Wednesday, January 12, 2011


He needs no introduction, or very little for those that follow all things British. English bon vivant, design legend and wild fete giver, Nicky Haslam is going stronger than ever. With his interior design practice at NH Design and a recent book about his storied life, the designer is a force to be reckoned with. His memoir, Redeeming Features, recounts his school days at Eton he redid his room complete with Ocelot skin curtains, tells anecdotes of fabulous friends and hob nobbing with the likes of Cecil Beaton to Mick Jagger. Every encounter-- being plucked to be an editor at Vogue, to dinners with Cole Porter-- prove memorable and influential to his style sense. Ever full of creative ideas, Haslam is forging ahead, and you can't help but pay attention to what he is up to. In a quest to stay connected to the young and hip, has become a blogger, sharing his musings as well as those of his creative director, Colette van den Thillart. His preference for the bold and graphic trump a disdain for the minimalistic. His work as it welcomes you with its grandeur. A grandeur of the livable kind.

Photo courtesy of NH Interiors
A dramatic library of an English country house with black walls, gold trim and red details

An elegant sitting room in a Barbados retreat

A purple tinged living room in a country house

A charming bedroom in the Cote d'Azur with painted furniture

Photo courtesy of NH Interiors
A library with graphic black and white doors and upholstered walls

A beautiful watercolor of a living room showcases his skill with a paint brush

What is inspiring you now?

The most inspiring thing now is the new breed of super-yacht...lighter materials, less bulk, with wonderful new anchorages like Montenegro and Croatia opening up 

What are your favorite color combinations?

Almost any colour and lots of plaster whites

What is your favorite city to shop for inspiration?

New Orleans has an array of the 18C French traditional plus raw, creole island things, colourful and humourous from Mexico across the Gulf , primitive marvels from further South 

If you could work with any company on a product collection, what would it be?

NASA. I'd like to have the first product range in the Galaxy

What is your favorite room in the house to design?

Any room that I can cram masses of books into

Do you think floral prints/chintz are dead?

Not a bit. Never were, never will be. But they must be used boldly and massively. Nothing duller than' a touch of floral'

What did you learn early on about design that you use every day?

Think about wall-space for furniture; architects these days like too many openings. Also consider your corners; your don't want any dank lacunae

What is the hardest part of working with the client?

Making them realise the amount of thought and time and sheer slog that goes into presenting them with a perfect finished project. 

What is the most outlandish request a client has made?

An adjustable mirror set into a bed canopy seemed outrageous let alone outlandish years ago, but its quite common now. I helped an L A decorator years ago whose client wanted things like live giraffes tethered in the living rooms.

What are your trade secrets in London,where do you love to shop and go to get inspired?

Christopher Hodsall's cornucopia of treasures at the Gas Works in Chelsea, though its really not a secret. Luckily its hard to find. The Library of the Zoological Society in Regent's Park is endlessly inspirational. Reflection in water can inspire, too.

What is happening stylistically in London right now?

Simon Hammerstein's ‘The Box’ in Soho is set to be the new hotspot, and of course Guy Pelly's club, ‘Public’ for the very young. The fabled hotel group is opening the 'W' in Leicester Square on St Valentines Day. Tissus d'Helene in Chelsea Harbour has a good line of young designers fabrics. The sexiest of shoe designers, Alberto Moretti, will be selling the sexiest of shoes for boys and girls at Arfango in Walton Street SW3. As to restaurants, the best are the Wolseley in Piccadilly, and Clarke's in Kensington Church St. These are Lucian Freud's regulars, and what's good enough for the great man is good enough for you and me!


little augury said...

full of charm, perhaps the most out and about on the internet right now. would love to tete a tete with him myself. great interview Marisa. pgt

Elizabeth Pyne (McMillen) said...

Thank you for this post, Marisa! I loved reading it, and I will certainly come back to it for inspiration!

Colette said...

Marisa, thank you for this - its a new Nicky every time!! Terrific, and appreciated. x Colette

Karen in CT said...

.. great post .. I enjoy your blog .. love NH ... said...

The watercolor is divine! Just elegant! Just followed you on Google friends connect and have JUST TODAY added it to my blog. Would love it if you would click over and follow my blog too!
CC from Currently Chic!

The Antiques Diva said...

Really enjoyed this post. He's much more diverse than I realized! And I so agree with him - I adore any room I can cram thousands of books in! Preferrably well-read favorites!

WA Blog Team said...

A great visit with Nicky Haslam... we are big fans of the grandeur. And, enjoyed every word. Thanks!

Allison Hennessy said...

Fascinating! I adore NH.