Ask Katharine Pooley about her design ethos and the theme that comes across most clearly is her passion for British craftsmanship. Recently voted British Interior Designer of the Decade, Katharine is currently working on projects located in the French Riviera, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Qatar and New York, as well as London. In each case, Katharine is blending British craftsmanship with a range of cultural influences and inspiration from her incredible travels.
True luxury in a globalised society is based on individuality, exclusivity and quality. Clients from across the world seek out Katharine’s original viewpoint and visit her Knightsbridge-based design studio for her unusually diverse approach. From yachts to private jets, castles to palaces, and bijou apartments to country estates, every project is conceived from its own organic idea and created using bespoke, one-of-a-kind finishes with exceptional detailing.
As every Katharine Pooley design is different, her impressive portfolio is not easily defined. Nonetheless, a common thread woven through every design is her unsurpassed patronage of British artisans.‘While I work internationally – and have a very global mind-set – it is Britain’s innovative history, creativity and incredible artistry that sets us apart as a country of designers and makers,’ Katharine says. ‘British design is so exciting and its history is infinitely inspiring.’
Katharine is currently working on what she describes as a ‘heart-stoppingly’ beautiful château on the French Riviera, which has the largest privately owned grounds in the South of France. ‘What a dream project,’ she says. ‘I feel very honoured to be working on such a majestic property and one with such a glamorous history. It was famously the backdrop for the filming of Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief, and it’s where the characters played by Cary Grant and Grace Kelly fell in love.’The house itself, with its intricate plaster mouldings and panelling, Florentine façade and pale ochre stucco finish and shutters, is a celebration of the Belle Époque. Large, arched windows and doors look out over the Mediterranean.
During the first lockdown, in the spring and summer of 2020, Katharine and her large team completed a seven-storey town house in Notting Hill. She worked with traditional British joiners, Halstock and Silverlining, creating furniture and joinery designs that are, she describes, a ‘testament to the beauty and quality of British design’. In fact, Katharine has found that Covid-19 has prompted greater interest in interior design:
‘I’m already seeing a surge in requests for design proposals, as people realise that their mental wellbeing is now more dependent on living in a home that is beautiful and has the capacity to sustain them when the rest of the world is closed to them. In their homes, clients are looking to make a peaceful sanctuary, filled with objects they love and that give them a feeling of happiness and contentment. I foresee a greater usage of calm, serene colours, large mirrors and organic, textured finishes that help create a restful mood.’