Architect and TV presenter George Clarke lives between Gloucestershire and London with his children, Georgie, Emilio and Iona joining him at weekends
What’s your favourite time of the day at home?
I’m away so much with work that just being home at all is amazing! I’m on the road a lot during the week, so I’m usually only at home with weekends, which is also when my children come to my house. That’s why Saturday mornings are my absolute favourite. I’m properly at home, I don’t have any commitments and can have my breakfast, relax and just enjoy being with my kids.
Where’s your happy place at home?
I’ve got a garden studio which I built, and it’s a really nice multifunctional space, with a sofa and TV, but also a desk and loads of books, so everyone uses it as a cosy escape. I can pop down there and work or if the house is busy then one of the kids can use it to read or do homework or to watch TV on their own.
What’s your home addiction?
Books! I’m always in the middle of about 4 or 5 book or so, and they live everywhere in the house. I don’t tend to read a lot of novels, but I’m currently reading How Innovation Works, and I’ve also got a history book, a couple of political biographies and a couple of historical biographies on the go. I love coffee table books, too, especially photography ones – I love photography, if I wasn’t an architect I would’ve been a photographer I think. You’ll certainly find a new book in my house at least once or twice a week. I’m kind of running out of space, so once in a while I’ve got to be pretty brutal with myself and load my car up with 40 or 50 books and bring them to the charity shop.
What’s your home pet peeve
Mess. My house is very cosy and comfortable, but I hate clutter. I wouldn’t say I’m a minimalist, because I love having beautiful things around, but I don’t like ‘stuff’. I like to buy beautiful things that are timeless and could last forever, when possible handmade and British made. My house isn’t massive, so everything that’s in there is quite special to me.
What chore do you hate doing?
The one thing I absolutely hate is packing my case. It’s amazing, because packing your suitcase for a holiday is a joy, but packing your suitcase for work when you’re on the road a lot Is the bane of my life. I’ve got a couple of suitcases, so there are times when I literally have to dump a suitcase down and grab another to pack to leave the next day.
Do you think you’re a good host?
No. When I’ve got time, I think I’m really good. I love cooking for myself and my family, but because my schedule is so insane, I’d rather book a brilliant restaurant and treat people to dinner rather than me cooking at home. If we go out it means I can spend more time talking with friends that I might not have seen in a long time, rather than cooking and cleaning.
What do you miss most about your home when you’re away?
My own bed! I stay in so many hotels and there’s nothing I miss more than my own mattress and my own pillows. There’s a company called Brook and Wilde where I buy my mattresses from and I like to buy pillows from John Lewis. That said, I do look like a lunatic when I’m in John Lewis. You know when they lay pillows out on shelves? I literally put my head on them so it looks like I’ve fallen asleep standing up because I like to sample the pillows. I’ve got to test it! Most other people just squish them with their hands, and instead I just massively embarrass my kids because I’m like leaning over with my head on the pillow and my arms around it, giving it a little hug in the middle of the shop!
Quick fire with George
1. Shoes – On or off in the house? Off. Every time. For everybody.
2. Eat at the table or on laps? Always at the table.
3. Lighting – Are your rooms usually bright or moodily lit? I hate bright lighting. My kids sometimes complain that the house can be too dark, but I love low level light lamps and candles.
4. Quick shower or long bath? Long bath
5. Room decor – colourful or neutral? Neutral.