The city pied-à-terre of one of the country’s leading interior designers is as chic, polished and refined as you’d expect
Next year, Karen Howes will celebrate a quarter of a century in the interior design business. It’s a significant milestone for someone who was just 21 when she set up Taylor Howes in London’s Chelsea Harbour with her co-founder Gail Taylor. Karen took sole control of the business soon after, and today Taylor Howes is known as one of the best interior design consultancies in the country, with a worldwide reputation as a professional, innovative outfit with a superlative eye for high glamour.
The practice – which operates out of a converted Aston Martin garage in Knightsbridge – works primarily on residential interior projects (of which it has completed over a thousand), mainly for private clients and property developers. As well as tackling some of the most exclusive addresses in Mayfair, Kensington and Belgravia, it also has clients in the South of France, the Middle East and the United States. Over the years, as its portfolio has grown, it has expanded its reach: from the initial two-person outfit, the company now has more than 30 members of staff. It has also developed its own bespoke lighting range, will be launching a capsule furniture collection later this year, and has recently made a first successful foray into the world of designing yacht cabins.
Interior design has been in Karen’s blood ever since her student days, when she recalls endlessly rearranging her bedroom furniture; this was followed by long conversations with her first landlord, Martin Waller, co-founder of the Andrew Martin brand, who passed on his passion for collecting.
Karen’s own home is as polished as you’d expect from someone with her level of expertise and experience. In fact, her Knightsbridge apartment is a lesson in quiet sophistication, where moments of drama are juxtaposed with a subtle palette of modest tones that epitomise her hallmark approach to domestic interiors.
“The devil is in the detail,” remarks this seasoned designer, as she takes in her city pied-à-terre. It’s a compact space, covering just 1,100 sq ft, but she has brought clever design touches together with high-end furnishings and accessories to create a grand scheme that belies the diminutive footprint.
There’s no signature look when you employ the services of Taylor Howes, she explains; its designers are too focused on working out the desires of their clients to be hogging the limelight with their own fripperies.
This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 192-204, issue 111.
What A two-bedroom apartment in an early-19th-century building
Interior design Taylor Howes
Photography Jon Day
Words Catherine Coyle