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TGtS Meets...Craig Phillips

Ahead of the National Self Build & Renovation Show, DIY expert and television personality, Craig Phillips, shares his top home improvement tips, his thoughts on this year's Big Brother and whether he'd ever return to the show that catapulted him into the limelight.

What's the importance of doing your research before employing a tradesperson? How can Checkatrade help?

Choosing the right people to carry out work for you can be a minefield. There’s a lot at stake and the wrong decision can lead to lost money, inconvenience and the possibility of having to live for years with the consequences of bad workmanship and the use of poor materials.

That’s where Checkatrade comes in. It provides a platform where customers can rate the service provided by their tradespeople and establish trust. They’re really thorough about the contractors they allow to become members so you can be assured that those that have reached their criteria are reputable in the first place.

At the end of the day, you’re inviting people into your home or business and handing over substantial sums of money. You want to know what to expect and any help you can get in working that out is a real bonus. Checkatrade gives you that help!

What is the best part of your job?

For me, it’s the creative side whenever I start a new project for myself or someone else. I love renovation projects and home makeovers and it’s always a real pleasure to create something unique and exciting.

What are your top 3 home improvement tips?

First off, whatever project you are looking to undertake I would say plenty of research is the most important thing you can do, whether this is by watching videos online or speaking to some experts in the field. Planning is extremely important, so make sure you give yourself enough time to sort everything out.

Secondly, make sure you have the right tools for the right job. I have seen jobs get spoilt simply by using the wrong tools and finding the best tools ties in closely with planning and research.

Finally, don’t bite off more than you can chew – make sure you have the budget and time to finish your job to the standard you expect.

Which room of the house do you most like decorating? 

I would have to say loft conversions as this is the room of the house that undergoes the biggest transformation and can become anything from a children’s room to a bedroom, an office to a games room. At the end of the day, there’s only so much you can do to a kitchen or a living room but a loft conversion allows you to be really creative.

What would you suggest to someone looking to make a quick fix/cheap changes to a room? 

There’s a couple a quick things you can do to give your room a facelift. Firstly, never underestimate a lick of paint which can really brighten up a tired-looking room. Paint-spraying devices from companies like Wagner make this easier than ever before. Secondly, a change to the floor or carpet makes a big difference and doesn’t have to cost the earth either.

What's been your favourite project to work on and why?

I always enjoy working with the Ideal World shopping channel as this is live TV so anything can happen! I work with Wagner demonstrating their paint-spraying equipment and we really do a lot in just an hour on a wide variety of different surfaces.

Over the years you've amassed a pretty impressive property portfolio - what's the best way to go about buying, fixing-up and selling a property?

You can usually get the best deal on a property at an auction but make sure you do you research beforehand so you know exactly what you’re buying. Location is extremely important, as is the condition of the building so it’s a good idea to get some expert opinions before you start work.

As a former Big Brother winner, what are your thoughts on the latest series?

From what I’ve seen of the latest series, there’s been a lot to enjoy and there have certainly been some sparks flying! I have to admit I had lost a little bit of love for the show in the last few years, as it’s transformed so much since I was on but it’s amazing to see it’s still so popular after all these years.

What would your dream Big Brother house look like?

Having planned and designed properties before, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of ideas that pop into your head. I think I would have a nice garden with a lot of greenery where the housemates can go out to relax and maybe some animals to look after like the chickens we had on series one, which I found really helped to give me some purpose in the house.

If the opportunity arose would you ever return to the show?

I’ve thought about this a lot but I think the show has changed so much and I wouldn’t like to damage the career I’ve built up to this point. The first series of the show was really groundbreaking so it’s nice to be remembered as the winner, and though it does help build people’s profile, I’m not sure I’d go back. Never say never though, I suppose!

National Self Build & Renovation Centre

National Self Build & Renovation Centre

Lydiard Fields, Great Western Way, Swindon , Wiltshire, SN5 8UB

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