GIDC - Ep. 4 Thatched Village



The location for the first challenge is the beautiful thatched village of Briantspuddle in Dorset. Once more, looks are deceiving as architectural historian Tom Dyckhoff tells us. The village is just an unusual Edwardian experiment where most of the houses are less than 100 years old. Engineering manager Rob, DIY store worker Angelica, ex-visual merchandiser Sarah and textiles lecturer LucyThe room will be working on bedrooms within these properties.


Episode 4 Location: Briantspuddle, Dorset

Style: Thatched Cottages

Era: 1900s

If you want to catch up with other episodes: check here

Bedrooms are my favourite rooms for make ups - however they are not the easiest to work with. Why? Well, because there is a bed involved and beds are big and take up a lot of your room and dictate the style and placement of every other piece of furniture in the room. You cannot have a french carved bed and then add industrial or mid century pieces, can you? Bedrooms are also overlooked which means that the smallest remodelling and makeover can have a big impact. But there are rules to be followed.

1/ Layout

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There is good reason 90% of hotel rooms look the same; their layout is simple and makes good use of all available space. Consider your access to the bed from all sides. Trying to fit a kingsize bed where only a double can go means that you will compromise on side tables or even on your access. And having to jump over someone else to get out of bed at night is just not good. Also consider the ceiling height, in case your room's ceiling is uneven at places.


A bedroom from the Dorset Square Hotel by Kit Kemp. This is not a huge room. The designer used a plain grey grasscloth wallpaper around the room and added colour with beautiful textiles that although are not the same pattern, share the same colour scheme. The clash of patterns and the use of an extra high headboard give the room some extra ooomph that is easy to replicate at home.

2/ Simplicity

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A bedroom needs to feel relaxing. We have enough stimuli around us with electronics and technology so If the room is too complicated, then the battle is lost. You can use pattern to make things interesting. See below how I have mixed patterns of the same colour, all in indigo blue in my bedroom.

3/ Colour

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Have you ever felt like you have been sleeping for hours but still feel drained when you wake up? It could be down to the colour of your room. Some colours are known for their relaxing powers - blue being one of the most popular colours and the one I have chosen for my bedroom scheme as well. I have only used it on the wall behind the bed, but having tested the room's lighting for a year, I am ready to incorporate it in the remaining room. In the future I will be choosing a sissal paper in similar colour but as my layout will change and the existing built in wardrobes replaced with new, wall to wall ones, there is no need to make the expenses now. Watch this space.


When we moved in our property, the walls were a terracota red behind the bed and a light pink in the rest of the room. There was also an old fashioned wooden canopy connecting the two built in wardrobes.

4/ Lighting

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Lighting is often overlooked but a bedroom needs to have good light sources all around it; be that for reading a book or getting dressed. Depending on the room size you can have wall lights or bedside lamps. If you are not remodelling the bedroom and you do not want to re-wire for bedside wall lamps, you can always add plug in wall lights like I have done above. These were from IKEA at the time but there many great value plug in wall lights you can use.

1. ALÄNG, Wall lamp, nickel-plated, white, £21 IKEA 2. RANARPWall/clamp spotlight, off-white, £18 IKEA 3. YWheeler™ Esso Wall Sconce from Barn light USA 4. Original BTC Hector Bibendum Wall Light and Plug £139 John Lewis

5/ Views

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Is your bed facing towards or away from the window? Is the view good? Have you considered the view in your scheme? Also, if there is an ensuite bathroom, can you see the toilet seat from your bed (that's bad for your feng-sui, apparently, and I would agree).

6/ My Scheme

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In my bedroom I was stuck with a super king size bed which we brought over from a previous home. Until we are ready to change the bed, I needed to make space for a bedside table and lamps for reading. They needed to fit in the space between the built-in wardrobes (also from previous owner). I opted for super slim tables; these are not really side tables, more likely flower pot stands but are super-narrow and just about fit the little space that is left. I just could not bear leaving my reading glasses and phone on the floor. I used the plug in wall lights by IKEA as there would not be enough space on the tables for lamps and added pattern through the bedspread and cushions, which I change around depending on the season. I kept the artwork simple and relaxing; in here we have an oversized screen print of an olive tree - the frame matches the colour on the wardrobes and there are another couple prints from the same collection just on the side. There is added textured with shuggy rug in diamond pattern. the mirrors were kept in place and they help bounce the light around the room.

So what could possibly go wrong in designing a bedroom in the Great Interior Design Challenge? Well, depending on the designer, a lot! Half way through the episode and the viewers were already divided by one very specific wallpaper, chosen by Sarah. Here's the paper:


Why was this wallpaper a bad idea? Well, see rule 3 above - the colour can be a deal breaker for a bedroom. An intense pattern and colour like this would have been perfect for the thatched house's bedroom but only in small portions, for example as a lampshade or maybe even as curtains. But when you are planning to wallpaper the entire room with it, expect the owner to say no.

As it happened the owner did express concerns but unfortunately did not voice them enough. You need to be aware that as an owner, you can ask your designer to challenge you out of your comfort zone, but the point of employing a designer/ stylist in the first place is to give you peace of mind, not a headache.

As a designer you need to hear the owner and not think about what your personal likes are. After all, the owner pays your bill and their feedback is not likely to be positive if you go against their brief.

And while re-positioning the bed seems a good idea, there seems to be little room to walk around to the left side - remember about accessing all sides easily?

Sarah tried to play the contrasting card by adding blues but would it not have been so much better to pick a colour from the wallpaper and work it on the accents around the room? Finally, the blue paper lampshade is completely out of sync with the rest of the room.

Here are some alternatives for the brief of the room's owner. Wallpaper in the stripey pattern, then cover the headboard in the dark blue that Sarah used; use the flower fabric to cover the end of bed ottoman and make cushions. Then her wooden furniture would blend in easily with the light gold and cream of the wallpaper. A sissal carpet would also be needed to complete the look. Too conservative? Maybe, but ALWAYS think about the brief and the owner. Your room cannot also be the odd one out, with a design that is completely different to the rest of the house. To Sarah's credit, the bedside lamps looked great, although again, too modern and not keeping with the rest of the room.

At the end of the challenge, the judges thought that Sarah's design was not strong enough to get her through to the next round. Wishing Sarah best of luck in her future design adventures.

Catch up on the Great Interior Design Challenge HERE

#design #styling

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