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?