Ann-Louise Hyde | Interior designer and owner of Hyde Inside
Qualified interior designer Ann-Louise Hyde brings over 20 years of experience to the judging panel on this season of The Block NZ and is just as happy overseeing a high-end fit-out as she is a fast-food restaurant. She has worked on luxury homes all over the world, with her focus on creating lasting style rather than fashion fads.
Ann-Louise brings “a practical, not snooty, approach to design”, along with a keen eye for detail, and loves to work with a wide variety of clients, styles and products.
She traces her love of and fascination for interiors back to the stately homes and beautiful concert halls of Europe, where she played the cello for a living in her 20s. Other notable employment pre her design life was working for several large record labels in the U.K, and even selling encyclopedias door to door!
Ann-Louise believes that great interior design is all about how a space makes you feel. These days she notes that while she appreciates cleaner lines, she still loves to work with a client who can handle pattern, colour and a well-appointed bit of bling! When it comes to judging The Block NZ, she says it’s essential for the teams to get the practical elements right first. The spaces must work for their intended purpose and will need to be well thought out ergonomically sound designs, “these are the foundations of good design and no amount of decor can fix them if they don’t get those right.”
She wants to see sufficient space to move around comfortably and good thought put into fixtures, fittings and equipment - materials, height, ease of use - all need to be considered. “I don’t want to see glass table-tops, sharp bench edges or silk velvet dining chairs in a family home, or unnecessarily sensible flooring and soft furnishings in an adult-only pad.”
Once the practicalities are sorted they can look at turning these houses into homes people will want to buy and live in. “This will come with originality, warmth and above all, creative soul. We’ve been doing minimalism for over a hundred years now so unless the teams can manage Corbusier-like perfection in form, function, finishes and light play, they won’t win my vote with plain white ‘simplicity’.
Ann-Louise lives in Titirangi with her husband Alan and her English Pointer puppy, Thompson. Her happiest of happy places is with Thompson at Kakamatua, aka The Dog Beach. She also admits Alan may well be her toughest client, “We argued for 10 years before he finally gave in and let me design our kitchen my way. Of course he loves it now (or maybe he just daren’t complain)!”