Katharine Pooley Luxury Designers Abode2 Property Magazine

Cool Britannia


Katharine Pooley is one of the world’s most respected, creative and original British luxury designers today. Natalie Flaum caught up with her at her Kensington studio to find out more about the worldly talent behind the brand.

With accolades that include “British Interior Designer of the Decade,” “International Designer of the Year, Asia” and “Entrepreneur of the Year,” Katharine Pooley is no stranger to championing the finest British craftsmen, furniture designers and cabinetmakers, creating luxury interiors for a worldwide spanning clientele base. 

Katharine Pooley Pembridge Luxury Designers Abode2 Property Magazine

Katharine’s parents were both avid pilots and her travel memoirs began at just 8 weeks old, on board a Cessna (American brand of general aviation aircraft). Catching the globetrotting bug from her mother and father, she has herself, visited more than 150 countries to date, including visiting Everest, leading a team of sled dogs to the North Pole and crossing the Sahara Desert on horseback; experiences that have helped forge an interior style with a sense of daring. Her latest book, Journey by Design, retraces those intrepid travel adventures in all their glory. 

How does your design philosophy reflect the environment?  

I’m passionate about creating designs that have longevity, durability and a timeless aesthetic at their heart. One of the ways we can be more environmentally intelligent, is to invest in high-quality, beautifully crafted pieces of furniture and lighting in our homes. I cannot stand 'fast fashion' with all of the waste and disposability that it entails. The KPL design philosophy, is the antithesis of this and embraces craftsmanship that will last - and be enjoyed - for a lifetime.  

What’s your favourite client project to date and why? 

We are currently midway through the complete redesign of a celebrated chateau in the south of France. The architecture is incredible and the acres of formal gardens are exquisite. We cover a range of styles and locations, with the KPL team and I currently working across the world in the US, Middle East, Asia and Europe but the French Chateau project really stands out as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create something completely, spellbindingly, beautiful.  

Any exciting projects in the pipeline for 2024? 

We are completing an ultra-contemporary project on the coast in Sardinia in the next few months which I am very excited about. The detailing throughout is going to be really 'wow' and the natural textures inspired by the rugged coastline are just gorgeous. We also are working on a modern residence in New York overlooking Central Park, several homes in London and the English countryside, two flag-ship hotels and private residences in St Tropez, Paris, Doha, Kuwait and Dubai. 2024 promises to be a busy and exciting year. 

Tell us something unique about your design studio 

I think the level of involvement I have in each and every project is quite unique. Although the team is large now, with 49 designers and architects, and the scope of works undertaken very wide, I pride myself on personally directing the detail of every project. The client- designer relationship is a special one. Being in constant communication, so that every request and personal thought is reflected in the final design and budgets and timescales respected, is one of the things that sets us apart: Our service is exemplary.

What does the word “home” mean to you? 

It means family: creating a happy, relaxing and comfortable space for clients and their families is a privilege and I enjoy bringing designs to life that will inspire positivity and contentment in their lives. 

Katharine Pooley The Lancasters Luxury Designers Abode2 Property Magazine

What accessory could you not live without? 

Cashmere throws are always a joy to have in any room. The English winter can be long, grey and cold, so these soft-touch cocooning accessories are bliss on any bed or sofa. I also love fine glassware. My boutique in Chelsea is full of incredible pieces hand-crafted in some of Europe's oldest crystal workshops and ateliers.   

What are your top decorating tips? 

Follow your heart and embrace your surroundings. If you have a beautiful view, then let that be your inspiration, or a much-loved piece of art, allow yourself to draw colours from that. I love to create 'blank slate' designs when nothing exists except the bare bones of the building, or perhaps just a piece of land. Every design needs a starting idea and anchor point and drawing this out of the client and working through different concept ideas should be an enjoyable and exciting process. Creating a new design should be a very positive and enriching experience. Having the right interior designer to guide you, will ensure the end result is coherent, elegant and impactful. 

Katharine Pooley Notting Hill Luxury Designers Abode2 Property Magazine

How does nature influence your design aesthetic? 

Nature is a tremendous inspiration to me. I have travelled a great deal and little details, colours, textures and design ideas picked up on my travels, continue to inspire me every day. An outward looking perspective is key to creating fresh, original designs and travel is a big part of that for me. 

Tell us more about your global charity work? 

I work with The Childhood Trust on their Decorate a Child's Life programme which is a much needed charity campaign to improve the living conditions of children living in London. We redesign bedrooms and refurbish them to create safe, positive and happy spaces for children who are growing up in horrible circumstances. 

Where in the world do you love to spend downtime? 

One of my favourite places to go is our family's castle Forter Castle in Scotland. It’s set against the most incredible raw scenery, all hills and heather, and is the ultimate place for family time and to switch off and re-energise. https://fortercastle.com/ 

How would you sum up your mantra for success? 

Give every project your all, surround yourself with talented, hard-working people who share your dreams. Stay curious and keep moving forward, as every journey starts with a single step. 

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self? 

Enjoy every moment. Life is quite a ride - for every low point there is a high point. Remember that to be alive, and well, to be able to see the world and follow your dreams, is an immense privilege to be celebrated every day. 


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