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Interior Design Masters Episode 1: The Story Behind My Design


Show us your signature style


All Hallows Convent, Norfolk


Transforming a former nun’s cell into an inviting and memorable B&B bedroom, which guests will want to book for an unforgettable experience inside an extraordinary building. Michelle wants to understand your signature style whilst creating a comfortable and practical space. This is your chance to showcase what you’re all about so don’t hold back. Stand out from the crowd and make your room a destination people will want to stay in! These rooms could be booked by anyone fancying a trip to the Norfolk countryside - from a group of friends wanting a fun weekend getaway, history enthusiasts eager to revel in the building’s past, to romping hikers walking the pilgrim’s path from Lowestoft to St David’s Head. Put your mind into the user - they must be suitable for a short stay and therefore the practicality of the room is very important. You must consider everything – from multifunctional storage and furniture to lighting and overall comfort. In keeping with the client’s strong sustainability ethos, showcasing clever ways to celebrate the ability to reuse materials in your design is essential. 

The room before

My Design:

I began by gathering my ideas on Pinterest (Take a look at the board I created here ).

Next I modelled the room in 3D to get a feel for the space and figure out what will fit in there (no time for a site visit beforehand!) This is the design I eventually came up with:

Top-down view:

I chose a warm, almost tropical-feeling colour palette because bold colours are central to my design aesthetic, but also the room had a North-facing aspect and in the photos I’d seen it appeared quite cold and dark, so I wanted to inject some sunshine and really bring in some warmth. 

Stripes are also a hallmark of my signature style, so as well as adding striped upholstery to the bed I painted these coloured bands around the room (I felt the room would be too narrow to take horizontal stripes like those in my living room), being careful not to create the illusion of a reduced ceiling height by placing the darker of the 3 colours at the bottom and using the lightest warm white on the ceiling to draw the eye upwards. The ceilings in this impressive Victorian building were high, so I felt the room could take a horizontal divide.

The design was also filled with my signature geometric shapes in the painted murals the mid century-inspired lighting, but I additionally brought in the gothic arch shape through the headboard to reference the shape of the window and those that appear across the building.

The brief called for multifunctional furniture, so I designed a bed head with hidden storage inside. As the room was so narrow, the folding chair could be neatly slipped

(Image: BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions)

inside when not in use, with the shelf above used to house a water jug and glasses. The wall-mounted semi-circular table was also designed to fold down, so as not to restrict access to the back of the room.

With such a small room, floor space was at a premium, so I provided a dressing area behind the headboard, where clothes could be hung inside a small wardrobe, with space to store a suitcase or weekend bag below. Placing this behind the bed reduced visual clutter upon entering the room and provided an element of privacy when dressing.

I intentionally left the under sink area empty, as I knew we were expected to find a piece of furniture to upcycle from the rummage room as part of this challenge, so I hoped to find a unit I could adapt to store toiletries, spare towels and even muddy walking boots.

Photos of the finished room, including modified under-sink cabinet. Can you spot the details I didn't have time to add?

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