“As the world now looks to home as a place of sanctuary and comfort, there is a greater interest in the environmental impact of residential design and a stronger desire to create a sense of indulgence and relaxation within one’s abode that is on a par with the very best hotels and private clubs”, says London-based Katharine Pooley.
Ever since founding her own eponymous business in 2004, the former banking executive has gone on to win multiple international accolades, publish a book in partnership with Assouline, and establish herself as a globe-trotting decorator to the elite spanning North America, the Middle East, Russia and China. In addition to her flagship studio in Chelsea, she has a standalone home accessories boutique in Knightsbridge as well as a showroom in Doha, Qatar.
Her team of 45 interior designers and architects takes on projects encompassing architectural design, interior design, property development and even product design. Some of her most high-profile projects include the five-year renovation of The Clarence at St James House and the complete refurbishment of a historic Hyde Park residence. Pooley, who also once lived in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore, shares the top 10 trends that will take our homes by storm in the next decade.
Colourful, large-scale contemporary art
“I am using a great deal of large-scale contemporary art in residential interiors right now as clients look to personalise their homes, and add visual interest and colour in a joyful way. It’s been a stressful year, so I find uplifting and peaceful abstract paintings most popular. Large-scale art creates a ‘wow’ effect and represents an intelligent investment during times of economic fluctuation.”
High-impact chandeliers in natural finishes
“Chandeliers are no longer confined to the ‘single pendant with faceted crystal droplets’ parameters of old. The best and most luxurious now boasts a modern and stylish design aesthetic. Often abstract or sculptural in shape, these chandeliers feature beautiful natural finishes like rock crystal, alabaster or porcelain. This way, they transform the space in which they are hung and are an exceptionally memorable talking point.”
Hand-painted botanical wallpaper
“I have created some incredible, timelessly elegant interiors recently in Europe and Asia, where the bed headboard was framed with an artful display of hand-painted silk wallpaper in a contemporary interpretation of a classic chinoiserie design. It is most glamorous when created using a tonal palette where subtle colourations emphasise the artistry of every brush stroke.”
Games rooms and home cinemas
“With lockdown restrictions and the resulting closure of private members’ clubs, restaurants and bars, there is a growing trend in luxurious residential design that incorporates large spaces for entertaining and relaxation. I have just completed a seven-floor home in London with two subterranean floors that feature a games room with a billiard table, large bar, home cinema, ping-pong table, and card table for playing poker.”
Impactful feature staircases
“A noticeable trend in luxury residential interior design right now is the inclusion of grand sweeping staircases. Clients realise that in both contemporary and traditional interiors, nothing impresses more than an architecturally awe- inspiring feature staircase leading to the main entrance hall. Usually clad in marble and featuring an original design for the balustrade metalwork, they are something I love to design as they set a luxurious tone for the rest of the property.”
Spa-like luxury bathrooms
“Clients are also looking to replicate the spa experience at home, be it with the addition of large swimming pools, treatment rooms and specialist gyms or just by renovating existing bathrooms to give them a luxurious spa-like feel. I have noticed a growing trend for beautiful large-scale book-matched slab marble for bathrooms, especially light-coloured Italian marble like Calacatta Oro or Milas Lilac, which has dramatic and linear veining.”
Exterior terraces and balconies
“The past year has shown everyone the universal importance of having generous and spacious homes – especially with large exterior spaces. Especially popular now are large terraces that incorporate infinity pools, fireplaces and seating areas wherever possible to maximise living and entertaining spaces outdoors.”
“We look to our homes for comfort in a time of uncertainty and regardless of climate or location. An open fire is comforting and gives the home a heart and a central focus. Recently I have designed and installed contemporary, sleek marble-clad fireplace walls as well as more traditional marble and stone mantelpieces. Depending on the architecture of the property in question, either design will add depth and richness to an interior.”
Large wine display rooms and joinery pieces
“So many of our clients take pleasure in acquiring special vintages of wine and champagne. And they like to display their collections in original bespoke rooms with joinery in unusual and interesting finishes. This is an example of highly personalised, one-of-a-kind customisation – a client can be sure no one else will have the same design.”
Large “his and hers” walk-in dressing rooms
“My clients invariably travel a great deal and have wonderfully large clothing and accessory collections that reflect the many different seasons and locations they visit and live in. A personally designed walk-in wardrobe to house and display these items
is therefore a must-have and a growing trend. A Katharine Pooley bespoke dressing room usually features intricate joinery, a mixture of open and closed storage, a beautiful contemporary chandelier and an elegant dressing table or central island. A lady’s dressing room is most usually designed in soft-toned luxurious finishes like bleached sycamore or bird’s- eye maple with inset polished metal and mirror panelling incorporated throughout. A gentleman’s dressing room tends to be darker, with more masculine detailing in gunmetal or bronze.”
(All images: Katharine Pooley)