Me And My Home: The entertainer

Celebrity hairdresser Errol Douglas talks to Alice Hart-Davis
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The Independent Online

Errol Douglas has been short-listed for Hairdresser of the Year five times in the past 10 years, and runs his own exclusive salon in Belgravia. He lives in a five-bedroom house near Heston, west of London, with his wife Joanna and their three children

We moved here about two years ago. It's handy being so close to Heathrow, even if it does mean living on the flight path, as I'm always travelling, off to the States, or Europe, or Australia for magazine shoots and fashion shows. The house looks fairly normal from the outside, but when we first saw it, it seemed very scary. It wasn't exactly dilapidated - there were people living in it - but it was a gloomy, dingy hole and we've opened it up completely.

There were three rooms downstairs, which have all been knocked into one. There's a living room and kitchen that we extended, which connects to a playroom-cum-bedroom with two beds, with pull-out beds under those. Then there's a bedroom for our nanny, who has his own entrance. He's been with us for three-and-a-half years, so we had him in mind when we bought the house.

It's not like an interior-design paradise. We have three kids and the place is overrun with toys. But it's all completely modern. There are no carpets, just light beech flooring, with black slate in the kitchen, at the back of the house and in the shower. The walls are whitewashed, and it's all clean lines and space and light, with huge sofas - we have four altogether, they're a bit like cot-beds. It looked wonderful when we'd done it, but two years on, it's getting a bit weather-beaten.

We did it ourselves. I mean, we didn't do the painting and all that, but we didn't have an interior designer. We decided on the scheme ourselves, as we did with the salon, which is light and white, with lots of glass. The house is like that, too. The lighting comes from a mixture of spotlights and uplighters, so it's soft and restful. We child-proof it as best we can.

You could say the house has different looks - one for when the family is here, and one for when we entertain. We have rugs in the living room, and when we entertain, they come up, and the floor still looks quite good, and there's a cover which comes off the beautiful Indian oak dining table, so you can tart the whole downstairs up quite quickly.

Doing the kitchen up was a nightmare because it's impossible to get a kitchen which is an unusual size. Ours ended up being three kitchens rolled into one. It's huge, and there's another table in there, too. We spend a lot of time around the kitchen, and we entertain at home a lot. We have kids' parties, parties for our friends, parties for the staff from the salon. It works well for that. This house is like a tardis. It doesn't look all that big from the outside but it takes all these people. Everyone comes here for Christmas. Jo's family lives nearby, and everyone knows we have the space, so we end up as hosts.

There's no den, or kid-free area. I don't do any work from home unless it's paperwork on the dining room table. I don't do any cutting or styling at home, unless we're going out, which we do often. If we are entertaining clients, we will go out in the West End to places like San Lorenzo, or Petrus. If we're seeing friends, we'll go to restaurants in Chiswick. Basically, though, we're home bodies.

We've got a fair-sized garden, big enough for the kids, at any rate. They have a rabbit roaming around the courtyard. The kids have a telly in the playroom, not that they get a lot of time for sitting around watching TV. They do gymnastics, dancing classes, judo. They're really active and so is Jo, she does a lot of dancing and meditation. We got a satellite dish for the cartoons for the kids, but they always want to watch ours in the living room because it's bigger.

Upstairs is smaller than downstairs, because it doesn't have the extension. There's one family bathroom which we all share, and three bedrooms for us and the children. We've got a big bed and the children are always in it. Rubin, the six-year-old, is quite weak. He has had asthma, and needs a lot of attention and, well, he gets it. And Stella doesn't sleep too well either, so they're both always in with us. I go and sleep in their beds, or Jo does, or if it's really bad one of us goes downstairs to the bed in the playroom. They'll be in their own beds eventually. Yolanda was just the same and now she's seven, she's fine. She totally respects our space now. I don't care what anyone says, you can't turf them out.

Outside, there's off-street parking, but there's only a people-carrier on it these days. I used to have quite a lot of cars - a Saab convertible, Porsches, a Mercedes SL - but not any more. The house is bigger, the financial demands are bigger and the fancy cars have gone. I can only say I've had to grow up a bit.

Errol Douglas, 18 Motcomb Street, London SW1 (020-7235 0110)

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