I met up with Kelly Hoppen MBE, interior designer to the stars (including the Beckhams) and step-mum to Sienna Miller, to talk about her latest holiday plans and find out why Tom Ford’s A Single Man has inspired her. Check out the inside of her gorgeous London pad too…
How did you come to be a designer?
My brother works in art, my mother works in art and my father worked in fashion – if you have an artistic background I think it obviously rubs off. Ever since I was a little girl I was making things around the house. I designed my own new bedroom, which looked very avant-garde for a 16 year old’s room. I was offered a job helping with a kitchen design and that’s how I got into the business. But the kitchen was awful – both the client and the builders were alcoholics so it didn’t turn out very well. One day I will dig out the pictures.
So how did you go about founding your own design business?
When I was 17 I had a girlfriend who was going out with a famous racing driver and he had seen a flat that I’d bought and designed and asked me to design his place. So then I got onto the circuit of working for Grand Prix racing drivers and set up my business.
What inspires you and why?
Everything inspires me. I’m going to a spa for four days tomorrow and doing nothing is inspirational for me! Going to another country, sitting in a café, talking to people, looking at fashion, the way something’s stitched, the necklace and ring you’re wearing. I think when you’re artistic and creative you never stop looking at things. Tom Ford’s film is unbelievably inspirational – I saw things in it that I’ve got at home and it reminded me of my childhood and my best friend’s mother’s home. I know Tom and I love his work and what he did with that film.
Are you a city girl or country girl?
I’m a city girl and live in London, but I have a house in Oxfordshire and I go there a lot at weekends. Being in the country is good for me as it gives me balance.
What’s your favourite past time?
I love to design, but I also love being with my family and friends and to travel. I’ve only ever had one bad holiday and that was in Mexico. We arrived when there had been a hurricane and there were no doors in the room so we left! I’m going to a Masseris San Domenico spa in Puglia, Italy, tomorrow for four days with my best friend, Vicky. We’re going to do nothing but have lots of lovely treatments. I can just picture us sitting by the sea, which will be bliss.
What has been the most exciting project you’ve worked on and why?
I’ve worked on some fabulous projects. Designing for BA First Class was amazing, because you’re designing for an aircraft, which is so different to homes. I’ve recently been putting my next book together and have been going through past projects, which has reminded me of the excitement I felt when I worked on them. The projects I do are very couture and I get to know the people very well and become great friends and design their ‘fantasy’ in a way.
In terms of trends, what do you think will be big this summer?
I wrote a trend report and talking about the trend for what I call ‘linear shabby chic’, which is a slightly lived in look with a defined edginess to it. Before the recession, people went through a phase of throwing things out and buying everything new, but it’s important to think carefully about the way you live and can adapt to what you have. Use key pieces of furniture and art in your home as a focal point and design your room around it. I love a neutral palette of monochrome and taupe, but I also love adding purple into the mix. Turquoise is also a strong colour, particularly in wallpaper, as is black.
Kelly Hoppen has designed a new range for B&Q which features five designs including Vintage Flock, Linear, Lizard Block, Shagreen and Hicks, each inspired by natural textures. Lizard Block in taupe by Kelly Hoppen at B&Q adds subtle style.
The luxurious Hicks wallpaper by Kelly Hoppen at B&Q comes in a charcoal, taupe and silver finish.
What products could you not live without?
My Gucci demin jacket, which I’ve had for about seven years. It’s a staple part of my wardrobe and I think every woman should have one! I’ve become obsessed with Jo Malone products. The Vitamin E Body Balm is the most incredible thing I’ve ever used. You put it on and it sinks into your skin.
Top tip for a wannabe designer?
I don’t think you need training, but you need a passion and focus and love for what you do. It’s a bit like trying on new clothes – take time deciding. Take pictures and always create a mood board. Understand who you’re living with – your husband, your children, your nanny – and live in that space, then spend the money.
How would you describe the style in your London home?
It’s very monochrome and neutral, with lots of taupe and black and white. I’ve used this specialist Italian plaster and the whole thing looks like whipped cream. The house has amazing light, which gives it a fantastic atmosphere.
What’s your motto?
Nothing’s too big, but nothing’s ever big enough!
Take a look inside Kelly Hoppen’s London home:
Kelly’s kitchen oozes razor-sharp style:
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