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About Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen

Laurence was born on 11th March 1965 in London. His father was an orthopaedic surgeon and his mother a teacher. Laurence went to Alleyn’s School in Dulwich where it soon became clear that he had a talent for art. He won many art prizes while at school and enjoyed set and especially costume design for school drama productions. Laurence took his art A level with his O levels and then successfully applied for a place on the foundation course at Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts. A year later Laurence joined the Fine Art degree course at Camberwell, graduating with honours in 1986.

Immediately upon leaving college, Laurence was offered the position of marketing manager for the Harefield Group of Companies, which was a specialist rubber manufacturer of industrial flooring and doors among other things. Laurence was responsible for the design of many of their best selling industrial floorings, and if you’ve ever been to the Royal Albert Hall or Buckingham Palace, or taken the London underground, the chances are that you’ve walked on one of his floors. A big responsibility was for the design of the Company’s stands at industry trade fairs, for which Laurence won several prizes as well as for his actual product design.

After the Harefield Group, Laurence joined Peter Leonard Associates, an interior design company, working on major projects such as the Virgin Megastore in Paris. In 1989 Laurence set up his own design consultancy, which has undertaken projects ranging from the multimillion pound refurbishments of The Richmond and Criterion Theatres to hotel interiors in Thailand. Other commissions include The Opera Terrace, Covent Garden (1994), the Sous Sol at the Oriel Café in Sloane Square (1994), Floyd’s Inn for TV chef Keith Floyd (1993), Christies (1992).

Laurence came to our screens with the very first episode of Changing Rooms, broadcast in September 1996 on BBC2. Something about the chemistry of the show turned it into an instant favourite with the viewers, which meant it was moved the following year to BBC1. Changing Rooms maintains its cult status, now with Laurence at the helm. He took over from Carol Smillie as presenter of the show in 2003 and it remains one of the most watched shows on television. The proof of the pudding being in the eating, Changing Rooms in now in its fifteenth series.

Following the success of Changing Rooms, Laurence brought us Fantasy Rooms on BBC2 in 1998. This series of six programmes saw Laurence realise fantasies from a Romano British Centurian’s outpost to an ancient Egyptian burial chamber dining room. In excess of 3.5 million viewers turned to BBC2 to see Laurence weave his magic.

Teaming up with garden designer, Diarmuid Gavin, in BBC 2’s Homefront, Laurence and Diarmuid share a design brief to include both a room within a house and the garden. Again, the first series of this new coupling proved popular with the viewers and being an hour long, offered’ the boys’ the chance to show more of the design processes involved. Homefront continued to entertain the viewers through its eight series. Taste, broadcast January 2002 was Laurence’s first departure from television makeover. In this four-part series for BBC2, Laurence took us on a historical tour of the four great pillars of Taste, namely Gothic, Modern, Exotic and Classical. Design Rules followed in 2003 taking the audience through the rules from start to finish.

Laurence captures and encourages people’s imagination and his programmes are broadcast literally all over the world. He has written dozens of pieces for both magazines and national newspapers. He is also an accomplished speaker and has given lectures for societies and educational institutions including the National Trust and the Mackintosh Institute. He has championed restoration projects and works energetically on behalf of many charities and charitable initiatives, opened shops and exhibitions, judged, presented and won awards. From his offices in Greenwich, south London he runs a flourishing interior design practice. There is also an increasing range of products designed by Laurence available to the consumer. From wallpaper and cutlery to silver giftware and lighting, carpets and trimmings, through bathrooms and show homes, Laurence substantiates his ‘design democracy’ - bringing great design at an affordable price.

Laurence has written five books. Decorative Stencilling (Merehurst Fairfax, co-written with Katrina Hall), in the days before he was famous; Fantasy Rooms (Boxtree Macmillan), to accompany the series; Display in October 2000; Homefront Inside Out, written with Diarmuid to accompany the various series and most recently Design Rules.

Laurence is married to Jackie (since 1989) and they have two daughters, Cecile born in 1995 and Hermione born in 1998. They work and live in Greenwich with Chester the dog, Skig the cat, Cloud and Tuftina the hamsters and a small coral reef.

Laurence is a patron of the disability Scope and an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust.

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