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Colin & Justin’s Foreword

We’re delighted to be guest editing this issue of Britain’s favourite celebrity home and lifestyle title! We’ve got a million and one ideas which we’d like to share so settle down ‘ on your (hopefully) gorgeous sofa ‘ with a cuppa and a biccy and prepare for designer lift off! We aim to inspire you beyond your wildest dreams!

As much as we like to think that our work as Britain’s foremost interior designers (darlings, of course we’re being tongue in cheek, but you gotta admit; we do have a point!), is having a direct impact on the way people live, we have to say there is STILL much to be done! Aye, as we wander Britain on our relentless mission of decorative beautification we see some pretty scary stuff. We’ve winced at dodgy avocado bathroom suites, we’ve baulked over grubby bedrooms and we’ve delved into some of the most desperate dens in the whole wide world. And the truth of the matter is that many of the problems we encounter can be rectified easily and, more importantly, inexpensively.

Starting out
So what’s our background’ Well where shall we start’ How about at the beginning’ We began our careers as magazine feature writers across a broad spectrum of lifestyle titles and we veered, initially and gradually, into TV in Scotland and then across Britain. As presenters of several series of the BBC’s successful property shows such as Trading Up and designers on Housecall (another of Aunty Beeb’s regular morning shows), we’ve been helping to feather Britain’s nests for years. And that’s before we even mention our (often fraught) experience as designers and presenters of BBC2′s ratings busting Million Pound Property Experiment. God, that show gave us grey hairs but viewers stuck with us through thick and thin as we battled our way from a ’100K terraced house in Birmingham and across six further properties ending up in a London town house worth a cool ’1.25m. The profits of nearly ’300K went to Children In Need.

So is our message of elegant home styling getting through’ Well, frankly, NO! In fact it seems that every time we search for guilty home owners for our TV shows the list of willing parties gets longer and longer! Which is where we hope this issue of at home with Colin and Justin will come in handy. Throughout these pages we’ll be considering some of the best and worst aspects of home styling to help YOU make your gaff look great. So read it and weep, darlings, then read it and REAP!

Our passions and interest
Interiors By our own admission we’re passionate about interior design ‘ in fact SO passionate that some people might think we’re neurotic. Which, all things considered, is probably not a bad judgement of character! On our TV shows you’ve probably seen us reacting in, ahem, OTT fashion when things don’t go to plan but there’s a perfectly good reason for this ‘ WE SCARE BECAUSE WE CARE! Yup, sometimes we scream and shout till things work out! And of course we get rather animated when our on-screen assistants get things wrong by bringing in an assembly of dodgy products for whichever job we happen to be working on at that time. You’ve seen the hissy fits if we’ve asked one of our team to procure beautiful hand blocked metal finish wallpaper and then found ourselves supplied with woodchip. Cue our assistant ‘ ‘But come on guys, it’s still wallpaper ‘ what’s the problem”

We’ll leave you to answer that and to understand our frustrations. It’s an oft’ used C and J analogy that if we ask for a raspberry yoghurt, please DON’T, for God’s sake come back with a steak and kidney pie when you could have at least found a strawberry yoghurt instead. You get the gist.

Travel Aye, for us it’s all about passion. But our passions aren’t limited to things that pertain to the home. We’re similarly passionate about anything that we think improves our world and that of the people around us. We LOVE to be inspired by travel and we regularly visit the Indian ocean ‘ particularly the island of smiles aka Mauritius ‘ and Sri Lanka, the one time tea capital of the world. In fact, so passionate are we about the wonderful island once known as Ceylon that by the time you read this we will probably have bought our little place in the sun right there. We’ve chosen our destination ‘ Galle, in the south ‘ and we’re currently tossing a coin between two villas which we’ve fallen in love with. But that’s another story for another time…

Food It’s another wonderful source of inspiration and it reminds us (as we eat our way round the epicurean heaven known as today’s modern dining high street!) of all the places we love to visit and the global destinations we have yet to stamp on our passports. Our favourite gastronomic ideal stems deep from the heart of Thailand ‘ a pure and escapist land that fills us with excited wonder every time we savour a green curry. But it’s not just the delightful aromas that intoxicate our olfactory system or even the wonderful Thai flavours that excite our palette. It’s more than just that; it’s all about that mountainous lush scenery and those sun-kissed beaches. It’s about the beautiful silks and the hand-made fabrics that adorn the intricately carved temples in that wondrous country.

Music Now we’re talking. Music excites us. Hey, we can be sufficiently inspired to create an entire 1950s room after a bank holiday re run of Greece! Or to create a chateau inspired French boudoir after Les Liasons Dangereuse! Our secret, we assume, is remaining open minded to various inspirations be they a wonderful colour combo which we might stumble across in a clothes store or a colour scheme inspired by a countryside walk in our beloved Scotland.

Lifestyle We both swim every day and, as a lightweight but effective fat controlling exercise, our watery pleasure means we can indulge ourselves with the inspiring foodstuffs as previously described! In our world everything is linked ‘ each facet of our life is in some way connected to all the others. Property provided us with a lucrative career and we still dabble whenever we can. These days, however, we tend to spend less time remodelling our own projects and more time improving the investments of others via our TV shows. Saying that, we always have a couple of our own projects on the go at any one time. But it’s not all about making dosh ‘ in fact our new motto is: ‘The biggest return from your property should be on a daily basis.’

This, of course, is as opposed to its capital worth at sales time. What’s coming up next’ So what does the future hold for us’ Well, a rather mixed bag as it happens. If you watched Ch5′s Colin and Justin’s Wedding Belles, you’ll know we’ve been turning our attentions to the planning of British nuptials! Aye, even the great institution of marriage is no longer safe from the meddling hands of yours trulies! And in that regard, after the success of the show, we’ve been approached by legions of couples to plan their biggest days! Which is all rather lovely (and we’d love to get involved!) but our schedules are intense for the foreseeable future.

In TV terms we’ve spent two and a half years with Ch5 and, while our hand cuffs were only intended as a two year deal we’ll be remaining with the forward thinking channel until October 2006 at which point we’ll be setting ourselves loose amongst all the major players!

In the meantime, our next show is called Colin and Justin on The Estate and charts our progress as we endeavour to improve an entire housing scheme in the suburbs of a post industrial city. A city which just happens to be called Glasgow ‘ aye, our Dear Green Place and the destination to which we escape our professional stresses and strains. But things are changing in the world of Colin and Justin and where once we were all about high-kicking drama and colourful fabric swatches we’ve added a new dimension courtesy of our exciting new show.

Our premise is that EVERYONE deserves a good standard of living and that whether you’re a homeowner, a council tenant or someone who rents from a private landlord then you should still have the right to complain if conditions are less than perfect. Expect major telly turmoil as we come to blows with local government and as we fight bureaucracy to improve the local area with the addition of a new youth club, sports facilities and play parks. Exact dates and times TBC but we’re coming to a TV near you very soon! So watch this space.

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