Create a cosy yet contemporary look by channeling these British design geniuses.

The British design world is on fire. Never before have so many designers offered such an eye-catching blend of the traditional and the modern. Their use of colour, texture, layering and contrast will have you rethinking every room.

Charlotte Moss, an award-winning doyenne of US design, once said: ‘There are two things that make a room timeless: a sense of history and a piece of the future.’

All of the heroes listed below have the ability to do just that. Happily for us, they also have fantastic Instagram accounts that deliver daily (or near-daily) doses of design pleasure. Be sure to look out for them. Warning: you may be sucked in for some time.

Here is our pick of the interior designers whose aesthetic beautifully blends the old with the new.

Main image: Jessica Buckley

Turner Pocock

The founders of Turner Pocock, Bunny Turner and Emma Pocock, head up a team who create interiors that fizz with energy and life. Founded in 2007, they have studios in London and Switzerland and work on projects ranging from chalets and country estates to grand London town houses. The studio philosophy is simple, “It all begins and ends with the client, everything else is secondary to us. We see our role as facilitators of the client's dream lifestyle and our goal is to help them to live better in their homes.” Explore their style on their Instagram account.

Jessica Buckley

Based in Edinburgh, Buckley fills her projects with colour, pattern and pretty things. Since she set up her practice in 2011, she has completed interiors in London, Cheltenham, Scotland, Australia and Kuwait. Those of us who cannot stretch to her services can benefit from her blissful shop, which is a treasure trove of delectable cushions, lampshade and glassware. Shop her collection here.

Matilda Goad

Goad manages to be whimsical and very chic all at once. The former stylist gave the world a great gift when she started designing her own homewares. Her scalloped rattan lampshades, wavy planters and colourful cutlery sets have become hallmarks of loveliness in the nation’s most tasteful homes. Shop her collection here.

Ben Pentreath

Not one to blab about his famous clients, Ben Pentreath is said to have done up the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Norfolk home as well as their Kensington Palace apartment. In a fascinating panel led by House & Garden, he summed up his enviable approach ‘English country house style in the modern world’ thus: ‘For me, so much of the way that I’m decorating is actually not really trying to engage with newness; it’s actually trying to engage with timelessness. I think my principal rule with any project is to start by listening to the spirit of the place, what does the house want in order to make it feel settled and reposed.’ The shop he opened in 2013 (with his friend, the artist Bridie Hall) is a wonderful repository of his style. Shop their collection here.

Alice Palmer & Co

Designers of beautiful, handmade lampshades are springing up all over the place (and deserve their own article on this website). But Alice Palmer’s shades particularly lend themselves to the sort of interiors that combine modern looks with traditional ones. Her lampshades, made to order to ensure sustainability, are created using fresh modern fabrics but their floppy, pleated, feminine style is a nod to times gone by. Inspired by her love of traditional British homes, colonial West Indian villas and Andalusian haciendas, they are irresistible. Shop her collection here.

Salvesen Graham

Between them, interior design duo Nicole Salvesen and Mary Graham have twenty-five years of experience in the industry. Their aim is to create ‘classically beautiful and carefully curated homes that will feel stylish and comfortable now and in years to come’. They pull off smart, comfortable, colourful and cosy homes every time. They are excellent at product collaborations, too. Every one of them – which so far includes furniture with David Seyfriend, rugs with Jennifer Manners and lacquered lamps with The Lacquer Company – is stunning. Shop their collection here.

Katharine Paravicini

Paravicini may have cut her teeth at one of the oldest interior design firms in Britain, Sibyl Colefax and John Fowler, but she has a flair for mixing the classical with the contemporary. Since she set up on her own in 2014, she has turned her hand to everything from little cottages to London townhouses to sprawling country homes. Her taste is exquisite and she is particularly clever at softening clean lines with warm fabrics. Explore her style here.

Carlos Sanchez-Garcia

Dividing his time between London and Norfolk, this man creates rooms that are impossible to stop looking at – or to leave. His look is grown-up, rich and elegant. He’s a big fan of the suzani and the potted pelargonium and his work makes you want to fill your home with both. Explore his style here.

Katy Takla

Katy Takla began making cushions at home in Surrey during Lockdown 1.0. When she ran out of space for them on her own sofas, she started trying to sell them. More than one customer has since commented that trying to buy her cushions is like trying to buy Glastonbury tickets. She releases her enchanting creations, with their signature frilled edges, in limited drops. Once a style has gone, it’s gone. Check her out and act fast. Shop her collection here.

By Becky Ladenburg
June 2021

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Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.