Interior designer Pandora Taylor has one style rule: she doesn’t follow trends.
The 32-year-old, who was recently named in the 50 Best Interior Designers in Country & Townhouse magazine, creates interiors that come as something of an antidote to the trends that slosh around our daily lives on social media.
‘I hate doing things I’ve seen before,’ she says, standing in her unique mid-Victorian Brixton four-bed on a Thursday morning, dressed in a navy blue jumpsuit from NRBY and loafers by Rogue Matilda.
‘You can’t avoid it completely but I like to harvest things from my ten years in the design world, things that I might not use for clients, and I am drawn to objects that I’ve never seen before. I am on Instagram but I don’t follow Instagram.’
Pandora has completely renovated the property, having bought it a few years back. It was in a sorry state, with the electrics needing replacing,
The heating needing installing, and extension leads running from room to room. But the house was filled with secrets, little trinkets that were left behind and have now become part of its renovation.
The floorboards are original and scaffolding boards make the perfect weathered shelving in the living room. Stand back and it is clear that one of Pandora’s childhood passions of visiting stately homes, her mother in tow, has had a strong influence on the hazy luxury of her own home.
‘From the age of eight or nine my mother and I would visit stately homes a lot – I’m into old furniture and knick-knacks, and they always had inspirational fabrics,’ Pandora explains.
‘In these homes I loved how you could be there for a while and suddenly see something incredible, or something subtle [in the background] like an old tapestry. Things would get moved from one room to another and fade into the background.’
Pandora’s home has a similar effect. Little portraits, inherited from her grandmother, are dotted around the walls like small treasures, alongside artworks of Pandora’s dogs she painted herself, Scrabble love letters, or a curious collection of cottage-shaped teapots that were given to Pandora as a joke from her dad, but became a kitsch corner collection.
The upstairs bathroom has a shower room where an old toilet was, with Fornace Brioni tiles that have a shade of Boogie Nights to them, but you need to poke your head around to notice it.
‘I saw these tiles at a design fair and had never seen anything like it – I’d never explored pinks and reds before.’
The vanity unit, designed by Pandora, is made using old trunk handles and looks like two dozen drawers, but in fact is a traditional cupboard. Her house is filled with these features that lay undetected until the intricacy catches your eye.
A vintage shell lamp with an oyster for a bulb helps to illuminate statement Zardi & Zardi wallpaper. More often than not, though, the background colours are pared back, with colours such as Farrow & Ball’s De Nimes, to let the details sing.
The living room sofa was designed by Pandora and made by Kassavello.
Pandora’s headboards have her dreaming of success
Pandora is currently in the process of bringing her outside-the-box thinking to the headboard world. Her designs, as seen in the main and guest bedroom of her home, break out of the normal rectangle and float or explode across the back wall.
The Shard Headboard in the master bedroom and the Dune (used in her top-floor bedroom) are available on her website, whereas the Bubble/Dream headboard in the spare room was just a bespoke design for herself and isn’t available for purchase.
Pandora studied art history at university, which is perhaps behind her idiosyncratic thinking. She adds: ‘People are becoming aware of the headboard as more than a rectangle – it can become an artwork.
‘Abstract expressionism was about breaking free from the canvas and the 2D, and here my headboards float into space as bubbles.’
‘I like to do bold things in an understated way,’ she says. ‘A lot of walls are plainly painted – then there is boldness in the small details. Everything has to have an interest, it’s like not one thing is a hero.’
That is aside from the blue that runs throughout the property – it is Pandora’s favourite colour and an ongoing obsession.
‘I like to use blue on the walls when I don’t want to create too much of a statement, but I want to make sure the room feels lively and vibrant. It is naturally quite subtle, we see so much of it in nature that it doesn’t take us by surprise.
‘It is also a fantastic base for tying other colours together such as greens and oranges, which I also love using – it forms a bridge for these other colours rather than being a static background like white walls would be.’
The master bedroom has starburst handles on the wardrobe, while riffing off Lewis & Wood’s Wild Thing curtains that have a more traditional, olde worlde feel. The luxurious bedroom fireplace is made out of tiles by Balineum.
‘My style definitely is about pairing nods to traditional with contemporary pieces. I love the bold patterns of the curtains and the overall look is definitely fresh and youthful with glamorous elements.’
From the corniced kitchen ceiling hangs a vintage Italian Toile chandelier with lampshades by Hum London. The chairs are also vintage and are beautifully restrained yet luxurious. Everything, says Pandora, has to be functional but ‘I couldn’t buy anything that isn’t beautiful’.
For anyone stuck in the Instagram cycle of fast fashion trends, Pandora suggests that finding your own bold style is easy.
‘Just do it,’ she says. ‘If you have a physical reaction to something you should go with it. The biggest thing I hate is worrying about prospective buyers. Life is too short – live in the house you love.’
For more information visit Pandora’s website.
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