Designer In Profile : Katharine Pooley – CEO and Founder of Katharine Pooley Ltd

Name: Katharine Pooley
Company: Katharine Pooley LtdScreen shot 2016-03-04 at 11.04.39

Position within the company: MD/ CEO/ Founder

Tell us a little about your background:

I was born in the United Kingdom and educated firstly at St Mary´s School and then the INSA University in Lyon, France. Hong Kong then became my home, working for Morgan Stanley and Barclays Bank. I also lived in Vietnam, Singapore and Bahrain, returning to London after 2 decades where I now live with my husband Dan and our two children, Charlie and Jack.

How would you describe your personal style:

‘My personal style is a hybrid of comfort and luxury – I love classical detailing and timeless shapes – both in architecture, interiors and fashion – and believe that elegance is achieved through a balanced combination of thoughtful detailing and beautiful finishes.

Where does your inspiration come from:

An innate sense of adventure has defined my life and shaped my design philosophy. I have been lucky enough to travel to many countries, summit many of the world’s highest mountains, drive a team of dogs on a sled to the North Pole and cross the Sahara on horseback! These travels have undoubtedly inspired an eclectic and uniquely diverse outlook and ensure my design ethos continues to evolve.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

There are two interesting trends in design with serious weight and relevance for my clients:

The first is personalisation, gone are the days when design houses rolled our mass design with little regard for individual clients backgrounds and personalities. Bespoke finishes, unique colour combinations and rare objects combined with monogramming create an entirely personal and unique interior for each client and they now expect this level of imaginative design.

The second trend is towards the increased usage of raw natural finishes in a luxurious environment – our clients are incredibly culturally sophisticated and do not always believe more is more – they see the value in mixing shagreen, sandblasted timbers, gunmetal poured metals and sometimes even concrete to counterbalance traditional luxurious finishes such as polished marble, precious stones and metals.

Name 5 key theses to consider when approaching property development in 2016:

1. Future proofing your systems – don’t install costly sophisticated AV and MEP systems that will require upgrades within a few years – usability and longevity is king.

2. Just because you are trying to appeal to many buyers does not mean you should try to design for them all – this often leads to confused or boringly safe design work – have belief in you vision – you only ever need one buyer.

3. Client expectations are driven by 7* hotel environments – large his and hers dressing rooms and bathrooms are a must.

4. The economy will rise and fall but Grade 1 and 2 listed buildings in central London will always be attractive to foreign markets as long as you can develop for modern living. Split listed building consents over many applications to ensure the maximum chance of alteration.

5. Don’t listen to the hype – talk directly to the source – there are so many developers and developments in central London and lots of opinions alongside them, there are probably 5 specialists in London who really know what they are talking about and whose investment advise can be trusted.

How important are the IDAA awards?

They are incredibly important! The UK has a wonderfully disparate design industry but we all come together under events like the IDA awards – its a wonderful opportunity to be appreciative of others talents and to celebrate all the effort and hard work that goes into creating some of the most beautiful interiors in the country.

What Projects are you currently working on?

Palace in Kuwait, Beach villa in the South of France, beach villa on the Palm in Dubai, Castle in Oxfordshire, Private Jet partnership in the US, UK and Dubai, family homes in Doha and some beautiful listed properties in Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Belgravia.

What are your aims and goals for the next 12 months?

We are installing 21 projects in the next year (!) and I would love to get to the end of the year, pause (preferably somewhere hot), and reflect on what a terrific job my team have done in supporting me and ensuring all our clients are incredibly happy with the final result for each project.

Second to this we are launching some amazing new products through our London Boutique and showroom in Doha – I am excited to see how e-commerce and our recently relaunched website will help us share these with a new and extended audience.

Final thoughts:

Treasured possession: My dog piglet

Your favourite holiday: Telluride, USA – and Thailand

Your favourite hotel/ restaurant bar: Aman resorts

Your favourite book: ‘The worst journey in the world’ by Apsley Cherry Garrard

Film: The Interpreter with Nicole Kidman

song: Amos Lee ‘shout out loud’

Your favourite food: Chile Con Carne, Drink: Bloody Mary

Favourite way to spend an afternoon: walking and biking with my kids if in the country – at the National History Museum if in London.

If you weren’t a designer what would you be? A vet.