Exclusive interview with Interior Design Masters winner Roisin

interior design masters with alan carr s5 roisin
Interview with IDM 2024 winner Roisin QuinnBBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

The fifth series of Interior Designs Masters takes its final bow, with Roisin snatching the coveted top spot – and a contract with homeware company La Redoute – from Cheltenham-based bathroom designer Matt, a worthy runner-up.

Asked to turn holiday homes on the Blenheim Palace Estate in Oxfordshire into lodgings fit for a king and queen, over three days and with a budget of £6,000, Roisin and Matt set to work.

Roisin's amazingly 'joyful, cheerful, brilliant' floribund signature style marked her out from the start, said head judge Michelle Ogundehin. But as one of the least-experienced designers, the former travel advisor took a steep learning curve. By the final however, Roisin had learned, 'when to edit, when to stop, not to panic, not to add more and more'.

Meanwhile, guest judge, New York-based potter and interior designer Jonathan Adler, was blown away by the impeccably-co-ordinated English-eccentric look Roisin created, 'Wowsers, getting the sense I’m in a space that knows what it is,' he enthused when he saw Roisin’s finished lodge.

Speaking to House Beautiful, Roisin Quinn, 30, who lives with her husband, Ollie, on The Wirral, Cheshire (find her on Instagram @roisinquinn), tells us how her dad’s cancer battle spurred her on to win, and what goes on behind the scenes.

How did you feel the moment you found out you had won?

I was in complete and utter shock. I was just shaking and shaking. Alan Carr handed me a glass of champagne and I couldn’t hold it, my hands were shaking so much.

Me winning was the celebration of the last eight briefs I’d done, the journey I’d been on. Dad was in hospital the whole duration of the time I was doing it, battling with cancer, but he’s doing really well now. What got me through was the thought of calling him and saying I’d won. Throughout the show, I’d had to keep my feelings and worries in a box and focus on the briefs. Every week he was so pleased when I got through. If it wasn’t for my dad I wouldn’t be where I am now.

interior design masters roisin and alan carr
BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

Tell us about your new homeware collection with La Redoute?

I’ve finished it. We didn’t have much time to work on it because of the quick turnaround of the show. I only had two full-on day sessions, actually, only a couple of hours in each day, to come up with ideas.

What's the one thing you did well and not so well in your task?

What I did well was creating an out-there space and keeping the language flowing throughout the whole lodge. If you’re going to be bold, you’ve got to go with it. I just kept the hallway quite neutral, in a way.

Blenheim Palace is all about the old, the traditional, but we were in modern lodges. I wanted to bring that English, luxurious feel with a modern twist, with wallpaper drenching the high ceilings and rich colours. I could visualise all walks of life using that space, I could see families with their dogs, girls’ trips away, grandparents with their grandchildren; a home away from home with a bit of jazz, something different.

Things I wish had gone differently? The pelmets, those weren’t ideal. The carpenters are amazing, don’t get me wrong, but the pelmets were too big and protruded out too much. I wanted everything to be soft and round.

interior design masters series 5 roisin
BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions
interior design masters series 5 roisin
BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions
interior design masters series 5 roisin
BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

Tell us one thing that goes on behind the scenes that viewers don't know...

It’s got to be all those little bags of Haribo, you need that sugar hit! Also, I’ve never been on Facebook Marketplace as much in my entire life, or in B&Q. I was in there constantly buying paint. I think I became another member of the team. It’s all those kind of things that viewers don’t get to see.

Do you think you have what it takes to be an interior designer?

Yes, I do think I have what it takes. It’s shown me that my passion for interior design is my driving force, but I was worried because I don’t know how to use SketchUp (design software), or moodboards. It’s all in my head. To get the approval of Michelle, the guest judges and other competitors was more than I’ve ever imagined. I’d recently applied to university to study interior design and been turned down. The show has given me the confidence to know I can do it. A feeling just comes into my head and I’m seeing it all happen around the room.

interior design masters with alan carr s5 winner roisin
BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

Have you always been into interior design?

I didn’t do any creative subjects at school, but I’ve always had that creative streak. I did do drama at university, that was the most creative I’d got. My interior design moment came about when I was about 28/29. I did my mum and dad’s house on the Isle of Man for them; it was a Georgian house that was in a bad state. They knocked it down and rebuilt it like for like, adding an extension. I think you’ve either got it or you don’t, some people just have an eye for interior design.

Sum up your interior design style in a few words

I think it's a refined way of doing maximalism.

interior design masters with alan carr s5 roisin
BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

Time to manifest! Tell us, what do you think you’ll be doing this time next year?

I hope to be working on a new collection of fabrics and wallpapers, and tableware. I’m really into homeware of all kinds. I also want to be designing boutique hotels, bars and restaurants. I’ve had loads of people enquiring about residential schemes, consultations and things like that. Someone on the Isle of Man has approached me about a project in the hospitality world. I’m really into my fashion too, so I’d be interested in collaborations with great brands.

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