Laura Cartledge catches up with the winner of The Great Interior Design Challenge to talk family, success and style.
Mum-of-three Sarah Moore has gone from sewing in the village hall to winning the BBC’s hunt for an amateur designer.
Sarah, 41, has run her own business from home in the centre of Northchapel since 2012 and entered The Great Interior Design Challenge after seeing it on Facebook.
Filming took place back in autumn with the final airing on BBC TWO last week – meaning she’s been keeping her success a secret since October.
“It was fine for me but not for my children,” she said.
“It does feel like it has been done twice and it has been interesting seeing people’s reactions.
“The programme was fantastic and it has changed my perspective and style – I am used to being in this small village in Sussex and I went to Liverpool for the final where I was allowed to let rip with thousands of pounds to buy things I’ve always liked but never been able to afford.”
Sarah’s distinctive style features a strong handmade element – something which shone throughout the 12-part series from her use of patterned rollers to making a teacup chandelier.
So it comes as a surprise to learn she often calls on others for help when it comes to crafting items for her business, Sarah Moore Home.
“I am not the best sewer, I sew at the handcranked machine to make samples then I farm out my challenge,” she explained.
“My favourite part is to design stuff, and then I get people to come and help me make it.”
To do this, Sarah hires out Northchapel Village Hall.
“The key thing is to have people around to help and I often rent the village hall to have space,” she said.
“It is a really good community and the local women who help me all have their favourite things to make.
“I see it as nice to help other women – after all I know it is so difficult to run a house and make some money, to have that oomph to go out despite the washing pile.”
While used to a busy schedule Sarah admits the fast pace of the BBC show was one of the biggest challenges and time hasn’t slowed down since either.
“When I came away from filming it was straight into Christmas which is always the busiest time for my business.
“The bunnies I make had been in Vogue and the advent calendars had been in magazines all over the place.”
The next task facing Sarah will be to make the most of the opportunities winning the show will bring.
“It is difficult to know how to maximise it,” she said.
“I really don’t have a design background and I really am an amateur.
“I am happy to come up with moodboards and ideas but I don’t think I am brave enough to take on and manage a whole project.”
In fact she believes not being a designer might have given her the edge.
“When it came to me and Jordan in the final I think what set us apart is that I was home making rather than interior designing,” she explained.
“Perhaps it is because I am older and have three children who can destroy anything – but I think you have got to consider the house.”
Sarah described the programme as a “five week filming roller coaster” and said designing for a range of homes and clients has also influenced her own work.
“It had a style changing effect on my outlook and has inspired a whole new direction for my products and materials,” she said.
“I loved the lighting that I made in the programs particularly, so now gleaming copper and subtle pigeon grey enamel, hand-dye fabric and natural wood can now be found amongst my first homewares collection and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.”
With two books to her name already Sarah is now planning a third and is aiming to host workshops, for more information visit www.sarahmoorehome.co.uk.