Interior designer and The Block NZ judge Ann-Louise Hyde was born in the UK and moved to New Zealand 28 years ago. She has worked on commercial and residential projects and runs her own business, Hyde Inside. Her past jobs include professional cello player and selling encyclopaedias door to door.
Is The Block NZ your first time on television?
Many years ago, one of the bands I played in was on TV on a talk show in the UK, but that’s my only experience. I was playing the cello. I didn’t have to actually say anything.
What are the worst two colours to put together when it comes to interior design?
There are no two worst colours because everything goes now, right? It’s not really so much colours. It’s tints and shades. So if you’ve got very clear colours together, and you’re a clear colour person, that’s awesome. If you’ve got muddy colours together, then that will be fine. But if you’re trying to put something like hot pink and then a muddy salmon together, it’s going to look really terrible. The other thing I really hate is pure white and pure black. When you put those together they look really cheap. So you’ve got to soften the black and make it charcoal and/or soften the white.
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Is minimalism still popular or is it going out of fashion?
Well, true minimalism will never go out of fashion. True minimalism has got repeating forms. It’s the same in visual art and music. It’s got repeating elements and beautiful light play and those are just beautiful. The thing you have to be wary of is the half-hearted attempt at it. Painting a plain room white and having boxy furniture in it doesn’t count as minimalism. That’s kind of lazy-ism. So minimalism requires exquisite detailing, perfect proportions and truly clean lines.
What was your childhood bedroom like?
I had terrifying wallpaper. It was awful. I had nightmares. The scariest thing of all was this really creepy dude with a bowler hat. Later on I had a very 60s cream, brown, beige, orange kind of swirly designs and a lampshade with great long beads hanging down from it. I thought that was super cool.
What is the secret to good design?
For a residential application, the biggest rule of all is getting the ergonomics right. So everything actually has to function for what it’s designed for. Then the other big thing about it is you’ve got to decorate it with stuff that resonates with your soul and then everything will go together. To me, a residential interior needs to be all about the people living in it. I don’t think it matters a damn what anybody else…