Leading Interior Designers is a meticulously compiled directory of those that House and Garden consider to be the best interior designers in the UK. Best Interior Designers presents know the FULL LIST! Check them out!
Abbie de Bunsen
Enthusiastic yet deeply professional, Abbie de Bunsen delivers chic, refined interiors majoring in luxurious finishes, with occasional bursts of daring colour or modern geometrics. ‘I believe good design can stimulate, comfort and excite the spirit,’ she says. Abbie is justifiably popular among her design conscious international clientele, and a whizz at mixing twentieth-century antiques with curated art. She’s great fun, too.
His unique interiors bristle with moody colour, sensual texture and carefully curated antiques. But Adam Bray is also down to earth, delivering ‘the most comfortable house possible and dealing with the practicalities of life’. Clients get the full benefit of his 25 years in antiques, plus a deep understanding of specialist materials, a highly attuned colour sense and an intelligent approach.
This is a vibrant young Shoreditch design collective that creates ‘spaces with warmth and a sense of home away from home’. The team works on restaurants, hotels and private homes in the UK, Europe and the US, offering a creative approach and loving nothing better than pushing design boundaries. Crisp tailoring and rich jewel colours are often featured.
An internationally acclaimed designer who pours heart and soul into utterly bespoke, multilayered and sensual interiors for his high-end clients, Alidad also delivers rooms planned to last 20 years, a philosophy explored in his 2013 book Alidad: The Timeless Home. ‘When I take on a job, I try to make every inch of it inspiring,’ he says. Expect luxurious fabrics, rich hues and bold pattern, plus precious antiques.
Whether she is designing a country cottage or a newbuild overseas, there is a distinctive, understated chic to Ann Boyd’s work. A Scots-born designer with impeccable taste, a fondness for cool neutrals and a dedication to simplicity, she never skimps on attention to detail. Her philosophy? ‘Natural instinct.’
Rising star Beata Heuman has won a clutch of interesting commissions since going solo. She is a passionate perfectionist, and her laid-back yet luxurious schemes are often jam-packed with bespoke furniture or fabrics. She enjoys discovering her clients’ vision: ‘I approach each project with an open mind to create something unique. I hope it’s always chic and a little playful.’
There’s a real buzz about Ben Pentreath’s busy architectural-design practice, which is now supplemented with a popular interior-design arm. Clients are attracted to his focus on traditional design and planning, as well as his interest in sustainability. As for interiors, he creates ‘rooms that are timeless but not locked in a historical style’. Think English country meets breezy modern colour.
David Bentheim is a dynamic yet thoughtful designer whose work is invariably modern ‘with an eclectic twist’. He likes to describe his designs as ‘creative couture’, insisting that individuality for residential schemes requires myriad, personalised solutions. He’s also a firm believer that good client relationships improve the creative process. The bottom line? ‘For me, each design has to be fresh.’
Always stimulating and fresh, Carden Cunietti’s interiors continue to please their design-aware clients with laid-back luxe and gloriously detailed surfaces. Eleanora Cunietti and Audrey Carden have an unrivalled reputation for transforming private living spaces into ‘harmonious homes that function well’. They’re fearless with unexpected colour and brilliant at picking the perfect statement vintage piece.
Her low-key presence belies a loyal client base and a formidable design talent. Caroline Holdaway’s interiors are subtle and supremely comfortable, and when working on period properties she takes care to respectfully restore what is original, adding harmonious additions to complement. ‘I give my clients a home that feels like theirs,’ she says.
An assured designer, with a talent for creating myriad styles, Caroline Paterson executes a slick, modern look and period English interiors with equal confidence. She’s genius at advising on art, and likes to deliver ‘a house with a sense of the unexpected, but respecting my clients’ personalities’. She keeps a firm eye on the schedule during work, too.
Equipped with impeccable taste and a sensitive understanding of historical properties, Caroline Riddell has a track record of tackling everything from a fourteenth-century castle in Italy to flats in Kensington. She’s spot-on at designing dynamic, well-oiled family houses and refreshingly brave with colour and scale.
Intertwining the skills of interior design and architecture, Patrick Tyberghein masterminds smart yet subtly glamorous interiors. He’s most particular about scale and balance, and, while the palette is predominantly neutral, impact bursts from a spectacular light fitting or piece of sculpture. ‘Our work is about producing contemporary classic design with transitional notes, creating serene, timeless and elegant interiors,’ he says.
After three decades in the business, Charles Rutherfoord continues to design with a quiet yet arresting style. For clients wanting the full package, he is the bee’s knees: a trained architect who also creates beautiful interiors and serene gardens. ‘I am interested in tranquillity and light, drama in dynamic spaces and oases in static spaces,’ he says.
An award-winning designer with impeccable taste, she delivers a combination of pattern and colour that is perfect for family homes. ‘I mix contemporary with traditional and richness with simplicity, to add interest that lasts,’ she says. In tune with her clients’ needs, Charlotte has also launched a successful bespoke joinery service.
One of the UK’s most highly respected and influential designers, architect-trained Chester Jones celebrated his illustrious career with a book, The Interiors of Chester Jones, released in 2014. His interiors are pared down yet comfortable, respecting the integrity of the architecture. Chester aims to ‘design what is appropriate for the client and the building’; clients can expect bespoke furniture and expert advice on art and antiques.
A designer who likes to be experimental, creating something that will ‘inspire and intrigue’, Christopher undertakes a mix of private homes and commercial projects. Each space is minutely detailed, perhaps with hand-painted wallpaper or scarlet leather-lined bookshelves. ‘The longer I spend in interior design, the more I love bold colour,’ he says. For clients who want custom-designed furniture, lighting or even sculpture, Christopher is the man.
Christopher Vane Percy
A highly respected designer, Christopher Vane Percy has worked on a number of important country houses in England, as well as high-profile buildings such as The Garrick Club, Trinity House and the Connaught hotel. With his knowledge of classical design and period architecture, he is sought after by clients with important fine art and furniture, though he’s game for modern architecture, too. He is a past president of the British Institute of Interior Design.
Highly experienced and with a faithful client base, Colin Orchard has honed a style that is classic English with a modern twist, and he’s never afraid to mix furniture periods. ‘I want my clients to be totally happy, but excited, too,’ he says. He designs for a relaxed lifestyle, assuming dogs will sit on the furniture, no matter how grand it is.
In constant demand with international clients, Anthony Collett and Andrzej Zarzycki’s architectural-design practice runs the gamut from conceptual ideas to implementation of architecture, interiors, gardens and landscape. Bespoke detailing is a given and clean lines, exquisite materials and bold scale are trademarks. They’re highly respected within the industry, too.
SEE ALSO: 5 Interior Design Projects by Miles Redd
For clients in search of handsome interiors, moody colours and deep comfort, Douglas Mackie tops the list. He’s brilliant at integrating serious art collections, skilfully blending them against beautifully conceived backgrounds. ‘My philosophy is to create a perfect balance between furniture, art and sculpture,’ he says. He also has his own line of chic furniture, Douglas Mackie Collection.
Based at his Grade II-listed Queen Anne house in Herefordshire, Edward Bulmer specialises in the reorganisation and redecoration of historic buildings, along with a sprinkling of houses. ‘Most projects I lead from the front, so if you employ Edward Bulmer, you get me,’ he says. Clients value not just his practical knowledge, but also his passion for natural materials.
One of a small band of designers delivering a breezy, twenty-first-century take on English country style, Emma Hilditch is professional yet approachable. With commissions rolling in, she’s just expanded in to a new design studio in a Grade II-listed former pub near Bath. Her schemes feature soft colours, classic fabrics and natural textures, plus beautiful joinery is a given.
Variously described as a creative visionary, interior designer and furniture designer, Faye Toogood is a true hybrid. She juggles diverse projects spanning the design, art and fashion industries, one minute creating an installation for the Salone del Mobile, the next working on a private commission. Her interiors are by turns suffused with colour or pattern, sometimes serene, but always directional.
Producing interiors that combine quiet glamour with quality British manufacture and meticulous space planning, Fiona Barratt-Campbell is a popular choice for luxury homes and residential developments, as well as a selection of boutique commercial properties. ‘I like to create an interior that tells a story in relation to its four walls,’ she says.
Fox Linton Associates (Dennis Irvine)
This internationally recognised interior-design practice has equally international clients. The studio works across a broad spectrum of commissions, from high-end private homes to established hotel brands such as the Dorchester Collection and Raffles. Its trademark is originality, faultless detailing and intelligent design.
Crossing various creative fields with equal vigour, Francis Sultana is an interior designer, furniture designer and design adviser. He’s also an enthusiastic speaker on design trends and curation. For his many discerning art-world clients, he creates high-octane interiors laced with colour and luxury, and dispenses expert advice on showcasing or commissioning contemporary art. ‘I take clients on a creative journey, conceiving a sophisticated interior of today,’ he says.
His designs are sumptuous with a capital ‘S’, frequently suffused with exuberant colour and over-scaled patterns. Gabhan O’Keeffe takes his top-end international clients – among them Bryan Ferry, Princess Gloria von Thurn und Taxis and the Archduke and Archduchess von Habsburg – on an innovative design journey, with a strong emphasis on ‘colour, texture, fantasy and craftsmanship’.
Energetic and stylish, Grant White continues to decorate both private houses and commercial projects – particularly restaurants – across the UK and internationally. He works closely with developers, too, for resale and rental. Grant is remarkably versatile, turning his hand to elegant luxe, slick modern or relaxed country looks, and asserts that his projects are always ‘a reflection and extension of the client’.
Presiding over a highly experienced team of architects and draughtsmen, Guy Goodfellow breathes new life into large country houses and grand apartments. His style is comfortable and classic English, but always with an element of the unexpected. Clients benefit from his knowledge of space and proportions, and from his mantra that he is ‘never, ever predictable’.
Harriet Anstruther Studio
This is a dynamic, multidisciplinary studio, headed by design director and consultant Harriet Anstruther, but very much a ‘team effort’. Interiors exude glamour, playful contradictions and extraordinary attention to detail. Harriet delivers brilliant advice on the selection and commission of art, and her new book, Reveal(Clearview, £30), explores how interior design ‘allows us to examine our environment and ourselves’.
Helen Green Design (Natalia Miyar)
et up by the designer Helen Green, who died in 2012, this practice is now headed by design director Natalia Miyar. She has continued the original ethos of ‘liveable luxury’, while evolving the studio’s approach. ‘The root of my style is clean architectural lines, striking proportion and a layering of materials,’ she says.
A chic designer with her finger on the pulse, Henri Fitzwilliam-Lay is a favourite for families wanting smart, vibrant living spaces. She’s expert with colour and pattern, and goes the extra mile to find the perfect artwork or vintage piece. ‘My design style is fluid,’ she says. ‘I balance form with function, old with new, charged with peaceful.’
Unfazed by the grandest of country homes, Henrietta Spencer-Churchill has a scholarly knowledge of English decorating. She says, ‘I like to retain the style, interior architecture and character of each house, bringing services into the twenty-first century.’ She’s also a lecturer and author: her latest book is The Life of the House (Rizzoli, £35).
An irrepressible creative energy suffuses Hubert Zandberg’s designs. With a desire to create ‘culturally informed, textured interiors’, he sets high standards. Rooms are beautifully tailored, luxurious and serene. ‘We often draw on eighteenth-century references, the Forties and modernism for inspiration,’ he says.
Consistently busy with high-end residential projects, Hugh Leslie is an interior architect with a gimlet eye. He wears his 30 years’ experience lightly: no two interiors look the same. Sometimes featuring a flash of brilliant colour, or perhaps a piece of expertly chosen modern art, his interiors look sharp, with an intelligent vibe.
Designer, academic and creative director Ilse Crawford is queen of the design scene, and in 2014 was awarded an MBE for outstanding ￼￼services to interior design. Ilse’s interiors are graceful and tactile: thoughtful design at its best.
Indigo Design Associates
Iona and Colin Duckworth are a husband-and-wife team with a winning combination of interior and architectural design skills. ‘We create homes for people to enjoy and cherish,’ Iona says. This energetic practice is much in demand, creating designs for modern living: clean lines, colour and judicious use of pattern.
J R Design
Experienced designer Jane Ormsby Gore has been enlivening family homes and commercial properties, including private members’ clubs, for over 15 years. Correctly observing that tastes are returning to a colourful, eclectic style, she’s delighted that ‘the young and influential have looked to us to create this mood’. With one eye on classical architecture and the other firmly on pushing boundaries, her designs are cheerful, comfortable and chic.
As the leader of an internationally recognised, super-efficient interior-design firm, Jane Churchill’s work has its roots in English country style, but features crisp modern detailing, immaculate tailoring and superb comfort.
She has a reputation for working on super-league homes and top-end developments, but in person Janine Stone is thoughtful and creative. She puts the client at the heart of every design, believing that each home ‘should be a perfect fit’. For her team of 50, that is the cue for expertly crafted bespoke furniture, unique decorative finishes and globally sourced antiques.
With an international reputation, Joanna Wood remains at the top of her game, enjoying a steady mix of private and commercial commissions. To celebrate, she has just published a book, Interiors for Living (Prestel, £50). Joanna can turn her hand to major developments, grand country houses or city flats, with professionalism and elegance guaranteed.
Award-winning John Minshaw needs little introduction. At his architectural and interior-design practice, he has been devising intelligent, pared-down private homes for over 30 years, from newbuilds to exquisite renovations of period properties. ‘I like to get the architecture and space planning right from the outset,’ he says. ‘The more ephemeral elements can be dealt with later.’ His rooms are spare, elegant and deeply serene.
Summing up his philosophy, John Stefanidis asserts it is ‘comfort for the eye and the body – genius loci, innovation and exploration’. It’s no surprise. Widely regarded as one of interior design’s greatest creative talents, and with a world-class reputation, John has always focused on careful thought processes, culminating in a sizzling vision for each and every job.
His architectural-design practice has won numerous awards; in 2014 it was shortlisted for the RICS Building Conservation Award. Jonathan Tuckey’s look may be cool and pared down, but there’s also a sensitive focus on natural materials, and a confident eye for maximising space. In autumn 2014, ‘Urban Shed’, the practice’s concept for an industrial-style family home, was featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs.
Her award-winning Chelsea practice goes from strength to strength, focusing on high-end homes for private clients and property developers. Juliette Byrne prides herself on creating individual designs, thoughtfully mixing clients’ existing pieces with bespoke items. Her own-brand candles are a nice touch for clients moving in.
A true internationalist, Kamini Ezralow is fluent in French and German and has clients across Europe and the Middle East. She is also a perfectionist: furnishings are exquisitely detailed, unusual textures are carefully interwoven into schemes, and patterns are echoed, not matched. ‘My design philosophy creates a sense of harmony and flow in a space,’ she says.
A highly organised designer who fervently believes in ‘design without compromise’ for her top-end clients. Whether private or commercial, Katharine Pooley’s work is faultlessly chic and ultra luxurious, teamed with state-of-the-art technology. She is committed to British craftsmanship: beautifully made and innovative furniture or finishes, designed with a contemporary eye, often feature.
Michael Keech and Graham Green work principally for private clients on both sides of the Atlantic, and are perfectionists par excellence: bespoke furniture is a speciality. They make it their mission to source extraordinary or unusual finishes, too. Keech Green’s architectural interiors are glamorous, restrained and tailored, and – as their many repeat clients know – include beautifully crafted cabinetry and a subtly colourful palette.
Working on international design commissions in parallel with her recent role as an investor on BBC Two’sDragons’ Den, Kelly Hoppen wears many hats, and was awarded an MBE in 2009 for her services to interior design. She remains true to her design ethos and her trademark soft neutrals. ‘My philosophy has always been to create timeless and under- stated elegance, and my palette will never change,’ she says.
Her pared-down interiors call to mind the most elegant of hotels, but have all the comforts of home. Louise Bradley’s core style includes subtle neutrals, but she likes to evolve the palette ‘by adding tonal layers through texture, lighting and accessories’. She’s great for statement lights, accent colours and state-of-the-art kitchens.
Ultra professional, yet offering a highly personal service, Louise Jones is perpetually sensitive to her clients’ needs. ‘I always try to be original,’ she says. ‘If I feel I am heading somewhere I’ve been before, I stop and rethink.’ Her interiors are grown-up and inviting, with soft tones, neat detailing and quality finishes.
This exciting multidisciplinary practice is making a splash with glamorous interiors and a dedication to perfection. Jo leGleud and Scott Maddux’s designs are highly textural, with bespoke furniture, carefully sourced twentieth-century pieces and ‘a healthy dose of art-school irreverence’. Scott and Jo make the design journey fun.
As a designer, Marion Lichtig takes the long view, taking time to choose furnishings and antiques to ensure ‘a sense of organic growth’ and an evolved look. She shops exhaustively for the right statement piece, often an antique. Fond of vintage linens and natural stone and timber, Marion likes to create a balance between contemporary and classic. ‘Spaces should look effortlessly put together,’ she says.
Having been in the business for more than 20 years, Mark Gillette’s enduring popularity is a result of his ability to design for large-scale country houses and his reputation for professionalism. He has worked with some of the oldest aristocratic families in Europe, who crave his sumptuous interiors featuring carefully chosen art and furniture. More recently, he has branched out with contemporary projects.
Always with a visual surprise or two up his sleeve, Mark Smith attracts design-conscious, often international clients. He is eclectic in his tastes, and ‘passionate about many periods of architecture, from the sixteenth century to the Sixties’. His are current interiors, with exuberant colour schemes and decorative furniture.
Swedish-born designer Martin Brudnizki made his name designing some of the starriest bars and restaurants worldwide, from Soho Beach House in Miami to Le Caprice in New York and Scott’s in Mayfair. He also undertakes sophisticated private homes for super-league clients. ‘I listen to the client, understand their needs and tailor the design to how they live,’ he says. Look out for sharp tailoring, a confident colour palette and a heightened sense of scale.
He describes his designs as ‘highly considered and insightful’, which is one reason why many of Martin Hulbert’s projects are repeat business. With its early roots in hotel design and private houses, his practice is now broadening its horizons with garden designs and a furniture range. ‘Our goal is to retain our personal approach and continue to deliver unique projects,’ he says.
With antiques dealing in his blood and a cracking knowledge of period furniture, textiles and design, Max Rollitt is a firm favourite with his discerning repeat clients. He tackles whole-house refurbishment with verve, sensitively renovating classical detailing yet imparting a modern twist. ‘I love texture, colour, good design and history,’ he says. ‘I want to bring joy and wit to every project.’
James McWhirter and Sarah Morris’s combined knowledge fuses traditional English country-house design with an expert understanding of antiques. Cheerfully admitting to an ‘anti-fashion’ philosophy, they turn out fresh, pretty rooms that are sympathetic to a property’s historical roots. ‘We listen to our client and the house, and then create a comfortable, classical yet quirky interior to suit both,’ they say.
Her interiors are elegant, classical and light, yet Melissa Wyndham’s designs are also shaped by her practicality and a desire to create timeless spaces. ‘I am driven by comfort and good lighting,’ she says. Melissa has forged her reputation decorating countless grand English country houses, but she also enjoys the modern. Clients may be surprised by something unexpected, such as a piece of contemporary art or a swish of uplifting colour.
An accomplished and meticulous designer, Michael Nicholas instills his clients with confidence, pairing an authoritative understanding of architecture with a talent for sharp design. ‘We like to provide an elegant fusion of classical elements within a contemporary canvas,’ he says. There is a masculine palette at work here, featuring splashes of bold colour. He has a great eye for abstracts, too.
Mlinaric, Henry and Zervudachi
Despite its world-class reputation, MHZ constantly works to raise the bar, creating beautifully executed private homes, retail spaces, galleries and hotels internationally. The MHZ philosophy is simple, yet focused: ‘To seek the essence of the client’s character and combine that with the location and style of the property.’ These are sparkling interiors designed for the global jet set.
The designer of choice for luxury alpine properties, Nicky Dobree specialises in chic chalets across Europe. She works for a host of discerning international clients and aims to ‘create timeless, elegant and comfortable homes that complement the personality and lifestyle of each client’. The look is smart, mixing modern detailing with traditional vernacular and combining expertly chosen natural materials with a dash of luxe.
A-list designer Nicky Haslam is firing on all cylinders. He’s published a fifth book, A Designer’s Life (Jacqui Small, £50), and has new fabric designs and a further collaboration with The Rug Company ongoing for 2015. A new furniture range for Oka is also planned. His philosophy never fails: ‘Listen to what rooms tell you. Design is a dialogue between one’s mind’s eye and the space.’
Despite designing grand houses and hotels, Nina Campbell still has the personal touch – making her one of the world’s most respected interior designers. Clients appreciate her humour and eye for the zeitgeist. Her interiors exude confident colour and pattern choices, underpinned with comfort. ‘You’ve got to be practical, with a place for everything,’ she says.
Northwick Design (Cathy Connolly)
Effortlessly stylish and sensitive to her clients’ needs, Cathy Connolly has been transforming private houses for three decades. She decorates with a light touch, mixing natural materials and a soft, considered palette. ‘Colour and texture are important,’ she says. ‘A house should flow, with a link connecting the rooms.’
Award-winning designer Paolo Moschino (left), together with Philip Vergeylen, the head of the Paolo Moschino for Nicholas Haslam design studio, turns out sophisticated interiors that are recognised globally. The look is elegant, with the occasional whimsy of hot colour, a dash of leopard print or scaled-up accessories. There is a vast range of elegant own-brand furniture, lighting, accessories and fabrics, along with carefully sourced antiques.
With more than three decades’ experience, Penny Morrison’s highly personal interiors remain pretty and relaxed though artfully conceived. She layers antique and new furniture, fabrics and paintings to compose an ‘undecorated’ look. ‘It takes time and effort, but it’s worth it,’ she says. She’s also growing an accessories business,Irving & Morrison, with Carolina Irving.
Australian-born Peter Mikic is a dynamic designer, delivering ultra-stylish, subtly colored interiors featuring sharp tailoring and beautifully chosen art. He also designs his own range of furniture, as well as wool and silk rugs, and will launch a lighting collection in late 2015. His are luxe interiors with a fashion-conscious edge.
For clients wanting a subtle take on classical English style, featuring a muted palette and carefully curated art and antiques, Philippa Devas is the designer to call. Understated and with a sure hand, she likes to weave in clients’ own treasured possessions with commissioned one-off pieces, and she genuinely relishes working with craftsmen and artists.
Piers von Westenholz
An antiques dealer par excellence, Piers von Westenholz has been in the trade for over 40 years and specialises in antiques for large English country houses. He is also a masterful interior designer and a favorite with clients who value his discretion and bold choices. Despite the grandeur of the interiors, he says ‘simplicity and comfort’ remain his watchwords.
An architect, interior designer and creative visionary, Rabih Hage takes a sensitive yet confident approach to interiors. ‘I respect the heritage, stripping back and extending the life of a building,’ he says. Expect clean lines, flashes of color and expertly curated art or bespoke furniture.
Architect Maria Speake heads up the design team at this brilliantly innovative and deservedly popular interiors and architectural practice based in Kensal Green. She and her team interact with everything from Sixties architecture to listed buildings and ‘try to be as fun and unpretentious as possible’. Their intelligent interiors are by turns elegant, robust and achingly cool, and they are masters of reusing salvage in enterprising new ways.
Spearheading a new breed of young designers, Rita Konig likes her interiors to look ‘as undecorated as possible’. Her designs are easygoing, quirky and fun, underpinned with a rigorous understanding of clients’ needs. She’s the perfect choice for those in search of colour, a casual vibe and expertly pitched vintage pieces.
Robert and Josyane Young are the experts behind Robert Young Antiques in Battersea and also run this sought-after design consultancy. They take on just two to three projects concurrently, interweaving historical accuracy and respect for architecture with what Robert lightly terms ‘the occasional rough accent’.
A highly experienced designer, Robert Carslaw keeps his practice small but his ideas big, tackling period country properties and city apartments with equal aplomb. His interiors are serene, combining classical proportion with modern materials. ‘As in a good piece of music, the inspired drawing together of myriad themes results in a satisfying harmony,’ he says. He’s a charming designer who genuinely listens to his clients.
With an unparalleled reputation as a discreet, tasteful interior designer, Robert Kime has worked on grand houses internationally. His clients have included the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Beaufort. His interiors appear to have evolved over time, combining a relaxed mood with antiques, vintage textiles and quirky pieces.
Charismatic and thoughtful, Robert Moore is keen to ‘let the architecture speak’, and has a flair for creating laid-back glamour. He aims for timeless, smart designs that sing with colour; sometimes he goes daringly dark. Clients can expect immaculately tailored bespoke furnishings and furniture, and deep comfort.
An A-class designer with exquisite taste, Rose Uniacke won the 2013 Andrew Martin International Interior Designer of the Year Award. She enjoys having ‘freedom to design instinctively and organically’, maintaining respect for the period of the building yet imparting a modern twist. Her interiors are chic and pared-down, but also comfortable and welcoming. Cashmere, linens, timber and stone are the order of the day.
A talented yet painstaking designer, Rui Ribeiro says, ‘It is important to me that each home looks completely different from any previous projects.’ His trademarks are cool sophistication, sharp tailoring and a muted palette, and he’s a genius at tracking down unique finishes.
With her art-director’s eye, it’s no wonder that Samantha Todhunter creates interiors that are a hit with the press. Her designs are by turns exciting, refreshing and fun. ‘In any room, there must be a surprise, a nod to the unconventional’ is her theory. She loves bold scale, colour clashes and the rough with the smooth.
Constantly in demand for her beautifully planned and ultra-tasteful interiors, Sarah Delaney is also practical and thoughtful, keen to integrate her clients’ possessions into a house in a way that they may not have anticipated. Her finished spaces are clean and crisp, with energising colour – should clients want it. She’s brilliant at hunting out beautiful vintage finds, too. Her philosophy? ‘I aim to keep everything, including the client, low-key and relaxed.’
Striking out with a new website and a growing range of furniture – including new Perspex items and tables made from reclaimed wood – Sarah Stewart-Smith is a chic designer with a no-nonsense approach. ‘I create tailored homes for people who must take a leap of faith in me, my ideas and my abilities,’ she says. She is a stickler for immaculately made soft furnishings and she has an enviable colour sense.
This is an assured designer, expert at creating classic English country houses, but a closer look at Serena Williams-Ellis’s portfolio reveals an eclectic mix of architecture and styles. Rooms are airy and colourful, with a generous sense of scale, and ‘creating an innate sense of comfort and belonging’ is core to her approach. She mixes antique and modern with confidence, scouring auctions and salvage yards for pieces.
Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler
This practice continues to fly the flag for the very best in British interior design, while quietly imbuing its timeless aesthetic with a twenty-first- century twist. One of the company’s directors, Wendy Nicholls, says: ‘We provide rooms that reflect the individuality of the client and respect the architecture of the building.’
Sigmar (Ebba Thott)
London-based Swedish designer Ebba Thott is a breath of fresh air. She co-runs the design shop Sigmar, in the King’s Road, with Nina Hertig, a Danish furniture specialist. Ebba is big on injecting a sense of soul into every home, and has ‘a weakness for the small details that make a space personal’. Her hip interiors are expertly decked out with the crème de la crème of mid-twentieth-century furniture, offbeat colours and subtly mismatched patterns.
Resolutely committed to unlocking a client’s style DNA, Staffan Tollgard is firmly established as a serious international designer. He twins interior-design commissions with sourcing contemporary furniture, lighting and accessories for his London showroom. His rooms are unfailingly glamorous, with a confident sense of scale.
It’s a given that each Studio Reed interior is unique, but there’s no mistaking Jonathan Reed’s cool neutrals, pared-down styling and bespoke furniture. Jonathan defines his style as ‘authentic, eclectic and crafts-based’.
A super-busy designer with a talent for creating soothing and classical rooms with a crisp vibe, Susie Atkinson eschews passing fashions, preferring to ‘bring a room to life with exquisite colours, furniture or a favourite heirloom’. She enjoys using natural textiles and textural surfaces, such as wood, zinc and granite. These are welcoming interiors, with the capacity to surprise.
The always-glamorous interiors created by Suzy Hoodless are an eclectic fusion of bold colour and expertly mixed vintage and modern furniture. As a former magazine stylist, she has the confidence to design based on instinct, and she enjoys challenging her clients’ ideas. She defines her style as ‘curated, timeless; an alchemy of styles and periods’.
For clients wanting cutting-edge interiors, Tara Bernerd’s interior architecture and design practice operates on a global platform. The look is ‘industrial glamour’, with statement colour, hard surfaces and luxurious materials.
The award-winning Karen Howes continues to build her successful design practice and, in 2015, moved her 26-strong team into a new studio in SW7. Private clients, hoteliers and property developers flock there not just for the comprehensive design service, but also for the Taylor Howes brand of restrained glamour.
Philippa Thorp’s bustling design practice is the choice for the high-end homeowner or property developer who wants a bespoke service. She’s a powerhouse of energy and travels frequently to oversee far-flung jobs, loving nothing better than finding solutions to knotty design problems. Her philosophy is: ‘Never give up or compromise.’ She favours a cool, easy palette and exquisite tailoring.
Headed up by Emily Todhunter and Kate Earle, this ultra-successful partnership continues to delight sophisticated UK and international clients. Emily and Kate like to ‘listen to the clients and to the room’, developing their designs instinctively. The look is definitively soft, modern English country, and the service is always five-star.
This very dynamic interior-design practice, spearheaded by founding designers Bunny Turner and Emma Pocock, creates zingy, on-trend interiors with a dash of luxe. They’re a favourite with west London families and, since opening a satellite office in Geneva, increasingly work on the Continent. Emma and Bunny define themselves as ‘colourists who love pattern’. Matching fabrics are out, and contrasting designs are in.
After more than 30 years in the international design world, Veere Grenney is still riding high. Fusing iconic mid-twentieth-century designs with antiques, muted colours and crisp tailoring, his interiors are always serene and tasteful. ‘I believe in appropriateness for the place, architecture, style and what the clients need,’ he says.
As she is an art historian, it is unsurprising that Virginia White defines her work as ‘mostly driven by the placement of art’. She is a charismatic designer with a clear passion: she takes her time, painstakingly seeking the perfect antique and often helping clients to purchase new art. She calls her style ‘modern-eclectic and very British’.
Waldo Works (Tom Bartlett)
Architect trained, Tom Bartlett continues to delight with his intelligent, playful and bold interiors, aided by his partners Sasha von Meister and Andrew Treverton. The team creates ‘spaces that are about character, people and their intricacies’.
This impressive designer is an expert on restoration and conservation, having worked on some of the finest historic houses and buildings in the UK and Ireland. Woody Clark’s aim is ‘for my work to last for 100 years’ and he is passionate about using homegrown craftspeople.