People in design: Kelly Hoppen on 40 years in the interiors business

Celebrating 40 years as an interior designer, Kelly Hoppen talks about what she’s learned, changes she’s seen and her home makeover projects

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How have you seen the industry change since you started out at 16?

New technology has had a huge impact on all aspects of the design industry from the way we design to what clients expect to see in their homes. There are always new must haves and it has become really hard to keep up with constant new innovations.

I must say, my favourite over the years is definitely underfloor heating. I now regularly use Polypipe’s underfloor heating system in my room schemes and it has completely changed the way I design. It gives me much more freedom as I no longer have to think about where to place radiators.

What’s the first thing you think about when looking at a new space to design?

What my client wants from the space, and how can I achieve exactly what they want and need. I spend a lot of time initially with my clients and I get inside their heads to uncover what they want out of the design — working so closely with clients is one of the things I love about my job.

Have you ever had a decorating disaster?

When I started, I designed a kitchen pretty much upside down, it was actually my first job but I fixed my mistakes and I got another job. Since then there’s never been any major disaster I couldn’t fix or find a solution for.

What is your favourite project you’ve worked on and why?

It is very hard to choose as I’ve done so many projects and I’ve loved them all for different reasons. I was very excited to design my new studio office in London, where my team work together. It’s a loft-style open-plan space with a really relaxed feel — and all Kelly Hoppen signature style of course. I spend so much time there so for me it was very important to get the space right and ensure it was bathed in natural light, and a space for my team and I to feel creative.

You actively encourage and support entrepreneurs through your work with the Prince’s Trust and your own businesses, why is it so important to you to support up-and-coming businesses?

This is such an important cause to me. As someone who built my own business from scratch, entrepreneurship is in my blood and it is my goal to share my knowledge and work with people who share my passion. It’s really rewarding to be able to help and give something back.

You are a keen Twitter user and keep a regular blog on your website, is keeping a personal link between yourself and your fans important to you?

Technology is an incredible thing, and I love the way it connects us. I love tweeting, blogging and using Instagram to keep my fans and followers not only updated on my work, but also my life. They can get an insight into my life and what I’m up to daily, in a really fun way.

What projects are in the pipeline for the second half on 2015?

I have a lot of projects in the pipeline including a few big projects in central London, where I really love designing. It is such an inspiring place and there are always new places to discover. My most recent project was a collaboration with Sir Alan Sugar, which was a very exciting project designing two luxury apartments near The Ritz in London. It was brilliant to work with him and a real honour.

Image by Mel Yates