Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen on appreciating life in lockdown

June 1, 2020 8:30:15 AM

While many of us are chafing at the limits and restrictions of lockdown, TV personality and interior designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is positively enjoying the experience.

He’s just launched a new Youtube channel, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s School Of Flock, a personal journey through the art, history and alchemy of interior design, which he presents from his Cotswolds home.

While his busy filming schedule abroad is on hold – he’s a judge on Australian TV series House Rules and on The Apartment TV series in Asia, and works in America – he’s enjoying the luxury of time with his family and special moments with his three-year-old grandson, Albion.

Who do you live with?

“I’m so spoilt because we have a rather sprawling 17th century house in the beautiful Cotswolds countryside. It’s wonderful because there’s room for the whole family.

“We all live together – it’s like Little House On The Prairie. There’s my wife, Jackie; our eldest daughter Cecile and her husband, Dan, and their son, Albion, live across the courtyard; and Hermione and her fiance, Drew, who have the top floor.

“No one wants to leave home, which I love, and it’s a wonderful Mediterranean style set-up. It works brilliantly, as we can all support each other – Dan runs our design practice with Jackie, Hermione works with clients, and we all help out with the childcare.”

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Home sweet Home

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How does it feel to be home for so long?

“Amazing for me. The family are less lucky, as they now have to spend every single day with me! This is the longest amount of time I’ve been at home since my daughters were tiny. Currently, I’m normally away filming for six months of the year, and I’m normally only back for two to three days at a time.

“This is, of course, an awful time, we mustn’t forget, for many people. Too many are dying, we’ve had several deaths in our village, which is very sad, but I was determined to appreciate it as a positive experience and not waste it by worrying and fretting about what I couldn’t do.

“We can be very impatient and dissatisfied, and this is a great time to look around and realise how lucky you are.”

How did School Of Flock come about?

“It’s been a dream of mine for years to open people’s eyes to my favourite designers, and those people and trends which have influenced our homes over the centuries. It’s been brilliant to fall out of bed and go to work in my front room. Cecile and Dan have done the filming, and Dan came up with the genius title, so it’s a real family effort.”

What are you most enjoying personally about this time?

“One of the best things has been being able to relax with the family and enjoy their company, especially Albie. He’s an extraordinary little individual and an incredibly positive force for getting us all – particularly me – to appreciate the small things, whether that’s an insect he’s found, or a game he’s invented.

“I think I’ve developed a better ability to play with him through having this long break with him, that I didn’t have before. It’s so different having a boy for me, as we had two daughters who had lots of princess and fairy phases.

“Before lockdown I used to say to Albie, ‘Let’s draw this and colour in together’, which is what I love, of course, but now I’m totally open to him going, ‘I want to jump on this, bash that, and be a bit crazy’, and I’m finding it very invigorating.”

Are there any downsides?

“None really so far, but we have instituted a quite rigid timetable in regards to childcare, cooking and other responsibilities, and I think that’s helped save our sanity, otherwise it could get disorganised.

“This period feels rather like Christmas without the presents, because there’s so much catering. It’s perpetual, and I haven’t spent so much time with my dishwasher in years!”

Watch Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen’s School Of Flock on Youtube.

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