Interior Design Masters exit interview: Hannah Drakeford

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interior design masters, series five

Interior Design Masters exit interview with HannahBBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

It was a double elimination during week three of Interior Design Masters, with the eight remaining contestants tasked with transforming a corporate hospitality box at Ascot Racecourse.

Head judge Michelle Ogundehin briefed the designers to stick to Ascot’s core values; designs should be uplifting, elegant and original. With a budget of £2,000 each to kit out an entertaining space, including a cloakroom, bar area and balcony, there were high stakes to meet.

Michelle’s guest judge was international high-society interior designer, Kelly Hoppen, known for her understated, luxurious style. Hannah, Jess, Ben and Roisin were called to the sofa to defend their designs. But Hannah, whose Japanese restaurant-inspired scheme puzzled the judges, was first to be let go.

Speaking exclusively to House Beautiful, interior designer Hannah, 40, from Deptford, south-east London (find her on Instagram @hannah_drakeford_design) and visit her website) felt well out of her comfort zone at Ascot, but says a constant supply of fizzy drinks certainly helped!

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

I loved the lighting – based on Ikea lampshades and a LED lighting pole – it was something I had scrapbooked as an idea before.

In hindsight, I would have reconfigured my space slightly differently. The table was large, designed for 12 guests. I guess I missed that subtle difference in wording; other designers were able to use more mingling space. I remember getting called out for my black tablescape. Maybe if I was to revisit it, I’d bring in more colours.

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Hannah’s completed project for Ascot weekBBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

Do you think your design signature of graphic shapes worked against you here?

It wasn’t really that, it was the fact that we were told we should be referencing the history of Ascot, but shouldn’t be too literal. I can’t relate to that. It’s so far out of my comfort zone, I’m not a Royalist at all. I spent so much time with it all going round in my head, with nothing coming to mind.

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Hannah also had to decorate the balconyBBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

Tell us one thing that goes on behind the scenes that viewers don’t know…

A lot of drinking of cans of Coke. I don’t know how many I had! When you’re on the build, you have to keep your energy levels constant, you’re having a little snack bar, a banana, and the rehydration sachets, that’s what saved us.

What surprised you most during this whole process?

I never thought I would be designing a corporate hospitality box, or an activity centre at Chester Zoo, or a nun’s convent cell. The variety of the challenges, it’s like mental gymnastics. There’s only a week to turn each design around and you’re committed 100 per cent.

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Hannah with IDM host Alan Carr (week two)BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

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

This is what I do, so yes. I worked in fashion merchandising for 20 years, then decided to move into interior design. It can be very stressful in the first three years, establishing what you stand for as a designer, but I feel confident in what I do now.

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BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

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

I’m in a fortunate position where my career is already heading in the direction I want it to head. Projects that are coming my way, clients are finding me because they accept my design style. I really want to get into the renovation of a mid-century, Brutalist property.

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

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