'While You Were Out' cast member shares secrets

  • Article by: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 4, 2003 - 10:00 PM

Whenever Leslie Segrete of the TLC cable show "While You Were Out" slipcovers a chair or fashions a funky lampshade, I wonder how she does it.

Segrete, an expert carpenter and seamstress, is part of a team of interior designers and handypersons who redo a room in two days for under $1,500. The makeover is done secretly when one of the home's residents is on a mini-vacation, hence the popular decorating show's title.

Segrete will share some of her secrets (5 and 7 p.m. Friday and 1, 4 and 6 p.m. Saturday) at the Women's Home & Interior Design Expo at the Minneapolis Convention Center. She'll also answer questions and sign autographs after the seminars. See page H1 for Expo details.

Q How did you land the job on "While You Were Out?"

A Pure luck. I was a scenic designer in New York working for the Oxygen channel. A friend who worked at the BBC said they were looking for a female carpenter. And I said "Why not me?"

Q Does anyone else take over after the cameras stop rolling?

A Andrew Dan-Jumbo [the show's other carpenter] and I finish all the projects.

Q What was the most unusual thing you made for the show?

A In a home in Dallas, we made wall sconces out of melted gummi bears. They glowed when you turned on the lights.

Q What's the best part of being on "While You Were Out" besides hanging with wacky host Evan Farmer?

A It's lovely to be involved in someone's life for two days. We give someone a gift they will love.

Q But do they always love it?

A Everyone talks about the deck we did in Philadelphia. We cut a giant hole in a guy's deck and filled the hole with sand to make a beach. Then we painted the wall electric blue and attached fluorescent foam fish. The husband was furious and hated it. They had to edit out his profanities.

Q Why did you make a beach?

A His wife wanted to re-create their Caribbean honeymoon.

Q What's your favorite power tool?

A The power driver has so many functions -- you can take things apart or put things together with it.

Q Did you grow up in a handy family?

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