Meet the interior designer: Nicole Salvesen

Our exclusive Q&A with interior designer Nicole Salvesen of Salvesen Graham…

London-based interior designers Nicole Salvesen and Mary Graham have established a reputation for their beautiful, classic interiors with a modern twist (and plenty of Pooky lights and shades!). We spoke to Nicole about style, lighting and the elegance of Georgian England…

How did you get started in interior design?

Mary and I met at University after which we went to KLC, but at different times. We then each went on to work for well-respected interior designers. I went to work at Nina Campbell for several years, followed by stints at several other top London design practices. I then went back to Nina Campbell, before setting up Salvesen Graham with Mary in 2013. Prior to this Mary worked at Leveson Design where she worked on a number of prominent English estates and large London houses.

How would you describe your interior design style?

We don’t have a house style as such as each project is different depending on the client and the property, however we are known for and believe in curating a combination of the old with the new and really enjoy mixing antiques with modern design to create classic and timeless interiors. Our designs are underpinned by our love of using colour, texture and pattern which result in elegant welcoming and richly layered rooms.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

The elegance of Georgian England has always influenced us, particularly in relation to architecture and furniture. We also take great inspiration from the wonderful Indian textiles of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, examples of which you can see in the V&A. We particularly love the colourful and intricate chintz designs that were made specifically for the English export market.

How does lighting play a part in your interiors?

For us lighting is incredibly important, and we take this part of our designs very seriously as it is the basics of the interior design of a home, which will set the tone for the furnishings that are placed in the room. We believe that every room in a house needs to have flexible and variable lighting. For example, it is really important to have good task lighting in a kitchen but equally a balance is needed to create an ambience even if your kitchen isn’t directly linked to an entertaining space. So, we would often use wall and pendant decorative lights to soften the look and make it less utilitarian. Which recent project are you particularly proud of?

We worked on a private members club in London which was great, and it was interesting to see how differently the space was used after the refurbishment. We have also recently finished a large house in the country. Since completion we have stayed overnight at the house which meant we really got a sense of how the interiors, on a practical as well as aesthetic level and were thrilled with it.

Do you have a particular favourite cosy corner or room (in your home or anywhere) that you feel is 'all your own'?

Mine is probably my bedroom and more specifically the bed where the combination of the half tester, wall lighting and table lamps from Pooky, create a wonderfully comforting cove.

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

It would have to be the Admiral Lamp – we love a brass finish and the classic proportions of a column lamp.

See more of Salvesen Graham’s fabulous work on their website, and follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.