On the Couch with…Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen

28th May 2015

Psst! Did you know we’re due to open a brand new, sparkly chesterfield sofa showroom in London? It’ll be located in Clapham Junction and it’ll contain all your favourite chesterfield pieces. To celebrate ahead of the official launch – penciled in Distinctive Chesterfields’ diary for July – we made contact with TV personality and interiors expert Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. Laurence, who’s based in Cirencester but travels worldwide with his range, is a huge fan of chesterfield furniture and can be seen (below) enjoying his couch, as made by our talented team.

We’ve long been a fan of Laurence’s bold interiors range, too, which is why he was an obvious choice to interview ahead of the launch of our new showroom. The new premises will, of course, give our London customers a chance to view our furniture without making the lengthy journey up north – we’re good like that!

It goes without saying that Laurence has been extremely busy of late, filming for a US-based ‘Changing Rooms-meets-X-Factor’ TV series and rolling out his interiors range across the globe. But he’s still found time to kick off his shoes and sink into the comfortable corners of his new Distinctive Chesterfields’ sofa.

We got cosy on the couch with Laurence some months ago now – and in this fun Q&A here on the blog, he tells all about his recent house move. But that’s not all; you’ll also discover a few little-known facts about our Laurence, like his hobby for camel-riding, and the momentous occasion  he saw himself preserved in cartoon form in the Beano. Intrigued? Read on…

Distinctive Chesterfields (DC): You’re currently in the process of moving home. Can you tell us anything at all about your interior plans for the new place?

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen (LLB): The next place is going to be such a massive project that at the moment I am more concerned with roof trusses than paint references. But that said the interiors will be intensely romantic with a lot of the original barn structure left unadorned. Comfort will be paramount though and soft opulent furnishings in cool tones will make each space welcoming

DC: We know you’ll be including a chesterfield sofa in your new interior scheme. Is this a style of furniture you’re particularly fond of? What is it about this traditional English design you like?

LLB: My constant design motivation is to integrate, update, upcycle or just plain sexy-fy traditional decorating and bring it into contemporary style. Chesterfield sofas are the ultimate statement of comfortable, dignified British decorating but in the right hands they can also be sheer rock and roll.

DC: You studied at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, and say needlework was one of your favourite subjects at school. Do you still indulge in a spot of needlework now? And do you think TV shows like The Great British Sewing Bee helped to make practical hobbies like this more popular today?

LLB: I sew on the odd button, I cannot tell a lie but nothing more ambitious!

DC: Tell us a little about US TV show The Apartment, on which you are head judge?

LLB: It’s the scary love-child of Changing Rooms and The X-factor. It’s what happens when young pretty couples get locked in luxury apartments and forced to decorate rooms in 48 hours. Their efforts are then subject to my appraisal. Be afraid! Be very afraid! But then the victorious team does win a $500,000 apartment.

DC: It was back in 1989 that you started your own design consultancy. But which interior design trends do you think have stood the test of time? And which are you tired of seeing?

LLB: There’s always far too much emphasis on fashion in interiors. I really believe that personal style is far more important that fad. That said “trends” do get over exposed and I am at the moment very tired of seeing “show home” style interiors in shades of beige.

DC: You’ve done everything from present your own TV show, to appear as a judge on Popstar to Operastar, write books and design for the Blackpool Illuminations. But what stands out to you in particular as a career highlight?

LLB: Being drawn as a character in “Billy the Whizz” in the Beano.

DC:  We know lots about the man we’ve seen countless times on TV, but tell us something about the Laurence we don’t see….Any interesting facts, hobbies, or tales to tell?

LLB: I rather like riding camels. I’ve spent quite a lot of time in The Middle East and have got reasonably proficient at staying on top of a camel at high speed. Do feel free to make “Laurence of Arabia” jokes.

DC: What do you like to do on a rare day off from your TV and media work?

LLB: Spend time with my lovely family who are now rather dispersed to the four corners of the country so it’s a rare treat when we’re together.

DC:  And what’s your idea of a perfect night in?

LLB: Gin, a fire and my wife’s feet to tickle.

DC:  If you could invite three people over to dinner (dead or alive) who would you choose and why? Well Lord Chesterfield for whom the sofa was originally named was a fascinating character and might have interesting ideas on interior design. Marlene Dietrich was, by all accounts, a fascinating person and would be a real ornament to my dinner party and then my third would have to be Mrs LB – I really don’t see enough of her as it is!

DC: What would you say people who are short of space in their home do to instantly make the room look larger?

LLB: Contrast is incredibly important. In a light room have a dark floor and vice versa. Remember opposites attract the attention, so catch the eye and take away from weak spots in a room to elements of which you are proud.

DC: Finally, what’s in the pipeline for you? Any exciting things on the way?

LLB: My home collections, The House of Laurence, are now launching in China and Dubai and I’m working to get them into Latin America as we speak.

A big thank you to Laurence for taking the time out of his demanding schedule to chat to us here at Distinctive Chesterfields. Enjoy this interview? Bookmark this blog for more fun Q&As like it – plus, don’t forget to join the conversation over on Facebook and Twitter, too. It’s there  that you’ll find all the latest details ahead of the launch of our much-anticipated London showroom!


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