This time on The Great Indoors we have a very special guest who invites us into her home. She’s a global brand, has been awarded an MBE, is friends to the rich and famous and the creator of a very iconic interior style. She is, of course, Kelly Hoppen and Kate and I were thrilled to be invited to have a poke about her very private home. She is one busy lady, she has hundreds of international projects on the go at one time so we were lucky to grab her while we could to find out what makes this great design mind tick. You can listen to the full episode featuring the house tour and all our intimate chat with Kelly here.
For first impressions, Kelly knows how to deliver the WOW. I was pretty blown away by the sheer size and scale of Kelly’s London home, with its quadruple height ceiling and huge open plan living-dining-kitchen space. It’s an impressive home to walk into, no doubt. Unbelievably this beautiful space was once a complete shell – a dilapidated auction house and in Kelly’s words “rats and rubble” until she worked her magic. After renting and house hunting for over a year, she found her dream project and a rare blank canvas on which to create her very own perfect home.
Kelly began quickly sketching out her vision (she had to, her partner thought she’s finally lost it!), with the entire design based on a grid pattern, both vertically and horizontally. This results in a space that feels calm, balanced and structured despite the scale. The height of the building was the selling point and Kelly even dug down into the floor to increase the height and space. I remember while Kelly and I were filming The Great Interior Design Challenge four years ago, she had just completed the build and I couldn’t believe how excited she was with the prospect of this huge project. It was so great to witness her passion and energy after 42 years in the industry!
To match the scale of the build, the large scale furniture includes a six metre sofa, (which has hardly been sat on in 4 years!), and a stone dining table to seat 30 people. Kelly admits that the living area is likely to be re-designed – as whether having a night in or entertaining, people always seem to gravitate towards the kitchen and dining table, and so this area never gets used. She has in mind a soft play area for her two year old grandson, who she is just mad about. In taupe of course! Kelly has a separate snug, off this main room where she relaxed with her partner John to devour her favourite box sets with a sofa that is the scale of a king size bed.
I was obviously itching to have a chat with Kelly about colour, and find out why she shirks it so, in her designs. Kelly has gained the title of the ‘queen of taupe’ and in her 42 year career, she has stuck loyally to this close-to-beige shade. She put up a good augment saying that the press has been unfair and she does indeed have a whole chapter on colour in her book. You will never find it on the walls, or on large pieces of upholstery, but she will use accents of colour through on accessories like rugs and cushions and artwork. Pah! The commitment-phobe! However let’s not forget her forte of mixing textures impeccably, so while her schemes are understated on the colour front she always manages to add depth and interest, and it’s what she likes! Point taken. Finding what you love and going with it wholeheartedly, is after all the drum I am always beating. And I just loved her response to ‘Why don’t you use more colour?’ She countered “Why don’t you use more neutrals”. *Mike drop*
And Kelly does indeed use measured amounts of colour in her own home, but notable only in the guest bedrooms, on the basis she probably doesn’t go in there very often! One room has a band of grey blue paint running around the bottom section (she couldn’t let it creep more than halfway!), with lacquered teal blue side tables and a velvet blue bedroom chair. Its enough to add a different feel but is still pure to Kelly’s pared-back aesthetic.
So on to the upstairs and through the vast master bedroom and into the ensuite with that amazing sculptural bath – which is totally Kelly’s happy place where she loves to relax and unwind. Her partner John is a shower person so he gets the big shower and that other marital goal – his and her basins! We can’t ignore that light fitting. Her partner John couldn’t quite believe the cost (hasn’t she learnt my trick to hide the receipt?) but as the bath is her space to retreat too, she wanted the ‘right’ lighting and we are getting the impression that what Kelly wants, Kelly gets!
Onto my favourite part of the show, Design Crimes! I was delighted to find out what Kelly’s top peeves are when it comes to design. I have to admit to feeling a bit smug as her top crime was one of my first to be featured on episode 1 of The Great Indoors – CUSHIONS ON AN ANGLE. Kelly admits that if she sees them in a house she will instantly flip them. Then there was a second – still cushion related – pet hate and that is when cushions are pushed in the sides creating a ‘waist’. There’s just no need she hollers! And she didn’t stop there, she has seen runners at the end of beds placed at a jaunty angle! I have to say, I haven’t seen this before and I’m not sure I want to. So if your cushions and bed runners are not square and following Kelly’s love of a grid, don’t let this woman into your home. It could get bloody.
For lots of design inspiration, tips and business inspiration, you must check out Kelly’s brilliant Instagram feed, and her new podcast The Kelly Show is coming to your ears in September. Kelly will be interviewing her most inspirational women in business so it’s sure to be a must-listen.
A huge thanks to Kelly for giving up her precious time, and for being so welcoming, open and honest in sharing her home tales with all of us. We had just the best time! And special thanks to Topps Tiles for sponsoring the Great Indoors and our fab producer Kate Taylor. Next episode out on the 22nd August where we will be discussing the hot new interior design show coming to BBC2- Interior Design Masters. Exciting!