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Selling Houses Australia_INTERVIEW


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You have been working on Selling Houses Australia for 10 years now. What keeps you coming back each year?

I love it - we all have such incredible camaraderie with the team and each year that I have gone into it in the past, I’ve thought they can’t think of anything new or different and there is! I get blown away with the different scenarios that people find themselves in and the different styles of houses and how different they are.

Watching the show, you can see that people have so much emotional attachment to their homes and some seem a bit hesitant to make these changes that you and Charlie Albone (landscape designer) suggest. How do you get people to trust you?

In the beginning it’s very hard. I think people have seen what we’ve done in the past now so that gives us a little portfolio to say ‘trust us, we can do this’. In the beginning it was very hard for people to trust us because we would be doing things that are not what they would’ve done, and the whole time they’re going ‘we don’t live like that’. And it’s trying to tell them ‘But you’re not going to live here!’ So it’s the emotional side of it, you know, you have to be quite careful. I laugh about my job, I feel like I have a good degree of psychology and marriage counselling – you have to take people off the ledge sometimes. You have to be very calm, honest and you have to be firm and guide them by the hand but with a strong hold. I have to be confident and very sure in what I’m doing and that gives them confidence.

Where do you look for inspiration for your designs?

It’s one of those things where every day you open your eyes and look at everything in front of you - I’m sitting in front of this beautiful marble vanity at the moment. You’ve got to stop to see the beauty within it. Looking at the marble and the grains in it, the colours and the textures, just taking little snap shots and thinking ‘I like how that’s arranged’ and taking personal snapshots of visuals that are in your everyday life. To turn around and say I get my inspiration from one source keeps you very blinkered, I think. Just keeping your eyes open to every experience you have, even going to a café have a look at the types of tables and chairs, look at the lighting, how the cups and plates work with each other and that overall experience and how it makes you feel. That’s how you can get different inspiration from different areas.

Where did your passion for interior design come from?

I think I was born with it. It wasn’t something I ever woke up and said ‘this is what I’m going to do’, it’s just everything I was doing led me towards that. My dad was a renovator, a handy man around the house, and my aunty was an artist and I used to do up my room all the time as a teen and go shopping to pick tiles and it was what you did. I went on art weekends with my aunty when I was 14. It was a lot of things built into my lifestyle that led me towards that way.

What’s the most common thing you get asked by people on the street?

I get stopped all the time! Mostly ‘what colour should I paint my lounge or my kitchen’ and I just look at them and go ‘really!?’ It’s not simple, there’s so much to think about. And some people come up to me with their iPad and go ‘Oh my god, while I’ve got you here - here’s a picture of my bedroom, it’s just not finished what do I need to finish it off?’ It’s just all those last minute little décor bits that they can’t pull together.

I’m not sure if many people in New Zealand would know you used to be a jazz singer, do you still sing very often?

It’s something I am getting asked to get back into, with a few appearances and bits and pieces and I’m really enjoying that. I’m being encouraged to do a few different things with it. It would never be a career again, I love what I do so much and I get so much out of it. It’s just another creative outlet of mine that has blended with my career at the moment which I find absolutely hilarious. I get to sing on Carols by Candlelight … it’s really exciting but that’s as far as I’m going to take it.


Living Channel, Mondays, 9.30pm