A former designer at Anya Hindmarch with years of experience in the fashion industry, Caroline Legrand started her interior design consultancy in 2013. She has worked on projects from Ibiza to New York for clients including beachwear designer Melissa Odabash and event organiser Yasmin Mills, making her portfolio a treasure trove of interior design inspiration. In summer 2017, she invited us into her home in Holland Park, where she lives with her two sons and their dog Master Yoda, for a glimpse at how she styles her private space.
What do you love about the area in which you live?
I have always lived near a park since I moved to London. For me it’s a necessity, I need to see some green around me. Holland Park is my favourite park in London; it’s like a wood and the Kyoto Garden is a very peaceful and special place to me. I often go sit on a bench and meditate. And everything I want is within walking distance.
How would you describe your interior style?
I would say chic, elegant and sophisticated, but also very individual and unique to the client. I use mostly vintage pieces and work around them – I don’t decide on a colour scheme and then incorporate the furniture and furnishings; it’s the opposite. That’s why it flows.
Have you made any significant changes to your apartment since you bought it?
The apartment was bought as a complete wreck having not been touched for 40 years. As a large lateral space with perfect proportions I immediately saw the potential and the opportunities it offered to create a chic and contemporary space. It took seven months from start to finish to complete, including opening a supporting wall to five floors above me. I had brilliant builders who I still work with to this day on other projects, and this was the start of my career in interior design.
Do you have a favourite room?
Yes, my office, because I spend hours every day in this little jewel box. It’s very practical but very chic – the walls are luxurious with gold seagrass wallpaper and the carpet is leopard print. My favourite pieces of art from Hurvin Anderson hang above my computer, and I have much treasured art from Glen Rubsamen, Guido Mocafico and Tracey Emin in this little room, too.
Which are the most treasured objects in your home?
I am probably more attached to art than pieces of furniture. I have a few pieces I really love, like my 70s stone mask that hangs in my bedroom or the pair of Philippe Pastor oil paintings in my hallway. But I am also practising detachment in my daily life, thanks to years of yoga. So as much as I love all that I have in my homes, I am also able to let go of any of these at any given moment. And I like that idea. It also means that when I work on a project with clients I don’t get emotional or attached to certain ideas or interiors, and can just constantly move on or create new spaces. It is very healthy that way and it avoids a lot of unnecessary stress.
Is your home a reflection of your personality or neutral space in which you can switch off ?
A reflection of my personality; I always want to change things every year or so. I have an extremely creative mind and I get inspired by things on a daily basis – it can be exhausting. I don’t switch off really at home as this is where I create. So I only switch off when I am on a beach somewhere, or when I exercise.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Art, magazines, colours, textures: I look at everything around me. I go to the most important art fairs, scour Instagram, and keep clippings of anything that catches my eye. I steer clear of interior trends because they’re too limiting – I don’t want to stifle my creativity. My clients hire me because I have a certain aesthetic and am able to think outside the box. I like to give my clients many options and moods – it’s my job to be as creative as possible.
Is your home complete, or is it an ever-evolving project?
Right now it’s complete. I have done some new work to my house in Ibiza recently, which has kept me busy. I have also just done a project in LA so I have left my London flat alone – for now.
If you could change one thing about your home, what would it be?
I would move the flat to the first floor to have very high ceilings. Mine are 3m high right now but I have always loved the idea of having 4m-high ceilings.
What’s your favourite design trick to make a space instantly look pulled together?
I love flowers and vases, so I would buy a new vase and add some massive cherry blossoms or any tree branches to make it look spectacular. And moving furniture around always gives a fresh look.
How do you like to entertain at home?
I like to host dinner parties as I love cooking. My dining table sits 12 so it’s great to have your friends over and cook for them. I have done quite a few parties in London over the years, but these days I host more at my house in Ibiza. I cooked for 100 guests recently.
Images: Kate Martin
Caroline Legrand’s London Glossary
Absolute Flowers & Home
It has the best selection of vases and flowers in London, and the vintage home section has great furniture, cushions, lamps and so on. You can easily redo one room in one stop.
12-14 Clifton Road, W9; absoluteflowersandhome.com
The Conran Shop
I buy towels, linens, accessories and also furniture for clients that complement the vintage pieces we buy abroad.
Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, SW3; conranshop.co.uk
Fantastic for vintage remix pieces, accessories and little gifts for friends or clients. Great service, too.
60 Sloane Avenue, SW3; jonathanadler.com
I love the vibe of this Chelsea store. Their lamps are pretty cool and reasonably priced. They have some interesting pieces that are easy to mix with my vintage finds.
1-4 Queen’s Elm Parade, SW3; julianchichester.com
The only shop in London with great vintage and collectors pieces, perfectly curated.
79-91 New King’s Road, SW6; talismanlondon.com