As we chat with interior designer Alice Leigh, she is fresh from completing a countryside project that perfectly matched her ethos and allowed her to enjoy every moment. A project full of handcrafted pieces is one that excites her. And a delicious mix of old and new, contemporary and antique is what stands out within Alice’s style. She has an eye for natural materials, bold shapes and local craftsmanship.

A huge fan of British crafts, Alice is a keen supporter of local talent. “I think the more we can support homegrown craft, the better.  I’ve noticed a big movement in this direction, especially with Brexit, closely followed by the pandemic. Imports have become trickier over the last few years.  Now is as good a time as any to be supporting our homegrown talent.”

Her considered designs are undisputed. So we wanted to know what makes Alice tick. A long soak, as it turns out, and a bronze sculpture she tracked down on her honeymoon. Read on...

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The last thing I bought and loved was a framed textile by the Marrakesh lifestyle company Lrance. I love finding new and interesting pieces, mixing and matching, commissioning special pieces too.  Getting to know the artist makes the process so much more meaningful.

The place that means a lot to me is where I grew up in North Wales.

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a bronze sculpture from our honeymoon in Mauritius - they were sitting on tables in the restaurant and we tracked down the local artist.

The best books I’ve read in the past year are the Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller and ‘If in doubt wash your hair’ by Anya Hindmarch - a brilliant guide to juggling work and family life!

The podcast I’m listening to is My Life in Seven Charms by Annoushka Ducas. Annoushka is a jeweller and in the podcast she talks to inspiring women about collecting charms. She explores their unique ability to evoke memory and meaning.

In my fridge, you’ll always find chutney - it goes on everything!

Some of my best ideas have come while I’m in the bath. My bathroom is my favourite room in my house – I take baths very seriously!

The thing I couldn’t do without is my ear pods – and much to my children’s amusement, I lose them on a daily basis!

The moment that changed everything for me was getting my first job in Design with Lavinia Dargie (Dargie Lewis Designs) and staying for 10 years.

An indulgence I would never forgo is a good coat to hide a multitude of sins underneath, especially in a hurry on a school run.

The last piece of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a beautiful linen dress from Wiggy Kit.

My favourite building is Somerset House in London.

I am excited to see more earthy terracotta colours and natural hues being used in design projects. They can look really wonderful in limewashed paint finishes.  The company Bauwerk specialises in these natural limewashed finishes, which react with the air on application to create wonderful matt, stone-like results which look amazing.

I am inspired by the V&A! I find it jam-packed with inspiration. I’m also lucky to live close to the Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour and they have a fantastic programme called ‘Conversation in Design’ where I always pick up top tips. Living in London, I get very inspired from just walking amongst old buildings that have a foot in the past and the future.  I love to see how decorative details stand the test of time and how modern craftsmanship can continue that story.

My favourite Lorfords Antiques piece is currently a Swedish Flatweave Rug by Ingegerd Silow. I love a mid-century Swedish flatweave rug - their patterns and colours are always so adaptable to many a room.

I keep coming back to the Lorfords Contemporary Elmstead Sofa. I am a huge fan of it, I love their style and comfort. I recently placed two of these in a reception room of a very elegant stucco-fronted London Townhouse and covered them in a lovely teal wool from Tissus D'Helene.  

Alice Leigh Design | L-Shaped | Lorfords Antiques

(The Elmstead Sofa from Lorfords Contemporary. Alice Leigh Design. Image by Rachel Smith)

One of my favourite sustainable materials is rattan. It's hugely sustainable and there are a few wonderful suppliers championing the craft in the UK.  It works well in both traditional and contemporary projects adding both character and timelessness to a room. One of my absolute rules is to include antique and salvaged items that are not only sustainable, they add a sense of authenticity to a project.

An indulgence I would never forgo is a good coat to hide a multitude of sins underneath, especially in a hurry on a school run.

The best advice I’ve ever received is don’t sweat the small stuff.

(Alice Leigh Design | Images: Jonathan Bond)

For more information on Alice Leigh, please visit her website.

To read more interior design articles, please see our interview with Sims Hilditch here.