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 fourth and last part of a fantastic list! Check them out! Get inspired!
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.