ann maurice – interior rivalry (8/8)
Ann Maurice, the no-nonsense House Doctor, is on the hunt for Britain’s best home-stager, with a prize worth more than £50,000 at stake. Assisting Ann on her search is interior-design expert Gordon Whistance. In the last episode of the series, the two remaining contestants must home-stage an entire house before one of them is declared the winner.
As they face their last challenge, the two finalists, Rolf and Kate, have just five days and a budget of £5,000 to re-stage an entire house. Aiming to add value to the property, the contestants will have the help of two carpenters, a painter-decorator, and a former contestant of their choosing. “I’m going to be expecting a lot from the final two contestants,” Ann explains. “This is going to test all their skills: not only their aesthetic sense, but also their management sense.”
Kate’s property is a £345,000 house in Haringey, North London. Ann thinks that Kate will need to be more assertive: “She’s very young and quite softly spoken. She’s going to have to take charge,” she says. Arriving at the house, Kate finds a home full of clashing colours and painted ceilings. “Everything’s fighting against each other,” she says. Her team will have their work cut out re-painting the entire house with the necessary three coats.
Rolf, meanwhile, is assigned a £440,000 property in Camden. Ann believes that Rolf is creative but struggles under pressure: “It’ll be interesting to see if he can handle the situation because it will be very stressful,” she says. She is also curious to see how Rolf copes with a Victorian house, which is not his favourite style. Rolf certainly has his work cut out: not only does his property feature a kitchen with no work surfaces, it also boasts artwork made with pubic hair and a coffin in the bedroom. “This is just too much!” Rolf cries when he sets his eyes on this unusual ‘feature’. “I’m not going to look what’s in there,” he adds.
Kate has picked former contestant Neal to help her and she soon puts her team to work while she goes shopping for materials. Rolf is left with his second choice helper Dani, but tensions soon arise over her leisurely approach to the job: “She’s desperately slow!” he says. Dani admits that the pressure is not bothering her: “It’s not my challenge,” she says. “So whether it gets done or not doesn’t really affect me.”
Three days into the project, Ann and Gordon arrive to inspect Rolf’s progress, and are horrified by his plan to cover the original Victorian features. “Rolf, get your head out of what you like!” Ann says. “People pay money for original details.” A mistake by Dani has also left the bedroom walls with the wrong sort of paint. “I’m really feeling that Dani’s doing him no favours,” Ann tells Gordon.
Over at Kate’s house, progress is smoother, but both Ann and Gordon are doubtful about the large ‘stripes’ that Kate has chosen to paint on the living room walls to provide a ‘wow’ factor. “I don’t think you’ve got ‘wow’ factor, I think you’ve got a ‘why’ factor,” Gordon remarks.
With the deadline fast approaching, both contestants run into trouble. Kate’s plan to uncover the floorboards in the hallway has unearthed an ugly board that will have to be covered up, while Rolf has accidentally applied slow-drying paint to the staircase. There is no way it will be finished in time, so Rolf must think fast to work around it. Unfortunately, he is short on sleep and this latest setback pushes him to his wits’ end. “I can’t make a decision,” he says. “I actually don’t know what to do!” With barely 24 hours left until Ann decides who will be crowned the winner, it is time for the finalists to seize the day.