Having started his career as a designer in his early twenties, Henry Prideaux honed his skills at some of the most reputable names in the industry (think Nicky Haslam of NH Design and The Studio at Harrods) before setting up his own eponymous studio in 2014.
As someone who believes that ‘a well considered interior should make its inhabitant feel good’, we’re delighted to be able to showcase some of Henry’s bold designs here at Layer. As we chat to Henry about his favourite chairs from across the ages and his three most treasured pieces, enjoy lusting over these beautiful spaces.
Is there a signature Henry Prideaux look? If so, how would you describe it?
There is not one particular Henry Prideaux look as over the years I’ve learnt about decorating from a host of different and very talented designers. Quite often the latest design becomes my favourite – on that basis it is an updated take on a classic London townhouse, complete with timber wall panelling, plaster architectural detailing and evocative lighting throughout. In principle I like to believe that as a client is going to live in a property they have to be thrilled with the result. It needs to make them happy every time they enter a particular room.
As every client is different, every house and every brief is different so there are a variety of factors that will guide the design so a cookie cutter approach is not always feasible. I will direct a client’s brief in a way that works with the property, injecting personality into a room in different forms – by colour, texture or shape and bring it all together to make a happy client (and happy designer!). The best results, I find, are when a client is really ready to embark on a process and is open to suggestions and willing to embrace creative thinking.
In terms of furniture, what design classics standout for you?
This is such a hard one as I’ve been able to cover a variety of styles over the years. To make it a level playing field, if I stick to chairs there are some that stand out – and they are extremely varied! I love a set of Swedish Gustavian dining chairs (with a square back and straight spindles or upholstered, rather than a rounded back); also the Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chair and Warren Platner armchair (both still available from Knoll) both come to mind and I would always be happy placing a Louis XV / XVI side chair in a scheme. All very different, but perfect in the right setting.
What would be your top interior design tip for our readers?
My top interior design tip is to be bold – go for the edgier colour, the larger light, the quirkier shape, the extra layering. Other elements in the room can support this decision and ground it but you will always have that decision to be proud of every time you see it. Quite often this decision happens when selecting paint colours and it’s too easy to select the softer option. Be bold.
What does home mean to you?
Home to me is a place where I can feel completely comfortable in my favoured surroundings. Designing for clients means listening to their brief and likes and dislikes and ensuring the interiors work for them.
At home I get to do what I (we!) like although this can be a struggle given there are so many different ideas I’d like to implement! The addition of our baby boy though has led to some adaptations as we become accustomed to family life – but this gives scope to play and learn with new ideas for children – something I am being asked to do more and more for clients. So home is a constantly evolving comfortable place.
What are your three most treasured pieces?
My three most treasured pieces wouldn’t be the easiest to pack up in an emergency (!!) but probably: a pair of tall, ceramic off white table lamps with an unusual patterning that I bought for only £400 at an small antiques shop in Queens Park. We have them in the blue bedroom where they contrast against the walls perfectly. An Alabaster bust of Verdi I bought for £130 from the Northcote Road Antiques Market. He has such presence and amazing patina. My latest purchase from a holiday in Cornwall – a small oil painting of 3 boats for £475 by local artist Ben Taffinder from The Customs House Gallery, Porthleven.
A perfect Sunday is…
A perfect Sunday when at home would be a lie-in with my partner and baby son. Croissants, eggs and orange juice for breakfast with the Sunday papers. A walk to the local cafe for a takeaway mocha to drink whilst browsing some local antique shops. A stroll through Battersea Park via the swings and playground to The Kings Road for a long lazy lunch with friends at The Ivy Chelsea Garden. The day would finish catching up on any of the latest TV shows or a movie and getting into a freshly made bed to get ready for Monday morning.
If you could choose one piece from Layer, what would it be and where would it live?
There are so many lovely items on the Layer website but given lighting is so important in interiors and done well can really set the tone for a room I would choose the Hans Kogl Palm lamps for our living room:
They are dramatic and sculptural and yet, whilst decorative, provide a soft light that will allow the room to glow. Lighting needs to be varied but definitely not all from above and at table height provides a much better light for reading and lighting faces.
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