Meet The Designer Who Understands The Impact Interiors Have On Our Lives

Louise Bradley Interiors, Regent’s Park © Ray Main 2019. All rights reserved. Please contact [email protected]

Louise Bradley’s father owned an interiors boutique in Hampstead that still inspires her to this day. But instead of joining the family business, she started a career in fashion, before finding her way back to her true passion of interiors. Having first opened a showroom on Walton Street in Chelsea in 1991, she now has a design studio in Knightsbridge, is celebrating 30 years in the business this year, and has just published her first coffee table book Interior: Louise Bradley (Merrell Publishing).

How did you get your first big break as a designer? I have always had a passion for design. I grew up inspired by my father’s creativity, forever exploring his Hampstead interiors boutique. I started my career in fashion, however, I soon realised my true passion was for interiors. This led me to the opening of my first showroom on Walton Street in London, which specialised in antiques and accessories.

My first big break as a designer came from a regular client of my boutique. It was a large two-bedroom apartment in Cadogan Square. This is still a project that I hold in high regard, and there is an image of this project included in the opening pages of the book, for which I designed by hand an intricate mirrored curtain pelmet.

 What and who would you say are the key influences on your style? I wouldn’t be the designer I am today if it wasn’t for my father, to whom I have dedicated my first book. His sense of style and his curiosity has inspired me since I was a child.

Also, I collect art and love beautifully tailored fashion pieces. I am also always inspired by my travels. You can easily soak up the new influences, traditions, and local craftsmanship from visiting a new place.

I imagine it’s a lot of pressure to design someone’s home—clients come to you for a combination of your signature style and a unique realization of their own tastes. How do you approach the latter? Does designing someone’s home require you to get know them in a specific way? We are very lucky to have fostered strong relationships over the years with our clients and their families, and the relationships continue to evolve. To create the perfect home, we spend a lot of time understanding how our clients wish to use the space: how they work, socialise, and relax, which rooms they spend the most time in, any daily rituals and routines they might have that require a designated space.

I think empathy is also key to a successful client relationship—being able to see the project from their perspective—as buying and designing your home is such a personal experience.

The book Interior: Louise Bradley includes several case studies of spaces you have worked on in your 30-year career. What is one of the most memorable projects you’ve done? And why? Each project is hugely memorable for its own reasons. I loved designing a country estate for a long-time friend and collaborator. The estate consisted of the main residence, a shooting lodge, and a cottage. In one project, we designed three distinctive interiors. It’s also Grade-II listed, and so it had some breathtaking architectural features, which we had to preserve. We infused the property with our timeless contemporary style and state-of-the-art technology, whilst honouring its traditional features and ensuring these are preserved for years to come.

Because we’ve all spent so much time at home due to Covid-19, many people began to rethink their relationship to their living space—as a designer, how do you think about that relationship has changed for your clients and for yourself? My team and I, and our clients, have always had an understanding that our homes and the spaces we live in have an impact on our lives and that well-designed spaces not only make us feel better but with their seamless functionalities can make our everyday living far easier.

What we have noticed, is an increase in new clients who are drawn to our classic contemporary aesthetic. Now that we have been spending an increased amount of time at home, certain trends, bold colours, and large patterns are not as desirable as they were when clients spent less time at home. What many clients are drawn to now, are interiors that are soothing and harmonious, facilitating a balanced lifestyle from dusk to dawn. Interiors that leave you feeling refreshed and rested. 

 I read that you consider it an objective of interior design to create beauty—what would you say makes a space beautiful? I think balance and harmony are a key to beauty—I’m very much a believer in the classic principles of design, which honour the architecture and the heritage of the property.

 The beauty comes from the detailed consideration of materials, textures, surfaces, patterns, light and reflections.

From the initial concept to the final touches, what is your favorite part of the design process? No project would be complete without accessorizing the space and the final touchesthat’s when the space becomes truly personal to the client, as we reintroduce their heirlooms, cherished possessions, favourite books, plants, works of art. That’s when we see the interiors come to life as a complete design, made to be enjoyed for years to come.