Do you know who are the most popular Interior Designers in the UK? We’ve hand-picked the 26 hottest names in the Interior Design industry, read on to discover their backgrounds and most importantly, celebrate their achievements! Get to know them and their work here and be inspired for your next project!
Antique French Style Bedroom
Kelly is currently considered Britain’s foremost interior designer, which isn’t bad for someone who started their career at sixteen years of age by designing a family friend’s kitchen!
Although she began life in South Africa, born 28th July 1959, her family relocated to London two years later.
Britain has been Kelly’s home since then, aside from a brief time in South Africa, where she spent some time in a rock band and was arrested for mixing with black musicians, in direct contravention of the apartheid laws at the time.
Her career has been the very epitome of success, with nine books published and numerous prestige design projects for some of the most famous people and opulent locations in the world. These include private jets, 5* luxury hotels, cruise ships, and private homes.
She is no stranger to the world of television either, presenting her own Channel 5 show, Superior Interiors with Kelly Hoppen, as well as a two-year stint on the popular BBC show, Dragon’s Den, and appearing as a guest judge in the Great Interior Design Challenge.
It’s no cliche to say that Kelly’s work is her life, and that she pours her heart and soul into her work. She offers a unique insight into the world of interior design that few others can.
Kelly is famed for her use of ideas and patterns from Eastern culture fused with a neutral palette (earning her the name ‘Queen of Taupe’) to create a balanced, harmonious atmosphere, which is central to her philosophical approach to interior design.
Doucet Natural Linen Chair
Her numerous awards and accolades, including an MBE in 2009 and a CBE in 2020, as well as her extensive involvement in charity work are a testament to her admirable character. All of this has been achieved despite a personal struggle with dyslexia, which only reinforces her position as a role model and inspiration.
The name Andrew Martin has been at the heart of British interior design for more than forty years, since being founded in 1978.
The secret behind its success has an unlikely origin: chicken pox!
As a child, founder Martin Waller was suffering from this illness, and to pass the time he began reading. One of the books he picked up was the Readers Digest book of travels. This sparked a love of global travel and a fascination for worldwide cultures and exotic places that continues unabated to this day.
His pursuits have earned him the reputation of being a modern-day Indiana Jones, a label which he rather enjoys. Although he doesn’t actually raid tombs or carry a whip, he does spend a lot of time travelling the globe in search of inspiration for his design ideas.
Born in 1956, Martin was educated at Eton before launching into his career in design. In 1978, at age 22, he opened his first store in Richmond-Upon-Thames.
Nine years later, it was relocated to Walton Street, South Kensington. Since then, Andrew Martin has opened fifteen showrooms around the world, including Dubai, Beijing, Moscow, Los Angeles, and New York.
Martin has worked on countless design projects, from James Bond film sets to Miami Hotels. He even boasts Her Majesty the Queen as a customer!
The ethos that has kept Andrew Martin at the forefront of interior design for so long, aside from Martin Waller’s infectious enthusiasm, is that their designs are not restricted by era or cultural origin, or confined to a particular style. It’s a method of design best described as eclectic, leading to Waller’s trademark use of ‘Fusion Interiors’. These unique designs explore the exotic cultures of the world, combining multiple textures, time periods and other objects into one fascinating, uncompromising whole. Somehow, it all comes together beautifully, evoking the romance of travel and the rich traditions and crafts from around the world.
Andrew Martin, with Martin Waller at the helm, is nothing short of genius, celebrating world cultures through interior design.
Eiffel Tower & Butterfly 3D Canvas Wall Art
It started with a set of wedding china stored in a cupboard. It was well-made, a piece of art in which someone had invested their time, effort and skill. This got her thinking about what art was, and how we often keep out locked up instead of enjoying and celebrating it. Art doesn’t have to be a picture on a wall, it can be the everyday objects we know and love.
Susie acquired a factory in Stoke, determined to create hand-crafted goods only. She spent many months researching craft methods in India and Sri Lanka.
Her efforts were rewarded when the factory could not keep up with demand, so a second was opened, which also couldn’t match the phenomenal volume of sales.
The company evolved from attending fairs in the early 2000s to opening its first two shops in 2008.
Now, Susie Watson is a well-loved and respected name across the UK, with ten stores serving most regions of the country from Sherborne to Harrogate.
So, what keeps customers returning to Susie Watson stores?
Susie herself puts it down to four things. First, she still views herself as being self-employed, almost as if she is running a small business.
This leads to the second factor: customer service. Susie employs staff who enjoy their jobs and who welcome the customers like old friends. The stores are inviting and stuffed with beautiful objects, and the staff get involved with the customers, helping them with their choices.
Thirdly, it’s about the skills of the people who craft the items for sale. Each object, whether a cushion, a cup, or a chair, is lovingly and carefully handmade. It’s a unique work of art that can be enjoyed every day.
Finally, it’s about the designs themselves, which Susie describes as ‘relaxed, informal, but elegant’. Susie takes her inspiration from the classic English country garden look, but adds a contemporary dimension. She also infuses her designs with a twist of Indian flair, taking them to another level entirely.
It’s a recipe that is sure to remain successful for decades to come.
Mumbai Coffee Table
This name might be familiar to fans of 70s movies, as Anouska (or Anoushka) Hempel appeared in several films, including On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, starring George Lazenby as James Bond.
New Zealand born Anouska, now 79 years old, looks back at those times with light-hearted affection, admitting that acting was not her forte. It was a means to an end, allowing her an avenue into London society, where she still holds sway all these years later.
Anouska Hempel arrived in England in 1962 with £10 in her pocket and not much else. She has the title of Lady Weinberg, following her marriage to Sir Mark Wienberg in 1980.
After her brief but eventful acting career, she became a hotelier, then turned her hand to her first-love – interior design.
By 2002, she was listed among the top 100 interior designers and architects in the world.
Her success is built on a foundation of sheer determination and hard work, starting with the legendary Blakes hotel in South Kensington.
Once a run-down and neglected building, she transformed it over a period of four years into a spectacular mix of east meets west opulence. It is regarded as the world’s first boutique hotel, attracting the rich and famous from around the world. It still attracts them today, with clients such as Lady Gaga, the Beckhams, and Quentin Tarantino.
Aside from hotels, she has created interiors for two yachts (one being her own), stores for Louis Vuitton and Van Cleef & Arpels, Henry Cottons, and Lokum. There have been many private commissions as well, including a memorial garden for Princess Margaret.
This connection with the royals was a long-established one, as she would have met Princess Margaret at numerous events. Indeed, she designed couture clothes for her, as she did for Princess Diana.
Anouska Hempel’s grit and determination are awe inspiring, and at times intimidating. And it is the secret to her continued success.
Rose Uniacke is one of those extraordinary people who can work wonders but make it look so easy.
Could it be that her background in philosophy, that she studied at UCL, instilled a sense of serenity that influenced her later? It’s possible. The Sunday Times has labelled her the Queen of Serene, because of her gift of melding materials and textures to create a simple, refined look that exudes quality and remains understated.
Rose works this magic by focusing on how light affects the space, and how that space then affects us. She firmly believes that rooms are there to be used, not set aside as sterile showpieces.
After finishing her studies in philosophy, Rose went on to train as a furniture restorer, learning how to gild and lacquer furniture professionally. Her interest in this field was probably sparked by her mother, who owned an antique shop.
This training gave Rose a real insight into the craftsmanship involved in furniture making, and she developed an eye for quality antiques over the years, especially during her time in France where she sourced antique furniture for her mother’s store.
Antique French Style Sideboard
For Rose, interior design is all about the flow. The flow of light
through the room, the flow of people as they come and go. She pays attention to how the light plays, then forms the design around this.
Her designs mix old and new seamlessly, creating elegant spaces that people just want to use. And what’s even more impressive is that she manages to make each design different. She takes a personal interest in all of her clients and projects, discussing their likes and dislikes, and creating a unique plan based around this, but still using her trademark style and flair.
It’s precisely this ability that has led to Rose being described as the best interior designer in London, and arguably the UK, in recent years.
Born in South London and raised near Bournemouth, Celia Sawyer left school at age fifteen with a handful of qualifications and started her working life as a dental nurse. She is now a multi-millionaire, with an interior design company based in Knightsbridge, London, called Celia Sawyer Luxury Interiors. She also owns an extensive property portfolio, both here in the UK and Barbados, as well as having investments in the film industry.
The journey from the dentist’s surgery to becoming a self-made millionaire wasn’t straightforward, as there were many twists and turns.
She is now best known for her work in the world of interior design, appearing in 2012 as one of the dealers in the Channel 4 program called Rooms. This led to the BBC asking her in 2014 to host another design show, entitled Your Home In Their Hands.
As if her business responsibilities and television appearances weren’t enough, Celia also sources art and collectables for an exclusive list of rich and famous clients. And on top of this, she finds time to contribute to publications such as Hello! Magazine, the MailOnline, and the Huffington Post, amongst others.
Silver Abstract Figures on Black Stand
All of this doesn’t stop her from having time for her Husband, Nick, and their two children.
Celia’s style is the last word in contemporary opulence. She has designed the interiors of luxury yachts, helicopters, beach villas, and royal residences. Each one carries her distinctive style: breathtakingly bold without being ostentatious, with flowing, clean lines and pleasing symmetry.
Celia has, deservedly, won awards over the years, including Inspirational Woman of the Year in 2013. She has also been named in the top 250 most powerful women leaders, and the top 100 most influential British entrepreneurs.
For someone with such humble beginnings, this is a truly remarkable achievement.
Ben’s background in art history, which he studied at Edinburgh University, gives a clue to his love of the past. It’s a central feature in many of his designs, illustrating his philosophy of ‘timelessness’. He is famous for thinking outside the box, for ignoring the restraints of current fashions and fads.
After Edinburgh, he moved on to the Prince of Wales Institute of Architecture. Following a five-year stint in New York and some work for the Prince’s Trust, he opened his practice in 2004 which has gone from strength to strength.
As well as his successful architecture and interior design business, he also runs a home furnishings shop in Bloomsbury, London, called Pentreath & Hall.
The key to Ben’s success is that he trusts his team to work with him to create strong designs that will transcend time, regardless of budget or size.
For Ben, it’s all about the space and how the homeowners relate to it. He spends time teasing out details from the clients about themselves and their characters before creating a design that connects them with the space in unique ways. This often means filling spaces on walls or in corners with interesting objects, such as ottomans (Ben loves ottomans!) and sideboards, and lots of fascinating prints and photos, then adding colour and texture to enhance the whole thing. Ben doesn’t shy away from bold colours that you perhaps wouldn’t have thought go well together, but he makes it work!
Large Green Rectangular Storage Ottoman
Many clients are surprised at just how much the finished design reflects them and their lives.
This approach has won him acclaim from far and wide, with Country Life magazine naming him ‘one of the best country house architects in Britain’.
One indication of Ben’s worth as an architect and interior designer is the fact that he has been commissioned by royalty, working on the Duchy of Cornwall’s urban extension of Poundbury near Dorset, as well as other properties owned by the Prince of Wales. He was also responsible for the recent refurbishment of Anmer Hall for the Duchess of Cambridge, a project that raised his profile even further. With prestigious clients such as these, Ben and his team are sure to stay at the top for the foreseeable future.
The year 2021 was a significant milestone for Nina Campbell Ltd, as the company marked its 50th year in the world of interior design.
It’s a journey that started when Nina was 19 years old, joining the distinguished London-based furniture and wallpaper designer Colefax & Fowler – as a tea maker! Thankfully, she wasn’t very good at this job, and was given other tasks to do which eventually gave her the opportunity to prove her interior design skills.
Following her three years with Colefax & Fowler, she found her independence, establishing her own decorating business. Her early projects included designs for a Scottish castle, and redecorating the legendary members-only Annabel’s nightclub in Berkeley Square.
Nightclub owner, Mark Birley, was so impressed with Nina’s work that they went into business together, opening Campbell & Birley in 1970. This shop, based in Pimlico, London, was uncompromisingly luxurious, selling superior-quality home furnishings and china imported from Europe. This chapter came to an end when Mark Birley decided to branch out into the wine business, and Nina went on to open her own place in Knightsbridge. This beautiful store is still as popular today as it was back then.
And so, Nina (born Henrietta Sylvia Campbell) began a phenomenally successful career in retail and interior design.
Born the day after the end of World War Two, Nina shows no signs of slowing down. She takes an active role in designing fabrics, home accessories and wallpaper, as well as overseeing the Walton Street shop, which still stocks her ‘hearts’ design bone china.
The heart motif is one that Nina is famed for, with her iconic heart-shaped glasses. Could this be a subconscious revelation of her personality? Her clients would probably say that it was. Nina takes a personal interest in each and every client, paying attention to the slightest detail until everything is exactly as it should be. She specialises in making the client happy. She genuinely cares about getting things right, which is surely the mark of a great designer.
Silver Heart Shaped Metal Frame Wall Clock
In the time-honoured tradition of success stories, Sophie’s route to fame in the world of interior design was slow, steady, and with a few diversions along the way.
Graduating from Brighton University in 1997 after studying 3D design, where she learned about plastics, metalwork, woodwork, ceramics and jewellery, she moved to London to join a business growth scheme called Cockpit Arts.
To boost her income, Sophie began helping out with interior design projects, which eventually led to work on the shopping pages of various magazines.
This experience culminated in a position as a journalist at the BBC Good Homes magazine between 2000 and 2005, a role of which she is rightly proud, and which set her on the path to success as an interior stylist.
The training and experience she received at the BBC, including designing room sets and writing features, built a solid foundation for her eleven-year run as a freelance interior designer.
Somewhat disconnected from the world of design, Sophie took time out at age 21 to enter the world of professional rally driving!
However, this exciting interlude didn’t stop her from continuing her career in design, and she soon secured roles in several popular TV design shows. These include 60 minute makeover on ITV, and the BBC’s The Great Interior Design Challenge and DIY SOS.
Many designers have a chosen style or reflect the trends of the time. Sophie doesn’t allow herself to be limited as to what designs she uses. Her mission is to make designs accessible to everyone, regardless of who they are, to inspire and encourage ordinary people to design their own spaces how they feel they should be and which reflect them as a person.
From her home in Brighton, which she shares with her husband, Tom, and their son, Sophie juggles her amazingly successful career with family life. She has embraced the future, using Instagram, her blog, and podcasts to share her wealth of knowledge, skill, and experience. If there was an award for Interior Designer for the People, then Sophie Robinson would need to make room for it on her mantlepiece.
Interior design is no stranger to glamour it comes with the territory. This line of work is bound to attract some larger-than-life characters.
Nicky Haslam fits this description with ease. Reading his bio is like diving into another world, the type of details you find in glamorous novels. You find references to his skills as a cabaret singer, artist, editor, and book reviewer. He is famed for his sartorial elegance, appearing on GQ and Vanity Fair magazine’s best dressed list.
Born on 27th September 1939, Nicholas Ponsonby Haslam was no stranger to luxury, beauty, and fascinating people. At age 11 he contracted polio and was confined to bed for many months. To pass the time, his parents commissioned an enormous doll’s house to be made, which allowed him to arrange the rooms as he liked, sparking an early passion for design. He was an accomplished artist, even from a young age, and he expanded this talent at Eton.
His experience of art college, however, totalled only three weeks, before he launched himself into the world. Moving to London, he took residence in a workman’s cottage in Waterloo and enjoyed 1960s life. He eventually joined Vogue magazine, then Vogue in New York, where he collaborated with Andy Warhol.
Then followed a six-year stint as a cowboy on an Arizona ranch, before two further years in Hollywood, before Haslam returned to the UK to decorate a house for Alex Hesketh (3rd Baron Hesketh).
These are the bare bones, giving a brief glimpse of a life lived to the full.
Maya 9 Pendant Light
Nicky Haslam built on his reputation, eventually establishing NH Design in the 1980s. Now called Nicky Haslam Studio, this architectural and interior design office combines timeless elegance with contemporary opulence. Each design is infused with the same wit and humour that Haslam exudes. It’s surely the secret of his youthful spirit and appearance, belying the fact that he is in his early eighties.
Haslam’s client list reflects his value as Britain’s ultimate interior designer, and it reads like a who’s who of royalty and rock music. It’s an accomplishment that few have matched before or will be able to match in the future.
Few people may realise that the face behind David Linley, the luxury gift, furniture and interior design company, is none other than the Queen’s nephew, David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon.
Being the son of Anthony Armstrong-Jones and Princess Margaret was always going to cause a stir, which is probably why the name David Linley was chosen, to deflect some of the glamour and restore a sense of calm professionalism.
Obviously, this lofty position afforded him close contact with some of the best quality fixtures, fittings and furniture that money can buy. This may be what inspired his passion for arts and crafts, which he developed while at the exclusive Bedales School in Hampshire. Following his time there he spent two years at Parnham House in Dorset, known as the School for Craftsmen in wood, which gave him a real insight into the traditional skills required for making hight-end furniture.
La Rochelle Collection
This love for craftsmanship and bespoke pieces was given an outlet when Viscount Linley bought a workshop in Dorking, where worked for three years, designing and making furniture. Then, in 1985, he launched David Linley Furniture Limited making and selling interior design products, accessories, and bespoke furniture.
The idea of a royal – the Queen’s nephew, no less – working for a living caused an immediate surge of interest, as one would expect.
However, it’s fair to say that David Linley could have survived on its own merits. The quality of the items is peerless, made by master craftsmen of the highest calibre using ideas created by some of the world’s most respected designers.
The interior design section of the company came about in 2007 due to popular demand from clients. The team works together with each individual client, whether for private or commercial projects, to create a truly unique finish, for chalets, studios, or hotels. Designs can range from metro-chic, to understated luxury, to a perfect balance of traditional and modern styles. No challenge is too great and attention to detail means everything. More recently, the company has shortened its name to Linley. And this name has become a byword for premium-quality design.
You know immediately what calibre of designer you’re dealing with, when they are described as a ‘royal decorator’. And this is precisely the way Robert Kime is mentioned in most design magazines.
On top of this enviable title, Robert has received praise from one of those royals: none other than HRH the Prince of Wales, who described his design skills as ‘genius’ following Robert’s redecoration of Clarence House.
These legendary skills have been refined over the past 50 years, and Robert’s contribution to and influence of British interior design over this time can’t be overstated. It’s a name that’s synonymous with the classic English ‘lived in’ style, effortlessly merging textiles, antiques, curios, and subtle colours, as if they had been there forever, rather than being placed deliberately as part of a design.
His skill lies in assembling a collection of items that you wouldn’t believe would work together and working his magic so they look as if they were made for each other.
Robert came to the world of interior design by way of the antiques trade. He made a name for himself selling antiques to dons and fellow students while reading Medieval History at Oxford. Prior to this, he left school at 16 to be an archaeologist in Greece, which sparked a fascination for the textiles of those regions that continues to this day.
His main interest was (and still remains) rugs and textiles, because of the stories they contain. He is inspired by history and travel, accumulating a collection of rugs and textiles that have featured heavily in many of his designs.
At the heart of it all, Robert’s secret is in the simplicity of his ideas. He doesn’t see himself as a designer, but more of an assembler of interesting items. He has the mind of a dealer, rather than a decorator. He and his team have a clear aim when creating designs. Robert wants his rooms to be lived in, not looked at!
This outlook has served him well, as his wonderful designs, as well as his prestigious showrooms in Pimlico and Marlborough, are held in high regard by a client base that spans the globe.
Like so many eminent British designers, Birdie Fortescue is inspired by global travel. This love for other cultures influences her designs, allowing her to meld classic English ideas with the rich flavours of India, Africa, Eastern Europe and beyond.
Birdie launched her successful interior design career off the back of an equally successful time dealing in antiques, prior to which she gained a wealth of experience at Colefax & Fowler, the world-renowned interior design company.
In 2014, Birdie bought a warehouse in Burnham Market, Norfolk, from which to sell her antiques. As the space was larger than anticipated, she was inspired to fill the place with contemporary art and homeware. This proved to be a winner, rapidly gaining a faithful band of enthusiastic followers.
Multicoloured Monkey Wall Art
Four years later, Birdie Fortescue’s eponymous showroom relocated to Fakenham, where it still draws customers. It’s a combination of design studio, shop, and warehouse, keeping the business on an intimate, approachable level, which is exactly how Birdie likes things. She regards this as a small business and feels that it is important for her to play a central role and to take a personal interest in the clients and their needs.
It’s a one-stop-shop for exquisite homeware and design, mixing old and new, subtle and exotic, and it works beautifully.
Despite Birdie’s strong connection with North Norfolk, she invests heavily in quality craftsmanship from overseas. Her designs aren’t limited by place or time, and can be appreciated by customers of all ages and backgrounds.
Her company has a strong sense of ethics, driven by Birdie’s own beliefs, including the introduction of measures to reduce its global footprint as well as sourcing textiles and handcrafted items from traditional artisans who are members of cooperatives or small businesses.
With credentials like these, Birdie Fortescue’s future in design is assured.
Fiona grew up surrounded by rugged beauty and ancient history in the northwest of England. Both instilled a sense of timelessness and tangible history: nature seems infinite, and the past lives of our ancestors leave traces in the land that we can still experience today.
Although Fiona’s interior design and architecture businesses are based in London, Northumberland is still deeply ingrained in her heart and soul, and it often emerges in her stunning designs.
Fiona and her multi-disciplinary team have an almost holistic approach to their work. They examine all aspects of the space to discover the best design that maximises the use, location, and all of the elements within it. No detail is too small to be missed, and they use terms like alchemy and vision, adding a real sense of mystique to the process.
The team is deliberately diverse, a truly global enterprise that draws on the best of all worlds to offer a better understanding of the client’s needs.
And it works fantastically well.
Fiona Barratt Interiors excels in providing leading-edge contemporary designs that merge bold accent colours with sophisticated neutral textures. Stark symmetrical shapes are offset by complex and detailed finishes.
Orange Velvet Footstool
Quality is never compromised, and Fiona makes sure of this personally by employing only the best craftsmen from around the world. Her clients would expect nothing less, being used to premium-quality products: many of Fiona’s clients are connected with some of the best luxury hospitality companies in the world.
Design and architecture are in Fiona’s DNA, as her grandfather was Sir Lawrie Barrat, founder of the property development company, Barratt Homes. He was her mentor and inspiration, influencing her decision to study design at the Chelsea College of art and the Parson School of design, New York. In 2006 she launched Fiona Barratt Interiors, and since then has earned recognition as one of the country’s foremost designers.
This is a rare and commendable achievement for someone who has only 17 years experience in the interior design business.
Some of the best British interior designers of recent times have achieved success by combining the old with the new, and Studio Ashby definitely has a place among them, despite only being established in 2014.
Studio Ashby, under the guidance of creative director Sophie Ashby, avoids being pinned down by the fads and whims of passing fashions, carving its own style and sense of authenticity on each space it transforms.
And, once again, like some of our best designers, Sophie has a background in antiques, as well as a BA in Art History (Hons) from Leeds University.
Each design draws on Sophie’s love of antiques, contemporary art, photography, and a whole eclectic mix of fascinating objects. Not everyone can combine these things successfully, and it takes a practised and skillful eye to achieve a pleasing balance. This is definitely an area in which Sophie and Studio Ashby excel.
Art takes a central role in each design, as Sophie strongly believes that it completes a space, and looking at Studio Ashby’s body of work, it’s hard to disagree with this sentiment.
Another idea that sits at the heart of Studio Ashby’s ethos is the strong connection and good working relationship with the artisans and craftsmen who supply the exquisitely crafted items that feature in the designs. At Studio Ashby, integrity is everything.
This ideal extends to the relationship with each client, with an in-depth consultation to discover what inspires and moves them. The space, whether in a home, restaurant, commercial setting, or a hotel, is for people to use and inhabit. Studio Ashby takes the client’s inspirations to create a design that fulfils their desires, using a combination of clever lighting, art, and furniture, set against a natural palette of textures and finishes.
Stellan Faux Fur Throw Ochre
This approach has earned Studio Ashby a host of accolades, including a listing among the House & Garden top 100 Interior Designers in 2018.
Interior designers use a variety of approaches and ideas to create their designs, but each one has a central theme: the relationship between people and the spaces they use.
Fran Hickman and her team of highly qualified designers, based in London and New York, take this a step further. They firmly believe that a well-designed space can change the way people behave within them. It’s all about feeling.
The aim is to create a design that enhances the social aspect of any space, wherever it may be. Whether a luxury hotel, a private residence, a modern office, or an upmarket fashion boutique, good design can influence people’s behaviour for the better. Make the space special, and people will feel special within them.
Ottinge 2 Drawer Desk
Fran’s vision and drive were inspired in part by her childhood. As one of six siblings in a Kensington townhouse, she sensed the need for a well-planned personal space keenly. There was noise, clutter, people all around, and this drove Fran to examine the relationship between people and the spaces they inhabit. She realised that spaces have a story to tell.
For Fran, good design isn’t really about things, but the materials. And these materials, with their varying textures and colours, are tailored to suit the locale, environment, and personal history of each client.
There’s a touch of zen about these designs, as each and every aspect is deliberately placed as part of the overall design in perfect balance and harmony. It enhances the mood and lifts the spirit.
It’s a brave approach to interior design, with the implicit suggestion that these spaces can improve the lives of those who use them, even to the point of making them happier and healthier.
Does it really work? The astonishing success of Fran Hickman Design & Interiors since its establishment in 2014 suggests that it surely does!
Born into a family of artists, Laura was acquainted with creativity, colour and beautiful designs from an early age. But it wasn’t until her teenage years that she was exposed to the concept of interior architecture while visiting a family friend in France.
This place, the house of an architect, had a profound effect on her, firing a creative desire that is still evident today.
After graduating in Interior Design at Brighton University, Laura immediately secured a role at the illustrious interior design agency, Godrich, where she was immersed in the world of high-end interior design, mostly involving the homes of celebrities and VIPs.
This formative experience was followed by an equally exciting period with Suzy Hoodless, after which Laura opened an online boutique called Echo Interiors in 2007, selling luxury homewares and speciality handcrafted items.
A year later, Laura teamed up with husband, Aaron, to launch Laura Hammett interior design studio, to create some of the finest bespoke designs available.
When pushed to describe her individual style, Laura would probably say that it is classic contemporary. But what concerns Laura most is the ability to adapt and evolve as a designer. This is essential, as it not only keeps ideas fresh and exciting, but it also helps to gain the advantage over less adventurous competitors. As Laura has admitted, it’s a saturated market – if you don’t stand out from the crowd, you’ll be overlooked.
Daxton Wingback Chair
Laura Hammett interior design shows no danger of this happening, so it seems that this philosophy is working. With a seriously impressive portfolio of successful designs in such diverse places as Belgravia, Bangalore, The Isle of Man, New York, the Bahamas, and the South of France, Laura’s position as one of the UK’s best interior designers is secure.
One example of Laura’s visionary outlook is that she has embraced the current challenges of the day, seeing the need to rethink how we use our living spaces due to the pandemic, as well as becoming involved in a charity called United in Design, which tackles the lack of diversity in the design industry. Such thinking, for someone so deeply involved in the world of luxury interiors, is a testament to her character and humanity.
It takes a special company to stay at the top for ten years in the world of interior design. Finchatton has achieved this twice over, with 2021 marking two decades of truly exceptional designs.
Founders Alex Michelin and Andrew Dunn are famed for their revolutionary outlook, always striving to push beyond the boundaries of convention. They have evolved a distinctive style that is both sophisticated and timeless, and at the same time elegant and modern.
When you study Finchatton’s superbly impressive portfolio of the last twenty years, including 75 private projects and more than 60 development projects around the globe, one fact becomes abundantly clear: there is never any compromise on the quality of the materials or craftsmanship.
Responsibility for these projects is divided between the two wings of the company, Finchatton Residences and Finchatton Private. Both rely not only on Alex and Andrew’s guidance and leadership, but each has a highly-qualified and experienced team of designers and architects that liaises with discerning clients worldwide to consistently provide astonishingly excellent designs.
Unlike some luxury brands, this is not opulence for its own sake. These designs celebrate excellence of craftsmanship using only the very best materials, but they retain a sense of functionality: these are spaces to be enjoyed and lived in.
In Finchatton’s own words, it has a signature trademark of ‘effortless elegance and timeless modernity’. And when you see Andrew and Alex’s most recent London developments, at The Whitely, and Twenty Grosvenor Square, you have to agree.
Venetian Mirrored Console Table
When a company fosters a culture among its staff based around the mantra, be passionate, be kind, be honest, you instinctively know that you’re dealing with something very special.
This is precisely how Taylor Howes is run, from its base in Knightsbridge. The staff are encouraged to be passionate in all they do, to be honest in what they deliver to the client, and to be kind in their dealings with colleagues and clients alike.
And when you see the studios themselves, you immediately realise that this is no idle boast. It may well be that the premises hold some leftover ambience and spirit of the previous occupiers, as this was the old Aston Martin showroom. Whether this is true or not, the Taylor Howes HQ exudes class and quality.
In its own philosophy, the company uses the term quiet glamour to describe its designs. This is evident in the decor and interior architecture of the Taylor Howes studios. There’s a distinct air of elegance and symmetry, alongside understated luxury with no hint of pretentiousness.
Founder and CEO Karen Howes is very much the driving force at the heart of the company, and has guided it towards its place as one of Britain’s most highly respected interior design studios of modern times. Karen’s talent lies in combining her business acumen with her design skills. This has enabled her to raise Taylor Howes to its enviable position, as well as establishing the award-winning th2 Designs based in Chelsea Harbour.
Karen’s warm nature and generosity of spirit match her passion and drive for entrepreneurship and interior design, as proven by her brainchild called Business of Design. She established this forum specifically for design-led businesses to meet in order to collaborate with a view to exchanging ideas, all with the aim of advancing each other’s knowledge.
Taylor Howes has won multiple awards since being established in 1993, and continues to thrive. Each design re-imagines the space with the aim of breaking down barriers to a better life. To sum it up in its own words, Taylor Howes aims to create ‘true design for living’.
Founded in 2002, Helen Green Design is one of the most highly regarded interior design studios in the UK, showcasing the best of British luxury design and craftsmanship right around the globe.
The aim is to produce designs that are luxurious but livable, and the company’s extensive portfolio certainly proves this beyond doubt. With a focus primarily on the best of British, Helen Green Design proudly sources all of its materials from the UK, using the highest calibre artisans and specialists.
After a decade of well-deserved success, and having put the studio firmly at the heart of British interior design, Helen tragically passed away in 2012.
Rather than signalling the end of the studio, Helen’s legacy drove her passionate and dedicated team to continue to produce exceptional designs.
Although the focus is firmly on interior design and interior architecture, this studio has extended its work to offer comprehensive turnkey solutions, providing a complete service from the basic concept right through to the finished article.
Helen Green British Interior Design
It’s no cliché to say that Helen’s spirit lives on through the sophisticated and elegant designs created by her team.
Helen’s family also set up a foundation in her name, knowing how passionate she was about inspiring young people on the subject of design. This foundation offers bursaries and training to help aspiring young designers to fulfill their dreams.
Although Helen Green Design was acquired by the Rigby group in 2017, and is now a founding member of Allect, now one of the foremost names in luxury design worldwide, Helen remains a strong influence on the team, having imparted her considerable talents, wisdom, and integrity. It’s a name that will be respected for many decades to come.
There’s a fair amount of competition in the world of luxury interior design. Each studio has its own qualities, seeking to give them the edge over the others.
Oliver Burns, founded in 2004 by Joe Burns and Sharon Lilywhite, has found that edge in the concept of thoughtful luxury.
Where other studios offer beautiful, stunning designs, Oliver Burns offers nothing less than perfection.
Luxury underpins every aspect of its processes, with each element perfectly balanced. Aesthetics and functionality are expertly blended to provide the ultimate in modern, luxury, super-prime living spaces.
Adagio 9 Pendant Light
What’s even more impressive is that the Oliver Burns Studio doesn’t just focus on the modern day. Many of its commissions deal with listed or heritage buildings, and the designs preserve and restore the integrity of these properties sensitively, with a precision that is second to none.
Each building is dealt with as a whole, within its location and with respect to its heritage. And each client has a single point of contact, from start to finish. Treating the client as a creative partner has great appeal, proving to be extremely popular among Oliver Burns’ discerning customer base.
As testament to this, many of these clients have developed long-term relationships with the studio, involving projects in some of the most exclusive London postcodes, as well as high-end commercial enterprises.
Oliver Burns Studio doesn’t strive for perfection, it delivers it without apparent effort. You just know that there’s a tremendous amount of hard work going on behind the scenes, but as a client all you see is the exquisite result – thoughtfully designed, thoughtfully built, and thoughtfully finished.
Bunny Turner and Emma Pocock established the Turner Pocock studio in 2007, and within a few years it was clear that they were destined for great things. By 2012 they were included in the House & Garden Top 100 interior designers, where they have remained since.
Further accolades followed, such as the International Design & Architecture Award 2017 and the Country and Townhouse Finest 50 Interior Designers.
They have achieved all this chiefly because of an apparent superpower: listening.
This is always the first step in any consultation, and it is of paramount importance to Emma and Bunny as it helps them to fully understand what is required of them.
Every aspect is considered, from aesthetics to the client’s lifestyle. Floorplans are discussed and decided upon, then the whole brief is taken back to the Turner Pocock team where it is made into reality.
Aside from listening, Bunny and Emma pride themselves on keeping deadlines. To them, Turner Pocock is all about delivering dreams. Each client has a dream lifestyle that they aspire to, and Turner Pocock is the studio who can make it happen.
Nothing is left to chance, and the team, including the two founders, oversee the tiniest detail in order to ensure that the client has a completely stress-free experience from start to finish.
Emma and Bunny personally handle quality control, making sure that everything is finished to their exacting standards.
To keep those standards high, Turner Pocock collaborates with some of the best names in British design, including Lorfords, famous for its superbly crafted furniture. Each company that Turner Pocock partners with shares its values and ethos when it comes to rigorous design, as well as having sustainability in mind.
Reclaimed Wood Hallway Console Table
Behind the scenes is where all the hard word takes place, as the team translates the client’s wishes into a completed design with apparent ease.
This is all part of the illusion, as the Turner Pocock Studio likes to keep things as simple as possible for the client. Its aim is to help the client live better in their home.
From the looks of its seriously impressive portfolio, with projects in prestigious London addresses to a villa on the shores of Lake Geneva, it looks as if they’re doing just that.
If you want a perfect example of the determination to succeed and of the phrase work your way to the top, then you couldn’t do much better than to look at the life of Veere Grenney.
Leaving his native New Zealand in the 1970s, he made his way to London, mostly on foot. After a short stay in Tangier, he returned to London and opened a stall on Portobello road, selling items he bought with his earnings as a waiter.
He soon upgraded to a small shop, selling any ‘charming or decorative’ items he could afford.
His big break came when he was offered a job by Mary Fox Linton, the Grande Dame of English interior design. He was tasked with combining contemporary furniture with antiques so that they could be incorporated into Mary’s designs that were considered quite shocking at the time.
Veere regards this seven year apprenticeship as the foundation of his own considerable skills, and it was during this time that he gained an understanding of how to transfer a love of beauty and ‘things’, such as fabrics, furniture and other items, into a functioning living space for grown ups.
Bakersfield White Antique French Style Fabric Bed
In 1991, at age 40, Veere was offered the position of director at Colefax and Fowler, legends in British design, where he gained further valuable experience before setting out on his own.
Since that time, Veere Grenney Associates has gone from strength to strength, appearing in most ‘top designer’ lists. His style is unique, timeless, elegant, mixing classical and contemporary elements effortlessly.
If Veere has a secret to the success of his designs, it’s that he always includes an element of surprise. He also believes that being in London helps, as it is one the great melting pots of the design world, if not the world design capital.
With completed projects in London, Norfolk, Suffolk, Mustique, Oxfordshire, and even Wyoming, USA, Veere Grenney Associates has proven that it can deliver what it promises: luxury homes that are exciting, but above all comfortable and liveable.
The world of luxury interior design can sometimes seem a serious and humourless place. It’s not that people are exactly miserable, but the focus and drive can be intense, with the stress on delivering the optimum experience to discerning clients, who, after all, have parted with a good deal of money for the privilege.
So when you encounter a studio like Jeffreys Interiors, it’s like a breath of fresh Highland air.
The fact that Jeffreys is Edinburgh based also adds another dimension, as most of our premium British interior designers have their studios in London.
A quick glance at its portfolio highlights the broad range of styles it creates, from the sumptuous to the downright eccentric. It’s a catalogue of off the wall thinking that appeals to a broad range of tastes. In fact, it suggests that Jeffreys would be able to tackle any project that it’s clients came up with.
There’s a sense of lightness and fun in the wording on its website that suggests that the team are friendly and approachable. At the same time, there’s an air of confidence that reassures you that these designers really can deliver on their promises.
Highland Cow Silver Frame Wall Art
Founded in 2006, Jeffreys relies on the impressive skills of its youthful ten-strong team to translate the client’s ideas into a workable solution.
Jefferys works on the principle of your taste, our talent, and it’s served them well so far.
Interviews with the team throw out some interesting phrases that capture the essence of Jeffreys Interiors perfectly. For example, they like to include a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ element in their designs, indicating a sense of playfulness. They also boast about being ‘unashamedly pedantic’ in their attempts to get it just right.
In the end, it’s all about pleasing the client and providing a comfortable living space to be proud of, without making any compromises. Jeffreys Interiors strives to match its designs to your lifestyle, personality and home.
And the fact that the team does this with lightness and a sense of humour makes them all the more appealing.
Some of the best British interior designers of recent times have built their success on a simple foundation.
Janine Stone & Co. is founded on the principle that its designs shape a family’s quality of life, and this fact drives the company towards excellence in every detail.
Another aspect in the extraordinary success of Janine Stone & Co. is that it is managed and run by husband and wife team, Janine and Gideon Stone.
With Gideon as Managing Director and Janine as Creative Director, they are an unstoppable force in complete interior design and architecture.
From the very conception of an idea, right through to the finished article, Janine Stone & Co. handles everything. Collaboration is key to delivering on time, with each different discipline (including architecture, construction, planning permission, and dealing with listed buildings) integrated into a system that takes its responsibilities seriously.
Janine credits her Lebanese roots as part of the inspiration for her unique designs, all starting with a memory of the fabrics in her mother’s dress shop. The colour and culture of Lebanon is infused in many of her creations, and she fosters a love for her place of birth, although she sees England as her home these days.
Knowing that a career in creative arts was something she wanted, Janine spent time as a TV and film makeup artist. During this time, she undertook small interior design projects, and soon word spread about her obvious talents. With a mother who designed couture clothes and a father who was an interior designer, it seems that creativity was in her DNA.
Janine has certainly used this to become one of the foremost British designers of the times, with an enviable list of projects worldwide since founding the company in 1987.
Despite the numerous accolades and plaudits for her work, Janine remains refreshingly humble and grateful, seeking always to give something back to the career that has given her so much. One way she has done so is through setting up the Young Interior Designers Award in 2011 to build bridges between the best interior design companies and emerging new talent.
As with all the best British designers, there’s no such thing as a ‘house style’ with Kris Turnbull. It’s tempting to see the company as having a split personality, as the catalogue of completed projects speaks of grace, elegance, and grandeur. From Georgian estates to Victorian townhouses, Belle Époque apartments to historic manor houses, Kris Turnbull Design Studio positions itself as a serious player in the world of luxury interior design. There’s an air of sophisticated maturity to the finished product, as if the company had been founded forty years ago rather than fourteen.
And then there’s the studio showroom itself, set within a converted church in Belfast, which is unlike anything else in the country. When it comes to what’s on offer, the words ‘And now for something completely different’ come to mind.
It’s a truly astonishing treat for the senses, a vast array of furniture, textures, fabrics, lighting and accessories in stunning contemporary design. It’s youthful but timeless, sophisticated but fun.
Puro Stone Collection
It’s precisely what Kris Turnbull is all about.
The list of supplier names reads like a who’s who of quality design; Dedar, Rubelli, Pierre Frey, and Julian Chichester, to name but a handful.
At the heart of it all is Kris Turnbull himself, driving the company forward with enthusiasm and style. Kris graduated from the University of Ulster in 2002 before completing a Business Education Initiative at Belhaven University in Mississippi.
Kris has moulded the studio around his desire to create designs that reflect the client’s own personality. He is enthusiastic about each and every project and the diverse nature of the clients he works with. Even after more than a decade in the business, Kris still feels a sense of excitement at the prospect of a new design.
This passion is surely a key to continued success, and the name Kris Turnbull is sure to be at the pinnacle of British interior design for a long time to come.
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