Anatomy of an office, designed to feel like home

Kate Monckton is an interior designer with a distinct eclectic look that’s rooted in her love of colour and collecting. She lives and works in Notting Hill, the location for this room design for a client. We asked her to break down the parts of her eclectic scheme to show us how it’s done.

Living room ideas | grey interiors | The Chromologist

“This is a small apartment in Notting Hill, predominantly used as an office to bring clients to. It’s in a basement flat so quite dark. The idea was to make it multi-purpose and – instead of a boring old desk and traditional office filing furniture – to make it very personal and like a home. The room is made up of things the owner already had, which I pulled together with things I added.”

Grey: 30%

“The grey wall colour came first – chosen because the room was so dark and we wanted something that was the right lightness. In a room that’s incredibly dark going darker was not an option. So the grey was the starting point to add all these great colours to, to keep the room light, but not do it in boring white.

I buy a lot of vintage lighting and the original Anglepoise on the desk, bought at Kempton antiques fair, is a lovely industrial grey.”

Pattern: 40% 

“Pattern and texture are what make a room come alive. I don’t mind mixing it up at all. I like clutter, old things, colour and lots of layering. Occasionally the owner has clients to the office so we used his existing Jasper Morrison for Cappellini sofa, which is a good grey and a velvet tub chair I found in an antiques shop on Goldbourne Road. The cushions on top of both are mostly from a Parisian brand Rouge du Rhin – I went berserk the first time I saw them. Often men don’t get cushions, but when you put them on their sofa’s it’s all ‘oh they’re great’. On top of the tub chair there’s also a lovely faded quilted blanket from Afghanistan, which I bought from the market. Those are my kind of colours in it – slightly dirty, sludgy colours. The rug is from The Rug Company.”

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Colour: 20%

“The desk, bought at Christie’s, is an important element with its lovely architectural Mid Century wood and shot of colour. The mantelpiece is full of things collected over years – a ceramic sculpture I made, mushroom candles from the Conran Shop, beautiful old wooden bookends with carved animal heads, which are quite Arts and Crafts, Moroccan 1860s children’s boots. And then there’s the blue teddy lamp of course.

Home office design | Kate Monckton interiors | The Chromologist

Metallics: 10%

“Above the desk is a shelf made from a piece of wood that I found in a skip. On it is a collection of French 1920s cocktail glasses, which are gold leaf on the inside. I bought about 50 at once. They are just the thing. I love the colour of them sitting on that wood.”

Gold glasses | Metallics interiors | The Chromologist




Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

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