Take a tour through our London project, inspired by Katharine’s travels.

An opulent living room in one of UK interior designer Katharine Pooleys london based projects

Travelling to culturally rich destinations around the world ignites a creative spark, infusing my projects with a wealth of inspiration. The result? Spaces that transcend boundaries and tell stories of far-off places.

Inspiration is a remarkably elusive force. It sparks from the most unexpected corners of life and finds its truest form in the realms of experience and travel. Inspiration is not confined to the grand or extravagant – it can spring forth from the subtle, the everyday, or the extraordinary. It can materialise in a fragrance wafting across a market, from the serene elegance of the movement of branches in the wind, or the soulful harmonies of a street musician, splicing through the hum of a thriving metropolis.

In my opinion, these experiences are the vivid threads that weave the fabric of imagination, leaving an indelible mark on our senses and sensibilities. I find travelling particularly a veritable treasure trove of inspiration. The act of journeying beyond the familiar introduces us to new perspectives, cultures and environments. It invites us to wander down winding alleys, savour local delicacies and engage with people whose stories are vastly different from our own. Each step taken, each conversation and each breath-taking landscape witnessed becomes a source of creative fuel. Looking at any of my projects, you will witness splices of my experiences and inspiration pulsing through the spaces. Travel not only broadens our minds but widens the scope of our imagination, encouraging us to alter not only our own but the world around us in the most precious way.

A beautiful staircase in one of interior designer katharine pooleys projects

I would love to share some details of our London project which features nuances of my time spent in Asia. This show-stopping masterpiece was built upon the client’s love for Japanese and Asian influences and strewn with my own memories of the region. A number of features embody the exquisite culture and highlight the timeless and elegant characteristics of this unique area.

Set across seven floors, we transformed this residence in five months for a very special international client hoping to create a ‘home for life’ in London. The impressive architecture was a captivating backdrop for our original and contemporary interior. We worked together to create a highly luxurious space that showcased the symmetry of classical architecture, introduced unexpected contemporary design flourishes and featured unusual and Japanese-inspired detailing.

One of my absolute favourite spaces has to be the serene and captivating orange living room, adorned with an array of mesmerising Japanese-inspired lighting that infuses the atmosphere with an enchanting and harmonious ambiance. The warm, inviting hues of orange exude a sense of comfort while a pair of delicate lanterns hanging in the bespoke joinery bring everything together. Their soft illumination provides the perfect amount of light for reading a book or enjoying a cup of tea. The juxtaposition of modern and traditional elements in this room is a testament to the thought and care put into its design.

A master bedroom in yellow with a four poster bed in one of katharine pooleys luxury london projects

As you ascend the staircase, your eyes are immediately drawn to an intricately crafted, bespoke plasterwork tree that gracefully adorns the wall. This masterpiece is a carved plaster bas-relief depicting the serene beauty of a Japanese bonsai tree. Its detailed branches capture the essence of nature’s tranquillity through its sculpted form. This artwork not only serves as a stunning visual centrepiece but also evokes a sense of admiration for the artistry and craftsmanship that went into its creation, making a captivating display in what would otherwise have been unused space.

Upon entering the property, the client’s love of colour is immediately evident. Glorious saturated accent colours are scattered throughout: from the layers of cobalt and azure blue in the drawing room to burnt orange and deep burgundy tones in the dining room. The perfectly balanced use of colour continues in the canary yellow, lapis, teal, emerald and dusky lilac hues used across each of the seven bedrooms, not to mention the touches of ink blue and rust in the client’s show-stopping study, which lends an exciting (and very contemporary) painterly feel to the property.

The most gorgeous feature is the beautiful hand-painted wallpaper in the main living room. The Japanese-inspired wallcovering is a bespoke design that has been developed in partnership with Fromental on a silk ground cloth and portrays a beautiful landscape. Blue is associated with protective qualities and various folklore and mythical creatures in Japanese culture. For example, the “Ao-Andon” or “Blue Lantern” is believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good fortune. Blue Shimenawa (sacred ropes) and Shide (zigzag paper streamers) are also used to purify and protect entrances to homes and shrines from malevolent spirits. Building on this, we dressed the centrepiece of this family home, a tranquil azure haven.

A living room in one of katharine pooleys luxury london projects

Pinch-pleat-headed curtains frame the room, with beautiful Victoria Bain leading edges in a custom blue. The opulent bespoke sofas are mounted on beech wood with antique brass trim to accentuate the wooden edges and create continuity through the varying spaces. The coffee table in the centre of the room features a magnificent gloss veneer.

Asian-inspired design places a significant emphasis on symmetry, where the pursuit of balance is anchored in the strength of clean, precise lines. In our design approach, simplicity was paramount, as we aimed to minimize clutter and cultivate a sense of calm.

This commitment to simplicity and balance comes to life notably in the bedroom designs. Here, we carefully selected strong lines and bold block colours to harmonise with the bespoke furniture we designed and curated to enhance each room’s unique ambiance. Notable details include a hand-crafted four-poster bed with intricately chiselled insets and beside tables adorned with straw marquetry starbursts and precisely inset geometric trims.

An office study in one of interior designer katharine pooleys projects

Blossom motifs, particularly the iconic cherry blossoms in Japanese design and the symbolic plum blossoms in Chinese design carry profound cultural significance. These motifs imbue spaces with deep meaning and cultural richness, symbolising the delicate yet enduring essence of life. In our residential project, we seamlessly integrated these meaningful motifs at various levels. For instance, the elevator doors feature an exquisite poured liquid-metal and resin mural depicting an arboreal scene. This remarkable artwork was meticulously hand-carved by skilled artisans, ensuring every detail was brought to life with unparalleled craftsmanship and precision.

The dining room chandelier is a truly unique bespoke concept, painstakingly hand-crafted from exquisite antique glass and adorned with delicate brass fittings. This one-of-a-kind masterpiece draws its design inspiration from the elegant form of chopsticks, resulting in a captivating blend of tradition and innovation. Each individual piece of this chandelier is gracefully suspended above the dining table, casting a warm and enchanting glow on the surroundings. Adding to the luxurious ambiance, the custom-designed carpet boasts a rich blend of silk and cotton, enriched with exquisite lurex detailing that harmoniously complements the chandelier’s resplendence, elevating the dining experience to an unparalleled level of sophistication.

As we descend into the subterranean levels of the home, we are welcomed into a serene spa and pool area that will never fail to impress. One can’t help but be captivated by the surprising abundance of natural light and the overall sense of airiness in this underground oasis. It’s a space that defies expectations, effortlessly blurring the lines between indoors and outdoors.

A bathroom in one of katharine pooleys central london townhouse projects in interior design

Above the elegantly curved coffee table and luxury home accessories in the lounging area, a bespoke bohemian crystal glass art installation hangs suspended. This chandelier boasts a meticulous hand-cut design, mirroring the graceful contours of the furniture below and creating a visual symphony. Koi motifs are often used as focal points in Japanese design, symbolising determination and perseverance due to their ability to swim upstream against strong currents. They are also associated with prosperity and hope, and so the space is imbued with a sense of healing and wellbeing. This carefully composed chandelier artfully mimics the synchronised movements of the resin whales in the adjacent poured liquid-metal doors. In ancient times, the Japanese considered whales to be manifestations of the god Ebisu, who brings riches from the seas. Fishermen tell stories of how Ebisu keeps the ocean safe and pristine, pushing debris to the shore.

Alongside the striking chandelier and across the pool, a moss-adorned wall evokes the serenity of a Japanese Zen garden. The wall’s verdant greenery, meticulously curated to resemble the lush moss gardens found in traditional Zen temples, brings an element of natural beauty and calm to the space. The velvety texture and soothing colour palette of the moss wall create a restful backdrop, inviting inhabitants and visitors alike to find solace and peaceful contemplation. The interplay of crystal light, aquatic motifs, and the Zen-inspired moss wall infuses the wellness area with a sense of balance and serenity, as we wanted to make it a truly enchanting retreat within the home.

A spa area in one of katharine pooleys luxury london projects

Japan travel itinerary…
Reflecting on the journey of inspiration, I find myself drawn to a pivotal moment of serendipity – a trip to Japan with my family during the enchanting cherry blossom weeks earlier this year. It was an experience that transcended mere travel; it was a symphony of sights and emotions that etched itself indelibly into my memory.

In essence, interior spaces are more than just bricks and mortar; it’s a canvas where moments of personal significance converge with the aesthetics of design. The inspiration drawn from my travels has had a profound impact on my style and taste. I am honoured to have witnessed and experienced many corners of the globe, and this has deeply resonated with me and is reflected in KP Projects. I would love to share a few of the places from my trip with you:

Katharine pooleys designs are influenced by her global travels, japan in particular

Nestled in the picturesque Japanese Alps, is a town that exudes timeless charm. Takayama is celebrated for its beautifully preserved Edo-period streetscapes, featuring traditional wooden machiya houses, sake breweries, and shops. Strolling through the narrow lanes of the historic Sanmachi Suji district. It is also a gateway to the stunning natural landscapes of the Hida region which has the most pristine forests, serene rivers, and onsen hot springs.

Katharine pooleys designs are influenced by her global travels, japan in particular

Kyoto, has a history dating back over a thousand years as the country’s imperial capital. The area boasts a wealth of heritage sites, including iconic temples, shrines, and exquisite gardens. It embraces its cultural heritage through traditional tea ceremonies, kimono-clad geisha in the historic Gion district, and seasonal festivals like the mesmerising Gion Matsuri. It is a city of contrasts, where ancient traditions coexist with modern life, as seen in its bustling markets, innovative architecture, and thriving culinary scene.

Katharine pooleys designs are influenced by her global travels, japan in particular

Himeji is a city known for its historical significance and the iconic Castle. This magnificent fortress is often called the “White Heron Castle” due to its pristine white appearance and elegant design. Himeji Castle stands as one of Japan’s most meticulously preserved and captivating castles, with its intricate wooden structure and strategic layout. This city hosts vibrant cherry blossom festivals during the spring.

A subterranean basement with pool and spa in one of katharine pooleys luxury london projects

Perhaps most intriguingly, inspiration has a knack for revealing itself when we least expect it. It could be in the rhythmic clatter of a passing train, the patterns in the steam on a café window, or the way sunlight filters through leaves in a remote forest. In these ordinary yet extraordinary moments, we find the extraordinary ideas that transform the mundane into the magnificent.

In essence, inspiration is an ever-present muse that roams freely. It serves as a reminder that the stories of our lives, the tapestry of our experiences, and the horizons we explore are rich with creativity. I hope you have enjoyed this insight into Japanese inspiration and culture – travel beckons us to keep our senses sharp and our hearts open, as there is an endless wellspring of inspiration waiting to be explored.

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