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 the first part of a great 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.
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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.