Masters in Interior Design: Alan Carr talks about tougher challenges ahead of the new season

Interior Design Masters is back, and it’s bigger, bolder and more dynamic than ever, says Northampton-born host Alan Carr.

The reality competition, which is moving from BBC Two to BBC One for its upcoming third series, will welcome a new group of aspiring designers ready to fight for their big breakthrough in the fast-paced world of commercial interior design.

Each week, the talents – all on the verge of professionalization – take part in a different business brief – working alone or in teams – to transform everything from show homes, shops and restaurants to beach huts, bars and vacation villas. luxury with their brightest ideas.

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The prize: a decisive contract with a luxury hotel in Cornwall.

“He gained extra confidence (this show),” Carr, 45, said of the channel change. “The challenges are tough from the start, so the designers have to really think things through, even from the first episode.”

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This season, “we got hanging boats, boob pillows, AstroTurf walls, terrifying taxidermy – you name it, I saw it!” the Northampton comic lists, recalling a number of notable creations.

“There was a time when the designer literally tore the space down because she wanted a total makeover. I mean, it was a pile of rubble and dust and she only had two days to finish it…

“There were a few anxious looks from the producers that day, but that’s what makes for good viewing, people taking risks and creative risks!”

So, as the title of the show suggests, mastery is useful. And who better to examine their skills than returning CJ, interior guru and former Elle Decoration editor Michelle Ogundehin.

Michelle Ogundehin and Alan Carr on Interior Design Masters

Matthew Williamson, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Mary Portas, Guy Oliver, Sophie Robinson, Ross Bailey, Abigail Ahern and Sarah Willingham are among the industry names offering week-by-week advice and assessment.

Williamson, for her part, “really loves the show,” says Carr, speaking from an Edinburgh hotel room after embarking on her UK-wide regional trinket tour.

“And then Laurence Llewellyn Bowen, he is brilliant. It was funny to see him in Wales at this campsite in his Fleur-De-Lys suit and Chelsea boots – I don’t think he’s ever been this far north before!

“And Mary Portas, she was doing the shops, so I feel like we’re getting a better caliber of guests, and Ross Bailey, the pop-up shop man, it’s all really good,” boasts the Chatty Man star.

And the stakes are high, because at the end of each challenge, the weakest designers will find themselves on the sofa (“It’s terrifying, insists Carr) to face the judges and explain their decisions. Then at least one will be eliminated.

It’s a process Carr struggles with, admitting, “I just feel like the kid in the middle, looking down because I get pretty awkward with confrontation.

“I just wish I could grab one of those books off the coffee table and skim through it,” he jokes. “It’s very embarrassing, and when they start crying I don’t really know what to do – there are a lot of tears this time and it never gets easy.”

The somewhat loosening of the Covid rules since the second series meant that Carr could at least comfort the contestants if necessary.

“Now when they leave, you can at least pat them on the back and give them a hug,” he said. “Before, you used to wave six feet away and say ‘Byeee!’ It was really cold and horrible!

As for his judging style, “I try to be firm but fair, but I have the worst face in poker!” he jokes, his signature laugh contagious. “Sometimes lime green or baby poo brown, I mean I try to be pretty neutral, but with that face you are fighting a losing battle!

“But I’m learning from Michelle. It’s all about flow and what does the piece tell you? Then a splash of color, so I try to be a bit more pulse-sensitive.

Did the tips and tricks he learned spread to his own house?

“Well yeah, he has, really! I mean, I’ll look at a chair in the corner of the room and say, ‘What’s your story?’, but I like to fluff up cushions and light an expensive candle,” he says, admitting that he “kinda likes art deco.” ” too.

“So I’m better – but I can’t get by with a power tool or anything. Putting up an image is like the dark arts; I just don’t know how you do it, I’m useless!

Carr continues, “I’m actually friends with Kelly Hoppen and Matthew Williamson, and it’s funny to have interior designers around your house, because Matthew will look at something really gross and have a raised eyebrow, where Kelly will kind of ride it – she’ll push your couch, sometimes while you’re on it!”

Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr will premiere on BBC One on Wednesday March 9.

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Betty K. Park