Designers at Home: Katharine Pooley
Interior designer Katharine Pooley’s Devon beach home was built in the 19th-century, and after what she describes as “some serious renovation” is now a tranquil retreat from busy city life. Here, as part of Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour’s Home Comforts initiative, she explains how she creates a balanced scheme and reveals which showrooms she has sourced from to create the house’s laid-back yet sophisticated interiors.
What does home mean to you?
Our house in Devon is very much an informal coastal retreat for my family; there are luxurious and original elements reflecting my design sensibilities but peace and comfort are the ultimate goal. With two high-energy boys and a cluster of dogs, durability was key, and as the property is available for rental, comfort and functionality were a primary concern.
Do you have a favourite spot that you like to retreat to?
The garden is a favourite area especially as it has had a dramatic transformation. It was much smaller before and very much unloved. It is now such an inviting, tranquil space where we often have dinner during the long summer evenings. We added a pizza oven which is heaven and very popular with my children.
How would you describe your personal style?
Eclectic and multifaceted, I am continually inspired by new and exciting discoveries both here and abroad, so my design ethos is always evolving. At its heart every interior we create (regardless of genre, location or architectural style) has carefully balanced the critical necessities of originality, comfort, luxury and functionality.
How have your created balance and harmony in your home?
I love to fill my home with neutral colours that blend together and are timeless; trends may come and go but timeless colours, fabrics and textures will last a lifetime and create a sense of harmony in a home. A great way of creating balance is also to mix textures – for example combining hand printed quilts with wicker baskets creates unity in a home and means the eye catches many different areas and moments.
Are there any interesting stories behind your favourite finds?
Some of the accessories were found on a family holiday to the Hamptons a few years ago, my poor husband, I may have filled a few suitcases! They have some of the most fabulous coastal themed boutiques there (and Cape Cod) perfect if you are looking for one-of-a-kind beachy accessories.
Are you a ‘decorate once’ sort of person or someone who likes to change and experiment?
I like to make my home as classic and timeless as possible so there isn’t a need to decorate every year, however I definitely love to get creative and experiment with different colours, textures and patterns. I’m always picking up new artwork and artefacts on my travels, which I love to display at home – these can really change the feel of a room and give me inspiration for tweaks or redecorating.
Where do you go to source at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, and is there anything in your own home that came from there that’s a particular favourite?
Many of the trims in my beach home are from Design Centre favourite Samuel & Sons; the curtain fabric in the living room is from Alton-Brooke, and I added a contrast border and trims to draw the eye. I also look to de Le Cuona for textured plains, their style is perfect for coastal or country homes and I particularly like their new organic linen collection. My favourite linen sheer (which was used in many of the rooms) is by Paolo Moschino for Nicholas Haslam Ltd.
Do you think that the notion of ‘home’ has changed over the past year?
It has certainly changed, particularly as we are spending so much more time at home than we were before. Our homes mean more to us now than they did last year, and I’ve certainly seen the desire to create a warm, inviting and productive environment increase among my clients. The focus on family is also particularly strong, and this will last far beyond the pandemic. The majority of our socialising is happening within the home, so people are naturally looking for spaces that can reflect this.