Thursday, October 03, 2002

Christopher Lowell takes decorating to heart

By Michele Day
Enquirer contributor

        Christopher Lowell, the flamboyant host of the interior design show bearing his name on the Discovery Channel, will be at Furniture Fair on Fields Ertel Road in Loveland at 7 p.m. today to sign copies of his new book, Christopher Lowell's If You Can Dream it, You Can Do It! (Clarkson Potter/Publishers; $29.95), and to promote his new line of furniture for Flexsteel.

[photo] Christopher Lowell
| ZOOM |
        Mr. Lowell shared some insights into the book and furniture line, the psychology of interior design and his views on his television competition.

        Question: What's the premise behind your new book?

        Answer: (It) follows in sequence to my last book, which was Christopher Lowell's Seven Layers of Design. The first book was designed to keep you out of “overwhelm” and keep you on budget. This book picks up where that one leaves off. In recent years, and even more so after Sept. 11, people are looking at their homes in a whole new way. They're saying, "This might be it; this house might be my lot in life. I ought to make it a reflection of who I am.' Then the question comes up, "Well, who the hell am I?' It becomes very abstract. People are afraid to make mistakes. They think, "If I'm making mistakes in my home and it's a reflection of who I am, does that mean my life is a mistake?'

        The home has always been a metaphor: We are how we live. We've been on television eight years. We communicate with about 11 million people a month. This book was prompted by many of them saying, "We love the seven layers; we get the design thing; we know how to do it. Now we're trying to figure out why to do it.'

        Q: How does the book help people answer that question?

        A: There's a very important questionnaire in this book that helps you decide or at least consider how you want to live in your home. Until now, a lot of people decorated with their heads rather than with their hearts. They said, "This is how I want people to see me.' I think people are so over that now. That's an influence that came from our parents and a '60s mentality. It's Ward, June and the Cleavers. Those people don't exist any more. . . We've changed, our attitudes have changed, but somehow our homes didn't. This book helps (people) figure out what to do about that.

        Q: A lot of your ideas seem to be more about psychology than interior design.

        A: I never had any intention of being America's favorite interior designer. I started my show to communicate that as we make change, we grow. The most profound place to make change is someplace everybody has and that's called home. If you can't achieve it there, you can never achieve it anywhere else.

        We've created a show disguised under the show business title of how to design, but what it really is is a motivating show that says, "You know what, you need to take the responsibility to make change. You don't have to go through psychoanalysis. You don't have to be devastated by who you were to be joyous about who you are. Just get busy. Rearrange the furniture.'

        Q: What do you think of interior design show, such as the popular Trading Spaces?


        A. Trading Spaces is a short-lived show. It's a game show. It appeals to voyeuristically wondering how somebody could screw up somebody else's home. I don't think there's enough time devoted to make it a thoughtful process. . . I personally can't watch it. I'm too close to the subject, and I can't stand watching people who don't know their limitations.

        Q: What is your relationship with Furniture Fair?

        A: Furniture Fair carries my new furniture collection. You'll be able to walk into the Christopher Lowell area and everything you see in those rooms will all be picked by me. Everything mixes and matches, so you can't make a mistake. It's all classic shapes that are guaranteed to never go out of style, and it's all manufactured by our partners, Flexsteel, so it's guaranteed to last a lifetime.

        The Christopher Lowell Show airs 2 and 3 p.m. weekdays on the Discovery Channel. For more information about Mr. Lowell, visit his Web site at


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