An interior designer and collector of rare objects, Celia Sawyer made her TV debut last year as one of the dealers on the second series of Channel 4’s Four Rooms, a show where people bring in items they think are valuable and try to flog them to four dealers. With the programme’s third series under way, Sawyer tells FX about her career so far, and how she balances a successful interior design practice with a TV career.
How did you begin your career as an interior designer?
I suppose it started by accident really. I was a property developer first. I was adding a couple of floors on to a mews property in London and I designed the interior. A couple of people saw it and asked me to do theirs. Then I founded Cool 10 Luxury Interiors.
And how did you bag a place on Four Rooms?
The programme makers were asking people to send in pictures of interesting objects that could appear on the show, so I sent in a picture of myself in, asking, 'How about me as a dealer?' That was how it all started.
What kind of projects does Cool 10 Luxury Interiors do, and what's on the go at the moment?
We do lots of residential projects we've also done boutique hotels, restaurants, bars - anything that the client would like our style for. We just started a project with a private aircraft company called Pilatus which has asked us to design the interior of its aircraft (pictured), a seven-eight person plane.
Sounds like an interesting project - what will it be like?
Well, I think we'll be able to go a bit mad with this one, perhaps with a quite futuristic look.
Would you say there's an identifiable style to your work?
Of course we have a style! Cool, contemporary, glamorous yet comfortable, is how I'd describe it. Clients will come to you because they like your style. They shouldn't come to you if they want something completely different. We would hope that people have a look at our work and like it and that's why they'll come to us.
How do you balance running a successful interior design company with your TV work?
Well, it's quite hard work actually because the filming is a long, long day - 12-14 hour days - and you can't be doing much in between. But it's good fun too. It's all about having a good team and being well organised before you go on the shoot. It's quite a lot, but I'm used to doing loads of things at once - I've got children as well, so it's all about balancing it carefully.
How did you get into collecting and dealing in rare objects?
Well it all came about through doing interiors. Some of my clients are very high-profile and they like nice things and they like interesting thing. Some of them collect things. So I get to buy pieces for them and for their homes. Also, because I'm interested in it and I'm buying stuff and dealing I have to know what I'm doing, I but things that I like as well.
What's different about the new series of Four Rooms?
I think it's a bit more relaxed and I think they're trying so show a bit more of the dealers' personalities through the decoration of the rooms and the items from our own collections that are on display in each room. Gordon [Watson, one of Sawyer's fellow dealers] deliberately buys things to get on my nerves I think!
Would you like to do more TV work?
Well that all depends on what comes up and what's on the horizon - it's a case of 'watch this space' on that one.
Four Rooms is on weekdays at 1.45pm