Interior Designer Katharine Pooley: How Covid-19 Has Changed Our Relationship With Our Homes
During a time where much of the world is at a standstill, celebrated British interior designer, Katharine Pooley, is busier than ever. As more and more people are spending the majority of their time at home due to the global pandemic, creating a serene and comfortable environment has never been more important.
Known for her classically elegant bespoke designs for clients in London, the Middle East, China and Hong Kong—she recently completed two luxury projects on The Peak and in Discovery Bay—we sat down with Katharine to talk about how these uncertain times have changed our relationship with our homes, current interior design trends and simple tricks to transform your home into a private utopia.
More and more people are redesigning their homes during the global pandemic. Why do you think this is?
Suddenly, everyone realises the importance of a beautiful home that inspires, comforts, gives peace, certainty and happiness in a time of great change and uncertainty.
In a time when many feel very powerless in other spheres and unable to act as they are used to, the home is the one place where we can still live as we choose and create our own personal utopia.
How will the pandemic change the way people live in and enjoy their homes?
I see clients wanting more from their homes. They want to ensure all their favourite activities and pastimes, the things they cannot imagine living without, can now be undertaken in the home. That could mean designing a 'Michelin restaurant' quality kitchen, or a luxurious spa and pool, or a home gym.
Perhaps they now dream of including a state of the art games room and home cinema, or a wine display room and cigar room. It certainly means the inclusion of more studies and home schooling spaces, as well as a greater allowance for live in staff.
In larger homes, it means a greater number of standalone feature spaces. By contrast, in a smaller urban space, it means having spaces that are flexible and can serve many purposes.
What are some of the biggest interior design trends at the moment?
I see a big move towards statement furniture and art, really personal pieces that are unique and glamorous and have a timeless elegance about them. Joinery incorporating intricate metal inlays and interesting and unusual finishes is a big thing right now.
I just created a straw marquetry and bronze free standing bar for a client that had the most incredible geometric recessed handles. Broadly speaking I think a move towards light tonal interior schemes that have a peaceful serenity to them is very likely, with the introduction of rich warm tones like burnt orange and deep aubergine in games rooms, studies, libraries and snugs where a cosy comforting feel will be a priority.
What are 5 simple things people can do to make their home more comfortable or cozy?
1. Layer your lighting. A fabulous overhead pendant or chandelier needs to be balanced with multiple layers of low level lighting—think beautiful crystal table lamps, a sleek contemporary floor lamp beside a statement armchair or perhaps some elegant table lamps. Do not rely on overhead lighting alone, you want to cocoon yourself in layers of soft lighting, it is very comforting.
2. Add a generous floor rug in a soft, tonal design. It will help the acoustics and ensure a large expanse of hard wood or stone flooring is visually softened.
3. Add throw cushions and blankets in comforting textures – I love natural fibres – go for cashmere, wool or linen and layer different textures and details in a tonally similar colour palate for an inviting and relaxing vibe.
4. It's amazing how on a base level, fire still makes us feel safe and warm (even in a tropical climate). Light lots of candles, or better still invest in a feature fireplace, they really do give a home a heart and a central focal point of classic elegance.
5. Consider a lightly textured wall finish. Nothing is colder or harder on the eye than plain paint. I love light toned silk wallpapers, grasscloths or polished plasters with a lightly pearlised finish worked into them by hand. All these finishes have a warm patina to them and gently move light around the space in a cosy way.
See also: Top Autumn/Winter 2020 Interior Design Trends To Upgrade Your Home