When it comes to décor, Interior Design Masters runner-up Siobhan Murphy is no magnolia-coloured wallflower. In fact, her own Castleford home, which she’s previously described as “Palm Springs on acid”, is a veritable kaleidoscope of pattern, colour and texture, as were many of her designs on the popular BBC Two show!
Here the Leeds-born 42-year-old, who became a fan favourite on the show thanks to her warm personality and fearless approach to interiors, invites us into her incredible home for an interview and a look around, exclusively for VIP members!
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Seeing as Siobhan's just been announced as OK! online's new interiors columnist, what better insight into her love of design, than with a sneak peek around her pad!
The TV star kicked off the exclusive tour by taking us into her original 1930's art deco bathroom which is fitted with a sunken bath tub with handmade mosaic tiles covering the walls of the luxurious room.
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Next stop is every girl's dream – Siobhan's very own cocktail bar. The unused space was converted into an elegant pink tower room and the interior designer admits it's been "really handy during lockdown."
Siobhan told OK!: "I did some beautiful velvet banquette seating which I'd made bespoke, I've added a beautiful, hand-painted mural of some white peacocks in here which I think just sets the tone for the entire room."
Keen to make a good first impression, the quirky BBC star explained why her front doors are one of her favourite things. "I absolutely love when you first walk in, the double doors, which I've actually had gold-leafed.
"That really makes an impact and a real wow factor as you enter the house," she said.
Here, Siobhan tells OK! how it felt coming so close to winning Interior Design Masters and what it's been like dealing with her newfound fame…
Siobhan, congratulations on being runner-up on Interior Design Masters and the breakout star of the show. How did it all start?
I love fashion, I love interiors and I love any TV that’s a makeover or a transformation. I watched the first series and was instantly a fan. I was contacted by one of the casting people on Instagram. I spent a whole weekend doing a mood board for the application. I had goose pimples with excitement when I got the call to say I was on the show because I’ve only ever done interior design for my own house. Then suddenly it was July and I was on set. I wore these bright pink overalls that I love, but it was 35 degrees and I almost cut the legs off because I was so hot!
What was it like getting to know the show’s host Alan Carr?
It was all socially distanced, but he would gravitate towards me and Paul [Moneypenny] because I guess we were the people who’d be having a bit of banter and a few giggles. Alan would come in and break the ice. He was lovely.
How do you feel about coming runner-up?
I know that judge Michelle [Ogundehin] paced the room for an hour when she made her decision. Lynsey [Ford], who won, is great and obviously I would have liked to have won, but I’ve got so many exciting opportunities ahead. So many, in fact, that I’ve quit my job at the NHS after 18 years. I worked for NHS digital but was non-creative.
You’re officially now an influencer. How does newfound fame feel?
I’ve gained around 60,000 extra followers on Instagram since the show started. It went absolutely wild.
You’ve got a very distinctive look, Siobhan! Can we talk about your wigs?
At last count I’ve got 24. They’re now in my office. I got my first two Christmases ago and felt instantly transformed. It also gives my hair a break after all the years of hair extensions and bleaching. But you can change your whole image with a wig and you take on a bit of a different persona. I think it’s a confidence thing as well, it’s sort of like another layer.
Can you expand on that a little?
Being a plus size, there are all these rules but I just think, why are we listening to them? Like, you’ve got to wear black, or clothes that make you appear smaller. I’m not signing up for that any more. I love patterns, colours, florals and prints. I think you’ve got to go with your heart and for whatever makes you happy.
Did you study fashion or design?
I’ve always been mega creative. I was always making stuff as a kid. I went to Leeds College Of Art [now Leeds Arts University] where I studied fashion and accessories, then later on I did a couple of classes in millinery. As my career progressed in the corporate world I lost a bit of that creativity, but I rediscovered it a few years ago.
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We imagine you were a huge fan of Changing Rooms back in the day…
Yes! Meeting Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen on the show was a really big moment for me. I grew up with him and his big cuffs! I’d love his designs, and when the homeowners walked in and started crying, I’d go, “I love that!”
Is your house a huge inspiration for you?
Nick and I moved in here in August 2019. I’ve loved this house even as a kid because it’s not far from where I grew up and he loved it, too. On the first visit I walked in and burst into tears because I had this emotional connection to the house straight away.
Well, you’ve certainly livened it up!
It’s definitely made my love for interiors grow even stronger because I’ve thought that this is a space that I can go wild in. When people think about Art Deco they think of minimal black and white, but it was actually an era of decadence and flamboyance. I wanted to breathe life back into the old girl.
How did you and Nick meet?
We met online 12 years ago. Someone was giving out flyers at a train station and the flyer said, “I know someone who fancies you”, so that got my attention straight away. It was a website for busy professionals. We chatted on the phone and then went out for drinks and stayed out as late as we could. I remember thinking, “I’ve met somebody here that I really like.” We are so different, though.
Nick’s not a creative type, he’s a solicitor and fairly quiet but we just really get on. I think the secret to our successful relationship is that we make each other laugh. When I told him I was thinking of leaving my job we talked about it and he said I needed to follow my dream.
He even bought me some Vivienne Westwood shoes as congratulations and I’m dying to wear them to go out!
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What was on your wish list before you did the show?
A magazine shoot, a column and an interior product range – and it’s all happening! It’s a total dream come true and I’m so grateful for the show. Life is really exciting at the moment.
What can readers expect from your new OK! online interiors column?
Honest advice. I’m quite relatable so I’ll impart all my tips and tricks. I get so many messages from people asking where to start with the colour or how to gold leaf their table top, so anything like that.
Can you share your top tips?
Decorate with your heart. Think about things you really love and take inspiration. It doesn’t have to be an interiors book, it can be a nice dress, a picture of a sunset or piece of fabric you really love. Move things around. I call it styling but my husband calls it moving things from one room to another! One minute my favourite chair might be in the bathroom, the next in the dressing room or bedroom. Same with décor, if I go off something I put it in a box and then when I’m styling again I go into my box of tricks. And be bold. In lockdown, people have got bolder after spending so much time at home looking at white or magnolia walls. Think about what gives you joy. Use a tropical wallpaper or a bright colour. Experiment!
Read Siobhan’s interiors column every week on ok.co.uk.
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