Meet the designer who understands the impact interiors have on our lives
Louise Bradley’s father owned an interior boutique in Hampstead which still inspires her to this day. But instead of joining the family business, she began a career in fashion, before finding the path of her true passion for interiors. After opening a showroom on Walton Street in Chelsea in 1991, she now has a design studio in Knightsbridge, turns 30 in the business this year and has just published her first coffee table book. Interior: Louise Bradley (Merrell Edition).
How did you make your first big breakthrough as a designer? I have always had a passion for design. I grew up inspired by my father’s creativity, still exploring his interior store in Hampstead. I started my career in fashion, however, I soon realized that my real passion was for interiors. This led me to the opening of my first showroom on Walton Street in London, specializing in antiques and accessories.
My first big breakthrough as a designer came from a regular customer of my store. It was a large two bedroom apartment in Cadogan Square. It’s always a project that I hold in high regard, and there is an image of this project included in the first few pages of the book, for which I hand-crafted an intricate mirrored curtain band.
What and who do you think are the key influences on your style? I wouldn’t be the designer I am today without my father, to whom I dedicated my first book. His sense of style and curiosity have inspired me since my childhood.
In addition, I collect art and love beautifully tailored fashion pieces. I am also always inspired by my travels. You can easily soak up new influences, traditions and local crafts by visiting a new place.
I imagine it’s a lot of pressure to design someone’s house – clients come to you for a combination of your signature style and a unique realization of their own taste. How do you approach the latter? Does designing someone’s house require you to know them in a specific way? We are very fortunate to have enjoyed strong relationships over the years with our clients and their families, and the relationships continue to evolve. To create the perfect home, we spend a lot of time understanding how our clients want to use the space: how they work, socialize and relax, which rooms they spend the most time in, the daily rituals and routines they could. have that require designated space.
I think empathy is also the key to a successful customer relationship – being able to see the project from their perspective – because buying and designing your home is such a personal experience.
The book Interior: Louise Bradley includes several case studies of spaces you have worked on over your 30-year career. What’s one of the most memorable projects you’ve ever done? And why? Each project is extremely memorable for its own reasons. I loved designing a country house for a longtime friend and collaborator. The estate consisted of the main residence, a hunting lodge and a chalet. In one project, we designed three distinctive interiors. It is also Grade II listed, so it had some breathtaking architectural features, which we had to preserve. We have imbued the property with our timeless contemporary style and cutting edge technology, while honoring its traditional features and ensuring that they are preserved for years to come.
Because we have all spent so much time at home due to Covid-19, many people have started to rethink their relationship to their living space – as a designer, how do you think that relationship has changed for yours. customers and for yourself? My team and I, as well as our clients, have always understood that our homes and the spaces we live in impact our lives and that well-designed spaces not only make us feel better, but with their seamless functionality can make our daily lives much more easily.
What we have noticed is an increase in the number of new clients who are drawn to our classic contemporary aesthetic. Now that we spend more and more time at home, some trends, bright colors and large patterns are not as desirable as they were when customers spent less time at home. What attracts many customers today are soothing and harmonious interiors, facilitating a balanced lifestyle from dusk to dawn. Interiors that leave you refreshed and rested.
I read that you consider creating beauty to be a goal of interior design. What do you think makes a space beautiful? I believe that balance and harmony are the key to beauty. I strongly believe in classic design principles, which honor the architecture and heritage of the property.
Beauty comes from the detailed consideration of materials, textures, surfaces, patterns, light and reflections.
From the initial concept to the final touches, what’s your favorite part of the design process? NOTo project would be complete without accessorizing the space and the final touches, this is when the space becomes truly personal for the client, as we reintroduce their heirlooms, their cherished possessions, their favorite books, their plants , their works of art. This is when we see the interiors come to life as a complete design, made to be enjoyed for years to come.