Meet the interior designer: Jane Churchill

jane churchill

Our exclusive Q&A with interior design legend Jane Churchill…

Jane Churchill is something of a British interior design national treasure. Her fabrics and wallpapers made her a household name in the 1980s, and her interior design practice on London’s Pimlico Road has an international reputation for classical elegance and contemporary flair.

We were delighted to invite Jane onto the Pooky blog to chat about her fabulous career, her illustrious design ancestors, and a little tip or two about lighting…

Take us right back to the beginning… When did you first realise you had an ‘eye’ for interior design, and how much influence did your connection to the great Nancy Lancaster have on you?
Both Nancy Lancaster who was my great aunt, and my great-great aunt Nancy Astor were a big influence. I grew up surrounded by the good taste and style that migrated with them to England; one of my earliest memories is of Christmas at Cliveden (Nancy Astor’s house) when I was four.

Turning their original recipes into my book Entertaining Lives gave me a real insight into their sense of humour and love of entertaining. It was a wonderful project.

Jane with Nancy Lancaster


You made your name with your beautiful fabrics and wallpapers. How did you make the transition into running an interior design practice – and was it a smooth one?
It was remarkably smooth! I had a gift shop on the Pimlico Road called Treasure Island when I was 21 and started doing design work for friends on the side. I re-opened the Pimlico Road shop with my fabrics and wallpapers but we outgrew that space fairly quickly and moved it to Sloane Street. In 1989 I sold the fabrics, kept the Pimlico Road space for the decorating business and I’ve been here ever since.

What do you most enjoy about your work?
My team are remarkably efficient and fun. We have travelled a lot recently to work on projects in Florida and Greece, so I can’t complain!

What have been your all time favourite interior design projects?
The best projects are the unusual ones - horseboxes, cars, helicopters. I designed two rickshaws (below) for The Elephant Family charity and the Chelsea Pensioners were driven round London in them. It was wonderful. Hilary Weston bought one of mine and drives around their Windsor development at Vero Beach.


How have you seen British interior design evolve over the years – and what excites you now? (Are you a big user of Instagram for inspiration?)
As much as British design evolves and trends come and go, there’s always an English way of making comfort a priority. That means lots of texture, well-made furniture and plenty of places to sit.

Drawing room and bedroom by Jane Churchill

How does lighting play a part in your interiors?
I’ve always tried to encourage clients to plan their lighting ahead so it’s one of the first things we look at.

In my own home I use picture lights a lot; they’re so underrated. I have table lamps dotted around the house that are on two way switching and in the bathrooms you can’t go wrong with a wall sconce or a light with little tapered shade. The Pooky Chukka or Elbow wall fittings are great.

Bathroom by Jane Churchill with Pooky's Elbow wall lights in chrome

Any home lighting tips you’d like to share with our readers?
Up lights in shelves and alcoves create such a lovely atmosphere. Layering lighting in a room is essential which is why I always like to have everything planned out.

dining room
Dining room by Jane Churchill

Finally, do you have a favourite Pooky light (and if so, why that one?)
There’s so much choice with Pooky that I often find what I’m looking for before I know what I’m looking for! If I had to choose a favourite it would probably be the Lottie table lamp. It’s simple but the stripes add some interest and it goes with a whole plethora of shades of any colour. The Cosmo pink Dorian floor lamp is very eye-catching as well!

Lottie table lamp in a cobalt blue and stone glaze

Read more about Jane and her wonderful practice and follow her on Instagram @janechurchillinteriors.