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House Guest Podcast: How To

Interiors /


Interiors Editor Carole Annett gets tips from top design experts. This week's guest: Emma Sims Hilditch

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Welcome to the new series of the House Guest podcast where C&TH Interiors Editor Carole Annett chats with experts from the world of interior design and decoration, the people behind the houses and hotels you see in glossy magazines like ours. Sponsored by Naturalmat, This series will see experts guiding readers on a particular area of their own expertise, we hope you’ll pick up some useful tips. Enjoy!

Episode 22: The Evolution of Home – Carole Annett chats to Interior Designer Emma Sims Hilditch

Emma Sims Hilditch

My House Guest this week is someone I have known and admired for many years and, full disclosure, who helped me on a house project a few years ago. Interior designer Emma Sims Hilditch grew up in a creative home where her mother loved to follow decorating trends, from 70s swirls to 80s swags. Emma inherited her mother’s creative gene but, ‘I wouldn’t follow a trend,’ she says, ‘because if you’re not careful trends move on and then you’re stuck’. We chat over coffee in Emma’s London home she shares with husband John, founder with his business partner Giles, of the successful Neptune furniture company. The conversation rolls from Nick Kamen’s famous Levi 501 launderette advert (if you’re too young to remember then Google it) which Emma worked on while assisting film producer Ridley Scott in her first job, then moving from London to Wiltshire and starting a family along with a curtain-making company, to how her own business grew alongside John’s.
She has just launched her first book – The Evolution of Home, with Giles Kime, a fascinating dive into how English country house style has changed. Tune in for more including great tips on how to bring atmosphere into a house (you need a multi-faceted approach) and why the dining room is back in fashion but not in its traditional guise.

Previous ‘How To’ House Guest Episodes:

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Caryn Hibbert

Episode 21: An Inspirational Lady – Caryn Hibbert of Thyme talks about creating the new Breathing Bothy in the spa at her hotel and restaurant venue in the Cotswolds

My House Guest today is Caryn Hibbert, a lady for whom I have the utmost admiration. Following a career in obstetrics and gynaecology where she specialised in cervical cancer, she moved to the Cotswolds with her husband in order to raise her children in the countryside. They found a house in Southrop and after a few years of bedding in and enjoying a quieter pace of life, some local barns came up for sale. Deciding to buy and restore them and having always been a foodie, she decided to create a cookery school – Thyme at Southrop was born and now includes a hotel, restaurant, spa, boutique and a homeware brand, Bertoli. Her latest venture brings in her medical background. Caryn has always been fascinated by breathing, having studied women giving birth, how the correct breathing can help the body and how we breathe inefficiently when we are anxious. With well-being in mind, she has created a Breathing Bothy, a special hammam-style building with moulded resin interiors (Caryn oversees all the interiors and garden design at Thyme). Being a passionate gardener, she also created a special balm using herbs from the water meadow, which is the scent used in the bothy. Tune in for more and discover how to breathe…

Lee Broom
Very excited to announce today’s House Guest – Lee Broom is one of the UK’s leading furniture and lighting designers and a premium global design brand. His Crystal Bulb launched one of his earliest designs, and was an instant hit, making him a darling of the design world and one who has continued to reach new heights with everything he does. He has had an interesting career path, starting out in theatre school (age 7) and working with the Royal Shakespeare Company to catching Vivienne Westwood’s eye when he entered a competition with The Clothes Show (remember that?!). Thinking his future was in fashion, he stayed with Westwood until embarking on a course at St Martins (against her advice) which led him into interior design and finally product design. “You get an emotional connection to design in the same way you will with art or a theatrical performance. I don’t see why we can’t have similar emotions when looking at a chair or lamp or whatever it might be”.
He has a new book, just out, called ‘Fashioning Design’ (Rizzoli) and has won many awards including the Queen’s Award for Enterprise from Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace (wearing a Burberry suit). Tune in for more
Olga Polizzi

Episode 19: Olga Polizzi of The Polizzi Collection

In the run up to Christmas we have some special guests and this week it is hospitality guru, Olga Polizzi talking about her own 3-hotel collection, The Polizzi collection, as well as her role at Rocco Forte hotels where she is deputy Chairman and director of Design. She says of Hotel Endsleigh in Devon, ‘I bought it with my heart rather than my head,’ and of her first hotel, The Tresanton in Cornwall, which is about to celebrate its 25th birthday, ‘It’s been the most fun thing I’ve done but the agony, the excitement the tears… we used to watch Fawlty Towers on tv after an exhausting day and laugh and laugh thinking “this is us!”’.

Tune in for more

Karl O’Hanlon

Episode 18: How to Balance Work and Pleasure with Karl O’Hanlon

I am in awe of people who follow a dream and Karl O’Hanlon did just that after leaving London and a secure job to head to France to a place he and his wife Anita had always loved – the Languedoc. His dream was to venture into the hospitality industry and after an initial false start, in 2008, Domaine & Demeure was born – three beautiful wine estates brought back to life with a discerning eye and a passion for design.

I visited Karl at his latest venture – Chateau just outside Narbonne, a small hotel and wine estate with 44 villas (mostly now privately owned) available for rental. Staying here you get the charm and authenticity of a working wine estate, and the style, service and laid-back ambience of a private club. It’s fascinating to hear how it all came together. ‘For us it was important that the whole estate is integrated into the environment and that we contribute to its ongoing development”, says Karl. That means creating a landscape without using chemical or irrigation (Languedoc is renowned for its dry countryside which gives the wine its minerality). One of the commitments to the local community was that they wd not use irrigation hence he engaged award-winning garden designer James Basson and plantsman and botanist Olivier Filippi, ‘a legendary figure when it comes to ‘dry gardening’” explains Karl. Karl designed the interiors of the villas using polished concrete (often used in wine estates) and colours of the landscape. One of my favourite features, his idea for using olive trees instead of sun umbrellas by the pool – ’so much nicer reading under the shade of a tree,’ he says. Tune in for more

Mike Fisher

Episode 17: How to Use Colour in Interiors with Mike Fisher

Mike Fisher founded Studio Indigo in 2005 and it now employs over 50 interior designers and architects.

He says, ‘Architects are often monochromatic and rather restrained in their use of colour. I soon realised the architect wasn’t most important person and if I wanted to be in control, I had to be an interior designer too’.
Mike chats to host Carole Annett about choosing colour in a northern climate such as the UK, how to use colour to make a statement and how one of their projects for a Scandinavian client involved a brave choice – a mustard-lacquer sitting room (the client loved it). They also discuss paint finishes and why some paint brands have a reputation for being difficult to apply. Mike offers lots of colour and paint choosing tips as well as wonderful insider stories including installing a dog lift in his London house for his much-loved pooches. He also has a new book out by Vendome Press – Studio Indigo, Architecturally Creative Interiors.
Tune in for more

BUCHANANA

Episode 16: How to Design Fabulous Spaces With a Multi-layer Creative Approach

Today’s House Guest podcast is with Buchanan Studio – Angus and wife Charlotte set up their eponymous studio specialising in interior design, event and set design, creative direction and branding. Originality is at the core of everything they do. “We encourage clients to be brave’, explains Angus who worked as an assistant to fashion photographer Mario Testino before moving into set design alongside Michael Howells. ‘I walked onto a Versace set Michael had created for a Madonna shoot and thought, “This is for me”. Angus runs the creative side while Charlotte wears the organisational, business hat. Projects include Wild By Tart restaurant in Eccleston yard, the branding and launch of Della Vite Prosecco (a project with the Delevingne sisters) the Studio Chair (one of the most photographed chairs of last year) and a fabric collection.

Duchess of Rutland

Episode 15:How to decorate a castle, Carole Annett chats to the Duchess of Rutland

Emma Manners the Duchess of Rutland lives in one of Britain’s most magnificent stately homes, Belvoir Castle. The Duchess chats to Carole about her journey from running around on a Welsh farm as a child to running a 200-room stately home when she married the 11th Duke of Rutland 30 years ago. As a keen decorator, she gives an insight into how she stamped her personality onto the private areas of the house and how looking after fabrics and wallpapers in the State Rooms requires a delicate hand. Belvoir Castle’s stand in as Windsor Castle in the upcoming season 5 of The Crown – The Duchess prefers to keep out of the way during filming, which she describes as ‘a long process’. Her joy is in the gardens – she is so hands-on, she earned the nickname ‘Digger Duchess”. Emma’s new book is out now – The Accidental Duchess. Tune in for more

Anthony Barzilay

Episode 14: How to Buy Online with Anthony Barzilay Freund of 1stDibs

The next House Guest in our ‘How To’ series is Anthony Barzilay Freund of 1stDibs talking about how to buy online. Tony is editorial director and director of fine art at the online marketplace interior designer Duncan Campbell of Campbell Rey, calls ‘eBay for serious antiques’. Tony chats to Carole Annett about how 1stDibs was founded, how it has become a go-to tool for the interior design trade and the fascination of seeing trends emerge. Tune in for more.

Episode 13: Maker & Son – gold stars again for the Conran clan – how do they do it?

Founded by father and son Alex Willcock and Felix Conran, Maker & Son make natural, life-lasting upholstered furniture including sofas, armchairs and beds. From its base in Balcombe, Sussex, this is the story of a family with creativity and craft in their DNA. Felix Conran chats to Carole Annett about how Maker & Son came to be, the ‘flump’, mobile shopping vans and exciting plans for the future. Tune in for more.

Manuela Hamilford house guest podcast

Episode 12: How to Decorate Children’s Bedrooms with Manuela Hamilford

Born and raised in Vicenza, Italy and then moved to New York City to start her career in design, Manuela Hamilford first cut her teeth at Bergdorf Goodman, working within luxury Italian home furnishings. She gained a flair for interior design and after heading back to London in 2000 she launched her own interior design studio, Hamilford Design. Manuela has created many beautiful projects over the last twelve years, noting a change in how children’s bedrooms are designed – the kids are now in control requesting theatre-style dressing rooms and gaming chairs. Tune in for more.

Kit Kemp and Annie Selke house guest podcast

Episode 11: How to Think like Annie and Kit

The two creative dynamos, Annie Selke (chief vision officer and founder of Annie Selke the Massachusetts-based go-to for colourful rugs and bedding) and Kit Kemp, founder of Firmdale Hotels and Kit Kemp design studio who together have launched a new collection of lifestyle designs based on three favourite destinations, London, New York and Barbados.  Having never met, the two were introduced when Annie was asked who she would most like to collaborate with ‘I immediately said Kit Kemp as I am a big fan of her hotels although we’d never met. It happened over Zoom and ‘we spoke the same language,’ she laughs. The collection includes rugs, pillows and bedding in natural jute and wool and also PET (made from plastics), ‘I was a bit sniffy at first about recycled material but it’s fantastic,’ says Kit. Designs include Jellyroll, Lily Pad, Eternal Spring and Horseshoe. Tune in for more.

The Kit Kemp Collection for Annie Selke, a collaboration and friendship available at andrewmartin.co.uk and kitkemp.com

guy oliver house guest podcast

Episode 10: How to design in the luxury hotel sector with Guy Oliver of architect and design firm Oliver Laws

My House Guest this week is Guy Oliver, managing director and principal designer at Oliver Laws. We natter about designing luxury hotels as two of Guy’s long-term projects are Dublin’s The Shelbourne and London’s Connaught hotels. Guy joined Oliver Laws after finishing his commission as a Royal Naval Officer and credits the training with being able to work with demanding clients including first boss, David Laws. ‘I was used to dealing with eccentric characters,’ he says, ‘they were no more challenging than the average Admiral, captain, or even my parents’. His work often involves historic or listed buildings and interiors – ‘Finding the subtle interplay between authenticity and taste is the very essence of what we do and are known for’. Tune in for more.

House Guest Charlotte Lawson Johnston

Episode 9: How Charlotte L-J discovered a more earth-loving, gentle and sustainable approach to making and dyeing natural fabrics

Today we are looking back at another of my favourite House Guest podcasts. Charlotte Lawson Johnston of Cloth Collective is on a mission to educate consumers on non-toxic fabrics and using sustainable fibres such as linen, silk and hemp. Trained at the New York School of Interior Design, Charlotte now lives between Oxford and Uruguay. She has two daughters and a cow called Leche, which her husband gave as a birthday gift. She is passionate about natural fabrics having been alarmed at the amount of water used and the chemical smell of textile manufacturing when creating her first collection. It kick-started a desire to create fabrics in a more natural, sustainable way. Tune in for more.

shot of Martyn Lawrence Bullard with house guest podcast banner

Episode 8: How Martyn Lawrence Bullard conquered the celebrity world to become their go-to decorator

Today we are looking back at one of my favourite House Guest podcasts – the dreamy Martyn Lawrence Bullard. One of the most talented and entertaining people i have met, I met up with Martyn in Paris in 2019 to chat about how he conquered the celebrity world to become their go-to interior designer. He relates delicious stories about Cher’s bathroom and working with the Kardashian clan. I’m also delighted to say this is one of the podcasts that you can tune into on British Airways inflight entertainment (click on the Audio section and you’ll find us on board). Enjoy.

house guest template with nina campbell

Episode 7: How To Decorate with Nina Campbell

Today’s House Guest is the guru of interiors – Nina Campbell. Nina was my very first podcast victim and has graciously agreed to chat again to celebrate 50 years in the business. Having started with John Fowler at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, ‘I considered myself lucky to be carrying his bags’, she says, Nina went on to work for Mark Birley on the interiors of Annabel’s members’ club. They teamed up to open a shop on the Pimlico Road, SW1. Nina explains: ‘Eventually Mark got bored, but I continued and moved to Walton Street, SW3. I was a bit tired of interior design at that point but, one day, Anne Heseltine walked into the shop and asked if I could decorate her and Michael’s new house on Chapel Street, SW1. It turned out to be a house in which I had lived as a child. I’ve always been guided by these sorts of things – interference from the Almighty, so to speak. Interior design is a bossy business and if you’re that way inclined and someone asks you to help, you say, ‘Yes.’

Tune in to hear about what Nina has been up to recently and her top tips on decorating a beautiful home.

Nina Campbell

house guest podcast food shot

Episode 6: How To Eat: Extraordinary Food and a Fabulous Setting at Heckfield Place with Skye Gyngell and David Rowley

My House Guests this week are Skye Gyngell and David Rowley, who between them oversee food and farm at Heckfield Place in Hampshire. “When a restaurant has a real relationship with a farm, it’s both of our work on the plate.’ explains Skye, who rose to fame via the food pages of Vogue and the Michelin-star Petersham Nurseries before launching Spring restaurant at Somerset House. The ethos of food at Heckfield starts with the soil and follows the principles of biodynamic farming. David explains how understanding the movements of the sun and moon and seeding at favourable times results in fruit and vegetables that taste as Mother Nature intended. Tune in for more and to hear about Heckfield’s monthly open days (starting this month) where you can visit the gardens and buy pickles, jams, cordial, flowers and home made bread – a wonderful day out and a taste of Heckfield (visit heckfieldhomefarm.com for details).
Sabina Savage House Guest artist and scarf designer

Episode 5: How to Expand a Luxury Business During Difficult Times with Artist and Scarf Designer Sabina Savage

‘I always knew I wanted to be a fashion designer’, explains Sabina. After training at Paris’s oldest couture school she applied for a work placement at McQueen and there was able to hone her craft. ‘Alexander McQueen was the ultimate storyteller and everything there is hand-drawn. They sat me down at a desk and gave me a pencil’. After McQueen’s she decided to go it alone with her own designs printed on to silk squares. She made her first collection, which sold, ‘to all my mum’s friends’, and it funded the next. Sabina’s designs are rich with detail, each one taking between 4 and 6 weeks. she started her business at 22 and it now sells in Fortnum and Mason and worldwide with America her biggest chunk. Her latest collection, Panchatantra is based on an ancient Indian book of moralistic animal stories. Tune in for more and visit sabinasavage.com to feast your eyes.

Richard Miers House Guest Podcast

Episode 4: How to Design a Garden for RHS Chelsea Flower Show with Richard Miers

My House Guest this week is garden designer Richard Miers who will be showcasing a garden next week at Chelsea. ‘I’ve always wanted to do the RHS flower show, it’s a bit like Everest for a garden designer,’ he explains, ‘always there as the ultimate challenge’. The garden is sponsored by Perennials, the gardeners’ charity, which inspired Richard’s theme of love and nurture. ‘I knew i wanted it to be enclosed and sheltered so you get the feeling of being looked after, that’s what the charity does, it cares about the horticultural community’. Richard gives an insight into the process of design, and how he is bringing in elements never been seen before at Chelsea. ‘It’s been an incredibly tense few weeks’, he says, ‘i’ve had to up my game’. Tune in for more.

What To See at Chelsea Flower Show 2022

Morten Warren yellow border and house guest label

Episode 3: Morten Warren on Audio and Light Technology

Today’s House Guest is Morten Warren, well known in the industrial design world for his work with Philippe Starck and global brands such as Bang & Olufson and Samsung. Zuma is his new baby – Morten had a light bulb moment when renovating his home and wondering why so much wiring was needed for sound and technology. Zuma puts everything you need into one light fitting – the alchemy of design and technology which is wowing the interiors world. Tune in for more.

Rob Whitaker house guest podcast

Episode 2: Rob Whitaker on Tiling 

This week’s podcast is all about tiling – ‘How to get to grips with tiles’. Interiors editor Carole Annett chats to Rob Whitaker, Creative Director and co-founder of Claybrook Tiles. ‘The whole tile world can be a bit of an enigma,’ says Rob, ‘knowing the difference between a floor and wall tile, what’s suitable for indoor or outdoor use. The first question we usually get is, “is it suitable for a wet area”‘. Rob lends a guiding hand through the world of tiles – it has changed enormously over the last few years with the introduction of porcelain tiles which opens up a whole new look. ‘you need to know what you are buying’, says Rob, ‘and where it’s going to be used. Natural materials like terracotta and stone are beautiful but are porous – put in the work initially, make sure it’s sealed properly and look after it – you just need to know what you’re buying’. Tune in for more.

Louise Roe house guest podcast

Episode 1: Louise Roe on Rattan 

‘Rattan makes a statement in an understated way, which is why i think it’s so glamorous,’ says Louise Roe of Sharland England. In this week’s House Guest episode, Louise gives tips on how to decorate with rattan and explains why she fell in love with this most sustainable of materials. A journalist by trade – she has worked with Vogue.com and In-style and is the weekly fashion presenter on This Morning, Louise’s love of rattan was inspired by her Argentine grandmother (Sharland was her maiden name) who, ‘had great style, was a bit rebellious and occasionally naughty’. Louise loves the nostalgia of rattan, its warmth and colour and explains how to use it in a modern home. ‘Going too old-fashioned makes an interior look like a tv set and that’s not ideal,’ she says. Tune in for more.

Have a listen to our season 1 guests: House Guest: The C&TH Interiors Podcast