The Luxury Channel meets Catherine Milner, interior designer to London’s ultra-high net worths, to talk about prime investments and design inspiration in the Capital….
Catherine Milner offers property acquisition, renovation and interior design services in London’s most exclusive residential locations, sourcing prestigious, and often off market properties in Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Chelsea and Holland Park. Catherine only takes on one major renovation project at a time to ensure that clients get her undivided attention and a very impressive return on their investment.
Why do your clients invest in London, and how do you help them make that investment work?
London is the oldest and most established real estate market in the world – with a wonderful architectural pedigree. The return on investment in one of London’s most desired and prestigious addresses, after a renovation project, is very high. In fact, turning bricks and mortar into gold is a guarantee when the right renovation and interior finishes are put in place. I hate to cut corners – there is no substitute for true luxury. My team is always made up of incredibly talented architects, artisans and highly skilled craftsman to ensure quality at every stage. Meanwhile, London is a city where contacts are key and I am grateful to have an excellent working relationship with the Grosvenor Estate, Cadogan Estate and other landed estates which facilitates all aspects of property acquisition including lease extensions, freehold acquisitions and acquiring necessary planning permissions. This adds so much value to the work I do for my clients.
London is a very stylish city – are there any design trends to look out for in 2014?
There are some very stylish people buying and curating at the top of the design industry and it is a pleasure to find so many of these unique boutiques and shops in London. However, I try not to follow trends religiously but I do take note of what is going on in the industry and in the fashion, culture and art worlds. I get great pleasure sourcing product designers and artists or discovering new talent for my clients. It is always deeply satisfying to find beautiful object d’art or vintage pieces, as they can completely elevate the design of a room or be a cherished item for years to come. However, I would actually encourage clients to move away from what is ‘‘fashionable’’ and instead focus on what will become a timelessly, beautiful classic piece.
Where do you find design pieces?
One of my favourite places to find design items is Birgit Israel as they often have beautiful and unique vintage pieces. For art deco pieces, I go to Valerie Wade or Gallery 88 where I can find beautiful Murano or Italian glass, and other such pieces. For furniture, I like Tillmann Koehn’s sleek and unique designs; Herve Van De Straiten is superb for his impressive sculptural lighting; Bisazza for their mosaics; Bernard Dru Oak for their beautiful oak flooring; and for beautiful fabrics, Bruno Triplet and Jason D’Souza are sensational. However, it’s all down to how they are used to maximise their luxurious effect!
Where do you encourage clients to buy, and where do they live?
Belgravia is absolutely one of the most prestigious addresses in London to own property and I personally love this area. Belgravia continues to draw the aristocracy, the gentry and leading professionals, as well as celebrities, and has been doing so for over 150 years due to its location and rich heritage. Eaton Square particularly retains its very private air – with grand terraces and the high security offered within the impressive facades. Many of the properties that come on the market still have their original layout and there is often much scope to re-configure this space, adding further investment value and bringing the property into the 21st century whilst honoring the elegance of the past. The same applies in Knightsbridge – an area that is also seen as a prestigious address; desirable for overseas clients as they enjoy the close proximity to Sloane Street, along with all the wonderful restaurants and bars located nearby. There is also grandeur to Holland Park – the houses are larger and the facades are intricate and elegant. With pretty independent shops and the cultural hub of Notting Hill nearby, Holland Park is a secluded paradise for those fortunate enough to live there. Chelsea is also a highly desirable area to own a residence. Parts of old Chelsea near the river are particularly beautiful, where you can find a more diverse selection of prestigious properties. The very beautiful Albert Bridge is near my own home and the sight of it when lit up at night never fails to evoke a sense of pleasure in me. It is very important that clients love the area in which they live – I want them to feel happy and inspired by their homes.
55-56 Oakley Street, London SW3 5HB
+44 (0) 207 352 3302 +44 (0) 777 164 7975