The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - SALLY COATES

You won’t miss Lau­rence Llewe­lynBowen on the new sea­son of House Rules. Just as his wardrobe over­flows with well-tai­lored suits in flam­boy­ant fabrics, there’s no con­tain­ing this judge’s charisma.

While he says he can re­veal “ab­so­lutely noth­ing at all” about Gold Coast team Aaron and Daniella, he did men­tion the un­lucky en­trants who renovated their home were stuck with the fall­out from Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie.

“Each stage is de­signed in ex­treme spa­ces with the most ex­tra­or­di­nary time re­straints and con­di­tions, not to men­tion the cy­clone – the cy­clone co­in­cides ex­actly with one team’s out­side phase of the chal­lenge,” Lau­rence says.

“I don’t think any­one in any way can pre­dict who will win. One of the most ex­tra­or­di­nary things is the turn­around.

“Ev­ery chal­lenge there is a tec­tonic shift, people are go­ing to be amazed by how con­stantly chang­ing the peck­ing or­der is.”

As you can imag­ine, Lau­rence is not a fan of se­date “show­room” style.

“I’m very tough when I feel people are play­ing it safe, do­ing a show home, that’s not the point,” he says.

“We live in a re­ally scary world, a re­ally, re­ally scary world. When you close your front door that tiny cor­ner of the planet is yours. It re­flects you, it’s your shrine, your icon, your jewel box.

“It doesn’t make sense to throw away that gift, by dec­o­rat­ing beige be­cause the neigh­bours do or you feel you have to. I have no bour­geois com­mit­ment to one sort of dec­o­rat­ing over an­other.

“I want to look into the hearts of the con­tes­tants and help them do what they want to do, but bet­ter.”

Judg­ing some­one’s per­sonal style can be sen­si­tive ground to tread, es­pe­cially when it comes to self­ex­pres­sion, but that’s why Lau­rence is per­fect for the job.

“Our job as the judg­ing panel is to help con­tes­tants explore what they’re ca­pa­ble of,” he says.

“The show re­ally cre­ates a per­fect storm for teams to express them­selves, and some­times that means smash­ing a few eggs to make an omelet.

“I’m so sur­prised, de­lighted and ex­cited by what some of these teams have al­ready achieved in global de­sign terms. A cou­ple of the in­te­ri­ors will be in­spi­ra­tion for, not just Australia, but the rest of the world.

“I had al­ways hoped by us­ing am­a­teurs they wouldn’t follow the same well-beaten track ... they are ca­pa­ble of huge leaps of cre­ativ­ity and orig­i­nal­ity.”

If am­a­teurs are pro­duc­ing such high stan­dards of de­sign, though, what does that say for in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als who have ded­i­cated their life to the art?

“Ob­vi­ously the prin­ci­ple ef­fect is on the au­di­ence. Every­body’s home is go­ing to be look­ing very dif­fer­ent in a year be­cause of this series,” Lau­rence says.

“It’s en­ter­tain­ing but also a great way of get­ting those aes­thetic ideas.

“When Chang­ing Rooms launched 20 years ago in the UK it to­tally changed the de­sign land­scape. It meant that de­sign was no longer a pur­suit of the wealthy or in­flu­en­tial.

“I hope the ef­fect on de­sign­ers will be to pre­cip­i­tate a mas­sive step up in so­phis­ti­ca­tion and el­e­gance in high-street de­sign.

“I think as a re­sult of see­ing how main­stream prime-time tele­vi­sion au­di­ences have be­come so de­sign lit­er­ate, pro­fes­sional de­sign­ers will step up their own game.”

House Rules sea­son five, com­ing soon to Chan­nel 7

Judges Drew Heath, Lau­rence Llewelyn-Bowen and Wendy Moore will be set­ting the stan­dard when House Rules re­turns to our screens.

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