Tara Dennis

Tara Dennis with her daughter and son
Tara Dennis with her daughter and son 

Tara began working on television behind the scenes researching and coordinating decorating and design stories for the Nine Network of Australia.  Her first on-air role was as one of the original CHANGING ROOMS designers in 1998.

In 2006 Tara moved to Channel 7 to be part of the new Better Homes and Gardens television and magazine team.  Along with Johanna Griggs, Graham Ross and the rest of the team, Tara presents a weekly design segment featuring style trends and great make-overs for the home

In addition to her work on television, Tara recently completed her first book in association with Jamie Durie Publishing and Harper Collins.  Appropriately named HOME, the book was entirely written and styled by Tara and photographed by Martyn Rushby.  HOME was released in November 2005

As well as presenting for television and writing, Tara also engages in private as well as corporate design commissions and works extensively as a photographic stylist and colour consultant.  Tara can be seen regularly at industry exhibitions and events, conducting public demonstrations and stage talks.

Tara, how many children do you have? What age/sex are they?

I have two children a girl and a boy.  My daughter is just about to turn seventeen and my son is only six months.  You could say I had time to 'think' between them!

I certainly didn’t realise I could be so happy about starting all over again.

What has surprised you the most about becoming a mother?
My partner Martyn and I have been together since my daughter was five so the decision to have a baby together after twelve years wasn't taken lightly. It has really surprised both of us just how 'right' it feels.  I think we were both used to things the way they were, I certainly didn't realise I could be so happy about starting all over again.

Do you miss anything about your life prior to having children?
Only sleep, the rest is incidental.

How has your relationship with your partner changed since becoming parents?
We were best friends before, now we're even stronger.  I'm so grateful for all I have.

What advice do you have for new mothers or mothers to be?
I try not to give advice, I think it's such a natural thing for a woman to become a mother, even if you're scared that you won't know what to do or how to cope, amazingly you just do. 


What are you great at?
Creating and designing, I have more ideas than hours in the day.

What are you terrible at?
Relaxing.  Even with a baby I still have trouble sleeping; always too much to think about!

Tara, how and when did you first become interested in home design and decorating?
I owe my inspiration to my parents who were always, and still are constantly decorating and gardening.  It feels like a very natural thing to do to me.  I have never formally studied design.

Can you tell us what's involved behind the scenes when putting together your great segments on Seven's Better Homes and Gardens?
People say we make it look so easy on TV.  The reality is there is a lot of planning and preparation, which goes on prior to ensure smooth sailing.  It's a real team effort and my three- minute segments alone can take anything from 10 hours to several days to film. I'm eternally grateful to our wonderful crew and editors who have the patience to bring all of those hours down to a segment where renovating can actually look fun and achievable!

Tara, could you describe the style of décor you've chosen for your own home? Do you often redecorate your rooms?
It's hard to define my style, it's kind of Scandinavian meets Hamptons beach house.  It's light and airy, with lots of white accents.  We have bi-fold doors leading from the kitchen and living areas out to a large entertaining deck and a beautiful private garden thanks to Martyn.  And yes, we are constantly renovating and redecorating - can't resist!

What do you think about 'me' time?  Do you practice it, preach it or have you resigned yourself to the fact that you will have to play catch up later on - and how do (or would) you spend your leisure time?
To be honest, I don't have a lot of me time.  It all sounds great but I have never been able to achieve it.  If I'm not being a mum, I'm filming, writing, styling and designing.  We also run our own website which is very time hungry.  Martyn builds and maintains it as well photographing all of my projects.  We work together as a great team.  Our weekends and leisure time are often spent doing some of the above because we enjoy what we do.

What kind of Australia do you hope for in regard to the futures of your children?
I hope for all of the things anyone could; that is, a country that is safe and free for my children to grow happy and strong.  I have a hard time accepting bad service, poor attitude and apathy, which seems to be more common in Australia these days.  I hope that by reminding our children again and again just how important manners and respect for self and others is, as a community we can achieve harmony and achieve great things.

Tara, finally, a question all mums must face (no matter who they are!) - What are you feeding your children for dinner tonight?
Today is Sunday; we always have a roast on Sundays!  There will be meat, roast potatoes, carrots and spinach.  Now Harry is enjoying solids, we will mash his so he can enjoy Sunday roast too!