STYLE: Architect Joe Snell, a judge on House Rules, has a preference for white cars as they show of a design's purity
STYLE: Architect Joe Snell, a judge on House Rules, has a preference for white cars as they show of a design's purity

House Rules' Joe Snell talks motors

THERE was a time when architects drove only Saabs, but House Rules judge and multi-talented interior designer, urban event installer, lighting designer and architect Joe Snell is a Blue Oval man rather than a fan of the quirky Swedes.

With a car's design at its cleanest with a white body - a lesson learned from his father - Joe has a preference for the pure hue, and despite having three kids in tow, isn't a member of the predictable SUV owner's club.

Inner-city Sydney life means a family hatchback is the sensible choice, but future technologies and design hold great interest for Joe, as you'd expect of a man in his line of work.


What was your first car?

First car that I bought was a 2010 Ford Territory MKII, V6 and white. It was big to fit the growing family into and was very, very thirsty! We had to trade it in as we moved into an inner-city property where it didn't fit in the drive.

What are you driving now?

A 2012 Ford Focus Trend hatchback in white. I love that it fits in the driveway and that it is low cost in terms of petrol. Fitting three kids in the back with three car seats is a trial.

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CITY LIFE: Joe Snell has a Ford Focus Trend hatch which can carry the kids but also is easy to live with in the city than an SUV.

What cars did your family have while you were growing up?

We had lots of different cars over the years, and the key thing was they were always white. It is a design purity thing, according to my dad. The most memorable was a two-door Range Rover - that was a cool car - and also at one time my dad had major love for a Porsche 944. At different times we had a Holden Commodore station wagon and also a Mazda 121 bubble car.

What's your greatest frustration on the road?

On a three-lane freeway the major issue is that drivers 'camp' in the middle lane, while the left lane is empty. They should be in the left-hand lane except to overtake, which would allow two lanes to overtake.

Do you have any preferred driving music?

Cricket is the ultimate driving 'music' (especially the Ashes), as it means summer holidays.

If you were to pick anyone in the world to go on a road trip, who would it be and why?

Apart from my kids it would be a Swiss architect called Peter Zumthor. Architects always have good knowledge of the landscape and place, and I would love to chat with him about what he sees as we drive along.

What is your dream car and why?

I love what Elon Musk is doing with the Tesla: he is bringing us the future. My dream car would be a car from 20 years in the future that we can't even imagine now. It may not even be a 'car'.

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THE FUTURE: Snell says the technology used in Tesla electric cars is of great appeal to him

Vital statistics

Who: Joe Snell.

Born: March 19, 1978, in Newcastle, NSW.

Resume: The son of an architect, Joe was always surrounded by sketches of buildings and floor plans, inspiring him to complete a BSc in architecture and then a Bachelor of Architecture. Now a Registered Architect practising at Snell Architects he has been recognised with national design awards including the 2012 Westfield National Retail Awards, and the 2010 and 2011 Interior Design Excellence Awards. He is also Creative Director at lighting consultants LLIGHT and at bespoke gift company The Goods Tube.

See him: Judge on House Rules, Sundays at 7pm and Mondays and Tuesdays at 7.30pm on Channel 7.