Celebrity TV presenter creates living room with £425 of items bought from Northampton charity shop

From upcycling antiques to overhauling entire properties, interior designers are used to working their magic to give homes and spaces a whole new look.

Wednesday, 17th October 2018, 5:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th October 2018, 6:45 pm
Max McMurdo (left)and assistant Phillip Ely spent 425.97 at Northampton's BHF furniture store

This October, four pairs of interior designers took on the British Heart Foundation's 'Makeover Challenge' – to create an entire room on a £500 budget, using only items they could find in one of the charity's 180 furniture stores.

Max McMurdo and assistant Phillip Ely, Interior Style Hunter’s Grant Pierrus and design pal Girl About House (aka Sarah Mailer), Forward Features duo David White and Mark Russell and Sharp & Simpson’s Micaela Sharp and design partner Beth Clancy scoured their local furniture shops to find the best bargains to transform their spaces.

"The Northampton BHF store was a real Aladdin’s Cave - we were like kids in a sweet shop," said Max McMurdo.

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Max McMurdo (left)and assistant Phillip Ely spent 425.97 at Northampton's BHF furniture store

“We’ve got a reputation for doing things in an innovative, quirky way; this started out as ‘hunting lodge chic’ but we got carried away!

"One of my favourite things about upcycling is the amount of benefits – you’re saving items from landfill, learning new skills and with British Heart Foundation shops, you’re doing something charitable too."

Creating a living room, a main bedroom, a children’s bedroom and a dining room, the four creative teams had just ten hours from start to finish to put together their vision; battling against the clock in the Changing Room’s style race against time.

Each design duo was given a budget of just £500 to create their room and give it its own unique style, to demonstrate how easy it is to give a space a seasonal overhaul.

The designers were given 500 to spend at their local BHF furniture store

Every room created by the teams came in under the £500 mark with Sarah Mailer and Grant Pierrus's design coming away with the best value prize after they spent £368.

Max and Phillip spent £425.97 at the Northampton shop....here's how they did it: dining table and chairs x 3, £25 each - dining table and chairs £50 - fireplace £69.99 - gold and black globe £45.99 - rug £24.99 - electrical goods £20 - bric-a-brac £140

Allison Swaine-Hughes, retail director at the BHF, said: “The Makeover Challenge is a great example of how you don’t need a big budget to give a home a fresh new look – it’s been amazing to see what these designers have created from items found in their local BHF home stores!

"With sofas from £95 and wardrobes from £40, not only do the stores provide great value but every penny raised in-store goes towards life-saving research.”

Before and after: Grant Pierrus - aka Interior Style Hunter - and interior designer Sarah Mailer, otherwise known as Girl About House made a dining room (top) while Max and Phillip put together a hunting lodge chic living room
Before and after: Sharp & Simpson's Micaela Sharp (left) and Beth Clancy designed a children's bedroom and Mark and David from design dup Forward Features made a bedroom