What the top de­sign­ers put in their own homes

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Interiors -

Emily Brooks re­veals the brands and prod­ucts that are cov­eted by the cream of the in­te­ri­ors world

When home own­ers hire an in­te­rior de­signer, they’re not just seek­ing out some­one with cre­ative flair, or a pro­fes­sional who can take the headache out of a build­ing project. In­ti­mate knowl­edge of the best prod­ucts – from pic­ture frames to mat­tresses – is an im­por­tant part of the pack­age, too.

“Peo­ple def­i­nitely come to us for brand knowl­edge – we have the abil­ity to pass on our favourites from years of ex­pe­ri­ence,” says Staffan Toll­gard, who strad­dles both worlds as an in­te­rior de­signer who also runs a fur­ni­ture and light­ing show­room. “In­te­rior de­sign is very much about pass­ing on knowl­edge about what works and what doesn’t, and the older you get, the more ex­pe­ri­ence you gain.” Here, Toll­gard and other de­sign­ers give us a glimpse into their ad­dress books, as well as re­veal­ing some of the brands that their clients re­peat­edly re­quest.

Beds and linen

“I had a client who in­sisted that the beds were ex­actly the same spec as the Dorch­ester,” says Ru­pert Martineau of ar­chi­tec­ture and in­te­rior de­sign firm SHH. Ger­man com­pany Mühldor­fer sup­plies the es­teemed ho­tel’s pil­lows (sold via the Dorch­ester’s on­line shop), but Martineau even sourced the same Vis­pring mat­tress for his client, de­spite the fact that it was a spe­cial model made only for the ho­tel.

Toll­gard is also a big fan of Vis­pring, ever since he was in­vited to stay over at a client’s house and had “the best night’s sleep ever” on one of its mat­tresses. “You don’t al­ways get feed­back from clients af­ter a project has fin­ished, but I’ve had quite a few tell me how amaz­ing their mat­tress is,” he says.

TV tech

Ever won­dered where you can get one of those tele­vi­sions that rise ma­jes­ti­cally from a cab­i­net at the foot of the bed? Fleur Liver­sidge of Stu­dio Indigo has a rec­om­men­da­tion. “Corn­flake is our go-to sup­plier for mo­torised mech­a­nisms for TVs,” she says. “No one is that keen to look at a black screen hang­ing on the wall, so most of our projects have a pop-up TV trunk. Al­ter­na­tively there are mech­a­nisms that al­low the TV to hide un­der­neath the bed, negat­ing the need for cab­i­netry.”


De­sign­ers’ fur­ni­ture rec­om­men­da­tions are as di­verse as the projects they work on. At the cool and con­tem­po­rary end of the spec­trum, Toll­gard loves Ital­ian brand Flex­form, es­pe­cially its so­fas. A per­sonal favourite of Michael Phillips, from Phillips Tracey Ar­chi­tects, is Carl Hansen & Son, as well as Bri­tish com­pa­nies Bench­mark and Pinch: all make beau­ti­fully crafted, mod­ern tim­ber fur­ni­ture. At the top end, it’s be­spoke all the way: Joe Burns of Oliver Burns uses dec­o­ra­tive up­hol­sterer Aiveen Daly to add wow-fac­tor to din­ing chairs and head­boards with in­tri­cate pleats, folds and em­broi­dery. “Her work is re­ally un­usual and dif­fer­ent, and she can work some­thing sim­ple like a chair into some­thing amaz­ing,” says Burns. De­signer Brian Wade of Tim Flynn Ar­chi­tects loves Cox Lon­don’s fur­ni­ture and light­ing, made with a fine art sen­si­bil­ity. For a re­cent Knights­bridge project (to­tal fix­tures and fit­tings bud­get: £2 mil­lion), he in­stalled a pair of Cox ta­bles, with bronze legs in the shape of ser­pents.


The de­cline in tra­di­tional an­tique shops con­tin­ues, but your favourite high-street dealer may well have moved to Lor­fords in the Cotswolds.

In­te­rior de­sign­ers love this multi-venued en­ter­prise (it runs across two air­craft hangars in Bab­down, near Tet­bury) be­cause of its one-stop-shop na­ture and high­qual­ity stock.

In Lon­don, in­te­rior de­signer Hen­ri­ette von Stock­hausen loves Guin­e­vere, an an­tiques shop on the King’s Road. “I adore go­ing there – it’s an Aladdin’s cave,” she says. “They very clev­erly put room sets to­gether, which helps when I take clients there, be­cause they can im­age how things will work at home.” Von Stock­hausen par­tic­u­larly cov­ets the tex­tiles, in­clud­ing an­tique bed­spreads and lamp­shades made from vin­tage saris.


De­sign­ers are now ex­pected to have an in­ti­mate yet global knowl­edge of the best deal­ers and fairs for sourc­ing art­work.

When it comes to fram­ing these im­por­tant in­vest­ment pieces, from clas­sic black-and-white pho­tog­ra­phy to a del­i­cate wa­ter­colour, the ex­perts turn to John Jones Framers.

“Art­work de­ter­mines the mood of a space, and choos­ing the right frame is very im­por­tant,” says in­te­rior de­signer Mau­r­izio Pel­liz­zoni.

“John Jones helps you to choose the right frames for each style of in­te­rior and makes sure that each piece of art is framed prop­erly and beau­ti­fully. It’s a bou­tique ser­vice from be­gin­ning to end.”

Aladdin’s cave: the fab­ric room at Guin­e­vere, the King’s Road an­tique shop, above; the TV pops out the trunk, de­signed by Corn­flake, in a Stu­dio Indigo bed­room, right

Tucked in: the Vis­pring mat­tress, left, is made in Devon and used at The Dorch­ester

Writ­ing on the wall: a home in As­cot de­signed by Mau­r­izio Pel­liz­zoni, with pic­ture fram­ing by John Jones Framers

Shapely: the An­ders light, above, £1,210, and the Clyde side ta­ble, be­low, from £620, both from Pinch

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