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.