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Anna the home improvement guru
Anna Ryder Richardson
Anna gets stuck in with the painting
Last updated: 01 March 2005 1258 GMT
line BBC Gloucestershire caught up with TV interior designer Anna Ryder Richardson for a chat about DIY and her new BBC series Staying Put...

Anna Ryder Richardson talks about her career and her new series Staying Put Audio

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Anna Ryder Richardson is well known for her role as an interior design guru on such daytime DIY programmes as Changing Rooms and House Invaders but how is she with the DIY on her own home? She laughs as she talks about her house:

"We bought our house about three years ago and we're still not living in it. We will be soon, in about another two months, once we get a staircase in, let alone get some paint on the walls. I've got two babies and I haven't got a home so it's all a bit sad really!"

Known for her striking, colourful designs, has she found that people are more than a little eager to find out what she's done in her own home, given her role on television? She says:

"They come in and say 'oh, you haven't got pink on your walls' or 'you haven't got fluff all over the place and sequins'. I can't remember the last time I did that on a show anyway but I do have a terrible name for that. However, I do live with a big Glaswegian so he wouldn't let me do everything pink and fluffy!"

Design horrors!

Anna Ryder Richardson

Anna has helped transform homes the length and breadth of the country on her TV programmes but, given the sheer number of houses she's been into over the years, does she ever get sick of looking at them? She replies:

"No, I love it. It's great because it's such a personal thing. I've got this title as interior designer but we're all interior designers as I look at it. Some people go 'oh no, I couldn't do that' but they could. You've just got to let it go, you've got to unleash your creative side and it's really quite liberating, I think. I like to see what makes people tick - to see, oh they like orange, or like pink or brown or whatever. I think it's brilliant."

When she walks into these homes, there must be occasions when she sees an interior design horror story. Does she find she has to be really careful about what she says? She says:

"Yes, you do have to be tactful but just because I don't particularly like it doesn't mean to say someone else doesn't. It's just having to be tactful."

Gloucestershire bound?

Anna has travelled the length and breadth of the country, visiting homes as part of the various home improvement programmes she's been involved in but has she ever visited glorious Gloucestershire? She says:

Anna Ryder Richardson

"I have been there loads of times. I've filmed there with Changing Rooms and House Invaders and in fact, Gloucestershire, you could have me back if you really wanted to because I'm doing a new show at the moment for the BBC called Staying Put. We are looking for new people."

Staying Put is a new BBC series about property but what goes on in the programmes? Anna explains:

"Basically, you and your wife and have had a baby, and all of a sudden your house isn't big enough. You think 'oh no, I'm going to have to move' but you don't want to because you like the area. I come along and say 'have you thought about expanding into your loft or down into the basement or even put an extension on the back' and [our experts] draw up the architectural plans. Adrian Simpson, who's lovely and my partner in crime, he's a property developer and he will go into the surrounding areas to select three properties that he thinks will fit the role for you at the right price. Then we say to you at the end, 'what are you going to do? Are you going to stay put or are you going to go?'."

In essence its theme is 'should you move or should you improve' and the production team are currently looking for people who would be interested in taking part in the programme. If you are, call 0141 572 0861 or fill in this submission form.


Having been involved in home improvement programmes for many years and being regarded as something of an expert on the subject, does Anna find that people are always asking her to advise them on their DIY dilemmas when she isn't on camera? She says:

Anna Ryder Richardson

"I do and I always find that a little bit worrying. I don't know these people, I don't know their houses and they're quickly describing the situation, talking about tiles and so on. How difficult is that for me to turn around and say 'I think you should paint it purple' because they'll go back and do it, and it [could] be horrendous! Then they'll blame me for the rest of their lives. I do have to be quite careful about answering those questions. I try to encourage them to be brave and make the decision for themselves."

Over the past ten years, the country has been immersed in a home improvement frenzy that has resulted in the appetite for such programmes as Changing Rooms. Does Anna think the boom in these DIY programmes has made us more house proud as a nation? She responds:

"Definitely and people say to me is it going to stop, have we peaked? No. It's going to stay here forever. We're as into the style of our homes as we are the style of our clothes, our hair and our cars. And food, as well, of course."

Open plan

It seems that our lifestyle as a nation has changed over the past decade because we're definitely more into the interior look of our homes - we entertain more and have people around to our houses. However, the dining room seems to have lost importance in favour of more open plan kitchens which encourages a more social atmosphere. Is this something Anna agrees with? She says:

"That's right. I think that is the way forward. It is much more about casual, informal eating. The dining room has kind of gone now and it's much more open plan - you've got your kitchen and maybe your cooking, and your guests are there as well so it's all so much more friendly and that's the same with how we like to eat as well. That table can become your focal point, dress it up or down as much as like because, let's face it, it's only temporary, it's only going to be there for the night so have a bit of fun with it."

Anna Ryder Richardson talks DIY

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