Full disclaimer: when I watched the final of The Great Interior Design Challenge last night, I was a) drunk (I watched a recording at 11pm after Dishoom Edinburgh’s cocktail-heavy launch party), and b) biased.
I’m a big fan of GIDC finalist Oliver Thomas’ style, having followed his colourful, eclectic Instagram feed since way before his GIDC involvement was announced. As the show progressed, Essex-based Daniela Tasca-York seemed to prefer the minimalist, monochrome, taupe-tastic look that’s never really done it for me. So #teamoliver I was.
Keeping with the honesty theme, as the final reached its conclusion, I still wanted Oliver to win – his clever use of colour in the study, along with the sumptuous bedroom scheme (plus memories of previously fabulous rooms - special mention goes to his use of the Matthew Williamson for Osborne & Little wallpaper) had me slurring my less-than-sober support at the screen. Daniela’s designs were just a bit too, well, white.
But that’s not to say I don’t respect Daniela and her commitment to the interior design cause, even though we have different styles – damn that girl worked HARD! Plus, she’s a mum-of-two, so, y’know: sisterhood. Chatting to her this morning, I wanted to find out who she thought should have won, whether she thinks the judges disagreed on the winner, if she believes GIDC is a true reflection of her talents, and whether she’s committed to white. Read on for her riveting replies…
Hey Daniela – congratulations on winning GIDC – and congrats too on keeping it a secret for such a long time!
Thanks! Yeah, I’ve had to keep quiet about my win for six months – it hasn’t been easy!
Why do you think the judges chose you as the winner?
I’m not sure. If I’m totally honest I think they should have chosen Oliver. Most of the country thinks that too. But I guess I tried to come up with a fresher take on things, take risks and do things differently. I bow to Oliver though; I still can’t quite believe I won.
Why did you enter GIDC? Did you think you might win?
I just entered as a laugh; I never thought I’d even get on the show. I’m the kind of person who likes to say yes to every opportunity, and this seemed like a good challenge to set myself. Then once I was on I thought I’d only make it past the first round – at best the show might get me one more photography client. I wasn’t optimistic. Now my life is heading in a completely different direction. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d win!
Have you always loved interiors?
I originally worked in fashion – I have a degree in fashion textiles and wanted to be the next Alexander McQueen! Then I retrained as a photographer and moved to Ibiza where I focused on wedding photography. But interiors has been a love of mine since childhood, which this show has resurrected.
And now you’ve become a proper interior designer as a result of the show?
Why would you rather be an interior designer than a photographer?
The wedding photography I was doing worked very well when I was in Ibiza, but it’s not so good back here; photography had just become a way to make ends meet, rather than a passion. But interiors has always been an obsession – I’m now hoping to transfer my fashion success to interior design.
As a lover of pink I have to ask: where did you get the pink leather jacket you wear in the final?
It’s from Zara – it’s not real leather though - just pleather! I got it quite recently; I bought it especially for the final.
You’re wearing a pink dress in the final too – why pink?
I’ve had a pink obsession since my little girl [Daniela’s daughter, Bambi, is two years old; her son, Palmer, is four] came along. She’s a real girlie girl, into pink and princesses and all that stuff.
So do you think pink is for girls?
Pink isn’t necessarily for girls, no. I buy pink stuff for my other half too. I try not to genderise – is that even a word?
Let’s go with it! So…without sounding like I’m five years old…what is your favourite colour?
Two colours I really like to play off against each other are dusky pink and rust – you know – a rusty orange. I especially like this combination in velvet cushions. I also really like forest green, though I’m not too keen on that bright green Pantone Greenery. And I don’t think I’ll ever stop liking black and white.
Personally I find white on walls a bit cold and austere. What is it about white you like so much?
I think my use of white comes from living in Ibiza, where it creates a nice clean base in a warm climate. When GIDC started I was just back from Ibiza so still very much in white mode. Over here you do need more colour though. The rooms I’ve done white on the show have been the ones with more detail - paneling etc. My love of white is definitely evolving.
How has having kids changed your home?
They’ve definitely loosened up my style; before the kids came along it was white everything, American Psycho-style, but that’s just not practical now. So my home’s become more colourful. I’ve found patterned wallpapers are great at hiding dirt too.
Do you think Kelly won out over Sophie in the final decision?
No. I’m not saying it was totally unanimous, but, you know, I might know on a personal level that while they all liked aspects and disliked aspects they did all agree on who should win. Kelly is a really fair person; after the show she told me what she hated and what she liked about my rooms. I think she’s a brilliant support for women in business.
Did you feel the show was an unrealistic representation of what you can actually do? After all, working to such a tight timeframe and with such a restricted budget isn’t true to life.
Yes - 100%. That’s not me knocking the show – I just won it so it’s obviously not a bad thing for me – but it has only shown about two per cent of my style, my quality levels, what I can do. It’s totally unrealistic, but it makes great TV. And it’s not as though you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. I think having to design two rooms in same time frame as one in the final lowered the standard too. I always tried to achieve so much in the short time available – I must have been mental! I was over-ambitious, but about 90 per cent of what I attempted viewers didn’t even see as there wasn’t time to show everything.
Props for giving it your all Daniela, congratulations again and best of luck with your new career. Thanks for chatting with me!