We are very excited here at Erisea today, the beautiful TV design guru, Julia Kendell, of DIY SOS and 60 Minute Makeover fame and spokesperson for the upcoming London Homebuilding & Renovating and Home Improvement Show, has joined us for a quick interview. She has been answering some questions about her time on 60 Minute Makeover, with co-star Peter Andre and a few sneaky peeks into her life… and her handbag, just because we’re nosey!
How did you get into design & DIY, and how did this lead to a career in TV?
I have always had a love of interiors and decorating from a very early age, and when the only Saturday job in my local high street was with a soft-furnishings showroom, my interest turned into a lifelong passion. Working with beautiful furnishings every day, when I bought my first home I was determined to try to make it as well designed as I could, but of course had a very limited budget. I taught myself DIY skills in order to transform my grotty house into a somewhere to be proud of. Many years later I was persuaded by a friend to have a show reel put together after an evening watching ‘Changing Rooms’ and expressing my frustration with the level of design! The following week I was offered a role on the first series of 60 Minute Makeover. Definitely a case of right place, right time!
What inspires you when you’re designing a piece for 60 Minute Makeover?
I always work to create an environment that feels like home for the family and reflects their personalities. I take an initial theme, which might be an interest in a particular subject or style, and build a subtle scheme incorporating elements of the theme and using favoured colours and textures. It always helps to put a mood board together to ensure the different furnishings and finishes work well together and balance as a design.
I bet you get this one a lot, but does it really take just 60 minutes?
Yes I get asked this all of the time! I’m still not entirely sure how we pulled it off, but yes, the makeover was always completed within 60 minutes. It was ridiculously stressful and meant that things didn’t always go according to plan, or get finished at all. Now that Peter is presenting the show we have changed the format and spend a whole day working on two or three rooms ensuring a really good quality finish.
What is it like working with Peter Andre?
Peter is exactly as you would imagine; unbelievably warm, generous, kind and fun. And he gives the best hugs in the business! He’s quite easy to wind up so we always have a lot of laughs whilst filming.
In your latest blog post, you wrote about DIY tools for women – what would your ideal women’s toolkit look like
To be honest, i don’t think there should be any real difference between a man or woman’s toolkit. There are many tool companies who manufacture’ ladies’ tools but generally I would recommend buying the most robust you can handle. Its useful to have a cordless power drill with variable speed settings and a selection of bits and screwdriver heads, and a selection of hand tools. Most larger items can be hired and its generally worth doing so to have access to professional equipment for a fraction of the purchase cost.
If money was no object, how would you design your ideal home?
It would be a green oak-framed eco house, preferably next to a beautiful beach! The kitchen would be enormous and I would have a separate pantry for my home-made marmalades and pickles. I would fill the home with timber, texture, contrasting light and dark, and create a place where friends and family want to spend time relaxing and having fun. There would have to be an infinity pool and a swim up bar. Design for me is as much about the experience of living somewhere as the aesthetic.
If you were stranded on a desert island (which just happens to be full of un-loved furniture), what is the one tool you couldn’t live without?
That’s a really interesting question. I think probably a hacksaw as I could manufacture many of the other tools using natural products. Frankly, the last thing I would be thinking about on a desert island would be rescuing furniture!
What do you carry in your handbag? (Can we have a cheeky picture?)
Very little.. make up bag, debit card, cash, hairbrush, sunglasses, receipts, gum, phone, nail file, iPod, pencil and pen. How boring!
Thank You Julia, keep up the good work and give Pete a kiss from us (worth a try hey?!)
Spokesperson for The London Homebuilding & Renovating and Home Improvement Show – London, Olympia, 26-28 Sept,