"What Inspires Me" with Katharine Pooley

After a career that is totally different from the one she pursues today, Katharine Pooley is now known and recognized for her luxurious interior design style. Having become one of London’s most sought-after designers worldwide, notably after being named “British Designer of the Decade”, Katharine now divides her time between her design studio and the realization of multiple projects around the globe. Her numerous awards and accreditations are a testament to her talent and investment in interior design, but Katharine is also very committed and supports many associations. Thanks to her large Instagram community with which she interacts regularly, Katharine invites her followers to discover the behind-the-scenes world of interior design.
Discover the inspirations of this talented British luxury interior designer, how Katharine managed to take her career to a whole new level, how her travel memories influence her projects today.
Thank you to Katharine and her team for taking the time for this interview!

Katharine, I understand that you spent part of your professional career in finance in Asia. Can you tell us about your career path and what led you to interior design? 

Although I was born in Hertfordshire, went to school in Oxfordshire, England, and then predominantly brought up in Bahrain, my family has travelled extensively and that has definitely inspired my global viewpoint. Having spent 14 years working in finance in Hong Kong and Singapore, for Morgan Stanley and Barclays, which I absolutely loved, I returned to England ready for a new business adventure. I had undertaken a handful of large-scale refurbishment projects for my family and friends over the years (including a Castle, ski chalet, Thai coastal retreat and various city homes) and it became clear that this was more than a passing interest and would become a lifelong passion.

Almost two decades later my design studio, working out of Chelsea, London, consists of 47 talented designers and interior architects and I have been named ‘British Designer of the Decade’ which is rather fantastic! The scale of the studio is quite unusual, and this allows me to undertake complex, sophisticated design projects globally for my wonderful clients. We ensure every detail of every project is conceived, designed and installed to the highest level, we offer a complete turn-key service.

You seem to have a traveller’s soul, is that where you find your inspiration? Which city awakens your creativity the most?

Many of my journeys have impacted my interiors and certainly understanding the cultures is a very important part of the design process. I look around my living and workspaces and I see the treasures and photographs that take me back to a wonderful adventure. Each one evokes memories; triggering the sights and smells of that time and it floods my senses. An innate sense of adventure has defined my life and shaped my design philosophy. I have visited more than 190 countries. However, what may come as a surprise is that I love mountaineering and raw adventure over city breaks and have driven a team of dogs on a sled to the north pole, and crossed the Sahara on horseback, all of my experiences feed into an original and adventurous design sensibility. I don’t think there is one city that inspires me the most, if anything it is wide open spaces!

Now that we can travel again, what would be your next inspirational trip?

I can not recommend more highly Sumba Island in Indonesia, known as ‘the Forgotten Island’ it’s absolutely incredible and I would love to go back. I also absolutely loved the Amanpulo in the Philippines, it’s the epitome of a tropical paradise. Usually though I like to go to totally new places, now that the world is reopening I need to get my map out and make a plan!

Kensington House – ©James McDonald

What is your favourite part of your job? What is your creative process when dealing with a new project in general?

Gosh a difficult question! I love all the aspects of this job for diverse reasons. Because we undertake projects worldwide it means I get to travel lots which I love. In terms of project stages; the beginning is always so exciting, forging a new relationship with the client and introducing them to some wonderful finishes and details they have not seen before, I love those early days. But the end of the project is a beautiful time too, some of our projects take many years and are a very personal journey for the client, its an honor to then show them the final result and is always a very emotional moment!

Nothing Hill Project – ©James McDonald

How do you bring your personal touch to the projects you work on?

I like to think that my interior style is intelligent, luxurious and timelessly elegant. Originality is critically important to me personally and I like to introduce unique detailing and personal touches to every project. I do not merely stick to a specific style, as I believe that creating a home is an intimate process that requires trust, listening to individuals and delivering a clients’ vision to make their “dreams come true”. Every KP project combines unique visual flair, unusual finishes, the best of British craftsmanship and beautiful luxurious home accessories and art.

Mayfair Home – ©Andrew Beasley

You interact a lot with your large community on Instagram. What is your approach to social networks and to what extent are they a professional tool for you?

I love Instagram and Pinterest in particular, if used in a positive and inclusive way, social media can be incredibly inspiring and a great way to foster relationships worldwide. I love to share my design insights, trend updates, lifestyle and family snapshots as it builds a really vivid picture of who I am and what inspires me.

Your studio also features the largest library of fabrics and finishes in London, how do you source the artisans you work with?

I am incredibly lucky, our library is so large and wide ranging and all overseen by our wonderfully organised librarian Julian. Over the years I have built very close relationships with hundreds of suppliers, this network of creative individuals, artists, artisans and makers ensures we have an incredible range of fabrics and finishes for our clients. My suppliers are very important to me, their beautiful designs are at the heart of everything I create and I make time to treasure and nurture these important relationships.

You have a shop in London with a wide range of furniture, lighting and home accessories. Where do you find your sources of inspiration for collectible design?

Having lived in Asia, the Middle East and throughout Europe I have been able to discover and immerse myself in many parts of the world. My time in Asia led me into starting my first interiors boutique in Chelsea, (Katharine’s boutique on Walton Street is famously a treasure trove of beautiful accessories) which sells rare and interesting products. These exotic and rare treasures mix delightfully with the best of European craftsmanship and English design. It makes for an eclectic, unusual and very luxurious combination!

What are the know-hows that you are particularly fond of at the moment?

Textures are everything; Think rich luxurious finishes that are cozy, inviting and beg to be touched. I love combining eglomise mirror with straw marquetry, shagreen, soft kid-skin leather, cashmere and silk or grass cloth wallpapers. The colours can be peaceful, calm and tonal, the richness of texture will give a refined and luxurious feel.

Do you know our Par Excellence artisans? Among them, is there a particular know-how that is close to your heart?

I have great respect for the work of the Par Excellence artisans, in particular I find the work of Ateliers Saint Jacques quite incredible. The stone staircase they created for Dior in Paris perfectly captures the classical timeless elegance of that iconic brand. The use of contrasting finishes and textures is exquisite. The Alvar dining table is to my mind a perfect piece, deceptively simple, sculptural and unforgettably beautiful, I adore it. This is the fabulous range of the Par Excellence stable of artisans, from the architectural to the smaller interior and furniture details, everything is immaculately considered and created.

What is next for you? Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share with us?

It’s a very busy year, during the Covid period some wonderful new projects have come my way which has been incredibly fortunate, it helps I think that we have such an international presence. We have some incredible developments and private homes currently being designed and installed in the English countryside, London, Hong Kong, New York, Monaco, London and Switzerland (so the next few months will be very busy!) A favourite would be an incredible Chateau in the South of France where Grace Kelly and Cary Grant were once filmed by Alfred Hitchcock for the Hollywood classic ‘To Catch a Thief’, it has quite the most incredible architecture and gardens.


Volevatch - A Leader in French Bathroom Fixtures

Translated from a French article by Signatures Singulières

A leading purveyor of luxury bathroom fixtures, Volevatch is a company that creates exceptional pieces. This French manufacturer designs jewel-like faucets through which water magnificently flows.

Above: Serge Volevatch – On the right: Versailles collection

Chasing at the workshop of the manufacture.
Piet collection. Charles Zana project

The signature of French bathroom fixtures

Volevatch artisanal fixtures beautifully highlight the water flowing in the bathroom or kitchen. Founded in 1975 by Serge Volevatch, a craftsman and restorer, this French manufacturer uses ancestral know-how for its faucets. Its creations can be found in prestigious heritage sites as well as in luxury private residences. The firm is also listed in France’s Inventaire des Métiers des Arts Rares, the national inventory of rare craftsmanship. This recognition is part of the UNESCO’s cultural heritage protection program. Beyond their functionality, Volevatch fixtures are true jewels that tell the story of different design styles such as Art Deco. The company is often inspired by the founder’s collection of antique faucets. The history and the exemplary nature of this firm caught the attention of Signatures Singulières Magazine.

Bistrot collection, nickel finish.
Héritage collection. Bronze finish.

Unique contemporary pieces

Volevatch is one of the last French luxury faucet manufacturers to continue the heritage of excellence. In addition to restoring old faucets, Serge Volevatch has also developed his own creations. His first collection, “Bistrot”, has become iconic. Today, more than 40 craftsmen apply the traditional art of creating unique pieces in the factory. Founders, welders, assemblers, polishers, chiselers and engravers shape and sculpt solid lead-free brass, covered with precious finishes. This passion for beauty is also adapted to modern interpretations. The know-how established by Serge Volevatch is complemented by the latest generation of digital production tools assisting today’s artisans of the firm. Nevertheless, these masters of waterworks continue to perpetuate, with talent and know-how, the secrets of the art of bathing under the eye of the son of the founder, Igor Volevatch. More than a history of craftsmanship, the manufacture is also a beautiful family story!

Bistrot collection, nickel finish.
Bistrot collection, copper finish.

Unequalled know-how envied throughout the world

Since its creation, Volevatch has forged exceptional ties with its prestigious clients. Interior designers, architects and demanding aesthetes have all called upon the factory because of its reputation for excellence. Rudolf Nureyev was one of these discerning clients who turned to Serge Volevatch to design the fittings for his bathroom. Since then, each collection presented has continually enchanted lovers of French decorative arts. The company manufactures its own collections for renowned architects on a confidential basis. The company also designs true works of art such as sculptural showers. Finally, this famous manufacturer designs complete bathroom solutions such as sublime marble basins. Lovers of unique pieces can also acquire custom-made creations in an infinite variety of possibilities and luxurious materials. As highlighted in Signatures Singulières Magazine, Volevatch offers its singular vision of faucets not only in France but worldwide.

Piero Manara project. © Didier Delmas.
Bath/shower faucet, Heritage collection. Light bronze medallion finish.
Luxurious project signed Pierre Paradis. 24 carat gold finish.
The Volevatch family with impressions of the workshop

108, rue du Cherche-Midi
75006 Paris
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