Angela Scanlon, presenter of the new BBC Two show Your Garden Made Perfect, speaks with Homes North editor Chris Ogden about how she’s been keeping busy over the last year and our newfound appreciation of our gardens.
Q: Obviously, the past year has been difficult for everyone. How have you been keeping your motivation up and staying happy while we’ve been spending so much time at home?
I’ve weirdly loved being at home more. I have never in my adult life been able to have routine; I always thought it was something I couldn’t achieve with my job. I travel a lot and no day is ever really the same, but suddenly I’ve been home for breakfast and bath time and everything in between. I’ve been recording my podcast (Thanks A Million) from home, and my Radio 2 show, and thankfully the new series of Your Garden Made Perfect worked socially distanced.
Q: You’ve been presenter of the property makeover show Your Home Made Perfect on BBC Two since 2019. What drew you to get involved with a show about home design? Is it something you’ve always been interested in?
Rightmove is my porn! This show was a no-brainer but I honestly couldn’t have imagined just how much it would resonate with people. It’s still relatively new [Ed: there have been two series so far] but there is such love for it, it’s amazing, and I feel very lucky to be part of that. It’s fabulous to get to snoop in people’s homes too. There’ll be a new series later this year!
Q: What have been some of your favourite home designs you’ve seen while you’ve been working on Your Home Made Perfect?
I am still pretty obsessed with Silvia and Julian’s bath in the living room moment. People went wild! While [Your Home Made Perfect] is obviously pretty niche, I think what it did was allow people to really start to think about what is important to them personally and consider how they really want to live. So often, we’re just cruising along busy with the doing, but we don’t really take time to stop and think about what is really important. Our houses should be supporting the way we live; they should allow us to live more fully, more boldly. And if the show gets people thinking and gives them permission to “do you”, then great.
Q: What have you learnt about home renovation during your time working on the show? Have you put anything you’ve learnt to use in your own home?
Not yet! I’ve been busy working and looking after my little family so I’ve got a lethal to-do list for when things normalise, but for now I’m trying to tackle my to-be list as a priority!
Q:You’ve got a lovely house in North London that you share lots of pictures of on Instagram! How much of a challenge has it been to make your house a home since you moved in, and what would your advice be to first-time buyers who are looking to give their own home some character?
Oh, I love it. For me, art is a massive part of it. I buy from small up-and-coming artists; I’ve been collecting for years. I also love GumTree and eBay, I buy from my friends when they’re getting rid of stuff too, and I love charity shops for unique finds. I always try to buy eclectic things that will work no matter where they are.
Really, I think making a “home” is more about love than wallpaper. If you’re happy and prioritising your crew then you can be anywhere and it’ll feel like a castle. On the flip side, you can live in the most beautifully designed home and feel lonely. For me, it’s about the energy in a house that makes it a home.
Q: Everyone’s going to be delighted at the prospect of heading back outdoors now the days are starting to get brighter again. What are your favourite things to do in the back garden when the weather’s nice?
I love dragging the table outside to do lunch or dinner or brunch at the weekends. Pop a tablecloth on, pick flowers from the garden and pop them in a jar, make a lovely big feed and lounge there for the day. I did this during the first lockdown and felt like I was in the South of France!
Q: You’ve just started presenting a YHMP sister show Your Garden Made Perfect where couples get to see their dream gardens using virtual reality. What is it like working on that show compared to Your Home Made Perfect?
It’s wonderful! I spent weeks in trainers and boots skipping around the most beautiful gardens in the country! It was such a gorgeous show to make and I think we all felt wildly excited to just be let out. Your Garden Made Perfect uses technology that we evolved from Your Home Made Perfect because that immersive, interactive experience is something that really sets these shows apart.
I think the main difference is that, at the moment, we all have a newfound appreciation for our outdoor spaces, so we value them a lot more. While both shows hopefully give people tips, I think lots more people are lost when it comes to making the most of your gardens, so I hope the show can help give people a bit of garden inspiration.
Q: Your Garden Made Perfect focuses on giving viewers great garden design ideas and horticultural tips. What tips would you give our readers to help them unlock their gardens?
My top tip from the show is to make your garden an extension of your home and you can do this by bringing themes from inside and carrying them through the outside. [Examples include] simple things like having a large enough table and chairs so the family can comfortably sit and have dinner together on summer evenings.
In order to want to spend time in your garden it needs to have basic functions, and also a feeling of escapism which is easily done. And our designers will be able to offer loads of tips and tricks to achieve this. We all know how to lay out our indoor spaces with sofas and soft furnishings, but outside the home we are all a bit lost – not anymore!
I think what people will love and really relate to is the story our small spaces specialist Joel looks at each week. Not everyone is lucky or fortunate to have large open spaces they can afford to renovate – and Joel will provide lots of tips for this. It’s amazing what you can do with small spaces.
Q: Finally, what are you excited for in 2021? Have you got any other projects in the pipeline?
There’s a new season of Your Home Made Perfect coming later this year so I’m excited for everyone to see that. We’ll be taking it up a notch! I’m also recording my podcast Thanks A Million which is out now wherever you get your podcasts. I’m an ambassador for Olay, working with them on their new Collagen Peptide24 product.
Last year I was meant to launch my own Saturday night chat show in Ireland! We recorded two episodes but because of COVID-19 we had to press pause. I couldn’t continue travelling to Ireland to film it but, more importantly, the thing that made this show special was the live audience. So hopefully I can get back to filming the show later this year, but I’ll only do that when it’s safe to have a live audience again.
About Angela Scanlon
Angela Scanlon is an Irish television presenter and broadcaster. Angela started out as a fashion journalist before moving into TV. She first made it onto mainstream UK TV as a reporter and guest presenter for BBC One’s The One Show. Angela also co-hosted the reboot of Robot Wars with Dara O’Briain on BBC Two between 2016 and 2018.
Since 2019 Angela has presented the BBC Two home makeover show Your Home Made Perfect. A sister show, Your Garden Made Perfect, started broadcasting this February. The two shows use virtual reality to show families what their dream home and garden could look like before award-winning designers make their dreams come true.
Angela also presents her own podcast about gratitude, Thanks A Million, and hosts a radio show on BBC Radio 2 every Sunday morning. She lives with her husband and daughter in London.