Meet the interior designer: Leanne Kilroy (@goodboneslondon)

leanne kilroy goodboneslondon

We chat to the very talented interior designer, renovator and Instagrammer Leanne Kilroy (aka @goodboneslondon)…

For anyone who lives in – or dreams of living in – a big old Victorian townhouse, @goodboneslondon is an absolute Instagram must-follow. Leanne Kilroy has an amazing knack for getting the most from her creaky but lovely London terraced house ‘no.69’: bringing out the best in its historic character while also making it a beautiful, bright, contemporary family home.

Originally from New England, Leanne has lived and worked in New York, Italy, Australia and Canada, but having moved to the UK in 2016, she, her husband and their three children have fully embraced the London life. Now running an interior design practice, Good Bones, she brings her laid-back but elegant style to her clients’ projects. And since she often includes a Pooky light or two in her rooms, we thought it was about time we had a chat...


Tell us about your background … How did you get started in interior design – and how did you come to launch an interior design practice in London?
I came to it quite unexpectedly and without any formal training. My dad had an antiques shop in Boston, MA (USA) where I grew up for nearly 40 years, so an appreciation of interior design was a huge part of my childhood.

My practice began when I started receiving inquiries and has grown organically from there. Being self-taught comes with a sharp learning curve but it also allows me a level of freedom to follow my gut that I’m really grateful for.

You’ve lived in six countries and hold no less than four passports. Does that cosmopolitan background influence your approach to interior design – and have you been inspired by British styles?
I’ve learned a lot about what works (and what doesn’t) from living in different places with different norms. And despite - or perhaps because of - having made many moves and having a background rooted in many places, I am such a homebody. I get so much energy from nesting and creating a space that works well and feels good.

I love designing in the UK - I find that the interior design community here is just small enough to feel intimate and personal; yet it’s strong enough to really drive creativity and support small brands doing their own thing and doing it well. It’s that perfect mix of old world craftsmanship and individual whimsy that make British design so wonderful.

leanne kilroy fireplacePhoto: Leanne Kilroy @goodboneslondon

We’ve loved following you on Instagram as you work on your family home, the Victorian house with ‘good bones’. What are the best and trickiest things about decorating (and living in) an old London townhouse?
The trickiest part of a traditional London townhouse would be the back of the house with its cold, cramped and dark kitchen. We’ve been really lucky to open up the back of our house to make it as bright as possible.

I love these old London townhouses, with their predictable yet ever-so-slightly unique floor plans, their beautiful plasterwork and old floor boards. Anyone living in a home with old bones will know that sometimes you’ve just got to embrace the wonkiness. We have floors that creak, windows that rattle, and walls that crack. But this seems like a small price to pay for a characterful old home that still has so much charm and such good bones.

Will No.69 ever be ‘finished’ or is it decorating a neverending process?
That’s a great question! In our case, we tend to bite off just as much as we can chew at a time, so at this rate we won’t be “finished” with No. 69 for a few years at least. We’ve still got a derelict bathroom and a few bedrooms that haven’t been touched!

I’m not sure if the process is truly neverending - if I do a room, the hope is that it will never need to be “redone”. The obvious exception to this is where a family’s needs change; so it’s yet to be seen if our three girls will have needs we can’t foresee and if our home office really can become a TV snug one day!

leanne kilroy pink bathroomBathroom featuring Elbow wall fittings in antiqued silver. Photo: Leanne Kilroy @goodboneslondon

What do you most enjoy about your work?
There are so many things I love about my work, from the fact that I learn new things (every single day!) to getting to work with the best tradespeople, suppliers, colleagues and clients. I adore a building site and seeing a space’s potential come to life. Whenever things become stressful - as they do in almost every line of work and especially in a renovation - I always joke that we’re not saving the world but actually in a small but important way we’re helping people find more joy at home and that’s not nothing!

pringle wall light leanne kilroySide table featuring the Pringle wall light fitting in antique brass with 16cm natural vellum shade. Photo: Leanne Kilroy @goodboneslondon

How does lighting play a part in your interiors?
Lighting is essential! Second maybe only to layout, it’s the most important part of the design of a space.

Any top lighting tips you’d like to share?
I would always start with asking yourself how a space will be used and what the lights in the room need to do. I would caution against overlighting - each light should serve a purpose. That purpose could be to provide ambient or task lighting, to highlight a piece of art, or to be a piece of art in itself.

Lamps provide the most flattering light and the most flexibility - we tend to put lamps on 5 amp sockets so they can be operated from a wall switch and serve as a room’s main source of light. Always use warm white bulbs and, if you can, put everything on a dimmer!

leanne kilroy Colombari wall lightsLeanne's vanity table featuring Pooky's Colambari wall lights with natural rattan shades. Photo: Leanne Kilroy @goodboneslondon

Finally, do you have a particular favourite Pooky light?
I adore the classic Stella pendant, which shares a name with my eldest daughter, and which I have hanging at home. I also have a soft spot for the Colombari - two of which I have hanging over my vanity table [above] - as I love a light that can be switched on and off on the fixture. We use Pooky’s rechargeable Walter almost every day, too!

I should also shout out the Triple Besidem - we’ve just used it in a project and it’s incredible.

stella pendant Larger Stella pendant light


See more about Leanne's interior design at and follow her on Instagram at @goodboneslondon.

And you can meet more interior design stars and find lots more inspiration on our blog and Instagram.


See also:

Home lighting solutions for period properties and listed buildings
Meet the interior designer: Sarah Laming (@ahometomakeyousmile)
Meet the interior design star: Kate of @myoldpub
Meet the interiors star: Lee Thornley, founder of Bert & May
How to develop an ‘eye’ for interior design


Photo top: Leanne Kilroy @goodboneslondon