Getting the flock out of OZ

Cotswold Life|May 2020

Getting the flock out of OZ
Candia McKormack talks to Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen about working on a design project close to his heart – and Siddington home – as well as trying to get home from Australia during lockdown, andseeking the elusive positives in Covid-19
Candia McKormack

Interior design sex god, This Country muse and Siddington resident, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, found himself on the other side of the world from wife Jackie and family when the coronavirus hit.

“It was a real challenge getting home from Australia,” he says, now safely ensconced in his 16th-century manor house, surrounded by family. “For a start I was having to dodge the closures that spread state-by-state across the country and maintain a serene yet glamorous face, whilst secretly panicking the airlines might not have a seat for me.”

In typical LLB style, though, not only did he escape Sydney where he had been filming season 7 of House Rules, but did so with “several trunks of flouncy things.”

“I heard from Jackie that the UK was sliding inexorably into quarantine,” he says. “It was very unsettling being literally on the other side of the planet away from all that I hold most dear and holy whilst society sounded as if it was dissolving in front of everyone’s eyes.”

Before the recent global dramas unfolded, however, he found a design project much closer to home to get stuck into, in the form of a four-bedroom David Wilson-built home near Cirencester.

“Y’know, I think people always assume that I’m far too busy flitting all over the world to entertain the idea of top-to-toe do-overs,” he says. “Actually, if the brief’s exciting and there is, of course, plenty of gin, me and my swashbuckling team of Designateers are up for an intriguing domestic challenge or two.”

And so he set about fulfilling the brief for his client who wanted to go beyond all the Cotswold clichés, “setting aside the Farrow & Ball tropes in favour of rooms with swagger, sophistication, and glamorous dollops of Hollywood Regency.”

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May 2020