Monday 25 June 2018

'What am I supposed to do with my Sunday nights now?' - Room to Improve has wrapped and viewers are bereft

Rory, Lorna, QS Lisa and Dermot on the final episode of Room to Improve
Rory, Lorna, QS Lisa and Dermot on the final episode of Room to Improve
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

After a series full of tense face-offs and battles between architect Dermot Bannon and his clients, Room to Improve ended with a rather polite outing on Sunday night.

Seven episodes in he finally met a couple in Rory and Lorna who admitted they trusted him and his taste - and he wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

“They are letting me do what I need to do and that makes me incredibly nervous," he said.  "Maybe that’s what makes me nervous... Not that they trust me, that’s wrong isn’t it?  Maybe I want them to have a little bit of ownership and to have an opinion.”

He got a little more opinion when it came to the front door, but more on that later.

Dermot's vision for Rory and Lorna's 1960s Stillorgan home was Malibu style living 'hanging over the edge of a cliff with an infinity pool' kind of thing, but when he first arrived he couldn't see much wrong with the place, aside from the fact it wasn't open-plan.

Their initial budget was €180,000 but that increased to €290,000 as they wanted extra bedroom space upstairs.  Unlike last week when Dermot earned 'zero out of ten' for his efforts, Lorna and Rory were massively impressed with his drawings.

However, when it came to the decor they were not on the same page.  Lorna and Rory wanted something along the lines of the newly refurbished 1920s Stella Cinema in Rathmines.  Dermot wanted them to have an orange kitchen island, and a front door with no glass.

"It's not the amount of money they're investing, it's what they expect the transformation to be and what do Rory and Lorna think a €1.1m house should be?" he asked QS LIsa as she had the 'reining him in' weekly chat.

Regarding the front door, Lorna was adamant she wanted it centred in the middle, despite the fact it would open in front of the stairs.  Dermot wanted it to the side, and he wasn't for moving on this one.

"I've never seen this side of Lorna.  I've never seen this side where she's not for turning," he said, adding, "I'm not going to roll that easily."

After a series of battles with Lorna over the style and placement of the door he was exasperated, and defiant, "It's done, it's finished, there's nothing more I can do bar just not order it for them and say, 'you can make that phone call, I'm not making that phone call'.  I'm not going to say that to them but it's the wrong decision."



The door remained to the side, where it had been originally, but the opening flipped, which Lorna suspected was down to Dermot sending the "wrong drawing", but she added, "I think It works better".  After all the battles everyone was happy.

Dermot's 'Bond' style notions about the decor were initially met with raised eyebrows by the couple, but his enthusiasm for 'blobby', 'floaty', 'squishy planets' lighting won them, and and the viewers, over.

"I know it sounds crazy and it makes me sound like I'm on acid but it's not," he said, eyes wide with excitement.

Lorna and Rory were also delighted with the black box shaped 'alien' bathroom which sat atop the new extension out the back.  Viewers were not quite so enamoured by it, however, with several labelled it a 'portaloo'.

However, the finished home got one of the most positive reactions from viewers of all the houses this series, with several people declaring it Dermot's best design.

It's not all over yet - a best of Room to Improve episode will follow on Sunday, April 8th.

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