Style and inspiration


With an enviable artistic lineage – Bella Freud is the grandchild of Sigmund Freud and her father was artist Lucian Freud – it’s no surprise her creativity is boundless, spanning fashion to filmmaking and most recently home design with the launch of a lifestyle collection. Here Bella talks to Jane Pople about her inspirations, being a female entrepreneur and her penchant for rich minimalism.

Bella Freud’s fashion designs have been a stalwart of British cool for over a decade, with her iconic jumpers adored by the likes of Kate Moss and Alexa Chung, her signature style epitomises effortless chic. Launching her own label in 1990, she won Most Innovative Designer at the London Fashion Awards just a year later.

Q Bella, what first inspired you to create a home accessories line and is it something you have always wanted to do?
I think my interest in home wear began with my obsession with sheets. My grandmother ran a small country hotel during the summer months in Co Cork, Eire and she allowed me, aged eight, to help her prepare the rooms, and crucially showed me how to do hospital corners on the beds. In my teens I stayed at the grand house of a friend of my father’s and became entranced by the exquisite nature of the pale blue linen sheets in these much grander bedrooms. That’s where it all started.

Q Do you think fashion for the home is becoming more important to the consumer and how do you see the industry changing over the next decade?
I think this area is a huge area for growth and creativity. People are really interested in expressing themselves through the style in their homes, not just clothing. I see fashion brands automatically including home accessories into fashion collections rather than waiting to launch as a separate medium. What needs to evolve is the buying approach so that lines aren’t so segregated: it’s good to see things as a story rather than just themes.

Q An interest in film is evident throughout your career, from your producing of short films to collaborating with John Malkovich. What is it that draws you to film as a medium and do you have further plans to work in the field again?
I find I can access and suggest my ideas using film, I can tell the story better. I have a short film idea that I’m working on now and I’m hoping to shoot it soon.
Bella Flats OCT1517688 copy
Q As a leading British fashion designer and female entrepreneur, what advice would you give to young women looking to follow in your footsteps? Do you think it’s still harder for women to make their mark in the industry?
The business of fashion is hard generally, but it seems particularly difficult for women to protect their interests. Most of the people in power financially are men and being ‘tough’ as a woman is not respected the way it is with men. It is generally admired as a strength when a man is adamant and demanding, yet when a woman is the same it is met with resistance and often distaste.

Q What is your favourite part of the working week and do you have a particular product you like to work on most, e.g. fragrance or fashion?
I particularly like designing the match boxes, I love making the design work in a square shape. It is so simple yet it looks strong and immediate. I enjoy trying to bring a new product into my world. I tend to think of what I long for and then design for it and watch it spring into life.

Q If you could create a home or fashion collection with anyone from the past or present who would it be and why?
Ohhh! So tantalising... Maybe from the past it would have been fun to collaborate with Biba or Coco Chanel on some bed linen and towels. Now it would be with the Vampire’s Wife: we could have a brilliant time creating.

Q How would you describe your own interior style and what is your favourite room in your home and why?
I like playing with colour combinations and using deep colours against a muddy grey to let it glow. I like a rich minimalism which doesn’t even make sense, but it sounds right. It is minimal in that it’s not elaborate and the unlikely colour combinations make it luxurious. I am just building my home so I have yet to see which will be my favourite room.

Q What is your favourite way to waste time?
I don’t really waste time if I can help it, even sleeping is incredibly useful and rewarding. Putting things off is my most common way of wasting time: I don’t enjoy it as I know I’m doing it and know it’s destructive.

Q You’ve just discovered a time machine that can take you to either the past or the future. What year do you go to and why?
I wouldn’t mind going back to 1900 in Vienna, a time of great creativity in the world of music and art. I’d only stay for a short time though as for a woman it was ten times more difficult to be free to be a creator.

Q What’s next for you and your brand – do you have any exciting projects for 2018 that you can share with us?
I am working on some really luxurious pieces, one off specials made in beautifully coloured heavy cashmere. And I’m developing my bed linen collection so that when I find the ideal partner I am ready to press go immediately.

essence info
This article first appeared in The Lux Pad,

Room with a view

Black Desert House  (2)

It’s not always and only about how large a house is, whether it offers floor plans inviting visitors to enjoy sea breezes, mountain mornings, or the pastoral peace of the countryside, views do matter. Jane Pople finds some houses with the most spectacular panoramic views. This stunning collection of properties, most situated on challenging terrains, offer great views and all are true pieces of architectural genius.

House Holman
Picasso inspiration - Australia
A top the 70-metre high cliffs of Dover Heights, Australia, rising steep over the ocean, stands the futuristic structure of the House Holman private residence with a crisp white silhouette cutting in the vast background of the deep blue sky. The house has been developed by Durbach Block Jaggers Architects who have designed its plan inspired by Picasso’s surreal painting The Bather. Indeed, the structure of the building develops in a complex series of meandering spaces that arc, fold and stretch in response to landscape and views. The rough stone walls of the lower levels cut into the cliff, forming a solid base, and continue along the cliff edge to form eccentric terraced gardens and a vase-shaped rock pool.
House Holman  (2)

Pretty Beach House
Modest name, top excellence - Australia
Pretty Beach House is a sophisticated, private guesthouse offering top quality services, modern amenities and luxurious ambiance, a private chef for exclusive gastronomic experience, breathtaking panoramic views, exciting private boat trips and a Zen-relax spa. The best part is that the house is designed, built and purposed to make guests feel at home in an intimate, safe and authentic environment, nestled in the serene and quintessentially Australian bushland. The property features a guest-shared main house and four exclusive private pavilions, all developed and furnished in a sophisticated style of charming elegance and luxury.
Pretty Beach House  (2)

Black Desert House
The shadow of the mountain - USA
Pretty Beach House is a sophisticated, private guesthouse offering top quality services, modern amenities and luxurious ambiance, a private chef for exclusive gastronomic experience, breathtaking panoramic views, exciting private boat trips and a Zen-relax spa. The best part is that the house is designed, built and purposed to make guests feel at home in an intimate, safe and authentic environment, nestled in the serene and quintessentially Australian bushland. The property features a guest-shared main house and four exclusive private pavilions, all developed and furnished in a sophisticated style of charming elegance and luxury.

Panorama House
An idyllic dream - India
In an attempt to bring humans and their residences into a more intimate unity with nature, the team of Ajay Sonar has developed the Panorama House and placed it atop a small hill against the background of the Gangapur Dam in Nasik, India. As in an idyllic dream, the Sahyadri Mountain frames the beautiful scenery and incorporates the building within. With panoramic glass walls framed by a simple pigmented concrete cuboid shell structure, the house stands almost invisibly amidst the landscape, matching the colour of the surrounding soil and mountains, and allows residents to enjoy the magnificent performance of weathers and seasons in a picture perfect view.
Panorama House  (3)

The Summer House
The ‘living’ rock - Norway
The Summer House, designed by JVA, stands among the rugged rock formations and huge boulders lining the coast of Vestfold in the southern part of Norway. It is a low elongated structure, looking itself like a ‘living’ rock for being perfectly adjusted to the surrounding terrain in terms of shape, scale, material and colour. The overall shell of the building is divided through cuts-in to allow for wind shielded outdoor areas protected by the house itself. The house offers an infinity pool and a large terrace overlooking the spectacular North Sea, protected from harsh sea winds by a glass wall, which allows unobstructed panoramic views.

Aegean dream - Greece
Walking along the edge of the steep, rocky shores of Tinos Island and enjoying breathtaking views to the Aegean Sea, there is a sight that will stop the wanderer and make him consider whether what he sees is a mirage or reality. A large piece of a water mirror extends to the horizon, vanishing and merging with the seascape, creating a stunning mirage vision. Yet it is very much real: an architectural masterpiece created by Kois Associated Architects and integrated into the landscape as if it was part of it. The rimless pool itself is a roof covering the large open space living area, while the rest of the premises are built into the rock itself, ‘disappearing’ into the scenery. Local building techniques and materials have been used to ensure proper temperature regulation and protection from weather and solar radiation.
Mirage (2)

9010 Hopen Place
Matthew Perry’s Residence - USA
Located atop Los Angeles’ luxurious ‘Bird Streets’ neighbourhood, the Hopen Place Residence is known as one of the most prestigious properties on the Hollywood Hills and home of the actor Matthew Perry, star of ‘Friends’. The amazing three bedroom, four bathroom, 4,000 sq. ft. residence is a sleek architectural artwork, developed for a lavish Hollywood lifestyle, and boasts top-of-the-line amenities, deluxe interior design and unparalleled comfort. A custom made sliding glass wall opens the living area and leads into a sensational central courtyard featuring a solar and gas heated spa, revealing stunning jet-liner city views to downtown LA and the Pacific Ocean over the blue cascading waters of a dazzling ‘wet edge’ infinity pool.
9010 Hopen Place  (1)

essence info
Websites: and
This article is contributed by Adorable Home Magazine and first appeared in The Lux Pad,

Creative class

Bath Lateral Apartment (2) (Medium)

Frequently featuring in top interior designer and design firm lists, Sims Hilditch specialises in a broad range of private, high-end residential and commercial projects in the UK and Europe. Founder Emma Sims Hilditch’s multidisciplinary team focuses on combining integrated architecture and interior design with traditional craftsmanship and bespoke furniture design. With never a dull day in the studio, Emma explained to Emily Bird her favourite parts of a new project and what her team do to stay motivated.

Q Can you describe for us the Sims Hilditch signature style?
We don’t have one signature look that we roll out regardless – if I have done my job really well, the result should appear effortless rather than overtly designed. We were once described as the interior design practice “that those in the know turn to for a breezy twenty–first century take on classic English style.” I like to think this encapsulates the brand. We believe good design can truly transform lives, and a successful project is all about making our clients’ homes work for their lifestyle.

Q How has your background in film production shaped your interior style?
When I was working with Ridley Scott, I developed a love for light, colour and detail. It was a brilliant opportunity to learn about space on a greater scale.
Bath Lateral Apartment (1) (Medium)
Q How do you spend your perfect day off when away from the studio?
I love spending time with my husband and our three children. It’s wonderful when we can all be together. My husband loves to sail so we often spend our weekends together at our beach house in St Mawes.

Q Who or what has been your greatest source of inspiration during your career?
I’ve always been inspired by the design work of Michele Bonan, an Italian designer who works for very chic hotels in Florence, Capri and Rome. I also admire Axel Vervoordt for his understated but eminently chic interiors.

“Sims Hilditch has a natural empathy for space, light and proportion, which can clearly be seen in the finished interior...”

Q What is the most enjoyable part of an interior design project?
There are many enjoyable moments. I love it all! Presenting design schemes, choosing beautiful antique pieces of furniture or seeing the client’s reaction after installation, it’s difficult to choose one.

Q And the hardest?
Working within strict timescales. However, we are fortunate to have a wonderful team who, at times, seem to achieve the impossible!
Dorset Manor (3) (Medium)
Q Can you talk us through the interior design of your own home?
Our home is tucked away in a valley. It’s such a wonderfully peaceful place and I wanted the design to reflect this. We actually found our home by chance while driving around the local area; however, it was a dilapidated building. After renovating throughout, it became my dream home. I loved using natural materials throughout: in particular wools, linens, stone and wood. Natural materials have an innate quality and timelessness, they bring texture and depth to any home.

Q What has been your most unusual/unique project to date?
We recently completed a sixteenth century manor house which had previously had purple padded fabric walls and emerald green carpet. It was quite a transformation!

Q How do you keep your team motivated to ensure constant creativity?
I love to encourage the team to visit new hotels and restaurants for inspiration. We also attend design shows and have regular team lunches at the studio.
Cotswold Manor (2) (Medium)
Q What’s in store for Sims Hilditch in the next year? Do you have any exciting upcoming projects?
We have lots of exciting things coming up. We’re currently working on a few different projects, including Laura Ashley’s former home, a Georgian townhouse in London, a Worcestershire manor house and a Knightsbridge apartment.

Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine