LAURENCE Llewelyn-Bowen never desired a TV career and yet has found himself judging his second series of Australian home renovation show House Rules.
The Londoner graduated with a degree in classical fine art and set up his own interior design consulting firm before landing a gig on makeover programs Changing Rooms, DIY SOS and Laurence’s Extraordinary Ordinary Houses.
“I’ve always rather looked down my nose at it and been desperate for someone to rescue me but I keep getting offered stuff that I really enjoy,” Llewelyn-Bowen said.
“I think when it gets to the stage that it turns into really dull stuff, repetitive stuff, I think I would definitely feel happy about stopping but every year that goes by there seems to be a new challenge.”
Llewelyn-Bowen said he was initially hesitant to sign on to House Rules in Australia, given the time he would be away from his wife and business partner Jackie, two daughters and grandson, but the support for the show from Aussie audiences was too much to resist.
“What I like about Australia is the very hands-on approach to home makeover,” he said.
“The tradition of can-do, can-build attitude means it’s not just plumping up the cushions but pulling down the back wall and rebuilding it a couple of metres out or putting in a pool deck.
“It’s very architectural and what’s so wonderful about House Rules as a series is the high commitment to the quality of that build. These things are really well built which makes me feel there’s a stronger sense of legacy to what we do with the show.”
Llewelyn-Bowen said he and fellow judges Wendy Moore and Drew Heath had found their groove, knowing where each other’s strengths were and where they were coming from during the judging process.
“What I’m always anxious for us to do is to be able to explain why we’re saying these things because I think it’s important for people to understand where the judgements are coming from and then it becomes take home information,” he said.
“We’re entertaining people that’s for sure, but we’re also educating and informing them.
“I think the big thing is that what you see on the show is what happens. I think it’s possibly the most real reality show on Australian television because no one needs to manipulate the contestants and there is no producer saying ‘Let’s make them the bitch or the whinger’ because actually they’re like that anyway. And no one manipulates us as judges.
“We don’t have earpieces with people telling us what to say, think or do. We are literally asked to get behind an opinion and make that opinion work.”
Llewelyn-Bowen said WA contestants Chiara and David were a good example of a genuine representation, arguments and all.
“They are such a great watch as a result of it,” he said.
House Rules 2018 is screening on Channel 7.