Kirstie’s Hands-On Home Improvement

Kirstie Allsopp wooden wardrobes

If you’re bored of your furniture and tired of seeing the same wooden wardrobes every day, home décor guru Kirstie Allsopp has some fresh ideas.

Kirstie Allsopp – home finder, homemaker, designer and all-round loveable ‘girl next door’ – is one of the UK’s most prolific advisers on all things home-related.

For years we assumed the 42-year-old Hampstead-born presenter was only an expert at judging property from the outside, but the recent revelation that she is equally au fait with crafts, home décor and furniture adds just another layer of charm.

‘I think if property itself interests you then you’ve got to, even to the smallest extent, have some kind of passion about what is placed on the inside too,’ she laughs. ‘Although I’m frequently aghast at some of the beautiful properties we see on Location, Location, Location that look horrendous once you get through the front door.’

Her sibling-like relationship with Phil Spencer on the hit Channel 4 property series is one of the enduring partnerships in modern factual entertainment. The pair spark off one another, laughing and bickering like a married couple when one dares to disagree with the other over the appeal of a suburban two-up two-down with a leaky roof.

A big fan of handmade crafts and DIY décor, Kirstie’s shows have included Homemade Home and Handmade Britain. For those people who are looking to freshen up their homes without breaking the bank and spending out on new furniture, one of her particular nuggets is ‘up-cycling’.

‘The concept of up-cycling has been around for yonks, but it has been given a fancy name, rebranded, and made to look cool recently. It’s all a reaction to people having to tighten the purse strings, and while the circumstances behind that aren’t anything to be pleased about, it’s great to see people revamping, repainting and re-energising old furniture. For many people it’s just a way of living with something that you’ve gone off until such a time that you go out and buy something new.’

Kirstie, who has just released her latest book, Kirstie’s Christmas Crafts, admits she treads a fine line between up-cycling and buying new.

‘I think there is so much value out there that sometimes you can get a new chest of drawers or wardrobe for the equivalent price of an extensive repolish. But there’s nothing to stop you buying new things and still giving them your own personal touch, and a lot of that comes from ideas and inspiration, and the internet has been just fantastic for that.’

It all begs the question though – for someone who has her own production company, embarks on numerous TV projects, writes best-selling books, tends to a high street homeware range and has a family to raise, where does she find the time?

‘It’s difficult, but if you have a passion you will find the time. I’m no different to anyone else – we all have commitments and we all have a support network we rely on to get the job done. If there’s a bit more time to explore our creative ambitions then we simply must do that, because it’s really good for the soul.’

And even Phil wouldn’t disagree with that.

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