You teach a popular home-staging course in the UK now, is your lecturing another side that you really enjoy?
It is actually, yes. I started doing the courses five years ago. I met this young woman, and the long and the short of it is that we designed the courses together and started the first two-day introduction to home staging. Interestingly enough, not only has the awareness of the public changed, the people who come to the courses have changed as well. When we first started people were either like, ‘Ooh we want to come and see Ann Maurice ‘The House Doctor’’, or ‘I have a house maybe I should do it up’. Now nearly everyone who comes to the course wants to do this as a career. So then we added another day on to the two days and that became the introductory business course. We also added a week long hands on course that’s very small – around 18-20 people – and we go in and makeover a house. There’s lots of experience in colour, shelf dressing, photography, clutter clearing and feng shui. It’s all well and good to understand it in theory, but unless you actually get in there and do it with someone critiquing you, you never actually get the hands on experience. 
On the three-day introductory basic courses there’s also the chance to sign up to our mentor programme which involves six months of mentoring with the senior workers, as well as three projects and regular reports. At the end of it, if the participant has passed everything, then they can join ‘The House Doctor Network’ which means that they are endorsed by my name. Then there are further requirements to become a senior consultant and a master consultant. I would be very hesitant to put my name behind somebody who had only sat through a three-day course. I want to know that they know how to do it, so if you’re not good enough, you don’t get the qualification.

You own houses around the world, did you redesign them yourself?
Oh gosh, they are my dream homes. I’ve been in San Francisco there for 15 years now and it’s very nice, it’s got a view of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz and is very traditional San Francisco city living. There’s a big warm space for an office with a terrace off that and one wall full of bookshelves, and it’s got a great entertainment space, a bar area and dining area and so on. It’s an open and beautiful space to spend time. I go up in the morning to check emails and watch the boats go by and the seagulls fly.
After that we brought Mexico, which was an early 700’s Spanish Colonial style. We brought the apartment next door, combined them and did a total refurbishment. It’s very different, Mexican, colonial and over the top. It’s kind of a fantasy home.
We’ve also just acquired another house in the desert in California, near Palm Springs, which is what they call a ‘50s house’. It’s quite small with a pool and a Jacuzzi and 21 palm trees and it’s all open and glass. And to make life more interesting we’re also building a house in the countryside in Mexico from scratch – it’s going to be very different, we’re almost finished now. It’s a little bit of hacienda and a little bit more contemporary.

That’s a lot of different styles!
That’s the problem, some people will stay in one house and continue to refine their personal style, but I have too many ideas and it’s harder to decorate when you’re personally involved.. I love old colonial as well as very traditional, sophisticated San Francisco. Then there’s the beautiful simple 1950s look and then the country style and I suppose if I had a house in the UK it would be completely different as well. I love the very stylish old homes in England, where the old is mixed with the new, antiques and artwork intermingled with new furniture in an elegant way.

Colour is always very important in your staging; do you have one that you gravitate to?
It obviously depends on where you are, and whether you are interior designing or staging, but I would say across the board that I’m a fan of various shades and tones of green. I’m very much a green person.

How do you relax?
I go shopping. Every time I’m in a new place I like to see what’s out there. I like to go to art galleries, museums and markets… I absolutely love markets. I’m a treasure hunter, I never go into the big department stores and pay full price.

Is there anything you can’t live without in all your homes?
I have to have flowers definitely. I have to have fragrance, oils and candles, my books and a good light to read in bed with. For me home has always been very important, I feel like that is my sanctuary, so the first thing I do after I’ve been away for a long time is to go out and buy flowers. I just do those little touches and it comes alive again.

What do you have next in store?
Well I’ve got my books, lecturing and more television programmes coming out, but I’ll just take it as it comes, but I’m pretty much like that anyway I don’t force the river. I’ve just gone with the flow and kept a positive attitude to keep open to what the universe has to offer.