Shalini Misra

The 50 Best Interior Designers

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Ready for an interiors revamp? Look no further than our A–Z of the UK's top 50 interior designers

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Welcome to our chosen 50 interior designers for 2021/22, with words by Emma Love

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Best Interior Designers UK 2021/22

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1508 London


Over the last 11 years 1508 London has grown into an 80-strong team of interior designers and architects with offices around the world (Dubai, São Paulo, North America and Hong Kong) and a portfolio of clients to match. Currently these include The OWO Residences by Raffles at the landmark Old War Office in London, the Rosewood hotel in Doha and The Residences at Mandarin Oriental in LA.

‘The lessons absorbed from our residential designs about how the world’s elite live their lives filter up the creative ladder to influence every project, but it works the other way round too,’ says partner Hamish Brown of the company, which has an equal split between private homes and hospitality, yachts and residential developments. ‘If we analyse the common threads in our work, they would be quality of materials, attention to detail and an immersion in local vernacular and culture.’

Abbie de Bunsen


Joyous, stylish spaces with soul: that’s the aim of Abbie de Bunsen, who launched her Balham-based business 12 years ago. ‘I am endlessly fascinated by how much we are consciously or otherwise influenced by our surroundings,’ she says. ‘It is so often the details that you can’t quite put your finger on that turn a space into something truly memorable.’

The minutiae is what interests Abbie who, for one of her first interior schemes, recreated an antique map she found in the archives at the British Library using tea staining for effect and turning it into the top of a coffee table. Bursts of colour and layering textures are also staples. In progress is a 16th-century house on the River Test, a modernist home in Richmond and a property in Sussex with a 1970s California feel.



Adam Bray started out as an antiques dealer with a shop on Ledbury Road before turning his hand to interior design, so it’s no wonder that he has the edge when it comes to sourcing unusual objets d’art and furniture. ‘Antiques bring soul to a room; nothing gives a scheme more depth than the patina of age,’ says Adam, who also has a knack for bringing in gloss finishes, richly hued velvets and rare textiles to his comfortable and unpretentious schemes.

Together with his small team he is wrapping up work on houses in Suffolk and Sussex, and has launched a wallpaper with Hamilton Weston (a second is coming soon). Plus he has a shop in Camden full of his latest vintage finds, which range from a French 1950s floor lamp to a Russian straw marquetry box.

Barlow & Barlow


As a springboard to launching Barlow & Barlow eight years ago, Lucy Barlow designed the interiors for a 20,000 sq/ft listed building on the Strand that was transformed into four luxury apartments (which sold for record breaking prices). She joined forces with her brother Max – a lighting designer – and now her architect and landscape designer husband Joshua Sear is on board too.

Her trademark use of colour and pattern ranges from flashes of leopard print (‘It’s my go-to; I definitely consider it a neutral,’ she says) to the graphic style of Aboriginal art – her latest inspiration. ‘It’s so important to focus on a sense of fun. Homes should have a cheerful character and warm charm to them; it’s about creating a space that makes you feel happy.’ The studio encourages clients to make braver choices than they would on their own ‘mixing old with new, chintzy and plain, rough with smooth to make things a tiny bit unexpected.’

Base Interior


Set up by Deborah Bass in 2010, Base Interior is renowned for producing timeless interiors that feel organic and effortless. Often spaces have a handmade touch – such as a painting, sculpture or tapestry – plus ‘a layering up of texture and geometry to create balance.’ Deborah sees the practice as a ‘catalyst that communicates the client’s unique vision and gets it built’ while taking considerations such as proportion and practicality into account.

‘Colour and texture both inform my interiors and, having been so very at home this year, I have really focused on the paintings that I live with for inspiration: the Rococo-style works of Flora Yukhnovich and the delicacy of collage by María Berrío,’ she says. The team has just completed several residences close to the Marylebone studio and there are two exciting firsts in the planning: a London restaurant and branching out to the US with a house in Virginia.

Beata Heuman


Swedish-born Beata Heuman opened her studio in 2013 after a nine-year stint working for Nicky Haslam. Since then she has been creating beautiful, comfortable rooms with playful, considered details such as brass handles or a Dodo Egg pendant light (part of a bespoke collection of pieces that can be bought from her online store Shoppa). Off-beat palettes and an otherworldly element are also signatures, as are the charming watercolour design sketches she paints for clients.

At the moment she’s splitting her time between houses in Manhattan, London and Rotterdam, as well as a property on her family’s farm where she grew up. ‘It’s from the 18th century and I’m getting quite inspired by the elegant simplicity of that time, especially in a countryside setting,’ she says. ‘I often end up doing green and blue combinations in rooms as I find the association with nature both calming and invigorating.’

Celine Interior Design


‘There is a recognisable sophisticated and glamorous look to all Celine Interior Design spaces,’ explains director Noor Charchafchi, who set up the studio seven years ago after switching careers from aviation finance law. Flawlessly finished interiors feature a mix of textures – leather hides against a soft bouclé, say, or beautiful onyx and marble. ‘What makes a material interesting is how you choose to use it. At the moment, I’m exploring Marmorino plaster and seeing how it works with different techniques such as bass relief to create sculptural wall surfaces.’

One recent and particularly exciting commission was the redesign of Blue Bird, a 1930s yacht built for Sir Malcolm Campbell that was also used for the evacuation of British forces from Dunkirk. She has also co-founded new fabric company Smith & Noor specialising in linens and wools, and collaborated with Couture Editions on Nahla, a series of limited-edition photographic prints sparked by her desire to create original artwork for clients.



Directors Anthony Collett and Andrzej Zarzycki began their creative partnership in 1988 and have since garnered a reputation for classic contemporary interior schemes. The majority of their fixtures, fittings and furniture are bespoke – usually in natural materials such as timber, stone and metals, as well as handcrafted fabrics – and they work with artisans to realise their vision (they recently tasked Object Studio with manufacturing two large, cast bronze sculptural seats for a family home in Zurich).

Eye-catching bolts of bright colour – a yellow velvet sofa, for instance, or a contemporary sea-green panel of stained glass – often appear too. Inspiration comes from the context of each individual residence, which right now translates to a rustic, organic style for a beach house in Corsica and clean-cut boxy shapes for a hyper-modern penthouse in Tel Aviv.



It might be best known for its roll call of high-end hospitality and retail spaces – Nobu Hotel London Portman Square, the Delaire Graff Estate in South Africa and Harrods Food Halls to name a few – but David Collins Studio takes on private residences too (current locations include Hong Kong). For Creative Director Simon Rawlings, inspiration ranges from books on other interior designers (such as Studio Peregalli) to Japanese ceramics and sustainable materials.

‘I keep going back to Marmoleum as an amazing surface for tabletops: it’s Scottish-made, 97 per cent natural, carbon neutral, fully recyclable and compostable.’ He believes that the best designs are a collaborative effort. ‘It is a sum of so many experts coming together and finding a harmony of creation. Whether it’s sound, light, feeling, touch or taste, these all play such a huge part in crafting the perfect experience.’

Edward Bulmer


The first building Edward Bulmer worked on in his own right was Althorp: an enormous ten-year undertaking for Earl Spencer that involved re-hanging 500 pictures. Since then the architectural historian, interior designer and founder of eco-friendly Edward Bulmer Natural Paint has had a hand in restoring many of England’s country houses (he is currently working on the fine rooms at Somerley and new bedrooms for Arundel Castle).

A growing amount of time is now spent on the refitting of old houses as well as the creation of new buildings in traditional styles. For Edward, this is all about the contrast between formality and informality, old and new. ‘Above all it must be practical, comfortable and harmonious,’ he says. Colour of the moment? ‘London Brown. It puts everything else in a good light; it is strong and warm but somehow respectful to other hues regardless of weight and shade. I think it might be time for deep browns to enjoy a resurgence.’



‘To be a good designer you need to have an innate interest in people and the way in which they aspire to live in their homes,’ says Charu Gandhi, who set up Elicyon seven years ago and specialises in curated, tailored interiors. ‘I find the process of collaborating with clients to bring out their individual expression one of the most delightful aspects of my work. It’s a cornerstone of my design philosophy.’

Past career-defining contracts have included creating private apartments in Clarges Mayfair and a number of spaces at the landmark Chelsea Barracks development. Most recently she has completed a listed house in Belgravia, family home in Chelsea and a five bedroom apartment in Knightsbridge that references the whitewashed tones of Ibiza and Mykonos, and comes complete with gallery space for the owner’s collection of pop art and sculpture. Right now, blonde timbers, woven leather and tapestries are all part of her moodboard.

Fiona Barratt Interiors


Elegant neutrals interlaced with interesting and unusual textures are characteristic of Fiona Barratt-Campbell’s luxurious aesthetic. ‘I start with a neutral palette but bring in strong materials like sandblasted wood, cast bronze and stone. Then I create balance by adding soft and tactile finishes,’ confirms Fiona, who cites the natural world as a huge inspiration. Lending a home a sense of place, as well as maximising the potential of existing elements within the building are both priorities.

‘A successful interior should enhance, not dictate, the way someone lives through well thought-out spaces that possess true design integrity,’ she says. Alongside the interiors studio – where on-the-go properties include a pair of chalets in the French Alps and a Grade II-listed mansion in Berkshire – she is behind FBC London, which has a new furniture collection launching in September and a series of handcrafted lighting on the way.

Helen Green Design


Founded nearly 20 years ago, Helen Green Design is synonymous with considered, understated style and timeless interior schemes. ‘We are focused on specialist craftsmanship and championing British- design, and proud to say that all our sourcing is done in the UK from specialist artisans and suppliers,’ says Creative Lead Alexandra Jurkiewicz, who cites her inspiration as historical houses, which she reimagines in a contemporary setting.

‘Each project we take on embodies the same pursuit of excellence, meticulous attention to detail and perfection.’ Projects in the pipeline include a modern villa in Vienna, a listed duplex apartment in Knightsbridge and a manor house in Surrey. Expect layering, pared back detailing and beautifully crafted bespoke joinery and furniture peppered throughout.



‘Whatever the colour scheme, I like to use pattern and texture in a slightly unexpected way to create interesting, characterful spaces,’ says Henry Prideaux, citing a family home in Chelsea where he combined blue, red and white in a range of patterned and textured fabrics for a living room as an example.

Having cut his teeth at Nicky Haslam’s NH Design and Harrods Interior Design, he set up his practice in 2014 with the aim of creating authentic interiors that subtly reflect the lifestyle and interests of the owners. ‘Ensuring the design nails spatial planning with a scheme that flows through the house is crucial for a successful interior. We aim to surprise our clients whenever possible by over delivering on expectation to give them the very best version of their original ideas and our initial design concepts.’

Jessica Buckley


Edinburgh-based Jessica Buckley worked in commercial property investment before retraining and setting up her interior design studio a decade ago. Comfortable spaces layered with pattern and colour are her hallmark – for instance, placing an abstract rug over a larger sisal one and using curtains for cosiness.

‘I like to make sure that a room is set out in a very easy way, with soft seating and a spot nearby for placing drinks down,’ says Jessica, who is soon starting work on a home in Wimbledon as well as three houses in the Cotswolds – a location that taps into her rural influences. ‘I moved to the countryside about a year ago and it’s very much inspired my taste for slightly dirtier tones, chintzy prints and very traditional English decoration.’

K&H Design


‘We believe that most great design is subtle; it can be quietly appreciated over time and through its use. It’s about perfect scaling and harmony with the surroundings,’ says Katie Glaister, who started K&H Design in 2015 with co-founder Henry Miller-Robinson. Their skill at combining practical and creative considerations results in ‘exquisite homes that work hard’, whether it’s a rooftop apartment in Hong Kong that was planned according to the principles of Feng Shui or a listed neoclassical flat in Belgravia that has been reconfigured with Brutalist interventions.

Designing kitchens for clients using interesting materials (such as sustainable Pyrolave within a bespoke terrazzo worktop and splash back, say) and introducing out-of-the-ordinary pieces by artisans and craftspeople (as they are currently doing for a client in Stockholm) are also part of their refined design DNA.

Photo: © Milo Brown

Katharine Pooley


Katharine Pooley describes her residential interiors as ‘international eclectic luxury’ – and not because their far-flung locations range from Kuwait to Zermatt. Instead she’s referring to the aesthetic, which typically draws on her globe-trotting travels. ‘The natural world continues to be a great inspiration,’ she says, referencing the last lockdown year. ‘I find the colours, textures and organic forms of the great outdoors endlessly thought provoking. I based a recent bedroom design on a piece of sea glass found on a coastal walk; it was a sublime shade of green and totally serene.’

She officially launched her business in 2004 with a home accessories boutique in Knightsbridge. The design studio followed a year later and now there’s a second office in Qatar. For her, the best design is about ‘the balance of memorably beautiful statement pieces such as joinery, art and directional lighting, with an overall feeling of effortless comfort.’



For the last two years Clara Ewart has been head of design at Kitesgrove (previously she was associate director at Todhunter Earle) overseeing a residential portfolio that includes a Grade II-listed vicarage in Oxfordshire, a Hampstead penthouse and a Surrey family home that involved a two-wing extension, full refurbishment and updating much-loved heirlooms to give them a new lease of life.

‘A successful interior is one that feels authentic, as though it has always been that way; a space that has come together over time,’ says Clara, who has also been developing a collection of sustainable rugs with Jennifer Manners made from recycled plastic, which is launching this winter. The studio’s current portfolio is equally diverse. It includes a contemporary villa in Kuwait (their first client in the Middle East), several houses in London and the Cotswolds, and the curation of a farm shop in Oxfordshire which covers everything from the design to staff uniforms and food displays.

Laura Hammett


Run by Laura Hammett and her husband Aaron, this Fulham studio stands for pared-back luxury underpinned with opulent, elegant touches. ‘The way a home feels is always at the forefront of our minds when we design,’ says Laura. ‘I love an interior to slowly reveal itself as you take in its details, rather than be too overpowering.’ Creating bespoke pieces is integral to their schemes, as is thinking practically when choosing fabrics and finishes – especially for clients with young families.

‘We love a tailored look but without it being overly formal; we almost always work with a neutral base but there are a few favourite colour combinations we use, such as navy and bronze.’ Ongoing projects span ten countries and the studio has recently launched its first lighting collection in collaboration with Bella Figura.


Whether working on a superprime development, superyacht or private residential commission the multi-disciplinary team at Lawson Robb has a reputation for pushing design boundaries. ‘Our principle foundation is to create approachable yet thought-provoking spaces,’ says Co-Design Director, Lena Cottray. The buzzword here is curation: nature vs architecture, rough with smooth, organic materials against hand finished surfaces, and a playful flourish through art.

‘We curate everything from considered optimal layouts to the final dressing of an interior,’ confirms fellow Design Director, George Wolstenholme. ‘As a studio we relish opportunities to work on a variety of schemes from heritage to futuristic.’ Most recently this has included the renovation of a Grade II-listed town house in Little Venice, a luxury development in Mallorca where ‘the brief was more essentialism than excess’ and the sleek, groundbreaking superyacht,
Phi, in collaboration with Royal Huisman.



After repeated requests from clients, it was a natural next-step for Linley to branch out into interior design. That was 14 years ago, and since 2018 creative directors Michael Keech and Graham Green have headed up the division with their trademark architecture-first approach to the flow and function of a building. The results are typically unobtrusive, a sensitive reimagining of traditional themes for modern living.

‘We always ask questions: is the client out to impress or are they after comfort and cosiness? Do they have a collection of art or a grand piano that needs to be housed perfectly?’ explains Michael. ‘The one constant is lighting: good lighting is key to any kind of space.’ The pair has just put the finishing touches to a Baroque palace in Yorkshire and a French Empire-inspired Palladian house in Buckinghamshire.


Louise Bradley


A self-labelled perfectionist, Louise Bradley has been creating classic schemes that nod to contemporary for the last three decades. For her, context comes first: ‘I take inspiration from what you can see outside and then try to weave this into the interior through colour, texture or bespoke furniture designs,’ says Louise, who has not long completed a family home in Jersey and an apartment overlooking Regent’s Park.

‘Often people make the mistake of viewing a room in isolation but it’s vital to bear in mind the transition between spaces, to build up a fully considered home.’ Her favourite part of a project is the initial design stages and she loves ‘creating new soft furnishing schemes and being inventive with layouts and joinery details.’ To celebrate this anniversary year she is launching a book, Interior: Louise Bradley (Merrell, £50) and a new collection of furniture.

Maison Arabella


Having honed her skills at Candy and Candy and Katharine Pooley, Arabella Bassadone set up her design practice in 2016. She has a natural leaning towards clean geometric lines, classical proportions and big statement colour, always creating individual schemes with understated glamour.

‘Our portfolio balances art, craft and architectural dynamism to create life-enhancing spaces,’ says Arabella, whose versatility is evidenced in commissions that range from an office for her family’s automotive business to a spa and a new-build residential villa integrated into a cliff-face. ‘It is such an exciting opportunity to get involved with the full architecture and landscaping. Working on a home from inception can really create unique interior opportunities that we can normally only dream about.’ She also has a homewares collection of furniture and objects, available online and at the by-appointment Belgravia studio.

Martin Brudnizki


From Scott’s to Sexy Fish, Martin Brudnizki is best known for shaping the look of London’s restaurant scene. That’s not all: over the last 21 years he has also set the visual tone for bars, retail spaces and members’ clubs around the world including Annabel’s in Mayfair, the Soho Beach House in Miami and his latest launch, The Britely in LA.

‘We tried to make it feel evocative of the elegance of the Hollywood of old to offer members and their guests a feeling of escapism and fantasy,’ he says about the thinking behind the design. Several members of his 70-strong team focus solely on private residences, taking on two or three at a time for clients drawn to Martin’s eclectic creativity and unique way of putting things together. ‘The trick to a welcoming space is personality: fill it with life through art, accessories, fabrics, lamps and wall coverings,’ he enthuses.


In addition to residential projects, design duo Martin Hulbert and Jay Grierson are best known for putting their contemporary stamp on traditional country house hotels, most recently devising new interiors for The Grove, Hertfordshire and The Grove of Narberth, Pembrokeshire, as well as No. 15 Great Pulteney in Bath.

‘We have no rules; our minds remain wide open when it comes to inspiration,’ says Jay, for whom the natural light and aspect of a room determines the choice of colours. ‘We are working on two new hotels in Brighton and York and having complete creative freedom has put a real buzz in our step.’ One of their main aims is ‘creating atmosphere so people instantly relax’.

Martin Kemp


From private jets to sleek yachts, landmark developments to spectacular residences, Martin Kemp is the super prime market’s go-to designer, as renowned for his absolute discretion as he is his acute attention to detail.

‘It’s important that we challenge expectation and deliver something that has been given that extra little bit of consideration – a chamfer, a trim or inlay perhaps,’ he says. ‘It doesn’t need to be a bold step. It may only be a subtle detail which helps a piece of cutlery stay upright inside a drawer, for instance. Though equally, we relish transforming architecture, removing walls and opening up previously unimagined height or vistas.’ Keeping him busy is the ground-up fit-out of two grand historical mansions in London, a vast estate comprised of four houses in France, a sky-scraper apartment in New York and a 64m superyacht in Italy.



First established in 1964 by David Mlinaric, the studio initially garnered a reputation for working on important London and country houses, often in association with the National Trust. These days MHZ is something quite different: a global outfit with offices in London, Paris and New York (the latter two are overseen by Tino Zervudachi) that work both together and separately on a portfolio that ranges from chalets in Europe to houses in the US, Japan and UK.

An emphasis is placed on creating understated harmonious interiors that don’t feel overdesigned through a sympathetic use of colour and combining antiques with modern furniture. ‘We like to get the interior architecture right then the schemes follow in an organic way,’ explains Tino. ‘Good design should at its heart be functional and simple. And it’s important to be able to edit: less is really more where possible.’

Nicola Harding


Behind Nicola Harding’s design approach is a self-confessed fascination with what makes a house a home – something which can be seen in her confident yet unexpected colour palettes, thoughtful details and interesting finds. ‘For me, finding the line between relaxed unpredictability and reassuring order is the secret to a welcoming space,’ says Nicola, whose recent work includes a family home complete with a boat house on the River Thames and Beaverbrook Town House in Knightsbridge.

Next on the list is reimagining the internal layout of a Jacobean manor house to make it fit for modern living, as well as creating a walled kitchen garden and banqueting greenhouse in the grounds (her background is in garden design so she is often asked to tackle the outdoors for clients too). Sustainability is always a critical consideration and the studio is in the process of becoming B Corp-certified.

Nina Campbell


It’s a milestone year for interiors doyenne Nina Campbell, who is celebrating half a century of working in design. As in-demand as ever, she has spent recent months juggling global requests that include updating a home for a member of Jordan’s royal family (‘I seem to have got into a coral mode at the moment,’ she says of her colour palette choice) and waving her wand over another floor of the exclusive women-only Alexandra Club in Melbourne (she has previously completed the first section).

‘I used trompe l’oeil panelling for the doors to the private dining room, then punched in rather strong turquoise, watermelon and orange so the whole room sings.’ One of the greatest changes she has witnessed in interiors, she says, has been in embracing open-plan living. ‘You used to have a drawing room that you barely went into and a kitchen buried in the basement. Everything has become much more interactive. Now the kitchen really is the hub of the home.’

Penny Morrison


From a Chelsea townhouse to a new build holiday home in Comporta or a stable conversion in Wales, what unites Penny Morrison’s designs is her ability to infuse a space with colour and character. ‘The most important thing to consider is that real luxury means comfort: deep sofas, feather cushions and plenty of side tables,’ she says. ‘In order for somewhere to feel welcoming, it’s important to build up layers by using different colours, patterns and textures.’

She is often inspired by vintage textiles collected on her travels including, most recently, French fabrics (she has also scooped up a range of Mexican and Andalusian painted textiles from Casa Gusto, an antique shop in Florida). To her own collection of home accessories, she has just added water repellent performance fabrics suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

Photo: © Mike Garlick

Peter Mikic


Since setting up his eponymous studio 15 years ago, former fashion designer Peter Mikic has made his name with eclectic, playful spaces. He’ll often start, quite literally, from the ground up: ‘Flooring, carpets and rugs can be such a prominent feature, so considering how these aspects create a cohesiveness is really important,’ he confirms.

Colour-wise he counts dusky pinks, forest greens and navy as favourites (‘when used well and with confidence, they can be transformative to a space,’) and right now is researching sustainable materials and ways to incorporate them into his schemes. Commissions under way include a bespoke private train, a house in the Hamptons and a Swiss chalet, plus he has just launched an online shop filled with antique finds and pieces from top artisanal brands. Any design rules for pulling a space together? ‘Don’t over clutter and listen to your gut.’

Photo: © Guy Archard

Rigby and Rigby


‘Understated, refined luxury with a holistic approach to design’ that’s the ethos behind a Rigby & Rigby scheme. The multi-award winning architecture and interior design studio combines sophisticated technology, architectural elements and a personalised service to create its functional yet luxurious interiors – whether the team is working on a superprime residential property in London or the Aero Wing suites at The Maybourne Riviera on the Cote d’Azur in France.

A respected player on the global design stage, other international projects in the pipeline include redesigning a prestigious private family office in a scenic setting in Oslo and an ultra-prime private residential property in Tokyo, in collaboration with the world-renowned Kengo Kuma architects. Look out for the recently launched first collection of furniture, Unknown Editions, too.



Founded four years ago by Suzann Bozorgi as an online platform, RoomLab is based on her belief that a high-end interior design service should be accessible and easy for everyone, whether a home needs a simple decorative refresh or a complete overhaul. ‘Online interior design is still fairly new,’ says Suzann of the service. ‘We tend to begin on a single room basis initially but then once people become comfortable with the way we work, more often than not they add other parts of the home too.’

They also tend to return. Around 70 per cent of clients are repeat business. One of her most memorable spaces to date was the redesign of a living area to incorporate blue cabinetry and orange wallpaper from Knowles & Christou. ‘It really pushed our boundaries as a team and made us look at colour and pattern in a whole new way.’

Salvesen Graham


Since teaming up eight years ago, friends Mary Graham and Nicole Salvesen have become known for their playful use of pattern and colour, and for putting a fresh, modern spin on English interiors.

‘You can be bold and a room can still feel really calm as long as nothing shouts too loudly,’ confirms Mary. ‘We both love green, a colour we find ourselves using when decorating our own homes, and have been drawn to some really vibrant prints lately, but we like to balance these so they don’t become dominating.’ They label their look Future Heritage: classically beautiful and carefully curated homes that feel stylish and comfortable now as well as in years to come. Recent projects include a Grade I-listed house in Cornwall and a London home full of unique architectural details.

Samantha Todhunter


Since setting up her practice 19 years ago, Samantha Todhunter has turned her hand to an array of interiors. Currently, this includes a 16th-century manor house in Hertfordshire with an uber modern glass extension, a spa in San Francisco and a series of sprawling listed barns in Dorset.

‘Our MO is to create spaces that are ultimately timeless and effortless. A very large part of that is driven by the client’s brief, the room’s functionality and end use, but also it is driven by wanting to create a little bit of magic,’ she explains. ‘Layering is key to creating interesting connections between style and period, texture and colour.’ The latter, believes Samantha, is crucial for adding personality. ‘We aren’t fickle about colour. It’s absolutely central to our identity and we rarely favour one over another.’

Shalini Misra


For trained architect Shalini Misra, interior design always starts with spatial appreciation. ‘Part of our approach is addition through subtraction, which is taken from Japanese design principles,’ says Shalini, who founded her eponymous design studio in 1996. ‘In practical terms for instance, sliding doors – which I like to think of as movable walls – can be used to divide a large space into smaller rooms.’

A client’s artwork is often the starting point for the design language, textures and colours too. ‘We get involved in art in many ways, sometimes to curate works for homes and often we work closely with master craftsmen and artisans in a close collaboration.’ Currently she’s working on a villa in Dubai, a New York townhouse and a large-scale luxury development in central London.



Founded in 1991 by David Spence, Graham Harris and Neil Hogan, SHH has a core aim of creating a seamless aesthetic with the highest attention to detail. The team works primarily in the UK, but also has large amounts of international project work in China, Hong Kong and the Middle East. ‘We collaborate with the most skilled artisans worldwide to create the unexpected,’ says the creative head of residential interiors, Susie McLaren. ‘An SHH signature touch is the integration of hidden features and unique design detailing influenced by an element of the owner’s personality or life.’

So while a mansion on an eight acre estate was restored and transformed into a family home with a new wellness wing, another new-build residence was developed around the concept of The Art of Contrasts, with fun laundry shoots for the children’s rooms, a dumbwaiter connecting all floors, and a tropical aquarium.

Colefax & Fowler


The longest-established interior decorating firm in the UK – as well as one of the most respected – Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler is renowned for its integral role in evolving English decorating style. The company’s eight leading decorators are as experienced at creating 21st-century homes as they are working on important historic buildings, with recent projects in their diverse portfolio ranging from a Swiss chalet to a pair of yachts and revamping a flat in Athens. ‘The most important thing with a scheme is letting your individuality come across. It’s a very emotional thing,’ says Chairman Wendy Nicholls. ‘Half the fascination of being an interior designer is helping extract from people their view of themselves and bringing that to life.’ Proper consideration of the space and how that reflects the architecture, the right lighting and excellent upholstery are all a priority.

Photo: © Simon Upton

Sims Hilditch


Elegant and contemporary English style is the byword at this Cotswolds design studio set up by Emma Sims-Hilditch over 20 years ago (it now has a base in Parsons Green too). Renowned for its use of natural materials and calming tones to create interiors that feel lived in and homely, the team also works closely with clients to incorporate art and antiques.

‘Antiques paired with a fresh, fun palette and patterns inspired by nature is something that we have played with in our recent designs,’ says Emma. ‘Nature is a great source of inspiration for us and we always look at a property’s natural surroundings to help determine the colour, texture and materials that will be used.’ Recently completed commissions include two London town houses, an Oxfordshire farmhouse and a Grade II-listed home that has been in the same family for 500 years. Louise Wicksteed is now design director, in charge of the day to day running of projects, and the studio is soon to launch its first-ever furniture collaboration with George Smith.

Studio Duggan


A background in set design and interior styling proved to be the perfect foundation for Tiffany Duggan, who has spent the last decade creating dramatic yet liveable spaces. ‘I’m loving a contemporary take on English country house style at the moment: blowsy floral prints, stripes and decorative hand-painted furniture, alongside mid-century pieces and a splash of bold colour to mix it up,’ says Tiffany who has recently finished a Grade II listed former boathouse in Henley and two new builds – one traditional and the other super modern.

Whatever she’s working on, detail is everything: ‘We want to help our clients create a mood. It’s about developing a singular cohesive look unique to them, so we might source tableware or vintage barware. We once even made a playlist to cement the vibe!’ She also has a home and lifestyle brand, Trove, that features an in-house collection of furniture, lighting and accessories.

Suzy Hoodless


Former magazine editor-turned-designer Suzy Hoodless describes her interiors as a kind of alchemy: ‘By layering the best designed pieces from a mix of eras and styles we can create a space that feels as if it’s been slowly curated and built over many years. The alchemy comes with designing each element with beauty and functionality in mind.’ For a recent Mayfair apartment she combined rare Scandinavian furniture, 18th-century rugs, bespoke upholstery and 20th century art to create an eclectic ‘treasure trove of a 19th century world traveller set against the modern backdrop of central London elegance.’

All schemes are based around the core concepts of timelessness and practicality, whether she’s working on an Arts & Crafts family home in Hampstead, the private women-only members’ club AllBright in Mayfair or show apartments at the former BBC Television Centre in White City. ‘I want spaces to work, be comfortable and uplifting but also surprising,’ she says.

Photo: © Will Pryce

Taylor Howes


‘The soul of Taylor Howes is echoed in our “true design for living” approach,’ says Karen Howes, who co-founded the studio nearly 30 years ago (she took over as sole director in 2011). ‘Our job is to add the wow factor while also ensuring that the way a home feels is never sacrificed for the way it looks.’

She naturally leans towards a bold, playful use of pattern and colour but ultimately the aim is to ‘get into our clients’ heads and create something that is both completely unique and right for their everyday needs.’ She and her team have completed more than 1,000 projects, the latest of which are a Cotswolds country estate, a seven-bedroom home in Knightsbridge and the Chateau Denmark hotel in Soho. Other initiatives include a collaboration with Aga and the official charitable roll-out of Rest Nest – redesigned break rooms for hospital staff.

TH2 Designs


Relaxed luxury: that’s how Gail Taylor and Sheila Elhadery describe the th2designs look. ‘We always consider the colour palette to make sure there are underlining warm tones and layer textures to make a space feel like somewhere you want to kick your shoes off,’ says Gail of the practice, which is also known for using natural materials where possible and creating multifunctional interconnected spaces.

‘We are driven by a passion that everyone should benefit from living in a comfortable home that enhances wellbeing and makes you feel better as soon as you walk into it.’ Projects run the gamut from designing 48 apartments, a residents’ club and cinema for a high-end private rental scheme in Fitzrovia, to a family clifftop beach retreat in Cornwall.

These White Walls


Former scenographer, stylist and events designer Rose Murray takes a ‘blank canvas approach to creativity’, which centres around the client’s concept and creating a narrative. She founded These White Walls in 2017. The studio’s first commission, Hide restaurant in Mayfair, launched a year later with interiors based on the theme of ‘dwelling’ and a site-specific art installation for each floor. ‘Our schemes are boldly elegant with a sense of unconventional beauty,’ confirms Rose, who is working on houses in the UK and Middle East, as well as a boutique hotel in Italy.

‘Devilish detail combined with emotive materials and contemporary craft make each space feel inspiring.’ Restrained palettes are often paired with raw materials for depth. ‘Wood and brass are ever present and appear in a number of guises, and I’m obsessed with plaster,’ she says. ‘There is always movement in the materials we pick, which give our designs a sense of aliveness.’


‘The setting of a house is everything; it creates the tone for what’s coming with levels, trees, planting and outside living vital to modern families,’ says Philippa Thorp of her 360-degree vision that encompasses architecture, interiors and landscape design. ‘It is the views out from the house and the calm that gives our lives value.’

The result of taking such a holistic approach for nearly 40 years is a portfolio of properties that feel sophisticated and timelessly elegant, from a country house in Oxfordshire to an apartment in Miami’s iconic Surf Club to a listed chapel in Fulham, which she converted into a pair of homes. ‘Natural daylight and overall good proportions are the watchword of all our projects. And it is also vital to have a good balance to the colours, allowing the heroes to shine through.’

Tim Gosling


Trained in theatre design and director at Linley for 18 years before setting up his own studio in 2005, Tim Gosling is passionate about beautifully crafted furniture. ‘I have always believed that making something using the best quality materials means it will have longevity,’ he says. ‘What has changed since lockdown is trying to make spaces more versatile so the home can truly be a place to live, work and play.’

Projects range from fitting out superyachts to creating a miniature museum for a client in New York collecting small-scale books, paintings and artefacts, and decorating Apothecaries’ Hall in the City of London. ‘It’s fascinating as the room above is where Henry VIII divorced Katherine of Aragon. To be part of history and the continuation of the interiors in such buildings always excites me.’

Todhunter Earle


Dream team Emily Todhunter and Kate Earle have been working together for more than two decades. Highly experienced and with a vast design scope, their in-progress projects include a beach house in the Bahamas, a new-build country home in Somerset with earth walls and layered glass (to embrace the view and the British weather), an Arts & Crafts building and a Scottish lodge full of pretty wallpapers.

‘We try to make our homes reflect the character of their owners. There’s something about a genuine interior that isn’t too try-hard that makes it inviting,’ says Emily. ‘When you walk into a room with thought-out details – it can be a moulding or a handle, a trim or a pleat – if it’s evident that it has been put together with care and attention to detail then it’s much more successful.’ The duo’s first book, Modern English, will be published on 21 Sept (Vendome Press, £50).

Juliet Murphy Photography Vanessa Cayatte


With a background in architecture and a design outlook that draws on her American roots, Vanessa Cayatte has been creating classic, comfortable interiors with a modern edge since launching her eponymous studio 15 years ago. ‘Once the architect is right, I focus on lighting, furniture placement and joinery. Fabrics and colour comes last,’ explains Vanessa of the design rules she follows when pulling a scheme together.

Recurring details include café curtains, cosy dark rooms and art gallery feature walls. She has just put the final touches to homes in Kensington and Notting Hill (‘they are only three streets away from each other but worlds apart in their aesthetic’) and is collaborating with New York-based designer Jeffrey Bilhuber on a Grade I-listed Jacobean manor house in Somerset.

Photo: © Juliet Murphy Photography

VSP Interiors


Inchbald-educated Henriette von Stockhausen is an expert in country houses – specifically listed buildings and homes of architectural interest – and instilling what she calls a sense of ‘settled comfort’, so a space feels as though it has evolved over time.

‘I always try to add unexpected items in an interior so it doesn’t become predictable and staid. ‘This can be the addition of a modern piece in an otherwise traditional scheme, or an amazing antique piece in a modern environment. That juxtaposition makes it exciting and special,’ explains Dorset-based Henriette, who works worldwide but looks to work with local craftsmen and incorporate traditional techniques where possible. The lengthy and varied list of completed commissions – including an old dairy, a Georgian rectory, a castle and a manor house – are testament to the breadth of her knowledge and skill.

Ward & Co


Mother-and-daughter-team Sarah and Rosie Ward pride themselves on creating homes that stand the test of time. This is achieved through clean lines and neutral palettes, layered with bold colours from a specific spectrum, and by taking time to fully understand the brief. ‘Culture, passions and lifestyle always feed into our designs. One client might require a spice kitchen, another a prayer room, whilst the next might need dedicated space for a supercar collection,’ says Sarah, who set up the studio in 1986 (Rosie joined in 2013 and it was rebranded in 2021).

Location also sets the tone. For a recent project in Covent Garden, they incorporated nods to the neighbouring piazza and the area’s 400-year-old history by installing a bespoke shelving unit for 400 books, while at a listed property in Suffolk, sprawling wisteria inspired the interiors.

Featured image: Shalini Misra


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