The true secret of great interior design, according to three of Britain’s greatest designers

For those looking to update their homes in the New Year, Giles Kime collates some really relevant ideas from three of the UK’s top interior designers – and there are qualities far more important than attention to color and proportion.

The understated, stuccoed façade of the Inchbald Sloane Square School of Design says little about its key role in fostering a spirit of professionalism and unleashing creativity in generations of interior designers since it opened over 60 years ago. In a profession where much can seem arbitrary and sometimes quite frivolous to the outside observer, the school has created a range of courses based on the breadth and depth of teaching that have become the foundation of some stellar careers. At the same time, he demonstrated that interior design is a discipline to be taken seriously.

Last month, founder Jacqueline Duncan and I invited three alumni, including Nina Campbell, Henriette von Stockhausen, and Rupert Cunningham, to share some of the lessons they’ve learned since leaving Inchbald. The event was organized in support of 3dadswalking, a charity that aims to raise awareness about suicide.

Nina Campbell’s London bedroom (inset).

Any onlooker who comes looking for advice on paint colors or lampshades will be disappointed; the conversation went straight to the heart of the matter. “Listening is very important,” said Ms Campbell, whose 50-year career has included transforming a Mayfair basement into one of the world’s most famous private clubs and home to a stellar client list that includes Ringo Starr. She is now the most sought after British designer in the US. Understanding the client’s desires, she believes, is the key to every successful project, allowing the designer to create spaces that are fully in line with the client’s needs, whims and aspirations.

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Not only is good communication with clients important, but with everyone involved in a project, in particular, to avoid what he calls “design drift,” says Mr. Cunningham. An efficient communication flow ensures collaboration between architects, interior designers, builders, surveyors and characters needed to bring original ideas to life.

Dining room reinvented by Rupert Cunningham (inset) and Ben Pentreat.

For Ms. von Stockhausen, the benefit of adhering to both the terms of reference and the design concept lies in comfort – physical, visual and emotional – and the result is spaces that are more focused on the needs of their occupants than the requirement to be flattered by the camera. . According to her, she also realized that in the rapidly developing world of interior design, it is vital to keep learning. One particular lesson is that a well-thought-out design will last much longer than anything that depends on the vagaries of fashion and whims.

Find out more about 3 Dads Walking at

In the half century since Nina Campbell started her decorating business, she has amassed a wealth of

As Giles Kyme explains, at the core of Ben Pentreat’s magic lies his ability to reinvent the past.

Giles Kim makes a bold prediction as he senses a new wind blowing into the world of interiors.

A bedroom in a historic Oxfordshire home was brought to life by designer Henriette von Stockhausen.

Interior designer Henriette von Stockhausen shares her thoughts on how to create the perfect bedroom.

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