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Trading Houses

More on David and LeeAnn

David Todd - builder

David Todd left Canterbury University with a law degree but decided he'd rather become a chippie. 

He has been in the trade for 15 years and is now a self-employed residential and commercial builder, living in Piha on Auckland's West Coast.

When David saw the ad for a builder on Trading Houses, he felt it was meant to be.

David lost his wife to cancer two years ago, and is now a single parent to eight-year-old daughter Yazmin.

"I saw a clairvoyant, and I was told that this would happen, a new beginning", he says.

Being on camera has not fazed David, who was keen on acting from a young age, performing in plays at school and at University.

He says the biggest challenge on Trading Houses has been the "crazy hours", working through the night to get the job finished.

"The biggest drama was at Mangare Bridge, an empty front yard, fully bare, near the motorway. We totally transformed it, working all night, all the guy's mates came to help. The wife rang me up to thank me, she just couldn't believe what we'd done".

But for David's daughter Yazmin, it's all about dad's beloved dog Milsy, who has been on set at every location.

"She's not bothered about me, she's more excited about Milsy being on TV than Dad!"

LeAnn Yare - Interiors stylist; Air New Zealand pilot

Trading Houses designer LeeAnn Yare leads an extraordinarily busy life. She is a stylist for ACP magazines, a pilot for Air New Zealand, and mother to 15 month old Tyler (with another baby on the way).

Originally from Taipa in the Far North, LeeAnn left school at 17 and moved to Auckland, to train as a pilot. After five years she was flying for the Air New Zealand group. But it was buying and renovating her first home that lead to her passion for interior design.

Her hobby became a career three years ago when she entered a colour competition for Your Home & Garden, and won. Since then she has been styling interiors for Your Home & Garden, Home NZ, Next, Cleo, Taste, the Australian Women's Weekly and the Woman's Day.

Juggling two careers plus motherhood is something LeeAnn credits to being "really well organised", with lots of help from husband Glen, who is also a pilot.

"Glen's a real hands on Dad. I'm lucky he doesn't work a Monday to Friday 8-5 job, because he's flexible, so when he's home, I go to work. It's not easy, sometimes I'm home alone when Glen's away and I feel like a solo mother, and he feels the same when I am away!"

As one of two designers on Trading Houses, LeeAnn has a budget of $10,000 to makeover two rooms in four days. The tight budget has been a challenge, although LeeAnn says it encouraged her to think outside the square, to create maximum impact on minimum dollars.

"I'm really inspired by an eclectic mix, I love mixing old with new and unexpected things and colours together. I love retro, vintage, revamped and reupholstered things. If I see something I really love I'll buy it - regardless of where it might fit in my house!

For LeeAnn, great interior design is all about being stylish on a budget.

"I'm not into spending a million dollars on your home! You don't have to be in a mansion to have a really cool home, and you don't have to spend a lot of money. I love homes where you can see the owner's personality, that don't look like they came out of a store catalogue. I do love designer pieces, but I think people can have great style on a reasonable budget".

The biggest challenge on Trading Houses for LeeAnn was not money, but the husbands, who had some very definite ideas about decorating.
"You'd think they would leave the wife to make the choices but they surprised me the most!"

In one home she spent 24 hours trying to convince the husband to put up wallpaper in the kitchen and dining rooms. They finally compromised and papered just one wall.

"He was adamant he was not having wallpaper. And then his wife came home and absolutely loved it, which was fantastic! In the end, you can make anything work, you just have to be creative."