‘I deserved to win Interior Design Masters despite what haters say’
  • Interior Design Masters winner Roisin Quinn wowed judges in the final with her vibrant transformation of one of Blenheim Palace’s holiday lodges. She was crowned the champion and Matt Smith-Wood came runner-up.

  • Speaking to Yahoo in an exclusive interview, the winner hit back at her critics with a positive message. Also, Quinn shared her secret heartache as her dad was in hospital the whole time she filmed the show last year after he was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Do you know what, I knew there would be a few people who would say, “We wish Matt had won.”

And if it didn’t happen, it would have been crazy because people gonna love and hate my designs. People are going to love and hate Matt’s designs too.

It’s classic, throughout life if someone gives you a compliment you love it. But if someone says something negative about you, you hold onto it for longer. It is so bizarre because I’ve had hundreds and hundreds of the most amazing messages from everybody saying they love that I won. They love my style, that I bring so much joy, that I made them cry and that I’m a deserving winner. I’ve been focusing on them.

I did get a bit down initially after the final, thinking: ‘Oh my god, I hope I didn’t take it away from Matt.’ But even Matt and the other designers said when they walked into my space that they knew I’d won and I deserved to win. It meant the world to me for it to come from them.

It’s one of those things when you see it on the TV. The colours are all saturated and it is a lot more intense and Matt’s look starker. The colours don’t come across true on the telly.

One of the decorators Karen, who has been on the show for ages, burst into tears when she walked into my back bedroom. She said, ‘I just feel so special in this room’ and then I started crying. It was amazing because she said, ‘I’ve worked in this industry for 20 years and a room has never brought me to tears.’ To me those are the wins and those are the moments I need to hold on to because they were why I decided to chase my dreams of being an interior designer. I want to make people feel special and happy.

When no cameras were around, guest judge Jonathan Adler came up to me before leaving the palace the day we filmed the final. He told me, ‘I walked into your room and I literally said to myself “this girl has got it”.’ He knew instantly that I had won which is so lovely. I’ve admired Jonathan for years.

Matt and Roisin went head to head in the Interior Design Masters finalMatt and Roisin went head to head in the Interior Design Masters final

Matt and Roisin went head to head in the Interior Design Masters final. (BBC)

Me and Matt were so different designers. You couldn’t really compare our styles. You could only go off a feeling when you walked into the space because if it was two maximalists, you could say, ‘Oh, well, they use that colour better than the other person who didn’t use that colour as well.’ We were both rooting for each other in the final. If Matt won, I would have been happy.

Winning feels very overwhelming. We all found out in September last year and it’s been a big secret for so long that I didn’t really process it. It’s been really difficult keeping it under wraps. Watching it back now, I got really emotional. I’m sad now because it’s over but I’m excited for the future. If I didn’t feel sad about it, then it shows I didn’t have a great time doing it. Seeing my design of the Blenheim Palace lodge at the end, I am chuffed to bits. I took a moment to myself to have a little emotional cry because I was like: Wow I did it. I created that beautiful little space. Now people can book the lodge and enjoy it as well which makes me happier.

Interior Design Masters head judge Michelle Ogundehin and guest judge Jonathan AdlerInterior Design Masters head judge Michelle Ogundehin and guest judge Jonathan Adler

Interior Design Masters head judge Michelle Ogundehin and guest judge Jonathan Adler. (BBC)

Behind the scenes of filming the show, unfortunately my dad was in hospital for the whole time. At the start of last year, my dad got diagnosed with bowel cancer. I felt it was very selfish of me to do Interior Design Masters but I didn’t want him to feel like he was holding me back which he definitely wasn’t because my dad has always pushed me to chase my dreams.

No one knew except production staff and they supported me so much. All of my dad’s operations never went to plan. As soon as the final finished, I called him that night and then it was a couple of days after that he was discharged from hospital and I was able to see him. Now he’s a lot better and he’s on the mend. We are lucky to have him.

I knew it was a now or never moment in my life. I thought: I’m turning 30 this year, I need to quit my job because if I had that comfort blanket underneath me I was never going to do it. Quitting my job was very scary but I probably wouldn’t have done so well on Interior Design Masters if I hadn’t because I would have had something to fall back on. I had put off changing my career for so long and I needed to drown before I could thrive. That’s how I work.

Roisin won over viewers at home through Interior Design MastersRoisin won over viewers at home through Interior Design Masters

Roisin won over viewers at home through Interior Design Masters. (BBC)

The secret to winning? It’s about being true to yourself, listening to you gut and believing in yourself, especially when it comes to interiors because you can doubt yourself constantly. You’ve got to throw that all out of your head because you’re not going to get anywhere. You need to remind yourself interior design is subjective.

Originally I was very scared of getting any feedback from Michelle Ogundehin because I wanted to please, I wanted her to love my stuff. Deep down, I knew that if I want to learn and grow as an interior designer, I needed her to critique me. I needed her advice and guidance. She is so talented the way she judges a space and the way she dissects everything. Afterwards, I’m thinking: ‘Oh, my God, I didn’t think of it that way.’ I needed someone to tell me and teach me. She gave me some really accurate advice for interior design. I wouldn’t have made it through to the final if I didn’t take the feedback on board and learn from it. Michelle was amazing. We all couldn’t have asked for a better mentor.

Now I’ve brought out my first homeware range with La Redoute Home and that’s just the beginning. The big dream is I want to work in commercial spaces, designing boutique hotels, restaurants, bars and lodges. Also, I would love to have my own range of wallpapers and fabrics.

Absolutely I’d love to do TV again too. Alan Carr said to me, ‘Have you ever considered presenting?’ Who knows? Never say never.

Interior Design Masters winner Roisin Quinn told her story to Lily Waddell.

Catch up with Interior Design Masters on BBC iPlayer.