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TV review: The Mary Poppins of Sex Rooms

What if you had so much space that you can give up a whole room and turn it into a sex room?

(does anyone in London happen to have extra space? Is that a thing?)

I know I am late to the party, particularly since this show was launched last year, but in my defence I really needed to binge re-watch the Witcher once again.

This year, since I finally had a couple of chilled weekends, I decided to join the rest of kinky-Netflix-crowd and watch How to Build a Sex Room

What is How to Build a Sex Room?

This reality TV show focus on home improvements. Well, erm, a sort of niece home improvements. It’s basically a mash-up between Dream Home Makeover and Bonding. It has eight episodes, about 35-45 mins each, and it was released on July 8 last year.

The show looks at clients who need a space to explore their sexuality. Clients are from the whole gender spectrum, from straight cisgender to queer and/or gay, and in all sort of relationships, from single to monogamous to poly. 

Who is the host?

Born and raised in London, Melanie Rose spent part of her life between acting and interior designing. Then the 57-year-old moved to Los Angeles, where she discovered her passion for designing more intimate interiors.

After being asked by one of her clients to create a sex room, she enjoyed that so much, she decided to dedicate herself to that (almost) completely (she still works as a traditional interior designer). 

What’s the mood of the show?

I found the show lighthearted, playful, honest, open, with some much needed sense of humour. Rose takes her job seriously, and deliver on the client’s brief, but she also has fun along the way.

Rose has a very sex-positive approach, particularly when it came to kink, BDSM, and sex toys. In one of the episodes, she highlights how sex-toys are there to ‘enhance’ the experience, and in one specific case, the female sexual pleasure (something that is not often talked about).

It made me think of something someone once told me. You can bus to work or drive a ferrari: both get the job done, but differently. So if the bus takes ages, why not get a lift in something a little faster and more exciting? Right?

Rose has been described as the ‘Mary Poppins of Sex Rooms’ by one of the clients (which I thought was super-cute!).

She also considers herself a Sex Toys Fairy Godmother.

What are they trying to do?

Rose sees sex rooms as places where couples can explore their deepest fantasies. Her and Mike (her General Contractor that makes things happen) work together to create ‘sacred spaces’ for the clients throughout the show.

These spaces can be the anywhere between the client’s own bedroom, a spare room, a spare floor (if you have that sort of space), or a basement/attic entirely dedicated to play.

She follows the client’s needs and wants while adding a little of her own; she loves surprising and inspiring her clients by going the extra mile and bringing the wow factor into the newly decorated space.

What are the episodes like?

Each episode starts with meeting the client(s). The ‘person’ or ‘couple’ or ‘people’ run through their needs and desires, and then show Rose the space they intend to have decorated. She then drafts a brief, and comes up with a plan. The process begins.

First of all: space analysis. She walks us through how she will be organising the space, and any remodelling needed. Next: day out with the client(s). Rose take them to either visiting a mistress, or getting a personalised lesson on impact play, or doing a professional photoshoot for your very own, sexy portfolio. Once that’s done, Rose has a clear picture of client’s preferences and what boundaries to push.

Time for last step: decor! My favourite part obviously. We get an idea of what the room will look like, and the sex toys and stuff arrive (marked as exercise equipment of course). Once finished, the space is presented to the client and to the viewers with a little tour. Smiles and giggles, and that’s a wrap!

Rose has a partner in crime, the wonderful Mike, a General Contractor that makes things happen. Mike has the perfect amount of banter, making the show so more enjoyable.

What did I like?

Obviously I loved the banter between Rose and Mike, they are just cute and funny to watch. One of the best things on the show was Rose’s direct, no-nonsense approach. Whether she’s talking about pole-dancing, role-playing, or pegging, her open-mindness was the absolute core of the show.

Something else I also really enjoyed was that she covered some education bits here and there. A couple of examples? She talked about what a St Andrew’s Cross is, and how it’s used in the BDSM community. Rose talked a bit about artist such as Tom of Finland when working with a gay couple (RIP, he was gay Finnish artist that made stylized highly masculinized homoerotic art). And one of my favourite was, when working with a couple struggling with height difference, she brought up the tantric chair aka stretch chaise. She mentioned also the Siège d’amour, which is basically a fancy sex chairs from the 1890s (because as I mentioned in the past, we were always kinky). I felt like she could have done more with the educational side of things, but it was a good effort.

My favourite project was The Client Brief from Matthew & Orlando’s, I feel like there is so much more about ‘them’ than any other room. And I also loved Bettie & Brody’s room and their gorgeous soaking bath tub and Hollywood glam theme. Watch out for those ones!

Lastly, I of course LOVED the furniture and accessories she picked to decorate the rooms; her style is sleek, elegant, yet practical. Oh and the wallpaper. I am not a wallpaper kinda gal, but some of the wallpaper she picked was just stunning.

What did I dislike?

Something I found a tad distracting, was how the episodes were not whole. Each episode saw the start of a project, with the final room was shown in the following one. Meanwhile, the following project starts, that ends in the next episode etc etc, you get the gist.

A missed opportunity was that they could’ve talked more about consent and BDSM protocol practices. The couples picked were well-established, with a clear understanding of boundaries and risk-aware practices (aside of one couple, where the husband did not pull his weight at all around the house or even attempted giving his wife an orgasm. In fact, when questioned, he didn’t even know if she climaxed… shocking. if I were his wife, I would punish him until his ass was raw). All I am saying, is that I don’t think the show should’ve assumed that viewers also have such clear understanding of risk-aware practices.

One last thing I found annoying was how she described rooms (easily) twice the size of my bedroom in London as ‘cozy’ and ‘small’. Why are you doing that? Stop making me feel poor(er) (*sobs a little*).

Want to take a look at some pictures of the end product? Check out this article from Glamour

Trailer at the bottom of the page as always.

Rose loves to play with pattern, textures, and sensations when putting together the interior of a room. For example, she would have beautiful blue panelling on the walls, with the occasional velvet panel to make sure it’s comfy when you brush against it.