Interior Design Masters Interview With Runner-Up Jack Kinsey

In the grand final of Interior Design Masters 2023the two remaining contestants, Monika Charchula, a furniture artist from Nottingham, and Jack Kinsey, a furniture shop owner from Norfolk, went head to head on their biggest challenge yet – transforming two pubs in the splendid seaside resort of Brighton, East Sussex, which happens to be home to head judge Michelle Ogundehin.

Joined by two guest expert judges, interior and homewares designers Abigail Ahern and Nisha Katona, founders of Mowgli Street Food Restaurants, Michelle gave Monika and Jack eight days to prepare and doubled their usual budget of £3,000 a project to £6,000.

Jack, who came runner-up in the competition, was challenged to give gastro pub Earth & Stars a two-storey revamp by creating a relaxed pub downstairs and a clear purpose for the first-floor room.

Jack’s flamboyant signature style never faltered with every single one of the eight interior design challenges he met, and when it came to decide the winner of the series between him and Monika, head judge Michelle admitted that it was a very tough decision to make.

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BBC/Banijay

The 27-year-old created beautiful schemes which typically featured his go-to gorgeous combination of gold and blue, and more often than not, included some aspect of paneling, another one of Jack’s signature flourishes.

Michelle praised the headband-wearing baby of the group for her artistic and creative skills and told her that she had ‘blazed an amazing trail’.

We spoke to Jack about his outstanding achievement as the youngest contestant in the series, and learned how he almost didn’t make it past week one.

Many congratulations on your place in the final Jack, how did you feel when it wasn’t your name Michelle called out as winner?

I was fine, I just wanted to make it every episode. Afterwards we all just went out and we got so drunk. It was all a rollercoaster and we had so much fun.

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BBC/Banijay

And what are you doing now? Has Interior Design Masters made a huge difference to your life?

I’ve got my own interior design business and I’ve already done work for clients in Oxford, Harrogate and Scotland. I’ve been really busy, I’ve done another hair salon, and another pub. I’ve also got a client in Spain – he wants an Art Deco villa.

What was it about Buse that made you choose her as your partner for the final?

I was partnered with Buse in week one. She’s a real hard worker. I thought she would get stuck in and get working. She’s incredible, she doesn’t mind if she’s got paint in her hair and she really puts in a hard day’s shift. I always thought if I was in the final, I’d bring Buse back, because another thing was, I didn’t want anyone to influence my design – I needed her to do everything that I just didn’t have time to do.

I think my strongest skill in consecutive episodes was being able to be really quick, and I was able to adapt to and work well with everyone else.

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Out of all the challenges you completed, what was your favorite one, and why?

The Japandi hair salon. That word ‘Japandi’ has never been thrown about more than it was in that episode. I’m really proud of it. I think it really put my stamp on the world. And the owners loved it too, they were brought to tears. They haven’t changed a thing since I did it. I know I was taking a risk, but I don’t like Scandi, which was their original brief. I just couldn’t do a Scandi one. I think it’s just too minimalist for me, the colors are too muted.

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BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions/Ben Cross

And is it true that you’re color blind?

Yes, I am partially color blind. I get pinks mixed up. I can’t see it at all; blush pink, I see it as white, which is why those chairs in the final episode, which Abigail Ahern really liked, had pink as part of the pattern.

I get confused with oranges and reds too. Sometimes, if I’m in two minds about something, I’ll say, ‘is this pink, or red?’ I leant on my mum in the past, but now my partner, Alex, helps me out.

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BBC/Banijay

The pub’s owner, Rishi, was delighted with the end result but the judges felt perhaps you had slightly missed the brief with the ‘pub’ element upstairs and the glamor downstairs. What would you say to this?

I wanted to create something different, but that had a personality. Brighton is so vibrant, with this crazy sort of palace [the early 19th century Royal Pavilion] in the middle of it that doesn’t even look like it should be here.

It has that real magical glow about it, something that most pubs don’t have. I didn’t want to create a traditional pub, I wanted to bring in the glamour.

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BBC/Banijay

You said you didn’t want to ‘go too cliched, pictures of pigs and things like that’. We can never imagine you including a picture of a pig in a scheme. But do you think your personal style going forward will evolve as a result of IDM?

My style has developed so much since the show. I’ve really taken influence from other designers; how Tom thinks is incredible, so talented, Ry thinks with his colors and stuff.

How I approach my next home [Jack and his partner, Alex, live in a chapel conversion] is going to be completely different. We’re on the move again, we’re looking for a new conversion, but before that we’re going to go round Europe for a few months to travel and recover from all the madness.

Ahem, you have two stores, Monika has one, although a large open-plan space. Was this fair?

As a designer, I love Georgian buildings, I really like the symmetry. To be honest, Monica’s pub was probably a bit more ‘me’. But with my challenge, I wanted to create something different, and it was a really interesting challenge to do something over two levels.

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BBC/Banijay

Tell us one thing that goes on behind the scenes that viewers might not know about…

I almost fell at the first hurdle. I almost didn’t end up in the series at all. In week one, when we did the apartments, it was so hot. I didn’t have enough fluids, and as you’ll know I have cystic fibrosis. My kidneys started to give up and I almost had kidney failure. My salt levels were so low and my whole body collapsed.

It was very dramatic, I got taken to the hospital and the lot. The producers said you can you continue with this, or you can leave if you have to. I was worried. It was almost game over, but I didn’t want to leave, and after that, we all made sure we had water bottles.

Catch up on Interior Design Masters on BBC iPlayer.

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Textured Tray Top Orange Side Table
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Freelance homes and property writer

Jayne specializes in advice stories for House Beautiful magazine and writes about a wide range of topics, from gardening and DIY to decluttering and mindfulness. Based in Yorkshire, she has recently renovated a 1920s house, where she lives with her family.

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