Design Crimes: Are You an Offender?

Outrageous Scottish design duo Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan from the hit U.K. series How Not to Decorate are now tackling Canadian bad taste in their HGTV show, Colin and Justin’s Home Heist. They’ve provided with a laundry list of design offences they’ve uncovered in Canadian homes. Are you guilty of any of the following?  

Design Crimes: Are You an Offender?

Colin: Canadians are still into theming. Maybe some coastal theme, where you paint your rooms blue and white and put shells on the walls. Or if you’re going jungle, you have animal prints, strange pictures of giraffes and all this nonsense. But you don’t live in the jungle! Be inspired by travel, be inspired by movies, but be a bit more sophisticated in your execution of it-don’t be so literal.

Justin: We’re also ridding the country of all hockey memorabilia. We love that you’re proud of your hockey, but you don’t need to have ornaments or lampshades made from hockey sticks.

Colin: And you don’t have to have hockey sticks over the fireplace either! And what’s with your obsession with Canadiana? You can be patriotic without looking like a Canadian gift shop! And you Canadians love your kitchen appliances, don’t you? You like to see them from a passing aircraft. Gigantic fridges. Really, why do Canadians like their fridge to be as large as possible? Are you storing for the long winter? If that’s the case, then you don’t need a giant fridge-just stick your food out your window and wait for it to defrost in March.

Justin: We love that Canadians love their timber, but we’re trying to get the timber off your walls and onto your floors. Timber walls are difficult to decorate, but timber floors provide the perfect backdrop for future interior-design schemes.

Colin: And you don’t have to collect various heads of beasts all over! But the thing that annoys me more than anything is the Canadian basement. It’s such a waste of space! In London, there would be a family of four living down there in luxury. Canadian homes are so full of clutter upstairs, and then there’s this big vacant space at the bottom of the house that’s desperately in need of some serious storage solutions.


Justin: But we love the lovely red of your maple leaf flag, and we’re using that as a confident, bold, sexy accent when we’re decorating. We’re currently redesigning our condo in Toronto. It looks like it had been decorated by some delinquent alcoholic middle-aged businessman. It’s appalling! Caramel, black, taupe, brown and red-all those colours can be good as accent walls, but rooms painted entirely in those shades can be overwhelming. And the brown is the same colour you would find in a child’s nappy! I don’t know why anybody would paint a room that colour and think it would look fab. It’s like a gentleman’s club gone wrong. It takes a gentleman to make it right.

Colin: And in Canada you have some homes from the Celine Dion school of design-a lot of gold, a lot of glitz, it’s a wee bit Vegas. I love that people who spend a lot of money can have bad taste as well, don’t you? That’s the great thing about bad taste-it’s very democratic. It doesn’t care where you come from, what your age is, what your income bracket is. Bad taste can strike anywhere. Thankfully so can Colin and Justin.

Home Heist airs on HGTV. Visit the show’s website at for more Colin & Justin.

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