Divine decorators Part 2: David Hicks

Born in 1929, David Hicks was a legendary British interior designer who was famed for his use of bold, vibrant colours, geometric patterns and for his slick, masculine style. He was also something of a pioneer in combining the antique with the modern, a design trick that has stood the test of time. In fact, what is so amazing about these images of Hicks’ designs is that they could just as easily be of contemporary interiors as images from nearly half a century ago.

Hicks became a star in the world of interior decoration in the Sixties and Seventies designing for high society clients such as Vidal Sassoon, Helena Rubenstein and a host of dukes and duchesses, lords and ladies – he even decorated the Prince of Wales’ first apartment in Buckingham Palace. In fact, Hicks really set the definitive style of the swinging Sixties, working with the architect Patrick Garnett to design high end restaurants for Peter Evans, a wealthy entrepreneur, who said, “Hicks was without a doubt a genius. He would walk into the most shambolic of spaces that I had decided would be a restaurant, a pub or a nightclub and, lighting up a cigarette, would be out of the place within ten minutes, having decided what atmosphere it would generate because of what it would look like. He always got it spot on.”

When he could not find anything available on the market that he considered to be good enough, Hicks started to design his own carpet and textile collections and soon had stores across the world. Today, his son Ashley safeguards his legacy with textile, carpet and wallpaper collections based on the archived designs.

As Tom Ford said, Hicks’ style is “a rulebook for instant elegance” and his use of bright block colours, contrasting patterns and modern furniture in traditional settings looks as fresh today as it did fifty years ago.

A life long smoker, Hicks died in 1998, aged 69, from lung cancer, but his legacy lives on through his timeless style.

Divine decorators Part 1: Kelly Wearstler

Welcome to my first post on my favourite inspirational Interior Decorators. These are the designers and decorators who inspire me with their sensational use of colour, texture and form, creating the most beautiful original spaces for their clients. First on my list is the undeniably fabulous Kelly Wearstler. Based in California (can’t you tell from all those sunny colours?) Kelly creates opulent and refined interiors from New York to Hollywood. Her work isn’t really known about this side of the pond, but I don’t really know why because she is absolutely huge in the States.

The key to Kelly’s luxurious interiors is layering, creating a rich, opulent look. She builds up tone on tone colours and uses lots of polished, laquered surfaces, metallics, rich textiles and bold accent colours.

Kelly also uses a quite amazing array of objets d’art and accessories to stunning effect. From oriental sculptures to ceramic vases to chunks of crystal, there is something interesting to catch the eye at every glance.

Every inch is tactile and alluring.

I love this mural of exotic birds.

Kelly has designed a range of rugs for the Rug Company, so us Brits can now get a little bit of the Kelly Wearstler magic into our own homes.

Abigail Ahern

Abigail Ahern sitting room

Abigail Ahern light

Abigail Ahern bedroom

Abigail Ahern bathroom

Definitely a designer after my own heart, Abigail Ahern’s home reflects her impeccable design credentials as a renowned interior designer and stylist. I’ve been visiting Abigail’s shop Atelier Abigail Ahern in Islington for several years to browse the fabulous collection of textiles, ceramics, lighting and furnishings and her glamourous style of modern design mixed with unique vintage resonates with my own taste in interior design. I love her quirky style and humourous touches.

Abigail’s signature look is deep grey walls (often Farrow & Ball’s ‘Downpipe’) punctuated by bright colours to give a luxe finish. I’ve been recommending grey as a base colour for walls for a long time as it lends a space sophistication and glamour as well as being the ideal background colour to offset vintage and antique pieces which can look out of place against white paints. Using different shades of grey from light to dark creates a fabulous luxe look. 

Rough Luxe Hotel, London

rough luxe hotel bathroom


















purple room








red chair









The Rough Luxe Hotel in London was designed by interior designer Rabih Hage, who is also a qualified architect. Connected to The Mews art gallery, the hotel is an ingenious combination of rough and luxury or as the owners describe it ‘half rough, half luxury. A little bit of luxury in a rough part of London. A little bit of rough in a luxurious London.’

The look is a mix of old and new, furniture and art; combining colours and beautiful fabrics with existing distressed original walls while the concept is based on culture in its diverse values, ethical lifestyles and educated consumption. Definitely worth a visit.


I think red is one of the most difficult colours to use in an interior, yet it is probably one of our favourite colours, being primeval and powerful in its symbolism. Red is one of the strongest colours in the spectrum and is the colour that can be best seen from a distance, ensuring it makes a real impact.

Used well red can be vibrant, life affirming and powerful. One of my all time favourite designers, Suzy Hoodless, uses red to fantastic effect because she uses it in small doses with real impact and she has really changed my attitude to this amazing colour. The inspirational images below are all from Suzy’s interiors and show how red can bring a scheme to life.


Suzy Hoodless Barbados


Suzy Hoodless Barbados

Beach house, Barbados 


Suzy Hoodless LondonTown house, London


Suzy Hoodless London


Suzy Hoodless LondonThe Hospital, private members’ club, London

David Collins, Interior Designer

David Collins is the interior designer behind some of London and New York’s most opulent and highly acclaimed interiors. Collins’ interiors combine British style with Hollywood glamour and are simultaneously simple and luxurious. He has designed many of London’s key bars and restaurants including the Blue Bar at the Berkley Hotel, The Artesian Bar at The Langham Hotel and The Wolsey on Picadilly as well as Nobu, Locanda Locatelli and the eateries at the National Gallery. Collins has increasingly been designing stateside in New York and counts Madonna as a residential client.


Residential Projects







Nobu, Berkley Square, London


Maze, The London, New York




The Artesian Bar, The Langham Hotel, London


The Blue Bar, The Berkley Hotel, London


The designer’s home



Images from David Collins Studio and Qvest