TV architect George Clarke on the meaning of home

TV architect George Clarke on the meaning of home

The Restoration Man talks design, sustainability and the real value of the home.

Image: George Clarke on Sofology, Sapporo 4 Seater in Manolo Slate Mix

Architect and TV presenter George Clarke is best known for his Channel 4 shows The Home Show, The Restoration Man, George Clarke’s Old House, New Home and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces. Fitting, then, that we meet up at the Ideal Home Show in Olympia London, surrounded by showrooms of some of the best home brands in the UK.

George is attending the show as a celebrity guest and brand ambassador for sofa brand Sofology, he explains to me as we seat ourselves on a plush, comfortable sofa. He’s clearly in his element here, surrounded by the hallmarks of his life’s work.

He has known he wanted to be an architect since the age of twelve. “My grandad was a builder and used to take me around building sites he was working on. Even before I knew what an architect was, I wanted to be a builder. Then I learned that someone has to draw these buildings first, and that was it. I wanted to be an architect.”


It wasn’t until later in his career that he entered the world of television. He was asked by an agent to screen test for a Channel 5 homes programme, which had been struggling to find a suitable building professional to host the show. Years later, he now has multiple shows under his belt.

“I think of myself as an architect who happens to be on TV,” says George. “TV is a privilege, obviously, but architecture and design is what I love.” His old boss, world-famous architect Sir Terry Farrell, once called him “the great communicator” and this is perhaps what makes him so suited to the role of television. He can translate the thing he loves into good TV.

In his most successful show, Amazing Spaces, George takes small and unique spaces and helps people turn them into homes. He has seen many strange spaces in his time on the show, but what were the most memorable?

“I remember in an earlier season of Amazing Spaces there was a guy who had a ‘tree tent’ – it was this amazing globe-like aluminium-clad floating tent suspended from the trunks of trees […] Now he still has a thriving businesses twelve years later. These are the kind of wonderful things you get to witness.”

It’s safe to say he’s seen a lot of unconventional homes in his lifetime. It’s given him an interesting and thoughtful philosophy on the idea of ‘home.’ “There’s a difference between a house and a home,” he explains. “A house is bricks and mortar – a home is you. It crafts who you are. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s a special place of architecture that transforms your life.”

With that in mind, he has some advice for homeowners looking to renovate. “Design is everything,” he stresses. “Always make decisions on where you’re going to position furniture. People always leave that last.

There’s nothing worse than when at the end of a project you start buying furniture and putting it into a space, and you realise you’ve now got cables running along the wall or along the floor because you didn’t pick the right size furniture at the design stage.”


He’s experienced enough to know exactly what he’s talking about. But does he have any dream projects he’d like to work on?

“I want to design an underwater house… Or a compostable house. People talk about bio-architecture, but imagine if you could grow a house, live in it for a while, and then it decomposes again. That would be Mother Nature’s dream project. Mother Nature is probably the best architect in the world. She designs environments and ecosystems that work in harmony with each other.”

He’s clearly passionate about sustainability and the environment. “We’ve got to think about where we position houses, how they’re built, what they’re built from… If you want to be truly sustainable, you’ve got to build something that’s going to last a long time.”

George is channelling this passion for ecological design into the work he’s doing with Sofology.  He recently co-designed a range called The Gaia, a sustainable sofa which was the first staple-free sofa in the world at time of launch.

“There’s millions of staples used all the time in the manufacture of sofas. If you ever want to take a sofa apart and recycle or repurpose it, it’s really difficult because all the timber still has staples all over it, and the fabric gets ripped and torn when it’s taken apart. So most sofas are just thrown in a dump.”

He’s evidently excited about the work he’s able to do. His final piece of advice? “It’s worth saving a little bit more to get a better quality product that’s going to last you a long time.” It’s longevity that matters – both for the planet, and for our homes.

George Clarke’s design-led and stylish sofa ranges are available exclusively at Sofology stores nationwide and online at