Here at Your Coffee Break we are currently obsessing over chic, french design. To get our fix, we like to turn to London’s interior design star Camilla Hampton for the latest in store.
Camilla runs Camilla Hampton Interiors from a showroom on Abbeville Road in Clapham and is on the verge of opening a second showroom in the Wandsworth/Battersea area. We couldn’t be more excited! All sorts of beautiful interiors objects will be sold there, including art and lamps, furniture and antiques as well as becoming the base for her three in-house seamstresses. What’s more? In response to the plethora of intimidating, formal and quiet design shops, the Wandsworth boutique will have a relaxed an inviting atmosphere where people will be able to hang out, browse the internet, share and gain design advice, buy fabrics and have bespoke curtains and blinds or cushions made.
We’re currently pining for a peek at the new boutique but this week, Camilla invited us for a private walk-around her house in Wandsworth, located in South-West London. And of course, we immediately jumped on the opportunity!
Camilla Hampton lives in a lovely, larger than average, Victorian London Townhouse in ‘The Tonsleys’, Wandsworth. Camilla’s home is of Georgian proportions; when decorating it, her husband and herself wanted to maintain the traditional features of the house, while also modernizing it. Camilla points to the beautiful marble fireplace which they put back in the drawing room.“The house is a work in progress,” Camilla explains. “I think that’s an interior designer trait- our houses are to me, never finished.” There is always another look or fabric that Camilla falls in love with, giving her the desire to redo a room over again!
Colorful but chalky hues are used throughout the property; the attic bedroom is sky blue, covered in large, creamy peonies. Words can’t describe the wonderful green Zoffany “Nostell Priory” wallpaper that was chosen in the drawing room. The study is Rectory Red, while the guest bedroom has a deep red and white striped William Yeoward wallpaper. Camilla is taking us through the house, where the rooms are offset by ‘Elephants Breath’ Grey halls and landings from Farrow and Ball. The whole house has a romantic, timeless classic but chic feel to it. We’ve already set up our camp for the night!
Camilla often designs rooms around treasured objects. Their bedroom, for instance, was inspired by a dreamy turquoise teacup given to her by her best friend as a bridesmaid present, as well as by two antique china birds inherited from her grandmother. “Even though the birds are chipped and not necessarily valuable, their color is inspiring,” she explains.
Of course, designing her own house was a very different process than designing clients’ spaces. Camilla works closely together with clients to achieve a final look, implemented on a given budget and specific time frame. On the other hand, the process is less structured in her own home due to the constant flow of ever evolving ideas that make it hard to settle on a fabric or a theme.
Rather than following rules, Camilla designs by instinct. Clarifying this idea, she explains that she does inadvertently following basic design rules, but her instinct tells her when she can break them. “I have always had a theory that designers tend to fall into two camps,” she says, “those who learn the ‘rules’ and design by following them and those that instinctively have an innate understanding of space and design and don’t realize that they are obeying the ‘rules’ but also instinctively therefore often break them.” In Camilla’s opinion, this gives the second group’s designs more personality and a fluidness.
“I love working with peoples possessions; the things they love; building a design scheme around them,” Camilla says with passion. She recently had a client who had inherited old furniture and paintings and needed help modernizing her old fashioned decoration. Camilla did that in a fresh and timeless way, while also meshing the beautiful antiques into the new scheme.
To Camilla, designing someone’s home or room is an honor. “Fundamentally, we are only happy if our client is nothing short of thrilled with the results,” she says, “which demands good working relationships with the client but also with tradespeople.” Camilla and the people she works with have high standards, and stick to the core principles built around trust, respect, and over-delivering. Camilla is also open to the idea of working with other designers : “Working with other people helps you to grow because you often have to compromise on the details, finding schemes or objects that you both like.” She is attracted to the concept of boundary-pushing and creating designs that are not your natural default.
Here at YCB, we’re totally bewitched by Camilla’s impeccable decorated house! But why Camilla has become the subject of our new crush has to do with how it all started…
Last summer, Camilla Hampton took the plunge and set up Camilla Hampton Interiors, but before delving into designing full time, Camilla worked in finance in the city. She explains, “Everyone knows that the fashion or design world pays badly! I soon realized that if I wanted to be successful I was going to need to go and make some money and come back to designing on my own terms when I had some business experience and some capital to fund it.” Working in the city, Camilla was involved in starting up new businesses for the companies she was working for, and she soon learned how much energy was required to get a business off the ground. From her previous career, Camilla also acquired skills in sales, time management, people management, the value of time, as well as the ability to understand clients’ expectations and how to deliver under pressure. “All these principles have been invaluable in setting up Camilla Hampton Interiors,” says Camilla, “which whilst being different from the city by being a creative company has to be built on the same principles as any business if it is going to continue to succeed.”
What’s next for Camilla Hampton? The interior design pro has huge aspirations for her company. She would like the brand to become known for taking interior design, decoration and well made soft furnishings to the high street, with bespoke design services! She also plans on developing her own range of fabrics. As always, the lovely Camilla mentions what she most believes in, “accessible, affordable, excellent quality and beautiful style.”