How did you get into Interiors?
As a child I’d change my room around everyday. I always knew I wanted to design spaces. I left school early and built up a portfolio, then started designing sets for Sadler’s Wells.
I sell my own range of HouseJewels, Foxy Cushions, Rude Lampshades and Exotic Makeup for Walls (wallpaper). I started with just my range of Rude Lampshades; shades with a corset shaped metal frame. I discovered that hand-dying the lining a sort of iridescent peach gave the most flattering light and made everyone’s skin look amazing! I was selling these from our house and gradually this led to commissions to decorate people’s flats. My house was perfectly showcased as a backdrop to the Rude Lampshades, so this was a really happy accident!
What does your typical day include?
My typical day starts with a run in Holland Park, followed by juice and breakfast. I’d then meet with a new or existing client, or maybe have a site meeting with the building team. I often go off on a mission to source furnishings after my morning meeting. I’d then sit down to design. This would either be something for one of my HouseJewels collections, or a room for a commission. I’d then most likely shower, get changed, then meet friends or have a dinner party here at Chocolate Towers.
DJ Jeremy Healy once described you as ‘Queen of the house party scene’. What’s your philosophy when hosting a party?
No rules, everyone bring a bottle, and always have more men than women. Live music. Most of my friends are musicians and we have a bunch of guitars downstairs so they just pick them up and start strumming.
Long-time Notting Hill resident Neeraj Sharma described how his first impression of Chocolate Towers reconnected him with the Eastern influences of his childhood, while ‘remaining entirely original and lived-in’. Which is your favourite room in your house?
Depends on my mood. The sitting room is cosy and dark and warm in winter. I love its opened up fireplaces.
Which are your favourite markets, salvage yards and shops to source items for your projects and commissions?
Portobello on Friday and Saturday, Alfie’s Antique Market on Kensington Church Street, Little India in Wembley, Lassco, Syon Park, Opium on the King’s Road for antique Indian furniture, Katrina Philips on Portobello and Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic on Ken Park Road.
Favourite hang out in west London?
The Globe on Talbot Road, Mediterraneo on Kensington Park Road, and E & O for cocktails.
Did you study?
I started when I was 15. I left school and made things, and just worked my way up from making tea at Sadlers Wells.
Have you always lived in west London?
I grew up in Mayfair, then I moved to the King’s Road in my early twenties. I moved to my current house 15 years ago. It was three bedsits I knocked together. I started by painting the whole place white, and rewiring to get the lighting right. I have three circuits of dimmer lights, uplighters for plants and behind paintings, and low-level lighting. I dislike ceiling lights.
You had a pop-up shop Vogue described as ‘the most beautiful shop in London’, why did it close?
Because pop-ups pop down. I still sell these items, but running a shop was so full on it began to split my focus. I really needed to focus on the design side of things.