Interiors /

At Home With… Isabel Manns

Sustainable designer Isabel Manns tells us what she's been up to in her Notting Hill home and garden over lockdown

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Isabel Manns

What’s the story behind your home?

I now live in Notting Hill Gate. It’s close to where I was brought up, and so I’ve always loved this area.

What was your inspiration when it came to designing it?

We designed our interior together, rather than using an interior designer. The colours scheme is quite simple; we have beige walls and sofas and the rooms are filled with a lot antique furniture. It’s very homely which is nice. I work from home, so it’s never a stressful environment!

Do you have any interior brands that you love and always go back to?

I usually go to vintage stores for smaller items like vases and picture frames. A lot of our furniture has been inherited from my grandparents: other than sofas and our kitchen table, we didn’t buy much.

What’s your favourite room in your house and why?

The living room, as we have great views from the window overlooking Kensington. It’s the same room that I work from, and the views were always inspiring to me.

Does your house in any way reflect your business?

In some ways yes, as I have photographs up on the walls of inspiration, and of my favourite looks that I have designed for my label (isabelmanns.com).

What’s your best view?

In the kitchen and living room we have incredible views over Kensington, it’s stunning.

What’s your signature dish – can you share the recipe with us?

Fajitas! I tend to mix up the way I make the seasoning but the base ingredients are either mince beef or chicken, onion, spring onion, peppers, guacamole, sour cream and Mexican cheese.

Tell us about the last book that you read

I’ve just finished Shoe Dog, the memoir of Nike founder Phil Knight. It’s a book I would recommend to any entrepreneur to read, no matter what industry you’re in.

Share your must-see TV and movie list

My favourite TV shows at the moment are Billions and Killing Eve. My go-to movies (which I watch every year) are Love Actually and Bridget Jones.

Describe your office space?

At the moment I’m working from home, and I do like it a lot. It’s important to me to have everything organised as it makes working much more efficient. I love to be surrounded by my brand’s clothing when I work, as it really motives and inspires me.

What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

Brush my teeth and have a coffee! I then tend to quickly look at my emails to see if there’s anything important before I shower and get dressed for the day.

And how do you love to spend your evenings?

Prior to Covid, I loved going to the pub to meet friends for a happy hour drink. Now things are a little different. I try to run in the evenings when I can, then have dinner and watch a bit of TV before going to bed to read. Recently, with the vast amount of mask orders we’ve been having I’ve had a lot of very late nights dealing with the orders and packing them up!

If you were to throw a party at home, what are the key ingredients to make it go with a swing?

Have good cava or wine flowing, and homemade canapés! I’m also someone who likes to mix up the group of people coming – I find it fun to introduce my friends to new people. If it’s in the winter, then I like to have a fire on. And if it is in the summer then we always host outside.

What gadget could you not live without in your home?

I’m not sure if this counts as a gadget but one thing I can’t live without is my clothes steamer – I used it on a daily basis.

How’s your garden behaving at the moment?

Our garden is full of fruit and vegetables. We try to eat as much as we can that we grow ourselves. During lockdown, there was a period when it didn’t rain much and so we were all outside every evening watering the garden.

Has lockdown made you reassess your work-home life balance?

Yes, as much as I like working from home I know that I need a separation from home and the workplace. I also really miss the personal interactions with all of my customers, suppliers and seamstresses.

What makes a house a home?

Getting back in at the end of the day, and feeling relaxed and happy.

Isabel Manns is a zero waste brand made sustainably in London, with a traceable supply chain. For new the AW20 collection, visit isabelmanns.com

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