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No place like home for Griggs
TV host Johanna Griggs. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian.

It's impossible not to crack a smile in the presence of Johanna Griggs. Yes, it's a cliche but the Seven sweetheart and host of Better Homes and Gardens really is a ray of sunshine.

It's this positive outlook and sunny disposition which is integral to Griggs' success.

"It's much easier to be polite to someone than it is to be rude," she says over coffee in Cottesloe while in town filming for Better Homes.

"That's one thing I definitely think I've brought to the show and that attitude of instilling not to take it for granted. Never say no. If you're out at dinner and somebody comes up or if you're on the street, you take the time and you thank them.

"The only reason we are on TV is that someone's wanting to watch our show and I think sometimes in television people forget that." Griggs, who will celebrate 20 years in the industry in March replaced Noni Hazlehurst as host of the long-running Better Homes in 2005.

"The show's been going forever so people feel an ownership over it. You meet generations of people who have been watching it," she says.

On Friday night's show, the former swimmer and Commonwealth Games medallist visits a house in Melbourne which looks like a typical suburban home but is a state-of-the-art, kid-friendly, energy-efficient home.

Meanwhile, Dr Harry Cooper visits Margaret River where every year the staff of a local winery put out a Wine Dogs Calendar.

"My role I see as trying to get someone to relax because when they relax, they trust you enough to open up about their lives," Griggs says.

"It's a privilege. Every house is so varied and I have a massive passion for home architecture and design. That's what my husband and I do while we're off work." While Griggs makes a living from touring people's homes, she has an entirely different set of rules when it comes to her own private life.

"I'm pretty disciplined in every area of my life and I've never let a camera in my house," she says. "I think it's really important we close the door and that we have some privacy."

Griggs hit the tabloids when her three-year marriage to actor Gary Sweet ended more than a decade ago.

However, Griggs and Sweet have always chosen to keep the details of their separation out of the media.

"They might talk about our divorce in a certain way but the thing is Gary and I never spoke about our divorce like that, we never said the reasons," Griggs says.

"Everyone wants there to be a drama but there just isn't a drama." Griggs and Sweet have two sons, Jesse and Joe. In 2006 she married building foreman Todd Huggins.

"Gary doesn't see them a great deal because he's in Melbourne filming a new show (House Husbands)," she says of Sweet. "He's very happy in his personal life, probably the happiest I've ever seen him.

"He and the kids have a great relationship. It's probably not as functional but it doesn't matter, they love their dad, they think he's great fun.

"At the same time, they adore Todd who has been this amazing, constant figure in their lives."

Helping create a unified family unit was the reason for Griggs' decision to step down from her sports commentary role two years ago to focus more on being a mum. "When the boys were really young I used to go away to Melbourne every weekend for Sportsworld," she says. "Now I can't tell you how much I love having weekends. It's been singularly the best thing we've done for our family."

Better Homes and Gardens airs Friday at 7.30pm on Seven/GWN7.