27 February 2024

Behind the scenes with the Salisbury shops that starred in BBC’s Interior Design Masters

Earlier this week, three independent Salisbury businesses featured on prime-time TV (Wednesday 30th March).

BBC’s Interior Design Masters, hosted by Alan Carr, came to the Cathedral city in the summer and the episode was finally aired on Wednesday at 9pm on the BBC.

The ‘shops’ episode was the fourth of the competitive reality series that sees amateur designers take on a weekly interior design challenge in hope of winning the prize of a commercial contract to design a luxury hotel apartment in Cornwall.

Only six contestants remained ahead of Wednesday’s episode, making up three pairs ready to be assigned to either a homeware, bridal or lingerie shop.

Love Salisbury spoke to Casa Fina, Brides By Victoria and Annie’s Just Jane, to hear about their experiences during filming.

Annie’s Just Jane
Location: 7 St Jon Street
Designers: Molly (design leader) and Paul

Just Jane’s owner Annie and daughter Carys thought their voicemail asking whether they’d like to be on Interior Designer masters was, “a scam initially,” until they decided to go against their instincts and call back.

Annie’s daughter Carys (left) and Annie, owner of Annie’s Just Jane (right)

The call came at the perfect time as the 52-year-old shop was due a makeover said owner Annie.

Carys told Love Salisbury, “The brief, which I don’t think they could say on TV, was based on Liberty London, inspired by the big Liberty store because of the old beams.”

Annie added, “We were very happy with the outcome. What you saw on the show was how we felt.”

The mother and daughter duo were “gutted” with Wednesday night’s result after watching their lead designer Molly eliminated from the competition.

Annie exclaimed, “Molly really shouldn’t have gone home because she had the vision for the colour and everything and I don’t want to say anything detrimental about anyone, but Molly definitely shouldn’t have gone home.”

The judges thought otherwise, describing the transformation as, “over complicated and over stylised”.

Meanwhile, contestant Paul received stick over social media for his comment of, “I hate lingerie with a passion.”

However, shop owner Annie assured Love Salisbury, “This 100% wasn’t the impression we got from Paul. We know that he had worked in lingerie, and he knew how difficult it was to merchandise so we think he realised of all the shops this was going to be one of the hardest to merchandise. There was no other indication that he wasn’t happy to be working here and I know that he and Molly were happy to be working together.

“We’d like to emphasise that we really like Paul and Amy- there’s no issue at all.”

The lingerie retailers are hopeful that the exposure will, “help Salisbury.”

Carys explained, “I think it showed Salisbury in a really good light, the Cathedral, the weather and all the independent shops. I’m optimistic that it will get more people to know about us and get their bras fitted and come and see what we’ve got to offer.

“This morning people were walking past and waving at us, it’s like we’re famous. There’s a nice vibe about it. You never know how these things are going to go and whether it will be a good thing or a bad thing so we’re relieved that this one’s quite positive.”

Casa Fina
Location: 62 High Street
Designers: Fran (design leader) and Dean

Owner of Casa Fina, Susi Mason, was already a fan of the show and was “absolutely over the moon” not only to be involved but also with the outcome of her shop’s new look.

When asked about her favourite elements of the new design, shop owner Susi replied, “Well, that’s really tricky. I think we all love the counter and the hanging plants above. The area where the lamps and lampshades are, that’s been really successful because we’ve sold a lot of lampshades since then.”

Susi told Love Salisbury that her reaction captured on the show was, “actually a retake.”

“I walked in and was just overwhelmed by the whole thing and just kept walking around and seeing new things and it was all just so lovely. And they turned around to me and said, ‘can you just go outside and walk in again?'”

Susi Mason, owner of Casa Fina

According to Susi, “Keeping the project a secret has been really tricky. Of course, some people that live locally knew that something had happened as they’d seen Alan Carr visit, and he doesn’t really hide himself away! I wasn’t allowed to show pictures of what the designers had done and so now it’s lovely that I can talk about it and share all the pictures.”

Following Wednesday night’s programme, Susi’s designers took to Instagram live to answer questions from viewers. Both Dean and Fran have expressed a wish to come back and visit.

Susi added, “It would just be lovely if they could come to Salisbury because they really had no chance to have a look around the city. And it would be great to host them and show them around all the lovely things in the city.”

Despite the contestants meeting Susi’s brief, the judges considered the design too safe. Nevertheless, Dean and Fran still did enough to progress through to the next round of the competition.

Brides by Victoria
Location: 27 News Street
Designers: Amy and Banjo (design leader)

The winners of this week’s episode, Amy and Banjo, chose a New York theme with bespoke print wallpapers for the wedding dress shop, Brides by Victoria.

The owner of the shop, Helen, was brought to tears by the transformation which manager Deborah Griffiths remarked as, “very unusual for her.”

According to manager Deborah, the staff at Brides by Victoria, “Didn’t know they’d won until the episode aired but were really happy with the result and would like to thank Banjo and Amy for the amazing, gorgeous shop they’ve created.

“Before our shop was very sparkly for a traditional wedding shop whereas this is just modern. It makes our dresses pop out because we’ve got the black and the grey ceiling and the walls.”

Deborah Griffiths, Manager of Brides by Victoria

One of the favourite features of both the staff and the judges was the incorporation of scaffolding to display the wedding dresses.

Manager Deborah added, “it just brings something new to the dresses and makes them pop more, especially with the dark walls too.”

Previously the shop was, “very sparkly for a traditional wedding shop whereas this is just very modern,” said Deborah.

Brides by Victoria will be hosting a ‘Sip and See’ event tomorrow (Saturday 2nd April) 5-8pm where everyone is welcome to come and see the fresh look, whilst brides-to-be can enjoy some goodie bags.

Deborah told Love Salisbury, “We’re hoping it’s going to invite more brides in. It’s very good to see it on the TV because it reaches a wider and different audience.”

To watch the episode click here. The series will continue on Wednesday night at 9pm on BBC1, featuring the final 5 contestants.

Written by
Adele Bouchard
View all articles
Written by Adele Bouchard