House Rules

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LAU­RENCE LLEWELYN BOWEN

Ren­o­va­tion se­ries House Rules is com­ing into its fifth sea­son with flam­boy­ant de­sign-stylist Lau­rence Llewelyn Bowen join­ing Wendy Moore and Drew Heath to judge the ren­o­va­tions. Llewelyn Bowen tells Danielle McGrane what to ex­pect in the up­com­ing sea­son.

Have you been im­pressed with the cre­ativ­ity and flair of the con­tes­tants?

There’s some very ex­cit­ing stuff hap­pen­ing. It’s a show about am­a­teur – ama­teurs ap­proach­ing in­te­rior dec­o­rat­ing in a way no pro­fes­sional ever would. Pro­fes­sion­als are al­ways go­ing to take a route they’ve tried be­fore whereas ama­teurs, if you teach them right, will do some­thing ab­so­lutely orig­i­nal and that can be ter­ri­bly ex­cit­ing.

What are you look­ing for or hop­ing to see?

It’s the most ex­traor­di­nary op­por­tu­nity for these con­tes­tants, with a lifechang­ing prize at stake, so I am go­ing to be tough. I want them to work hard and achieve well. They’ve got to ex­press them­selves, they’ve got to ex­press the home­owner, they’ve got to show per­son­al­ity and flair. They’ve got to work around the house rules as well, so it’s not easy.

Did you pick any­thing up from the con­tes­tants or get any de­sign ideas?

There’s been a cou­ple of in­te­ri­ors where I’m to­tally go­ing to rip them off when I go back to the UK be­cause they’ve been such good ideas. There’s been a cou­ple of things where I thought, “You would not in a mil­lion years do that if you were a pro­fes­sional”, but it is as­ton­ish­ingly per­fect.

How did you come to be in­volved in the se­ries?

They just rang me. I was sur­prised they wanted a 52-year-old grand­fa­ther. I just didn’t see that one com­ing. I did Chang­ing Rooms 20 years ago and started the whole thing off then. So in terms of ren­o­va­tion shows I’m Abraham, I’m Zeus, I’m the great-great-grand­fa­ther. So pro­vided I can still be wheeled out of the cup­board and dusted down, it sort of makes sense to bring me out. I’m not here to be any­one’s friend … I’m here to make ev­ery­body into a bet­ter de­signer. That might mean that I’m break­ing eggs but it’s go­ing to be an amaz­ing omelette, dar­ling.

What dif­fer­ences can we ex­pect this sea­son?

I think there’s been a mas­sive sense of up­ping the chal­lenge. Even some­thing as sim­ple as the house rules are much more cre­ative than they’ve been be­fore. The con­tes­tants are drawn from a far wider net. The hous­ing stock is much more di­verse, ev­ery­thing about this se­ries has been re-en­gi­neered to make it much more punchy.

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