Kensa Interior Design


Goodbye grey as luxury interiors go bold and bespoke. New brand KENSA Designs promises to transform furniture  into dinner party talking points, as Laura Whateley discovers

There is a worrying trend for conformity in interior design, believes Sally-Ann Maine-Tucker, director of new high-end luxury brand KENSA Designs, with too many people opting for safe but reserved and sober colours in their home.

She is shaking things up with her striking, unique furniture; antique pieces lovingly restored and handpainted with colourful art works made up of thousands of tiny brushstrokes.

Each piece is entirely unique and created in collaboration with her work partner, artist Ken (the KEN of KENSA, she’s the SA) and specially chosen expert antique furniture restorers and lacquerers. The process, once the item of furniture has been sourced from an antique dealer or auction house, takes about three months, from restoration to painting and finishing.

KENSA Design’s existing collection includes an almost two metre high and three metre wide carefully refurbished 1940s gentleman's wardrobe with fine copper handles, adorned with a huge, resting white tiger.

An elegant antique sideboard on narrow scalloped legs, originally by famous cabinet makers Waring and Gillow from 1932, has been transformed into a view of Venice, the top painted in marble effect. More colourful still, is the pop-art inspired goldfish painted chest of drawers, on a turquoise base, its drawers lined with bright orange suede and knobs made from bubbled-glass.

Though all KENSA Design’s existing collection is for sale, priced from £5,000 to £20,000, Sally-Ann hopes that buyers looking for something unique for their own home will use the existing work as inspiration to commission their own designs.

“We take bespoke commissions to work in any setting. We can source furniture to fit with an image that a customer may have, a landscape that brings back fond memories, a favourite painting, even a family pet. We can also work to restore and paint furniture that someone already has but thinks needs a new lease of life.”

At an initial personal consultation with Sally-Ann and Ken, over the phone, online, or at their onsite studio in the grounds of her home in Surrey, they will find out a bit more about what it is you want to create. Sally-Ann will then, if you wish, visit you at home to help analyse the space, discussing what colours, sizes and shapes of furniture would compliment a room.

“We want people to participate and be involved in the process of design. We are creating something personal and unique and want buyers to be excited by it.".

When your furniture is finished, Sally-Ann will personally deliver it if you live within the UK, assembling it in your home, or arrange shipping if you are based overseas.

“Everything is possible,” she says. “We can add quirky finishes, gold leaf, materials like velvet. Unique handles, antique mirrors. We want to make pieces that are as individual and personalised as we can.”


KENSA Designs was founded two years ago, after a serendipitous meeting of Sally-Ann and Ken in a hardware shop in 2009.

Sally-Ann, who gave up her city trading job after 25 years to start the business, was looking for someone to help decorate her Baillie Scott arts and crafts style house.

Ken took on the job, which took four years, during which time it became apparent he was a talented artist, too, and started reviving old brown furniture that Sally-Ann found drab.

Ken, who studied at Reigate School of Art and has  been highly commended by The Royal Society, is a sculptor and metal designer, as well as keen painter. Sally-Ann has long enjoyed interior design and doing up properties herself, “as soon as I’ve finished one I’m on to the next.”

They have spent the past two years creating their collection and are now starting to exhibit in shows such as Elite London and Decorex International, which includes some of the UK’s finest luxury brands.
Sally-Ann’s favourite items include a 1920’s ornate wardrobe, painted with a magnificent grey stallion, in honor of her love of riding and horses. Ken, having spent many years stalking in the Highlands, was inspired to paint a grand stag on a 1920s cocktail cabinet, which would sit perfectly in a wood-panelled country home. Inside the glass shelves have been replaced and each detail, such as the decorative metal work and ornate key holes, have been taken apart and restored.

Much thought goes into marrying the image with the individual piece of furniture. When they decided to paint a regal peacock, they spent weeks finding a set of drawers that would enable Ken to imagine the bird true to scale. The green chest now sits in Sally-Ann’s dining room and is a constant source of lively conversation among friends at dinner parties.
One of the many benefits of avoiding the same old boring beige.


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