Six Questions For: Colin & Justin
So, let me start by saying that I am madly excited about this blog post. Ever since Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan first hit our TV screens 15 years ago in programmes such as Trading Up, Housecall, Sixty Minute Makeover and The Million Pound Property Experiment, I've been a proper star struck fan. From the outset, they were trendsetters in that they took home decor out of the hands of the archetypal stuffy interior designer and made us feel that it wasn't just aspirational, it was achievable in our own homes. Interior design was for everybody. They singlehandedly brought super cool yet economical decor to the masses and upped the profits of Homebase in a single swoop. And they were lovely with it. Even when faced with some shockers in How Not To Decorate, they were empathetic, honest and positive and brought an element of much needed fun to homes that were a crime against decor. Their appearance on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here in 2009 confirmed their place in our hearts as the UK's favourite interior design couple.
Over the last few years, they've gone from strength to strength with their series Colin & Justin's Home Heist which was originally produced for North America but has gone viral around the globe, and their newest project, Colin & Justin's Cabin Pressure which is about the renovation of their own log cabin in Ontario. They've appeared as judges on The Block and Game Of Homes in Australia and have regular columns in both newspaper and online media. They've written books and have their own home accessories range. Dividing their time between London, Glasgow and Toronto, they often guest appear on shows here in the UK. But we miss them! So when they agreed to take a break in their super busy schedule to talk to me, I had more than a little fan moment. Their passion for what they do is obvious and their enthusiasm is contagious. Colin and Justin are more on trend than ever.
How did you start your careers in interior design?
It was all via a process of osmosis. We were flipping house in the UK and, seeing that design seriously impacted on ultimate sales price, we started to realise that we were good at what we were doing. Friends started to ask us for advice and that in turn led to being asked to feature our projects in magazines. Eventually we were being paid to design homes for friends of friends and new clients and it all just built from there. Now we can't imagine doing anything else. We live it, feel it, breathe it and love it!
How would you describe your own personal style?
We're very much about our clients tastes as opposed to our own. We interpret their mixed up messages to deliver solid, beautiful rooms which we hope they'll love. Our own homes are very different - our flat in London is compact and bijoux with white walls and minimal furnishings. Black framed windows frame the views to the bustling metropolis. Our house in Glasgow is Georgian. Built in 1835 it's spread over five commodious levels. Floors are oak herringbone and walls are painted softest opal. A sweeping staircase provides drama. Furnishings are outsized (our sofa seats 12) to match the scale of architecture. Our Toronto condo has ebony floors and white walls. Floor to ceiling windows overlook Lake Ontario. Our cottages in Halliburton are very woodsy. Tonnes of light floods in everywhere. Ceilings are Western Red Cedar, floors are oak. Bathrooms are grey tile. It's big but very cosy!
What are your favourite two pieces in your home and why?
We have a vintage stretched canvas of Paul Newman in our London pad - it's a constant reminder of a fave day with family: we bought it while shopping en masse. We've a Vespa signed by Sting that we bought at a charity auction many years ago. We love Quadrophenia and The Police, so its a fitting tribute to all of that. It's in our Glasgow house and has pride of place in our kitchen.
What's your top interior design tip?
To fail to plan is to plan to fail. We NEVER forget that maxim! Planning is everything: rush your scheme and it will falter...
What is your greatest achievement?
Each other - without a doubt. Everything else we have is worth so much less...
What would be your absolutely ideal day?
Breakfast at Le Saint Geran Hotel in Mauritius, followed by a long, languid walk along the white sand peninsula. We LOVE that hotel. Blue skies, blue waters. Dreamy!