Interior Design Masters exit interview with Anthony Ray

interior design masters series 5 anthony
Interior Design Masters exit interview: AnthonyBBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

The quarter final of Interior Design Masters series five saw the remaining four contestants, Anthony, Ben, Matt and Roisin head to East Grinstead in West Sussex to transform two Grade II listed high street shops.

Working in pairs and with a budget of £3,500 per project, Ben and Matt gave a crystal shop a major glow-up, while Anthony and Roisin set about redesigning a fashion boutique.

Head judge Michelle Ogundehin was joined by Mary ‘Queen of Shops’ Portas, to decide who would be packing their bags at the end. Bursting into tears with emotion, Michelle took the controversial decision to let Anthony – a regular 'standout space' winner and tipped as the overall winner – go.

Choosing his favourite colour, green, for the ground floor brought a devastated Anthony no luck. The judges described his rebrand as dark and dreary, with Mary saying she missed 'that warm, fuzzy feeling' that makes people want to go into a shop rather than buying online.

Speaking to House Beautiful, former West End musical theatre performer Anthony Ray, 35, who lives in London with his partner and their two-year-old son, (find him on Instagram @anthonyraydesign) confesses he was really gutted to go, but shares big news – Mary Portas has offered him a job.

What's the one thing you did well and not so well in your task?

I made some clever choices in terms of moving the till point. Before that the shop owner was in a Harry Potter-style broom cupboard under the stairs. What I didn’t do well was choosing that rich green. I wanted it to be really sophisticated. I should have gone for an off-white.

interior design masters series 5 anthony
BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

Were you as shocked as everyone else when Michelle made her decision?

I was absolutely gutted. I was so disappointed in myself that I allowed that design to slip through my fingers, but it was a big job, three massive displays to do, repositioning the till point, and on top of that managing the trades between upstairs and downstairs.

The main reason I was so gutted though? I do dressing rooms for the Brit Awards (next week’s challenge is redesigning performers' dressing rooms at Wembley) and I had something mega planned. I’m absolutely gutted I didn’t get the chance to do it.

a shop with tables and chairs
BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

Tell us one thing that goes on behind the scenes that viewers don't know…

Using the magic paint, Zinsser. It’s this incredible paint that doesn’t need a primer if you’re upcycling.

interior design masters series 5 anthony
Host Alan Carr (left) with Anthony (right)BBC/Darlow Smithson Productions

Do you think you have what it takes to be an interior designer?

I definitely think I’ve got what it takes for sure. I’m great with people, I listen to the client, I can deliver briefs. My knowledge of carpentry and spatial design, from my dad, has really served me well. I really understand how it all works.

Time to manifest! Tell us, where do you think you’ll be/what do you think you’ll be doing this time next year?

I would like to be designing commercial and personal spaces for clients. I’d also like to be showcasing how to transform your home on a budget, whether that's on TV, Instagram or wherever.

a bathroom with a toilet and a mirror
Anthony designed his own home in London. Here’s his bathroom with terrazzo tiles, and a combination of black and gold accentsAnthony Ray

Mary put her arm round me after the show and said she would like me to work for her company, so I’m going to be working with them on some projects. I’ve been inundated with jobs to be honest, a hair salon, a bridal shop, two bedrooms, a hallway. I’m in talks with Ascot racecourse (from week three) to go back and design some boxes for them, and the developer from Sheffield (from week five) wants to have a conversation.

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