Kelly Hoppen: 1920s art deco and beautiful ceiling ideas

We chat to Kelly Hoppen about bedroom luxury and the neutral palette in her recent collaboration with Sonder Living, and get her interior lighting advice

Kelly Hoppen profile and bathroom interior design

Kelly’s bathroom at home incorporates her statement ‘sculptural’ bath which is from the range she designed for luxury bath company, apaiser

Kelly Hoppen’s cool Zen-like room sets and trademark neutral palette has kept her at the top of her profession for the past four decades. She has designed the interiors of hotels and superyachts, did a stint on BBC’s Dragons’ Den and is a judge on The Great Interior Design Challenge. As well as her bespoke design service – Kelly Hoppen Couture – the South African-born entrepreneur has an online luxury store and a jewellery collection on QVC.

She has collaborated with several high profile brands, including Hotpoint and Wedgwood; most recently working with luxury furniture brand Sonder Living as well as designing a range of fireplaces for Chesneys and carpet designs for Brintons. She has one daughter from her first marriage to restaurateur Graham Corrett and currently lives with partner John Gardiner in a former city auction house in London which she renovated last year.

What is the key to an elegant bedroom?

No room is more central to your wellbeing and comfort, and everything in it should be designed to please your senses. The emphasis must be on luxury, which means plenty of fabrics – cushions, bedspreads and throws – in order to build layers of elegance and texture.

Kelly Hoppen Sonder Living living room collection at Harrods
A room set from the Vinci Living room designed by Kelly, which can be experienced at Sonder Living at Harrods

There’s a large dose of 1970s glamour in the Sonder Living collection. Is that your favourite period?

It was certainly a great era for decadent design, and the Miro Etagere from my Sonder Living range incorporates elements of both ‘70s glam and ‘20s art deco. I love design from the ‘50s and ‘60s too. Some of the great designs of that time, a Charles Eames chair for instance, remain classics. Lighting is also key.

Are there any ground rules?

Getting the lighting right is crucial to setting the mood and the tone, it’s the magic ingredient that pulls a design together. I always feature a big statement ceiling light as without it the space feels void, but like to include smaller lights like floor washers and low lighting to help create ambience.

Natural light is the best, but isn’t always an option, so beautiful lamps and uplighters help bring a room to life. For a unique touch, place uplighters by the edges of your curtains, which will light up the ceiling.

Are you still neutral on colour?

I know I’m known for my signature taupe and neutral palette, but I often use bursts of colour. My style has definitely evolved while maintaining my classic aesthetic. It’s not that I don’t like to use colour; I just seem to gravitate towards more neutral tones when designing.

Tell us about your new house

When I discovered the space, it was semi-derelict, completely bare apart from these huge pillars. I could immediately see the potential and had a clear vision of what I wanted to do. It was a huge project and took a lot of work. My heart and soul went into that house but it was worth it.

And that amazing bath?

It’s from my own range with  Apaiser and it’s like a sculpture – it really takes centre stage.

Kelly Hoppen Brintons carpet collection
Kelly’s collaboration with Brintons ‘aims to do something quite cutting edge in the commercial sector’. The collection was recently launched at the annual hotel design event, Sleep.

Any tips for home trends for 2018?

The trend for terrazzo will carry over into this year and I also think we’ll see the spotlight on ceilings. Like the fireplace, the space above our heads is often overlooked, but we are starting to see ceilings as an area that can bring warmth and texture into a home. For me, they are very much part of the wealth and beauty of a building. For a recent project I completed, I used panelling metals, wallpaper and grid line strips of wood above for a stunning effect that enhanced the room.

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