Q&A on Masters in Interior Design with Abi and Rochelle Eliminated

There was a shock double elimination on Wednesday night’s episode of the BBC Masters in Interior Designwhich meant we sadly had to say goodbye to lovely Abi and Rochelle – just as they both seemed to be hitting their stride and boosting their confidence.

Now in the third week of the challenge, it was perhaps the toughest yet – designing a common room to reflect the pride of a Bristol school’s house, including its logo and colours. And at first everything seemed to be going so well for Abi, 27, and Rochelle, 34 – until it all went wrong.

Fresh off of last night’s episode (the couple had a sleepover and watched it together), Beautiful home UK had an exclusive chat with self-proclaimed news Thelma and Louise. We think we’ll be seeing a lot more of these two in the near future…

BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

We are really surprised last night to see you both leave, how did you feel when you saw him again?

La Rochelle: I actually felt good. I had such a great time backstage and felt the feedback was fair. I have very fond memories of my time on the show.

Abi: I was so nervous, I spent most of yesterday in tears as I was worried about what was going to be shown. However, having a slumber party with Rochelle and watching her together really helped. I think now, looking back, I can be proud of what we have achieved.

That day, did you two feel like you were going to end up on the couch or was it a total surprise?

Abi: Oh, we knew! We were ready to leave.

La Rochelle: We had tears that day, but when we left, Alan Carr said that we could have thought that we were leaving prison so happy we were! We just couldn’t stop laughing.

masters in interior design with alan carr series 3, episode 3 abi and rochelle


It felt like the artificial turf was the biggest problem…

Abi: Grass was a huge problem. We had spent £700 on a beautiful, luxurious artificial lawn; it looked and felt so realistic and it was all in one big chunk so it would have looked a million times better but as you saw it never happened.

Rochelle: The grass was obviously a bit disappointing and our paint was rubbish too. We recycled all the furniture used and had custom pieces made, which obviously took a lot of time. We were both trying to push ourselves and prove ourselves.

masters in interior design with alan carr series 3, episode 3 abi and rochelle


masters in interior design with alan carr series 3, episode 3 abi and rochelle


Was it the hardest week for you two?

La Rochelle: It was a bit like throwing spaghetti on a wall! We’ve never seen the space before – all you get is a photo to work with. When we walked in it was really the first time we had seen the room and it was massive. That said, episode two was more difficult for me.

Abi: We made all the decisions together – we didn’t always agree with each other, but we worked through it and came out of it with a very strong friendship. We spent two hours crying together in the van, then we laughed that we cried!

Aside from the artificial turf drama, did anything else go wrong that we didn’t see on camera?

Rochelle: Floor!

Abi: We spent hours priming the floor as we wanted to use gray paint. The only issue being that the primer totally sucked so we had to use whatever (mural) paint we had – long story short, it didn’t go as planned. Also, the cabinets we had for the office weren’t the same size, even though the person I bought them from told me they were.

Rochelle: And the corkboards went bad – someone broke one somehow, but we just had to work with what we had.

masters in interior design with alan carr series 3, episode 3 abi and rochelle


The first thing Chief Justice Michelle Ogundehin focused on was the fake grass on the wall – did you expect that?

Abi: Absolutely! As soon as we stood back and looked at it, we knew. But we hoped that they would be able to see our vision and understand the idea.

La Rochelle: You don’t have time for trial and error and your resources are limited – there isn’t a great team to help you. We were really on the ground and we were still short of time.

Guest judge Sophie Robinson really seemed to like the piece, was it a boost of confidence watching her back?

Abi: Yes! We like it. Sophie is the queen of color. She is simply amazing; she liked our colors, she could see our vision, but she was right in that the execution didn’t go as planned.

La Rochelle: We listened to the children too much. They didn’t want a lot of purple, so we were trying to accommodate our customers. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to sit down and show them lots of ideas or try to persuade them to go in another direction.

Michelle was definitely a fan of the Lundy Lions vinyl sticker, wish you had done more?

Abi: Frankly? No.

La Rochelle: The children didn’t want that and we wanted them to feel listened to. But I would tell anyone thinking of applying for next year not to pay too much attention to the brief or the client. Do what you think is best and have fun!

master's degree in interior design series three, abi and rochelle

Darlow Smithson Productions

Both judges commented on the absence of the home color purple. Looking back, would you have used more purple?

La Rochelle: In my initial brief, I flooded the room with purple, but we adapted our ideas once we had spoken with the children. It was Abi who said maybe we should add a little more than the kids say they want.

Abi: I think now I would do purple on the floor and gray and white stripes on the walls.

Michelle wanted the stripes to be replicated on the fake grass – do you agree?

Rochelle: Yes – it was actually in our original visual. We were also going to mix it with the cork. But with the grass in strips, it would have been better.

Abi: We just didn’t have time to do it.

master's degree in interior design series three, abi and rochelle

Darlow Smithson Productions

Michelle and Sophie were also discussing the rickety letters and the corkboard, what happened?

La Rochelle: It was time. It’s always a lack of time! Maybe we shouldn’t have cared so much about painting the floors and should have redesigned some elements and invested time in different things.

Abi: We could see later that it was broken, but we couldn’t go back and fix it. We were just punching through the letters on the wall in complete panic.

If you could go back in time and change anything, would you do it and why?

Abi: 100%, yes. I would change almost everything! But also, I wouldn’t worry so much. That said, Rochelle and I had so much fun together, so I can’t really complain.

La Rochelle: Second that! When you’re actually on the show, you take it very seriously, which is understandable, but it’s supposed to be fun! You have to stick to your guns.

master's degree in interior design series three, abi and rochelle

Darlow Smithson Productions

Which piece was your favorite among the other candidates?

Both: Banjo and Molly’s!

La Rochelle: As soon as we walked in, we loved it.

Abi: We couldn’t figure out why or how Banjo and Molly were on the couch. But I also loved The Bear’s bedroom, designed by Dean and Amy.

masters in interior design with alan carr series 3, episode 3 abi and rochelle


What’s next for you two?

La Rochelle: You mean, what are you going to get from Thelma and Louise?

Abi: I have my own small recycling business which I would like to expand, but I would really like to explore more opportunities in TV – especially with Rochelle!

La Rochelle: I would also like to continue developing my small business, Luna Spot Design, and more work in television, especially with Abi. I also just did my own kitchen renovation, which will be on my Instagram.

Abi: So don’t worry, you haven’t seen us last!

Who do you want to win?

Both: Banjo!

La Rochelle: I can’t tell you how amazing he is. I loved it from the minute we worked together the first week. He is so fun and so talented.

Abi: I just love it.

• Watch the next episode of Masters in Interior Design Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on BBC One. Follow Rochelle on Instagram @rochelle_dalphinis and Abi @abianndavis.

To follow Beautiful house on Instagram.

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Betty K. Park