Katharine Pooley is one of the most sought-after interior designers working internationally today. She was born in Hertfordshire, schooled in Oxfordshire, England, and then predominantly brought up in Bahrain. Her family travelled extensively, which has inspired her global viewpoint and inspired many of her designs years later. After 14 years in the finance sector, working in both Singapore and Hong Kong, she was ready to embark on a new adventure.
Returning to England, she established the Katharine Pooley Design Studio more than 18 years ago and has
undertaken a myriad of large-scale projects all over the world. One of the most respected, creative, and original British luxury interior designers, she was named “British Interior Designer of the Decade,” “International Designer of the Year, Asia.” one of “The 50 Finest Interior Designers,” and most recently awarded the “Best Luxury Residence London 2021” at the International Design and Architecture Awards. Katharine’s London-based studio houses a team of 47 interior designers and interior architects, and her personal approach ensures every detail of every project and product is exquisitely realised and impeccably finished.
Each year, Katharine has grown her company from a UK firm undertaking predominantly domestic projects to an internationally well-respected brand and design studio encompassing architectural design, interior design, project management, product design, and property development. Katharine’s standalone boutique in South Kensington, and her website, showcases a range of curated accessories sourced from all over the globe.
Asia has been a huge part of Katharine’s life, having lived there for 16 years, and she designs many of her products using materials and artisans from that part of the world. She appreciates Asian art and artifacts, which are often subtly referenced in her interior designs. A prominent project of hers is the Cachet Boutique Zhejiang Racetrack Circuit in China which won the Hotel Under 200 Rooms Global 2019 International Hotel & Property Award. The innovative resort incorporates a bespoke, energetic, and contemporary aesthetic comprising of high-end materials, luxe textiles found in luxury car design, and opulent finishes.
Sustainability has become a central pillar of Katharine’s design ethos, advocating that it be at the heart of designing one’s home, which will strengthen our fragile natural environment. She encourages the use of suppliers who place sustainability at the forefront of their manufacturing. Katharine continues to be hopeful that by adjusting the way she designs, placing ethics, sustainability, and durability at its heart, and minimizing wastage, designers and architects will create a global model for living in harmony with the natural world.
A great example of the sustainably influenced considerations is the Pearl Villa, a residential villa in Qatar masterminded by Katharine. Various sustainable finishes were utilised throughout, from gorgeous faux leathers to wall panels and faux shell embellishments and beautiful wallpapers that used recycled papers as their base.
Hand-painted silk wallpaper was also used for joinery fronts to minimize on timber veneers too.
A Few of Katharine Pooley’s prominent design projects
Following a two-year renovation, Katharine completed the interior design and careful restoration of each of the rooms of Forter Castle, incorporating antique and historical touches to create a quintessentially Scottish feel. Collaborating with her father, Robert Pooley, Katharine, who has a passion for traditional architecture, believes whole-heartedly in its refurbishment and protection. Luxurious finishes and intricate detailing which add richness, yet comfort was Katharine’s guiding principle when embarking on this project. Personal touches such as artworks, photographs, books, and antiques make the stay even more special for our guests, as it feels as though they are being welcomed into a characterful home. Each room at the castle has been named after Katharine’s siblings, which is where they have slept since childhood.
Set against the beautiful sapphire crystal-clear waters of the Persian Gulf and facing the Doha skyline, Katharine’s vision for the property was to create a luxurious contemporary design with different room ambiences flowing through each space while maintaining the collective narrative. Inspired by the surrounding ocean landscape, the design exudes a serene elegance, a feeling of timeless luxury, and embraces the outstanding European craftsmanship used throughout the design.
Overlooking Cape Town’s Camps Bay, this highly contemporary, eight-bedroom villa sits proudly on an impressive cliff edge. With its gravity-defying, cantilevered pool, sweeping architecture, and incredible, uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean, Katharine’s highly contemporary interior design makes this one of the most impressive recent luxury interior designs in South Africa.
Located on the cliffs of the French Riviera in a highly desirable area, this luxury, contemporary, private villa with its expansive ground floor is perfect for relaxing and entertaining. Clean lines, light, bright finishes, and sumptuous, neutral fabrics create a calm, open and airy ambience, while warm timbers and brushed brass details add that luxurious touch Katharine Pooley and her interior design studio are so renowned for. Layers of neutral, patterned fabrics bring understated elegance to the four-bedroom suites, and Katharine’s travels inspired beautiful stone, agate, and textured accessories and artworks.
Completely redesigned by Katharine for a returning client, this large, lateral, residential apartment has impressive panoramic views overlooking London’s leafy Hyde Park. Inspired by the property’s Art Deco façade, the luxury interior design incorporates the client’s love of intricate detail and exquisite finishes. With exquisite inlaid bronze details, classic Italian marbles, and high gloss walnut and maple woods, Katharine’s multi-faceted design creates a luxurious feel, with strong, masculine overtones to reflect the glamorous lifestyle of this international client who loves to entertain.
The soul of Katharine’s design is a feeling of peace, more than a specific style, and she incorporates the careful layering of colour, texture, and form, which is always personally tailored to the individual client, differing visually every time – and as passionately as Katharine designs for her clients, she matches it with just as much vigour in donating her time to those in need.
“I have always tried to keep kindness at the heart of everything I do. Lead a life full of kindness, and the world will be kind back. Generosity spreads joy to both the giver and the receiver; that is what makes it such a wonderful thing!” shares Katharine.
Twelve breath-taking new projects are unveiled for the first time on her newly launched website: www.katharinepooley.com. Ranging in scale and style, from traditional country residences to contemporary urban homes, they include futuristic hotels, luxury spas, beach villas, palaces, castles, ski chalets, and yachts.