Shaynna Blaze is the well loved female face of LifeStyle Channel’s most popular show, Selling Houses Australia. Not bad for her first TV gig.
“People have always loved renovation shows and free to air is just getting back into it,” she says. ”I think these shows will do two things. There’ll definitely be more renovation and improvements to homes as we hit a flat spot again in our real estate market and secondly, it will put the focus back on creating a home and a beautiful space.
“Too often we feel we are governed by trends but renovation and design shows are about creating a beautiful and functional space no matter what style or trend. The importance of function unfortunately does get left behind on some of these shows as they focus too much on the entertainment angle.
“I do like all the shows for different reasons. The Block has been more about the personalities of the renovators and how their style is reflected in the interior, and sometimes your style isn’t what everyone wants to see which has encouraged healthy discussion of what people do and don’t like. The Renovators is all about learning skills that will get you a renovated house but like a lot of other people watching, I would like to see a lot more renovating and seeing them get stuck into the house. I would like to see how they use or fail with their skills in the actual work. All these houses are for sale and need a professional to oversee them, so why not show where people go wrong?”
Shaynna was keen to run the colour masterclass on The Renovators because all too often people are terrified of picking colours for their home. “Whether it is painting, bed linen or furniture, there is such a fear of selecting the right mix of colours that the majority of people play it safe with too many neutrals. That or they go crazy and overdo it and it’s like colour vomit!”
Her advice? “The best way to stop scaring yourself is work out the base of a colour. That means does it have more blue or red or yellow etc, and then use one main colour as your starting point. Slowly introduce one colour or neutral at a time that has a similar base to it and then build layers of contrasting hues slowly. Stop trying to do it all in a weekend as colour is affected by natural and artificial light and you need to look at the colour over a few days to see how it settles in the home. Until you train your eye, take it slow. Most people procrastinate for months, even years, to change the colour and expect it all to look perfect in a weekend. Take the pressure off yourself and take time with colour and enjoy experimenting with it. A couple of weekends with paint pots won’t be the end of the world!”
Shaynna, who has her own design business blankcanvas INTERIORS, went straight to college from high school and landed her first job as a designer for showrooms for a national company. She did most of her work in the retail and commercial sectors before taking some time off to be a mum and concentrating on her other loves of singing and art.
“I got back into interiors about eight years ago and it has been a huge ride ever since,” she says. “I am very lucky to be on an award-winning TV show, Selling Houses Australia, while creating some amazing interiors for my own private clients. I feel totally blessed!”
She’s currently filming the show’s fifth season. “For three years in a row we have been voted the most popular show on Foxtel! The show is about people struggling to sell their homes anywhere from a couple of months to several years (one lady had hers on and off the market for seven years if you can believe it!) and most of them have serious difficulties, whether financially or healthwise and they have to sell their home.
“Andrew Winter is the main host and real estate expert and my role as the interior designer and co-presenter is to get the houses ready for sale. Charlie Albone whips the gardens and exteriors into shape.
“This is more than just a makeover, it is getting behind the reasons why the houses don’t sell and giving solid ideas and tips to viewers for their own real estate campaign. I love working on the show as I am constantly surprised by how different every situation is and the homeowners are at such a vulnerable time in their lives as they open their homes and problems to us.” She freely admits to being “the sook and hugger” on the show. “During a three-day makeover I get quite close to the homeowners. I always leave knowing we are seriously changing these people’s lives and helping them to move onto another chapter.”
Shaynna spends a lot of time on the road, traveling around the country for filming. “The traveling is fantastic for a while but you do get a little jaded. I do treat the plane as a big bus and it is not until I get on a plane with my husband and see how excited he is to travel that I realise I do take it for granted.”
I asked Shaynna to share some tips for people working away from home a lot. “It is so important to make the hotel room where you are staying have a little ‘you’ in it. I used to take a scented candle but I am so paranoid of the sprinklers going off I have now resorted to good quality room sprays! I was given a beautiful Diptyque one (Mimosa) as a present and I spray it around the room as soon as I get settled. I also travel with a teapot and a three-stacker tin of loose leaf teas. Lemongrass & ginger, Moroccan green tea and chamomile are the flavours of the moment.
“It is important to take a few things that make you feel at home and to complete it I put on my comfy slippers (I’m really sounding like a nana now!). I spend most of my days traveling in designer heels or getting dirty in bludstones and painting gear so comfort when I get back to the room is number one for me (there might be a daggy trackie thrown in there too)!”
About half of 40-something Shaynna’s year is free of filming commitments and that time is all about blankcanvas INTERIORS (when she is busy filming she reduces her number of clients by half). “I have a great team to support me but it is important for me to know the jobs and have the connection with the client.
“I love working on jobs where the client wants to push the envelope a bit. Most are a little timid and want to make that change but are too fearful to make the change themselves. There is a certain energy that goes into a home and I like to tap into the client’s energy to bring that to life.
“A good client shows trust. They have employed us to put their home together and need to let us guide them into the vision. Most people start to see the transformation of their home only when the end is in sight so as designers it is also our job to be the best tour guide possible in showing them the potential of their home.”
As if she wasn’t busy enough already, Shaynna will soon be adding an online shop to her website. “I am finally getting my artwork onto prints, designing furniture and selling curios I have picked up on my travels. This is such an exciting time for the business as we expand into a new area.”
Shaynna says her own home suffers from a little bit of a split personality. “It’s part relaxed entertaining and part structured and dramatic. Even though these are polar opposites in description the reality is similar in that it revolves around simplicity, very little clutter and lots of black. I love black!”