Thursday 15 November 2018

Dermot Bannon will chart the renovation of his own new family home on special episode of Room to Improve

TV architect Dermot Bannon
TV architect Dermot Bannon
Architect Dermot Bannon
Dermot Bannon looks out the infamous 'hobbit window' on Room to Improve
Dermot Bannon's home in Drumcondra, Dublin, which he has put up for sale
Dermot Bannon's home in Drumcondra, Dublin, which he has put up for sale
Dermot Bannon's home in Drumcondra, Dublin, which he has put up for sale
Dermot Bannon's home in Drumcondra, Dublin, which he has put up for sale
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Ireland's favourite architect, Dermot Bannon, has revealed he will share his own Room to Improve journey in a special episode of the hit RTE series.

And after 11 years helping Irish homeowners to redesign their homes to reach their full potential on the show, Dermot is now turning his skills to his own dream home.

Dermot and his wife Louise, who have three children, have sold their property on Bantry Road in Drumcondra and are at the planning stages of the renovation of their new family home just down the road.

"It's the one thing everyone asks me, 'What would you do [on your own home]?'" he tells Independent.ie at RTE's autumn schedule launch.

"This is kind of, what would you do, with no boundaries, with no clients telling you 'I don't like that, I hate blue, I hate the colour green, I don't like glass, I don't like windows, I don't like stone, I don't like concrete, I don't like brick'?  So this is what I would do with no limitations."

He has no qualms about sharing the process with the nation; "I want to do it for me, because I think it's kind of just rounding off all of your own ideas.  The pressure of doing it on TV makes you think about it even more."

Dermot Bannon's home in Drumcondra, Dublin, which he has put up for sale
Dermot Bannon's home in Drumcondra, Dublin, which he has put up for sale

The episode will be only the second time the programme will focus on someone in the public eye rather than ordinary homeowners.

Back in February the episode featuring Daniel and Majella O'Donnell drew a massive audience of 722,000 viewers, becoming the highest-rated programme on RTE this year and the most-watched episode ever of the show.

However, aside from the episode on Dermot's own family home, the formula will not change for the new series.

"What we're doing with Room to Improve is more of the same," he says.  "People love ordinary lives, ordinary houses, ordinary people and seeing what you can do to their homes."

Living the dream: Daniel O'Donnell, Lisa O'Brien, Majella O'Donnell and Dermot Bannon in Room to Improve
Living the dream: Daniel O'Donnell, Lisa O'Brien, Majella O'Donnell and Dermot Bannon in Room to Improve

There are seven projects this year, which, he says are "all different" and all belong to some "really great characters".

"As much as I'd like to think people watch Room to Improve for me, I think it's kind of the characters so we've got some great people on it and some great projects," he says.

Three projects have already started and another three are starting in the next month.

"We're at the nice part," he says, "I'm kind of in love with Room to Improve at the moment. It's the part when you do all the designing and the sketching and I present the designs.  The heavy bit is when they get to site and you get the barrage of phone calls and all that and you have to run the job on site."

That's not to say he has not locked horns with any homeowners yet.

"I might have!" he laughs.  "A little bit.  But that's part of the process isn't it?  People always have a set idea of what they want to do.  Sometimes at the early stages you lock horns.  Sometimes it's on site.  So yeah, it's water off a duck's back at this stage!  I'm used to people giving out to me!"

Dermot will get a break from being given out to on TV, however, with his new series of Dermot Bannon's Homes which will see him visiting remarkable homes from London to Australia and Scandinavia (if he gets his way).

The first episode will feature homes in London, Surrey, Henley-on-Thames, and Cornwall and has already been films, but Dermot is particularly excited about filming in Australia.

"I've never been to Australia.  I'm even excited about going on a plane and going long haul so I can watch nine movies in a row!  I don't ever get to watch TV so the fact I can watch loads of TV on the plane is great," he says.

He will be spending a week in Sydney and a week in Melbourne to film two episodes.  Speaking about Scandinavia, he says, "Snow, log cabins, skiing, dogs pulling me.... I can see it all now.  That's in my head.  I have to tell the producers thats' where I want to go.  That's tomorrow's argument," he laughs.

Some of the features he sees on his travels may well end up in the homes of his Room to Improve clients.

"Every house you go to you do learn something.  With Room to Improve you've got builders and clients and everybody going, 'What are we doing here?', 'What are we doing here?', 'We need Dermot!' so I get to be that person now.  I go and I get to interview the homeowner or the estate agents and the architects and say, 'What did you do here and why did you do that?'.

"Normally I'm giving out information and so with this I'm sucking it back in again.  It's brilliant."

Read more: RTE's new schedule - Podge & Rodge return, Bertie Ahern does Who Do You Think You Are, and the Late Late goes to London

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