Kelly Hoppen – Designer to the Stars: Me & My Travels

Angela Sara West talks to world-famous queen of interiors and entrepreneur-turned-author-educator-TV presenter, Kelly Hoppen MBE about her European travels and being brought on board to style the award-winning, groundbreaking high-end boy’s toy, luxury motor yacht Pearl 75 which was moored in Mallorca this year before setting sail on its Mediterranean tour.

Nothing says luxury like a Kelly Hoppen design… Since kicking off her career at sweet 16, Britain’s award-winning first lady of interior design has achieved iconic status, putting her contemporary stamp on celebrities’ homes, yachts and private jets, along with a boutique Barcelona hotel, Swiss ski hotel, residential projects in London and Moscow…even a French Riviera golf club.

The design doyenne recently starred as a ‘Dragon’ in the BBC series Dragon’s Den and her A-list clientele includes close friends the Beckhams and Elton John. Famous for her taupe colour palette, her signature ‘East-meets-West’ style has won her numerous accolades including the ‘Oscar’ of the industry, the Andrew Martin Interior Designer of the Year award, an Elle Style Award, European  Woman of Achievement and a  much-coveted MBE.

Do your travels influence your designs?

I love to travel, especially in Europe. I travel to such wonderful places through work, everywhere inspires me. Places like Paris and Italy have such fantastic culture, people, food and sights which I always find so inspiring.

My travelling always influences my design, no matter where I go.

Favourite interiors shops/trade fairs? 

The Cloth Shop  in Notting Hill is one of my favourites. I love London Design Week. It’s alwaysincredible and I never fail to find something inspiring and original. London’s Decorex interior design event is another great one… always packed to the brim. Every year, I go to Maison & Objet in Paris and Salone in Milan for inspiration.

What’s your top travel tip? 

A great book, movies on my iPad, amazing food, a good moisturiser and even better company! That is about all you need…

How about your home town, London?

I loved living in Chelsea and now in Notting Hill. I think that whichever area you live or hang out in will always have an influence on your inspiration.

Your greatest achievement?

Without doubt, receiving my MBE in 2009. It was such an honour to meet the Queen and be presented with such an award. There’s no individual project that I’m most proud of. I love, and work equally hard on every assignment; they’re  all so different and unique. When  each is finished, I get a sense of immense pride.

A past assignment was to  design british airways’ first-class cabins…Well, although  the designs have since changed, it  is the height of comfort, which is  exactly what anyone would want  while travelling. I still love travelling with BA.

You regularly holiday in Ibiza and spent your 50th birthday there. How did you celebrate?

I rented a villa for my family and friends. Pete Tong DJ’d and David Walliams and Ben De Lisi came. I celebrated with all my loved ones. Great food, fantastic wine and even better company… I couldn’t have asked for more! When dining out, I love La Paloma Italian restaurant… the food is amazing. There’s also a new place called Café B on Formentera, which is fantastic!

You’ve also visited Mallorca. What do you love most about the island?

It’s lovely… the little shops, restaurants and people.

What did you enjoy most  about styling the Pearl 75?


When designing and conceptually  thinking about the exceptional space, I wanted to make it feel incredibly comfortable and inviting, but with a sense of simplicity. I used my rule of thumb for high-end residential of dividing up the space using a grid system, combining a mixture of soft and hard finishes together…whether it be the polished nickel floor runner leading from the living area to the dining space or the cushion bands and vertical stripeson the soft furnishings. The best aspect has been seeing the final product and exceptional workmanship that’s gone into making my designs into a reality. It’s a unique modern design, standing on its own among rivals.

You also designed ‘talk-of-the-town’ sleek and sumptuous boutique hotel Murmuri in Barcelona …

Yes, it was great!  We went to look at every single hotel to see what our competitors were and there was nothing like what we had in mind! In fact, working with the Majestic Group was incredible.

How do you strike a work/life balance and relax?

I work out every morning… it helps set me up for the day. I work in a very focused way and when I finish, and at weekends, I relax and recharge my battery, unless filming. I’m quite lucky – I have a great team of people working behind the scenes to help me balance everything. I always find time for my loved ones as they’re the most important thing but my business is very important to me so is never far behind. I think it’s about working hard, putting all that you have into your projects 95% and making sure the 5% relaxing time’s the most incredible holiday or time out! ■

Kelly’s latest book, Kelly Hoppen’s Design Masterclass: How to Achieve the Home of Your Dreams was published at the end of 2013.

Check out her app for the iPhone and iPad, offering advice on design when shopping for the home. Kelly’s also an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust, cultivating young talent and inspiring young people to pursue their business ideas.

For more information, see Kelly’s website:


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