Anna Ryder Richardson
Alex Jenkins catches up with interior designer Anna Ryder Richardson ahead of her appearance at the etc Homes, Gardens and Lifestyle Show in April.
Anna Ryder Richardson is probably best known as one of the wacky designers on BBC’s Changing Rooms or for her foray into the jungle in ITV’s I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
Now she is heading to Brighton to take part in the etc Homes, Gardens and Lifestyle Show, which takes place on April 26 and 27 at the Brighton Centre.
With her bubbly, infectious personality, visitors to the show can expect to be taken on a rollercoaster adventure as she regales amusing anecdotes and shares her views on this season’s upcoming interior trends.
Anna is not only entertaining in her own right, she has a fascinating insight into what works when it comes to interiors – not that she hasn’t made quite a lot of mistakes, both when she started out and during her career.
“When I was a kid I used to be quite arty,” Anna explains, going on to explain how her mum allowed both Anna and her younger sister to decorate their own bedrooms.
“I painted giant blue footsteps on the wall and then they reduced in size as they went up on the ceiling,” she reveals. “My younger sister chose to paint every wall in her room with bright red gloss as she wanted to know what it would be like to live in a postbox.”
Anna managed children’s interior shop Squidy Things before her stint on the popular BBC programme Changing Rooms, which thrust her into the limelight.
An innovative programme when it started in 1997, Changing Rooms featured the likes of Laurence Llewelyn Bowen and was presented by Carol Smillie.
“I think Changing Rooms was perfect timing for the evolution of interiors,” says Anna.
Since the show ended ten years ago, Anna has been busy. Not only has she taken part in programmes such as House Invaders, but she’s relocated to Wales with her husband and children to run a zoo – Manor House Wildlife Park, in Pembrokshire.
However, the move has not been plain sailing, with the zoo making headlines in 2012 following an accident there which led to the Richardson family being dragged through the courts.
Yet Anna says, despite still owning a Georgian town house in Glasgow – now rented to a Welsh footballer who plays in Scotland – she would not want to go back.
In fact she confides to turning into a little bit of a ‘country girl’.
“I had a midlife crisis,” Anna admits. “Even though it has been difficult and not gone as smoothly as I would like I would not change it.
“I have got horses now, I wear chaps, suede with fringes and a checkered shirt.”
Mother of two daughters, Bibi-Belle, 11, and Dixie-Dot, 10, I ask whether they seem to be following in her footsteps when it comes to design flair and interior design.
“A few months ago I put up this beautiful wallpaper (in the girls’ bedrooms) – but now Dixie is waiting for me to put up a two metre by one metre Marilyn Monroe mural up instead,” she exclaims.
“Meanwhile Bibi is obsessed with Harry Potter and if she could she would have a Harry Potter duvet,” she says with a sigh.
Anna was always known for bold colours and an ‘out there look’.
Yet she admits: “I have gone much more softer here. A classical, romance look – very different from what people would expect. But there is still leopard print,” she adds with a laugh. “It is on a piano stool. An old one with eight ornate legs.”
So what was the last item Anna bought for her home?
“A collection of antique bronze curtain poles,” she says, confiding she loves eBay. “There are 16 different sized poles with a mix of finials out of a French château, it is a whole mix. I got it for £22,” she says with a giggle.
There’s three key trends Anna sees emerging this year – the classical, romance style; the new nature look with retro accessories; and the sophisticated Scandinavian seashore-inspired interior.
To find out about these trends and much, much more make sure you head to the etc Homes, Gardens and Lifestyle Show.
Pictures of Anna by Chris O’Donovan
The fourth etc Homes, Gardens and Lifestyle Show takes place on April 26 and 27 at the Brighton Centre, Brighton.
New this year, there will be four demonstration stages rather than one main stage.
There will also be an extended woman’s zone, and a larger garden zone with a BBC Q&A team.
This year, the garden zone will be downstairs while the afore mentioned zones, alongside the popular food hall,
interior design, and lifestyle and technology, will be on the first floor.
Public tickets for the event cost £8 for adults, £6 for students and OAPs, with children under 16 entering for free.
Tickets for group booking of ten or more people cost £7 each, while the disabled with carer costs £6, (carer goes free on production of a carers permit).
New this year is an afternoon ticket, which costs £3 and is valid from 2pm.
To book tickets, call 01243 534125.
February 13, 2014 Culture and Events