In defence of Laurence Llewellen Bowen: Flamboyancy vs. Neutrals
It’s been more than 20 years since the wildly-popular home makeover series, Changing Rooms, graced our screens and brought us the frilly, flashy and flamboyant interior designer, Laurence Llewellen Bowen. (These are the common adjectives used to describe him by the majority of those who interpret his style at face value.) Alongside other prolific designers such as Linda Barker, Anna Ryder Richardson and DIY builder “Handy Andy“, the eccentric creative burst onto our screens with his unconventional and sometimes eye-popping room arrangements.
I for one, as an artistic and imaginative young girl, embraced his talent with open arms and of course, an open mind. While I welcomed his disdain for the bland and boring, I could sympathise with the inevitable horror of the contestants facing a non-mainstream new look for their rooms, mostly probably featuring a fabulous wall paper with accents of an early era. It was good TV! Instead of discovering an adventurous new space, participants were eager to return to a comfortable simplicity they had been accustomed to.
Having read Kate Watson-Smith’s article “Stop being ghastly about our greys” on the Daily Mail this morning, whereby she criticizes Laurence LB’s thoughts on dull, neutral, show-home designs, I couldn’t help but take to the keyboard in order to celebrate and defend exactly what I love about this man.
Ok, I’ll admit- my Pinterest board “For the Home” details A LOT of grey and tones that are easy on the eye. The initial reaction is wistful, beautiful, stylish… which then transforms into boring, personality-less and conventional the more similar pins are browsed. Throw in some sunny yellow curtains, a hot pink floral embroidered armchair and voila! Suddenly these spaces become alive and tell a story; your story, who you are.
I’ve always been fascinated by other people’s homes. It’s usually the trinkets, pictures and accessories that speak the most to me. From a make-up artist’s boudoir with props and model heads, to a bookworm’s living room showcasing an extensive library featuring their most coveted interests, there is always something that will give a personal insight. Love it.
It is this very thing that gets me with Laurence LB. His style is a combination of sensual and daring- he looks beyond the initial visual impression and somehow develops layers of sartorial splendor that reveals a somewhat deeper personality than his neutral-obsessed counterparts.
While some of his arrangements may not be to my personal taste, I can certainly appreciate what he has done for a particular space. As I take in the surroundings pensively, my eye flits from detail to detail, as if unveiling a story. I feel invigorated by his fanciful touch -his bold aesthetic appeals to my non-conformist ideals and love of all that is sensual.
In a nutshell, I celebrate you, Laurence Llewellen Bowen, for unashamedly pioneering your fully-encompassing knowledge and appreciation for beauty, art and style, in the face of conformist nay-sayers and dullards.
Vive la personality!