I am the eldest of four children, with one brother and two sisters. I was brought up for most of my childhood in the village of Inkpen in Wiltshire. When I was young my mum’s job was to mount and frame pictures, now she’s an Interior Decorator and my dad worked at Christie’s Auctioneers for 42 years. I know that my passion for property and tastes in interiors have been heavily influenced by both my parents and now my parents in law, who for fifty years have run an incredible shop called the Lacquer Chest on Kensington Church Street. I’m not by any means recreating the house I was brought up in, my style is different from my parents, but I have to admit this acorn hasn’t fallen very far from the tree.
From a young age I was pretty fixated with the look of my bedroom. I didn’t have posters of pop stars (it’s true) but I remember buying my first second hand picture – it was an embroidered garden scene I found in an antiques market in Hungerford and I thought it was truly beautiful. I had a dressing table full of bits I collected and for my twelfth birthday my mum turned my bed into a four-poster dressed with white fabric, green bows and a pink trim. I was absolutely crazy about that bed. But, when we moved house my mum had the curtains of my beloved bed made into blinds for my new room... Why? Because I moved into the attic. Needless to say my family have always lived by an ethos of reuse and recycle, and goodness knows it’s stuck on me.
I bought my first flat when I was 21 and my first proper job was working with Interior Designer, Nicky Haslam. I then went on to work for Country Living Magazine selling classified space where I honed my negotiating skills putting me in a great place to follow my dreams and set up a property search company with my good friend Miranda in 1996 called Kirmir – (we thought we were very clever with this combination of both our names).
A few years after Kirmir was established I was contacted by a Scottish Production company to take part in a screen test for a new property show. There I met Phil and we instantly hit it off. We began making Location Location Location and then went on to make Relocation Relocation. We love working together but these days, as well as making Locations we each have our own individual projects that we’re immensely proud of. Mine is Craft and I’ve been lucky enough to make several successful series that focus on the skills and talents of many of Britain’s wonderful artisans, Kirstie’s Homemade Home I & II, Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas, Kirstie and Phil’s Perfect Christmas, and most recently Kirstie’s Handmade Britain.
Phil and I have also written a book together, How to Buy a House and we brought out an App, Kirstie and Phil’s House Hunter for all of you out there wishing to have your very own pocket Pip and Kirstie when you’re searching. I have two craft books that were born out of the television series, Kirstie’s Homemade Home and Craft. I’ve had a ball working on all of these things – the App is particularly cool, seeing yourself in mini.
In 2010 Phil and I decided to start our own production company with our long-term production partners Sarah Walmsley and Jane Muirhead. Raise the Roof Productions is our commitment to growing and nurturing all the wonderful talent that we know Scotland is full of. We’ve always made our shows in Scotland, so it was a no brainer for us really.
There are ups and downs of being on television. One of the major upsides however is being able to bring attention to things you feel strongly about. I’ve given time to a lot of charities but at the moment my main focus is promoting the work of HomeStartUK, the Prince’s Foundation for Building Communities and Keep Britain Tidy. All of these charities encourage people to take back control of their lives, their homes, their streets and their communities. Until very recently I was also battling against government dictates on homework for primary school children, which have now been removed. Yippeeeee!!!
A few years ago I was given the opportunity to bring out my own line of bed sheets, Kirsite Allsopp Home Living is available in stores and online all over the UK and in 2011 Marks and Spencer began retailing a Kirstie Allsopp gift and homewares range which has gone down a storm. I’m immensely proud of these projects but more than that it has been enormous fun and I will definitely be doing more. Thinking back to my beloved four poster bed when I was 12 years old, imagine how great it felt when I was asked to design my own range of sheets.
I’ve been very fortunate with all the things I’ve done, but there is nothing greater in my life than my family. I wanted children from when I was very, very small. My sisters are nine and 14 years younger than me and I used to push them around in my doll’s pram! Now I have my own two boys and I also have two stepsons. My children give me so much pleasure and joy every day. I love everything about them and when they’re happy, I’m happy. My OH (other half) is Ben Andersen. He’s a property developer, but more than that he is a property regenerator. He breathes new life into buildings and I am hugely inspired by his work. We spend a lot of time together discussing interiors, property and antiques and every day he teaches me something new. I’ll admit, the number of boys in my life means I can’t get too neat or too precious about our home, which is probably a very good thing, but the best bit about being the only girl in our house is that I don’t have to share my bathroom with any of them. I have managed to keep one small corner completely for me.
Raise the Roof is a production company set up by me, Phil (Spencer of-course) and our long-time production partners, Sarah Walmsley and Jane Muirhead in 2010 to nurture new ideas and grow production talent in Scotland.
Why Scotland? Our work has always been based in Scotland and all the people we’ve ever worked with in TV have been in Scotland, so when it came to starting our own production company, it had to be Scotland. We are institutionalised Scots!
Raise the Roof is such a brilliant, exciting venture for us and having our own outlet for new projects and ideas is something we’ve always wanted. We’ve already made a number of programmes such as Kirstie’s Handmade Britain, Phil Spencer: Secret Agent, Vacation Vacation Vacation and Kirstie and Phil’s Perfect Christmas. There are plenty more to come.
For all enquiries about TV, Books and Apps please visit the website.
One of the greatest upsides about working in TV is being able to bring attention to things I feel strongly about. Please click on the links below to read more about the incredible work of some of these organisations.
The Prince’s Foundation for Building Communities
The Prince’s Foundation for Building Communities enables under-used or redundant historic buildings to perform a new function, unlocking a regeneration of the wider community. The Trust works in all four parts of the United Kingdom generating a capacity to share learning and project experience.
Keep Britain Tidy
Keep Britain Tidy is an environmental charity and the anti-litter campaign for England. They also run programmes such as Eco-Schools, Blue Flag and Quality Coast Awards for beaches, and the Green Flag for parks to demonstrate practical action.
Home-Start supports almost 77,000 vulnerable children across the UK.
Last year, nearly 17,000 volunteers gave a million hours of support to families finding their way through difficult times. They help them cope with post-natal illness, isolation, bereavement, disability, domestic violence and much, much more.