SL Meets Interior Design Legend Kelly Hoppen

SL Meets Interior Design Legend Kelly Hoppen

There can be little doubt that after 40 years at the top the industry, Kelly Hoppen is one of the most celebrated and renowned interior designers in the world. Undertaking her first commission to overhaul a family friend’s kitchen as a teenager, she’s since gone on to win multiple design awards and accolades – including a CBE in 2020. Now, her latest book – 'Essential Style Solutions For Every Home' – aims to share just some of her vast knowledge, alongside practical advice and cost-effective design tips. Here Kelly reveals more about her inspiration and process, before sharing three of her favourite projects…

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Style & Ethos

It’s so important that a home works for whoever lives in it – both on an emotional level as well as a practical one. It’s so often something that gets overlooked. For it to truly feel like ‘home’ – whatever that means to you – the ambience and style of a space must feel right. This means that every choice you make – from the colour of your walls and the materials of the floors, to the style of your furniture and even the way you scent your home – should make you feel uplifted and energised, as well as comfortable and safe.

Colour & Materials

When it comes to colour schemes, people typically associate my work with a neutral palette. Chic, soothing and endlessly versatile, neutrals are anything but boring and I love using them because they provide the perfect, quiet, easy backdrop for so many looks, materials and styles of furniture and furnishings – not to mention accent colours. From smart black and white, through all the shades of grey, taupe and sand, to creams and off-whites, neutrals work – regardless of whether your interior style is minimalist or decorative, people are always drawn to the clean lines of contemporary furniture or the history and patina of antique or vintage pieces. They also look beautiful with all kinds of natural materials – pale or dark wood, stone and marble.

Style Solutions

For me, banners and runners are essential components of any successful design scheme. They can be interpreted in so many different ways and expressed in such a variety of materials and finishes that the creative possibilities are endless. They may be wide or narrow, vertical or horizontal, and can be used on everything from floors and walls to furniture and soft furnishings. Runners and banners may also be introduced into a design scheme for their aesthetic value – and for the endless opportunities they provide for setting up unusual and arresting juxtapositions of tones and textures.

I've always found that a comfortable balance of old and new is what gives a space integrity and character. Whether you have heirloom pieces passed down through the family but live in a sleek city apartment, or you have a passion for modern art but live in a period property, the frisson between the two can be totally dynamic.

Cotswold Barn

As you enter this 2,500 sq. ft. converted barn, you’re greeted by a spacious hallway, with beautiful vaulted ceilings featuring original wooden beams. One of the first things you see is a white, oversized statement hanging light, the sweeping spiral staircase in darker tones to match the flooring, and the contrasting white and grey palette of the space. Mirroring the feminine spiral staircase, this statement hanging light adds a modern touch, evoking a blend of urban and rural living which is echoed throughout the home.

The spacious dining room space features a timber table, which takes centre stage. This ten-person table sits under unique modern black hanging lamps – a juxtaposition with the original ceiling beams – and is surrounded by a console, black and white artwork and dark accessories which contrast nicely against the white walls and wooden features. The dining area leads to the garden, too. The choice of light tones for walls and furnishings elevates the brightness and space of the property, especially in the walkway between the hallway and the kitchen.

In the minimalistic and serene living space, lived-in creased linen textures are mixed with vintage bamboo and a touch of velvet, to provide an elegant, yet relaxed, base for textured cushions and modern accents. 

London Apartment

In the heart of London, this apartment showcases the eclectic and vibrant style of its owners. Using a mixture of key pieces of furniture within a modern and timeless design allows each piece to make a dramatic statement. Runners are one of my trademark design features, and here I have used contrasting Italian stones with beautiful oak herringbone flooring to guide you through the space. 

The double height space allows for the whole design to breathe and capture every moment of the natural daylight. Emphasising the height, I used beautiful Italian marble runners on the walls and contrasting specialist plaster finish to enhance and showcase the spectacular volume of the living spaces.  

Capturing the natural light within this design was key, and using metal Crittall doors and openings where possible allowed me to create a more open and inviting space. The use of a neutral fabric palette of velvets and Swedish linens allows for those one-off moments of colour, that show the enthusiasm and character of the client. This is a modern and timeless apartment with all the necessary home comforts but with that spark of excitement.

Chengdu Apartment

This project showcases my signature ‘East Meets West’ style. Grounded in timeless neutrals with accents of warmth and touches of dynamic texture, it showcases the sophistication, luxury and modernity of its surroundings. As soon as you enter the space, you’re greeted by high-end sourced marble flooring, with a metal inlay runner to guide you through the apartment. 

The metal runner continues up the wall with added backlit lighting, creating a natural flow in the space and providing an extra layer of intricacy to the design. From hard flooring to soft plush scatter cushions throughout the bedrooms and living space, this design element is expertly used to enhance the depth and dimension of the apartment. 

This project is grounded by my signature neutral colour palette. Sophisticated and beautifully simple, these luxurious hues give a timeless and elegant feel to the space. Natural neutral linens are placed alongside sumptuously soft velvets, complemented by magnificent Italian leathers. This collaboration blends a variety of contrasting textures to bring tactile dynamism to the living areas. The warmer tones of timber bring an inviting and softer touch to carefully balance with contrasting modern black timber moments.


You can buy Kelly’s new book, Essential Style Solutions For Every Home, here.

Photography by Mel Yates

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