In an exclusive and fun interview with Benjamin Bradley, the star from Netflix’s latest makeover series, Holiday Home Makeover, we discover his heartfelt penchant for Christmas decoration and all other things fancy!
How and when did you start decorating homes for Christmas?
I started decorating homes for the holidays while I was still in college. People knew that I was passionate about holidays; they had seen my parents’ home and they eventually came asking if I would do theirs. I have always only decorated but never taken down! Haha! As a professional interior designer, it is a natural extension of what I do in the remainder of the year.
Which is your favourite Christmas decoration? Why?
Regardless of how many decorations I might install or how over the top a design might be, I never want to overshadow the Christmas tree. It is and always will be the pinnacle of holiday decorating for me and should take centre focus. I love trees because for that brief month in December, you invite the outdoors in, you create a magical scenario with lighting and ornaments and those ornaments are a scrapbook of our lives (travels, gifts, heirlooms, etc.) Even though we string every light and hang every ornament, there is nothing as magical as turning off all the lights except for the tree and gazing at the tree on a quiet winter night.
We would like to know how you decorate your own house for Christmas?
I tend to decorate very traditionally. I have an enormous collection of antique German Christmas items made between 1880-1910 and so it is with those items that I decorate. I love evergreens and pinecones and so those make an appearance. I am a clear, white light person for the most part unless I am going for something nostalgic and then I will use large coloured C-6 lights. I collect antique Santa candy containers and oftentimes try to highlight those on the dining room mantel. I also try to change things up each year. We host several parties and fundraisers and I like to be able to delight people by doing things differently each year.
You are a popular star with Mr Christmas series on Netflix. How did you get a break with the show?
Not sure if I would ever consider myself a star, but it has been great fun! A dear friend of mine is the producer of the series and he came to me two years ago, knowing how much I love Christmas, and asked if I would be interested in doing some type of Christmas project. I was in a year where I promised myself that I would say “yes” to everything that came my way and so, I said yes. I had never done any video work before nor did I have a clue what went into making a television program. It has been an amazing experience and I have learned so much. We were fortunate that Netflix liked the idea and picked it up. We are able to reach so many audiences due to their broad viewership.
On an average, how many requests do you get during Christmas time from people for decorating their homes?
It can depend, but never fewer than 100. Those can be requests for the show or requests to just decorate someone’s home for the holidays. We start early October and work right up until the day itself. We can truly do about 12 houses or so a season, if we are responsible for a full design. We can fit probably 15 additional homes in if they only need a tree or such. It is a crazy time of three months!
Share with us an unforgettable moment while decorating someone’s home for Christmas.
Years ago, I was decorating a very large home in Jupiter Island Florida and I worked late into the night. The house was about 20,000 square feet and right around midnight, I heard a noise. I could have sworn that someone was in the house with me, but I knew or thought I knew, that I was alone. I found a baseball bat, looked around briefly and then fled that house as quickly as I could! It is amazing how the mind can freak you out so! LOL.
Photos Courtesy of Netflix/©NETFLIX 2020