Amanda Lamb has a wealth of experience in the interiors world. She fire-balled into the industry after leaving school at a young age, transforming herself into the ultimate career woman and an idol to many. Before presenting TV programmes like A Place In The Sun and Selling Houses With Amanda Lamb, she was famous as the face of Scottish Widows (we all remember the flowing velvet cloak), but the dream was always to make it in decor.
Going from estate agent, to model, to TV property expert, Amanda's career has come full circle - she is no stranger to the screen and a go-to guru for home transformation. We catch up with Amanda between her busy schedule to talk homeware tips, making it big and what it is about interiors that drives her success...
1. Amanda, you've taken part in a variety of television series (including A Place in the Sun, Selling Houses with Amanda Lamb and My Flat Pack Home) that focus on home improvement. When did you first fall in love with property and decor?
My love of décor started from an early age. Having to share a room with my sister who was 6 years younger than me and heavily into Care Bears, meant I couldn’t style it the way I wanted and knew as soon as I had a room of my own I could go to town. The passion for property began early. At 15, I left school and got a job in an estate agents and it went from there. I’ve always loved property and am fascinated by how we choose to decorate our homes.
2. How would you describe your own home to someone who hasn't seen it before?
That’s such a hard question! For a start it’s very tidy, even with two children, a messy husband and a dog there’s never any clutter. It’s a calm and peaceful space. Colour wise, I’ve used lots of grey. I don’t think you can go wrong with shades of grey. We live in an old Victorian townhouse with tons of original features but the main spaces are very contemporary. I like the juxtaposition between old and new.
3. You are always filming the progression of other people’s homes, but would you ever consider letting the world into yours?
For photo shoots yes, for a film crew, no. I live with and am married to a cameraman. Have you seen how much equipment they use?
4. What motivates you to stay successful in a business that is constantly changing and very competitive?
It’s a genuine love of interiors. I love how everyone views what they think is the perfect home differently. I adore the fact you can change your style as you and your life evolves. I think your home is a wonderful reflection of your personality. No two are ever the same!
5. What advice can you give to people who are passionate about interiors and want to take it to the next level and start a career?
For a start, absolutely go for it. Research local courses, talk to interior designers and see if you can shadow them or work with them for free to gain an insight into what it involves. Perhaps ask friends and family members if you can have a go at re styling and decorating their rooms. Have a genuine passion and love for it and work on your people skills. You will be dealing with a whole host of clients who might have some very different ideas to your own and your ability to negotiate and interpret their ideas can sometimes take skill and patience.
6. Where is your favourite place to look for property and decor inspiration?
Many places. Magazines like Living etc and Elle Deco. I adore Pinterest and think it’s a genius idea. I follow Mad about the House on Twitter who is simply wonderful. My local shop Attic (this Santos doll was a recent find), local antique markets like Kempton and of course you guys!!
7. What top 5 tips can you give our readers on transforming their house into their ideal home?
1: Decide on a theme and run with it throughout your house to unify your space.
2: Work on one room at a time and decide which room needs the most attention and start there.
3: Don’t just rely on the High Street to furnish it. Check out local charity shops, antique markets and eBay/free cycle for individual talking pieces.
4: Have a really good de-clutter. If you don’t love it and haven’t used it for 6 months, re cycle it. Ruthless but so cathartic.
5: Wallpaper can transform a space. Look at ways to be adventurous with it. It doesn’t have to be the bog standard feature wall. Think about using it within paneling, perhaps paper the ceiling or an entire room, can create a bold statement and be brave go for quirky unusual prints.
8. For readers who are looking to sell up, what's the best way to show off their home assets?
Declutter and de-personalise. Have a few choice pieces on display instead of hundreds.
Give the house a really good spring clean. No one likes a smelly house. How does your property compare to the others in the street? Think about your curb appeal - it’s the first thing any buyer will see.
9. You've witnessed hundreds of property developments, but do you have one in particular that you have been most impressed by?
A Tree House we featured on “My Flat pack home” built by a couple that ran a holiday letting company. It was truly magical, set high up in the trees and decorated with strong earthy tones. It could be accessed via a rope bridge and had views over the Lake. The whole thing was finished within 6 weeks too!
10. What property-based plans do you have for 2016?
We are currently in the process of renovating a cottage by the sea in North Devon. Ever since I was a little girl, I have dreamt of living by the sea and this has direct sea views. It’s an old Victorian fisherman’s cottage and we’re starting from scratch and cannot wait.
I’m happiest when I’m: With my family by the sea
My biggest guilty pleasure is: Cheeky siestas, I’d have one every day if I could
My favourite magazine is: Red and Living etc
If money was no object I would: Retire to the Maldives and build my own eco home
My best skill is: Multi tasking. I can juggle lots of tasks simultaneously
My personal motto is: If life hands you lemons, put them in a Gin and tonic!!
My favourite film is: Can I have 3? Dirty Dancing, Shawshank Redemption and It’s a Wonderful life
In 5 years I’d like to: Be in my cottage, gin in hand watching the girls playing on the beach!!
Here are Amanda's top 3 RSG products...