When Olivia Bowen turned to DIY during lockdown she had no idea it would lead to a new career.
The mum-of-one, 28, and her husband Alex moved in to their current home in 2020 just before the start of the Coronavirus pandemic – and it turned out to be the starting point for a whole new interest in interior design.
She told Women’s Health: ‘It was a complete renovation project and I really had to get down and dirty, because we couldn’t have anyone in until it was allowed. We had to start doing a lot of stuff ourselves.
‘I saw Frenchic paint online, and saw that loads of people used it to do up doors, or chests of drawers or just stuff that I reckoned I could do, because at that point, I wasn’t very good. I was very much a beginner. ‘I thought “yeah, I’m gonna sort of get my hands on that and give it a go”. We ended up basically doing our whole house in Frenchic. For me the renovations just took my mind off a lot of things during COVID.
Soon Olivia was upcycling benches, bigger pieces of furniture and her son Abel’s playroom using Frenchic, and it started a long-standing relationship with the British chalk paint brand.
Olivia adds that with the cost of living crisis making life tougher than ever, having the confidence to do a spot of DIY or upcycling can be an economic way to brighten up your living space. ‘People still wanting to be happy with their home, still want to do stuff in their house,’ she said. ‘I think it’s such a great thing to do. Just being able to use a bit of paint and really make yourself feel good. It is such a nice thing to do for yourself.’
When Olivia, who shot to fame on the 2016 series of Love Island, first picked up a paintbrush three years ago, she had no idea that it would end up being a professional tool – in more ways than one.
Not only did lockdown allow her a window to study for a diploma in interior design, she has also developed the skills needed to manage rental properties.
She explained: ‘I did a diploma whilst COVID was happening. Obviously, we were all stuck. I didn’t have anything else to do, and I thought, “let me actually use my time to get creative and do something that could, you know, become a hobby, but also potentially become something that I work with”, which I now do. That’s where it all kind of started.
‘I have no idea where [the diploma] it will take me. I know that it’s something that I really enjoy. And I loved doing our house. We do renovate properties and rent them out. So we’re actually just about to rent out our second property and look for a third. So it’s taken me in that direction, which is really great, investment wise, but also it’s just the passion that I have.’
Olivia is an ambassador for Frenchic. The full Frenchic range can be found at www.frenchicpaint.co.uk