Mr Neville Knott

Research project: Designed for the Camera: Irish Interior Makeover Television 1996–2014


This thesis examines how television makeover programmes, broadcast in Ireland between 1996 and 2014, mediate the professional practice of interior design. It argues that the programme-makers, in seeking to engage viewers, used a series of strategies—notably the suppression of professional and educational knowledge about interior design—to convey an image of staged coherence that was arrived at unproblematically. In that process, it will be argued, interior design knowledge got lost, and entertainment triumphed. Focusing on these strategies, the thesis considers how the production process used interior design, nonetheless, to attract an audience and generate ratings, focusing on the relationship between amateurs and professionals, the visual construction of televised interiors, and the blurred boundaries between education and entertainment. It sets this analysis within the context of external socio-economic factors. Drawing on two thousand hours of Irish television content, the thesis investigates televisual practices and examines the changes that occurred within Irish makeover programmes between 1996 and 2014. Most importantly, it aims to extend the current understanding of the tele-visualised interior by approaching it from a production perspective. To achieve its aims, the research has drawn on both the processes of interior design and television-making, and importantly, their intersection. 

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: Designed for the Camera: Irish Interior Makeover Television 1996–2014
  • Research supervisor: Professor Penny Sparke
  • Other research supervisor: Dr Fiona Fisher


I am course coordinator for the Honours BA in Interior Design in the Technological University Dublin having lectured in design for over thirty years. My private practice has focused on designing for retail, leisure and commercial domestic, both nationally and internationally while also being a member of the Crown Paints Colour Influence Panel. I have also worked with the main Irish broadcasters and production companies in presenting and designing interiors for some of the top-rated makeover programmes in Ireland such as Showhouse, Roomers, and Neville's Doorstep Challenge for the past twenty years. 

Areas of research interest

  • Makeover television
  • Construction of the Makeover Programme
  • History of Reality TV
  • Format Television
  • Lifestyle Television Programmes and the Construction of the Expert Host
  • Taste makers (The Design Expert)
  • Boom and Bust Interior Design Makeover Shows in Ireland between 1998 - 2014
  • Emergence of lifestyle television
  • Creating the imagined on television


  • Diploma Display Design
  • BA Interior Design
  • MA Creative Digital Media

Funding or awards received

  • Dublin Institute of Technology Funding for PhD Research 2016-2022