Flamboyant British judge joins new season of House Rules
LEOPARD print wallpaper, pink chandeliers, purple carpet - nothing is too wild for Laurence Llewelyn Bowen.
The British designer and TV star joins Seven's reality reno show House Rules as a new judge alongside Wendy Moore and Australian architect Drew Heath.
The series challenges six teams of amateur renovators to make over each other's homes in a bid to impress the judges and win the life-changing grand prize of having their mortgage paid off in full.
Bowen is excited to travel across our great country with the show, now in its fifth season.
"In the UK we suffer from being fed very unimaginative cliches about Australia that celebrate the expansiveness of nature and the outdoor lifestyle, but we never really get the true story on the culture and the subtlety, or even the architectural diversity," he tells The Guide.
"In the UK it's either very old or new (when it comes to buildings), but here there's a real exciting sense of fusion between the two."
With a flamboyant dress sense that makes Matt Preston's pink pants and cravats look tame, it's no surprise Bowen has a liberal view of what's stylish when it comes to interior design.
"My viewpoint is to get people to express themselves and their individuality," he says.
"I don't think interior style can be done wrong or right, as long as it's about the person who lives there."
The one thing Bowen doesn't want to see on House Rules is a boring room.
"I want curtains that make me cry or make me so cross I want to rip them to pieces," he says.
"They (the teams) get in big trouble with me when they try to hide behind some kind of weird idea of mainstream good taste. If they turn in a beige show home then I am incandescent with rage. I'd rather they try something and it didn't work than just phone something in.
"I want them to put their balls on the line to prove themselves worthy of a life-changing prize."
Bowen first rose to fame on the BBC series Changing Rooms, one of the first popular home improvement shows from the mid-1990s that paved the way for series such as The Block.
Viewers are now much savvier when it comes to renovation, and Bowen believes it's his job to help them make sense of an endless sea of design choices.
"Changing Rooms was the first ever true reality program. It honestly showed you what happened over 24 hours," he says.
"Now, 20 years down the line, everybody's a hell of a lot more (design) literate. My job is to give you as much information to know how to make choices.
"I want people to understand they can do their own thing. I'm not here to peddle a perception of taste. I'm here to help you find your own way of doing your own style."
House Rules debuts Channel 7 on Sunday at 7pm before the My Kitchen Rules grand final.