At home with Clarissa Hulse

This time last year, Becky Faulks chatted to a leading light in the world of British textiles.

A designer of luxurious home accessories, wallpapers and fabrics, Clarissa Hulse is one of the biggest names in the British textiles industry. Born in Prague, her eclectic upbringing in Thailand, Spain, Italy and Greece has helped shape her approach to colour and design. Today, she produces beautiful and luxurious home accessories, wallpapers and fabrics, selling in both top-notch department stores such as Heals, House of Fraser, John Lewis, Liberty, and Selfridges and across the world in exclusive boutiques. Her latest collection can be purchased from Harlequin’s network of stockists.

My favourite room is… my bedroom. The room itself is quite neutral although I use my bed linen to brighten up the space. It’s the only room in the house which is truly a sanctuary for me to relax in – I try to keep it a clutter and child-free space… not always successfully of course!

 The thing I like the most about my house is… this is a hard question to answer as we have been living in rental properties that don’t feel entirely like our own while we wait to build our dream house. The things that I’m looking forward to enjoying in the new build are a large open-plan kitchen opening onto a courtyard garden and having my studio right next door!

I wish I had invented… bifold doors because if I can’t be in amongst nature, I like to be able to see it through the biggest windows possible. They’re the perfect way to connect outside spaces with your interior scheme.

The place I love most in Britain is… Branscombe in Devon. It has a stunning coastline, lovely walks and lovely pubs. It’s quintessentially English – what more could you want?

When decorating a room I always… find something to base my colours around like a jigsaw puzzle. It could be a tear sheet from a magazine, an old kimono or a painting that creates an interesting colour palette for me to work from.

My inspiration comes from… nature. I’m always looking around me, discovering different plants and photographing and collecting them for use in my designs. I do travel for inspiration but I’m just as likely to find a new design walking through a London park or when I’m in the English countryside.

My top tip is… to relax and have fun with your home! Try things out and experiment – almost every design decision is reversible. Don’t get too hung up on trying to follow a ‘look’ or trend too slavishly – choose colours and objects that mean something to you.

The worst design disaster I’ve ever had was… painting a basement kitchen/ dining room in London a dark plum colour. I lived with it for a year and it was only after I painted the whole thing white again that I realised how much it had been depressing me!

 If I could make over anyone’s house it would be…  somebody’s secret hideaway in the tropics. I love tropical plants and a lot of my designs are based on ferns that I photographed in St. Lucia. It would be fun to make over a house where nature could mirror itself on the inside and the outside, bringing continuity of rich colour and texture from the garden into the home.

The current interiors trend I love the most is… eclecticism and originality. For me, at the moment, there seems to be a breaking free from ‘rules’ and a more personalised approach to interior design. It’s liberating and homeowners are feeling less inhibited when experimenting with colour, pattern and design.

The best advice I ever had was… that comparison is the thief of joy.

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