest design idea you’ve made at home?
Well I wouldn’t say 'bold' as such, but I got an absolutely gorgeous William Morris print wallpaper and paired it with a William Morris print sofa and I was so worried that it would clash so badly, too much of a good thing and all that. And as you know William Morris wallpaper is a feast for the eyes and it can be quite intense what with all the swirling colours, but it worked and the room is so cosy now, especially when you pop on some strategically placed lights, and surround yourselves with cushions.
Is there something you’ve done at home, design wise, that you’ve looked at when it’s finished and thought, what on earth was I thinking?
As I said, I rarely make ‘out there’ decisions when it comes to my decor, that's normally Paul’s expertise. However I remember one time Paul bought a giant Perspex shark head and didn’t put it up properly and I did a star jump and knocked it off the wall. It was really heavy and it landed on my head so I must admit when I was rubbing my head, looking down at this grinning shark I did think, what on earth was HE thinking?
Last year saw everyone spend a lot more time at home, did that make you any big interior design changes?
I’d had my house done up a few years back so we are dead happy with it, so we didn’t have any paints or furniture delivered during lockdown - curries and wine yes, but no soft furnishings.
Source BBC TWO
January 27, 2021 6:35am ET by BBC TWO