Timmy Johnson: Finalist in Masters of Interior Design from Hertz
Temi launched the Temi Johnson design just before the show aired in March, so it’s been a busy time for the Hertfordshire-based contestant.
Timmy says: “I mentioned to a friend that someone had suggested I apply but I didn’t take it seriously at that point. She gave me a stern talk and I applied the same day, which happened to be the application deadline. I received my application in ten Minutes to spare!”
With the start of a new business and her television appearances, for Timmy her home has been her favorite project to date, and not only was it important to her, but in fact one of the reasons she got to appear on the show where she documented her first home renovation.
“I live in a cottage in a pretty little village in Hertfordshire, it feels like you’re in the middle of the country but you’re actually only 25 minutes on the train to London.
“I used to live on a boat and the River Lea ran through the village. My husband and I would spend our summers on the boat there and we knew when we bought a house it would be there.”
Pursuing a creative career was something she dreamed of and in her younger years Timmy wanted to do something in fashion.
Twenty years ago things were different. My mom was concerned about me being subject to a creative field like that (especially as a woman of color) and encouraged me to do law instead. A typical African mother on that front! Ha.
“As I got older, I found it increasingly difficult to stifle my creativity. For many years I struggled with getting a creative fix through fashion in general, but when little kids come along, they can feel the fullness of the suit!”
Her creative passion extended to interior design, something she had always been interested in.
Describing her room at university as something out of a vintage interiors magazine, Timmy added, “I remember bringing my 1950s drink cart with me now to university and one of the original red silk Art Deco curtains. Now I look back, it’s crazy I didn’t get it.” sooner!
“When we brought our home in 2018, I started renovating and remodeling major spaces, and it was such a revelation, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in interior design.”
As viewers follow the journeys of the 10 competing contestants, funny man Alan Carr and interiors guru Michelle Ogunden search for talent, passion and dazzling designs, with a life-changing contract for the winner.
While it wasn’t without its hitches, there were plenty of laughs as well.
Timmy explained, “The most challenging part was the budget and time constraints. The budget hasn’t changed since season one and since then we’ve had Brexit and all sorts of things so a piece of MDF that would have been £30 is now £60.
“I absolutely loved Alan, he’s just such a funny guy! Michelle was a tough job in my opinion because the talent this season was ridiculous. I really appreciate her expertise and I felt like a sponge soaking everything up whenever she gave feedback.”
Coming back to her work, Temi provides a complete interior design and design service for commercial and residential spaces.
“I also offer online design advice for those who just need a good point in the right direction or help finishing a project.
“At the moment I have some residential projects going on which I am really excited about. I also work very closely with Olive and Barr, their kitchens are amazing, bespoke quality and at a really affordable price for clients. They also fit my design style although they are traditional which can be modified by finishes And color and design to also feel fun.”
She has a love of copper and is also a huge advocate for sustainability.
“It’s something very important to me and it should definitely be the future of design. However, I think there are many ways to make it happen. It seems like a buzzword right now (an important word but still) and a lot of people don’t know where to start.
“I grew up with parents who were into antiques, so the majority of everything in our home growing up was secondhand, antique, or vintage. To me, that is one of the highest forms of sustainability because you prevent extra production all together.”
“The majority of the items I used for my MA in Interior Design were secondhand from local auto dealerships and charity shops. I applied this same principle to my home.”
And her inspiration?
“My inspiration really comes from a combination of diving into the past and then looking entirely at the other end of the spectrum and new and emerging makers/designers.
“I love the aesthetic from this new design student called Six Point Design. I would definitely like to incorporate one of their modern metal pieces next to an antique Carl Malmsten sofa for example.
“It may sound silly now, but in my younger years I always saw interior design as something unattainable. So, for me my inspiration really came from the art and creative influences around me.
“Seeing the final product and the customer’s response has got to be my favorite part. Creating spaces that make other people happy and seeing them use those spaces makes any of the drama along the way worthwhile!”
With submissions open until April 30th for next year’s series, would you recommend it?
“Anyone thinking of applying… DO IT! It’s very hard work but if you make it through, I promise it will be worth every moment of the madness and you just might meet your second family in the process like I did!”
Catch the series on BBC iPlayer.
More about Temi
Her house…” My house was really designed based on the feel of the house. It’s the porch of an end of the 1890’s cottage in the countryside. So it didn’t feel right not to embrace some traditional elements, but I also wanted to have fun. So, with my kitchen for example, I kept With a traditional shaker but I enjoyed the colors and artwork in the space.
Similarly, my living room has a lot of traditional features like the fireplace and shutters but it’s orange. I used lemon wash paint to add texture and soften the orange, so it looks sophisticated even with such a bold color. There are so many fun touches around my home that you can make. See it on my Instagram page.
She would peek…”Erykah Badu, American singer-songwriter, record producer and house actress. I love a good hat and she has the best collection. I think anyone with a hat and wardrobe collection like Erykah’s would have a dream home.”
Her insider tips
1. It’s not a race, take your time to make it your home
2. Good art can transform almost any space
3. Do not be guided by the trends or opinions of others. Don’t be afraid to be you, you just have to live there.
Photography by Katja de Grunwald and Kim Ola