Interview: Sarah Moore, winner of BBC's The Great Interior Design Challenge

By Alice Hancock,
8th February 2014 - 10:00

We speak to a very excited Sarah Moore about her victory on BBC’s The Great Interior Design Challenge and how Homes & Antiques helped her on her way

Her Chinoiserie-themed semi final room

Congratulations on winning! What’s the reaction been like?

The phone’s been ringing off the hook. I always pick up the phone in case it’s my mum!

Are you glad you did it?

Absolutely. It was crazy – we filmed the four heats back-to-back over five weeks so I’d be finishing up my Chinoiserie room (above) in Birmingham at 9pm on a Sunday and rushing back to Sussex to cook breakfast for my kids at 6am on Monday.

We did notice a few tears during the final…

Thankfully they didn’t film my major meltdown on the last night! The final was tough because there were four rooms and lots of people to manage. I had my lovely friend Max helping me but it was really difficult asking someone who wasn’t paid and was away from their family for five days to paint skirting boards and sand shelves.

How did you hold it together?

I think I have my background as a chef to thank. It felt like doing dinner for 200 again!

Packed up and ready for the Liverpool final

 Packed up and ready for the Devon cottage quarter final 

Which was your favourite room you did?

The blue bedroom in the final house, and actually I have H&A to thank for the colour. The first time I came across it was when Kiera [H&A’s stylist] used it to paint a wall of our sitting room on a shoot here last February. It’s Farrow & Ball’s ‘drawing room’.

What was the biggest challenge?

Sorting out the baize for the the snooker table in my gentlemen’s club room [in the final house]. It was meant to be a beautiful sage green but they just sent this bright green baize. I had planned the whole room around the colour so I had to do some quick re-thinking. And typically, the company owner was on holiday that week!

The other problem was only having one phone line. I would phone people, leave a message and then they could never get through because I was on the phone to the next person…it was never-ending.

And what are you most proud of?

It has to be Charlie’s room [the son of the owner’s of the final house]. That was where I got furthest from my natural style. No vintage floral Sarah Moore style there (above). The car slide [that ran down one wall of the room] is the kind of thing I’d love to do for my boys…

So what’s next for Sarah Moore?

We’ve had loads of interest on the new site and I’ve been inundated with people saying please come and decorate. I’ve come up with a moodboard package where I make moodboards like I did on the show (above) and I break things down into chunks so clients can see how much they can afford. My first project is a beautiful Georgian kitchen and dining area in Islington. I’m very excited.

Finally, where have you decided to put that trophy?

I had to hide in it the loft for ages because I couldn’t tell people I’d won. Now it’s sitting in pride of place on my desk. It’s a bit surreal having the final air after it happened. It’s like I’ve won twice!

Take a look at Sarah Moore’s new website here and if you missed the final, catch it on BBC iPlayer here

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