Interior Design Masters exit interview with Sheree Millington

interior design masters, series five
Interior Design Masters - ShereeBBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

Sheree Millington from Margate, Kent, is the first to leave the new series of BBC's Interior Designer Masters.

Her handpainted curtains were dismissed as 'a bit DIY' by head judge Michelle Ogundehin, with guest adjudicator, designer Abigail Ahern, saying the room lacked softness to make it feel 'sanctuary-like', but Sheree braved the sofa to defend her colourful scheme, influenced by her Scandi and Caribbean heritage.

The first episode of Interior Design Masters 2024 brought 10 aspiring designers together and took them to a former convent in Norfolk. Handed a £1,000 budget each, they were asked to turn former nuns' cells into warm and welcoming B&B rooms to showcase their own individual interior style.

Speaking exclusively to House Beautiful, retail copywriter Sheree, 36, (find her on Instagram @chez.shez) says she was unprepared for the pace, but admits to partaking in a naughty habit to keep calm.

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

SM: I think I created a space that was sensitive to the building, which had lots of history, a beautiful, bucolic place. It’s not going to be for someone like me, it’s going to be for my grandparents, a calming and practical room. But I totally under-estimated what there was to do. I’ve only designed my own home for me to live in. Never in a million years did I think I would design something for somewhere else. I did think there would be some kind of TV magic that would make it all happen – but you’ve got to do all of it, even down to ordering the lightbulbs.

interior design masters, series five
Sheree’s handpainted curtainsBBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

Do you wish you’d never made those curtains?

SM: I hated them too. If I’d had the budget I would have floor-length velvet, probably in turquoise to go with the beige. I ran out of time and didn’t even have chance to measure for them. They were this horrible polyester stuff. I painted them because the only thing I feel confident doing is painting. Paint is so powerful, anyone can do it. You don’t have to be a professional.

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

SM: Lots of vaping – we were all highly stressed!

interior design masters, series five
BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

What surprised you most during this whole process?

SM: All the bits you see in the studio. I thought there would be multiple takes, but it’s exactly as we said it. When I was on the sofa with Michelle and Abigail, it was, ‘OK go, defend your room’. And that was it, a whirlwind, no second takes or anything.

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

SM: No. Absolutely not. I don’t want to be an interior designer. I never did, but I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to have a go at it.

interior design masters, series five
Sheree’s room makeoverBBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

Time to manifest! Tell us, where do you hope to be this time next year?

SM: I’ll definitely still be doing my career. I’m lucky to have a career I love, and I’m much more skilful with words and editing than actual design. But I’d love to do a podcast or column about interiors, making them more accessible. All the ones I listen to are posh white women. Interior design is one of the least diverse fields there is – it's incredibly white and upper class. There needs to be people from different backgrounds to appeal to people who don’t have hundreds of thousands of pounds to spend on a loft conversion.

• Interior Design Masters with Alan Carr airs Tuesdays at 8pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer

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