I first developed my crush on Shaynna Blaze way back on season one of Selling Houses Australia. What’s not to love about an Aussie who shares achievable design tips while transforming rooms for needy home owners (and often lending them a shoulder to cry on when they don’t want to hide their soft toy collection)? I was delighted that this gal-on-the-go, who most recently added The Block to her CV, took five to answer my questions on everything from life before TV, being a role model and writing her first book.
We know you for your work on SHA and The Block. But what was Shaynna Blaze doing before TV? I have my own business, Blank Canvas Interiors, and twenty years experience in design, so my life has always been creative. Throw in a Mum to two gorgeous kids and time as a singer in jazz clubs and I have always had enough to keep me frantic… I mean busy.
As an interior designer, do friends expect your home to look amazing all the time? Not really, they know me well and know it is not all about being perfect but more about having a laugh and getting together. I don’t create perfect interiors, I create homes.
What’s the one thing you’ve done in your own home that you look back on and cringe over? Single Mum with no money and a hole in the wall in the bathroom meant some pretty dodgy plastering and tile skills. Sadly I sold the house like that (long before the times of Selling Houses Australia). I imagine the new owners had that on the top of their list to replace!
Are you surprised by the cult following Selling Houses Australia has? I went in blindly to the show not having Foxtel to see Andrew’s earlier shows. It was a slow climb. But since series two we have really loyal viewers, who find ten episodes per series isn’t enough – asking when the new series starts the night the last ep ends! Thank god we have sixty eps in the ‘bank’ to keep the re-runs going!
What’s the best thing about working on the show? The team on screen and off get you through. It is hard in the time frame we do it and it is fast; if we didn’t all have each other’s backs it would all fall apart.
What do you think the next big trend is for interiors? It is all about eclectic: mixing fabrics and textures but in a high end way. Not cluttered with vintage buys but selected pieces that are either new or vintage and chosen for their quality. We are all about sustainability and recycling, but only buying a few pieces per year is the most sustainable you can go.
What was it like to release your own book (one of my personal faves!)? It was a dream I have had for a very long time, as I have been writing for over twelve years so it was like sharing a child with the world. A few people have said ‘what about the colour section, what about styling section?’, but this was about the nuts and bolts of basic design. If I put it all in one book it was going to overwhelm; I think people need to learn the baby steps to build confidence to get the right look. Good design takes time.
Having followed you on social media for a while, it seems you are always on the go. How do you find the fast pace and what do you do to relax? If don’t have a project I am my own worst enemy, so it is best I keep busy. After all, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to see me in my jammies and slippers everyday; [it would] be like watching paint dry (oh, yeah I do that too).
You’ve become a role model for a lot of up-and-coming designers. How do you feel about that? Wow, thank you – that is a real compliment! It’s not something you really think about but more like ‘gee, they get what I am saying’. Beautfiul interiors are about honesty in the design, the materials you use and how you approach life, so I’m just glad I can just be who I am while doing what I love – and if that is something people grab onto then we can all feel good about what we are doing.
What’s on the horizon for Shaynna Blaze? I have a rug range coming out through The Rug Collection in a couple of months, I am looking at collaborations with some other companies as well so product is right up there. Being the creative director at Taubmans means we are educating and showing people about colour, but also taking Taubmans in a bold and forward direction in interiors.
And lastly, how do you live The Life Creative? I have a saying, “expression is the greatest form of freedom” – and I couldn’t live any other way!