The life that Barry built

By September 21, 2015 News No Comments
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With his swept-back hair, tanned face and the insouciance of a world traveller, Barry Du Bois looks as though he’s just stepped off a yacht, something he’s done a lot of in the past few years. His own yacht is in Turkey right now and he’s a bit landlocked here at Channel Ten in Sydney, but he’s ready and willing to take us on a journey, and a quite amazing one.

He’s had wonderful times – the freedom and joy of the boat features heavily and, always, his family – and he’s faced tough times with both he and his wife Leonie surviving cancer and enduring the frustration and sadness of a long struggle to have children.

Barry and Leonie have twins now – 21-month-old Bennet and Arabella – and Du Bois knows he’s blessed.

“I think I’m the luckiest bloke on earth, no doubt about it,” he says. “[The twins] are the most special things in the world to me. I’m sure every dad says that. But the ‘but’ is this: I do think I had a gifted life and now I have another life and it’s equally gifted.”

Du Bois’ building and design skills – which led to a role on Ten’s The Renovators and now on The Living Room helping people reformat their homes – were formed early, watching his father and uncle work with their hands.

He grew up in Sydney’s west (“I’m a Westie”) in a “very family-oriented” home with two siblings, a cousin from the country and his uncle. “It was a two-bedroom fibro house on a six-lane highway but it was the most beautiful place on earth to me,” he says.

“It was a beautiful time, no doubt about it. I had an amazing upbringing in the suburbs out there.

“My dad and his brothers were incredibly hard workers, so I understood a work ethic from a very early age. My dad was my idol. And so was my uncle. I wanted to be like them; they could do anything in my eyes. When rich kids got a minibike, my dad made us a minibike, you know what I mean? It seemed that we had more than other kids because of that fact. We had nothing really, but we had everything you could want.”

Du Bois was apprenticed as a carpenter, then did a building certificate and diploma of interior design. “I loved to create. I was always good with my hands. I loved design as well. And I like to test myself. Even from a young age I asked the question, ‘Why?’ and that’s the most important thing you can ask in design.”

Read the full article at The Weekly Review