Meet the designer: Alexandra Childs

Based in London and Paris, Alexandra Childs founded her interior design agency in 2016.  Studio Alexandra creates beautiful, visually striking interiors that have a low environmental impact - an approach she describes as ‘conscious interior design’.

We spoke to Ali about that approach and about lighting, designing in the pandemic and more...


Tell us about your background … How did you get started in interior design?

After studying art history in Manchester I came down to London and began working for Corfield Morris, who are fine art and antiques advisors. There I came across a few interior designers, who we’d help find artworks and furniture pieces for their projects. It didn’t take long for me to decide that I wanted to re-train in interior design, so I enrolled at KLC school of design.

After KLC I was lucky enough to land my first job with Martin Kemp as one of his first employees at Martin Kemp Design, and happily worked there for around nine years before setting up Studio Alexandra. I had excellent training with Martin, and worked on some really incredible projects across the world.

Glebe House. Interior design by Studio Alexandra. Photo by Finn Studio.


How would you describe your interior design style? 

I suppose the best way to describe it is eclectic. My apartment in Paris is a mix of vintage furniture, rugs and artworks that I’ve collected over the last few years. In my own home I don’t tend to follow trends that closely, but try to find interesting objects and furniture that I will want to hold onto. It is important to me to buy vintage or antiques where possible, not only are they often more unique, but it’s more sustainable.


What inspires you when it comes to interiors?

I love colour and I love architectural, sculptural spaces. My favourite architect is Luis Barragan: I love the monumental architectural forms in his work and his use of colour. Otherwise I am generally inspired by what is around me. I’ve lived in Paris for the past three years and there is inspiration everywhere. In the galleries, cafes, restaurants and of course just the beautiful buildings in the streets – it’s a city with so much history, something that I learnt to appreciate during my daily lockdown walks last year!

Rose Room at Glebe House. Interior design by Studio Alexandra. Photo by Finn Studio.


Studio Alexandra has an ethos of ‘conscious’ interior design and a low environmental impact. Can you tell us about that and how it informs the way you work?

I have become more and more uncomfortable with the huge impact of consumerism. This is a wider societal issue – and by no means limited to interior design – but I am conscious that our industry can be pretty wasteful as we seek to keep up with passing trends by buying so much stuff the whole time.

To have a lower impact on the environment we try to source from local brands that manufacture in the country of the project, use local contractors and artisans, wherever possible buy vintage or antique, and use natural, sustainable materials. Of course, this is a journey for Studio Alexandra and sometimes it can be a challenge to adhere to an eco approach when timeframes and budgets are tight - we’re always looking for ways to get it right.

There are also social issues too. There is a huge lack of diversity within the industry which is often guilty of cultural appropriation. It can feel quite cynical at times. For me it is important to think sensitively about what you are using in your spaces. Whether that is associated with the print of a fabric or an object on your shelves. Context is everything and it is so important that designers know the meaning or significance of what they are using in their designs – not just whether it looks pretty on display or is in the right colour way.

I don’t want to sound preachy – it’s a journey for all of us, but we do have a responsibility to be aware of these issues as designers.

Glebe House. Interior design by Studio Alexandra. Photos by Finn Studio.


What do you most enjoy about your work?

When it all comes together. That’s the best feeling when you see it all finished and looking good. So much of the interior design process is drawings or admin, the creative bits at the beginning are brilliant but they don’t last long. So when you get to the end of the project and see all the hard work pay off it is incredibly satisfying.


How does lighting play a part in your interiors? 

Lighting brings warmth, detail and drama to spaces. It is of course crucial to get it right as bad lighting can ruin a design! What type of lighting obviously depends on the style of the project, so whether you use more architectural recessed lighting or visible fixtures. More recently I have relied on visible fixtures and lamps as the projects have lent themselves to that aesthetic.

Lamps are not only functional but they can be a beautiful object in the room to look at too, and with a good lampshade you can’t go wrong really! There are plenty of shades on the market at the moment – of course Pooky has some great options.


Any top lighting tips you’d like to share?

Try to avoid peppering the ceiling with spotlights. There really is no need to use as many as some would have you believe and you can often use much more interesting and attractive light fixtures to do the same job.

Pooky's Lillee table lamp in orange with 25cm Tall Tapered Piave marbled paper shade. Styled by Studio Alexandra. Photo by Finn Studio.


How did the year of Covid lockdowns affect you and your work?

It was a pretty tough year on both fronts. Lockdown in Paris was really strict and we were allowed an hour out of the apartment each day. It was a totally surreal time.

Like for everyone else, my working model changed overnight. My projects at that time were spread between the UK and Greece, so they were put on hold. Site visits were also off limits for the best part of a year and I missed out getting to visit Coombeshead farm during any of the works for the new rooms that have now opened this year.

Glebe House had an opening deadline to work towards, so we persevered and, with some creative thinking, we managed to pull it off. We used a lot of facetime, particularly whilst my clients were at furniture markets in between lockdowns in the UK so I could advise on their purchases. It was a bit stressful, but we got there.


Which recent project are you particularly proud of? 

Glebe House: we struggled through the chaos of the pandemic and the project has come out the other side triumphant. Its success is a testament to having brave, bold clients like Olive and Hugo, who I could work with closely, honestly and collaboratively with, something that proved vital to pulling off the project in such difficult circumstances.

Olive herself is an artist so we had some great works to put up around the house but this also informed their bold colour palette and choices that we went for. We found some real bargains along the way such as the vintage basins in the ensuites and had a lot of fun finding vintage furniture (albeit remotely, in my case!) in between lockdowns.

It was a great project to work on and the fact that we pulled it off during such trying conditions is a testament to how well we pulled together as a team.

Glebe House. Interior design by Studio Alexandra. Photo by Finn Studio.


Finally, do you have a favourite Pooky light (and if so, why that one?)

I love the Ned lamp, we used a few at Glebe House and I think they look great with an interesting shade. It is a timeless design and they are well made, so hopefully they will be at Glebe for many years to come!


See more of Ali’s work at and follow her on Instagram.