Catherine Milner acquires, renovates and designs exclusive properties in London’s Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Chelsea. Inspired by a background in couture fashion and a love of classic art and architecture, her elegant, minimalist Neo-classical style revolves around balance, proportion and purity of form. With an extensive network of contacts in art, architecture and estate management, she combines this beautiful aesthetic with the highest standards of craftsmanship and careful planning.
LM: What is your design philosophy?
CM: My main priority is to create elegant, sophisticated, and subtle but highly defined interiors by placing the neo classical architectural finishes at the centre of my designs. Finished rooms are founded upon three key principles: function, strength and beauty. Attention to detail is paramount. The final updated results ensure that the eye is drawn to the perfect proportions and the attention to detail. Each room should work in unity and harmony with one another and be beautiful, luxurious and comfortable.
I work with highly skilled artisans, painters, Venetian plasterers, bespoke sleek furnishing designers, sumptuous fabrics and skilled gilders to create interiors that are seeped in timeless elegance. I use my creative intuition with passion and dedication to attain the highest level of achievement for each client’s property. It is very fulfilling to be able to live a creative life creating unique, beautiful but functional living spaces for my clients. Everything is thought through for the ultimate pleasure, comfort and luxury for each client.
LM: Who are your clients?
CM: My clients to date have been European ultra-high net worth individuals and celebrities. My highly defined, elegant interiors should reflect each client on a deeply personal level, evoking their own personal heritage and lifestyle and be a great source of pleasure to return to and be difficult to leave. My clients invest in some of London’s most prestigious properties, in the knowledge that this asset is one with lasting return and is also a genuine lifestyle attraction I both acquire and renovate/design, always with a view of adding further value, through extensive or smaller renovations, thereby maximising my client’s investment in their ‘must have’ asset.
LM: Tell me about your process, how do you begin a design project?
CM: Discretion and exceptional dedication to the project objectives is key.
Getting the client’s brief right is of the upmost importance. I work closely with everyone involved in the project at each stage of the renovation and design process to ensure that my client’s wishes are met and exceeded from the very beginning. Mood boards and free-hand sketches provide the initial vision for the client to approve. These mood boards relay a story and the inspiration for each room, followed by detailed sketches that work to anticipate every detail and scope. These sketches evolve as the project progresses but first thoughts are often the best and it is wonderful for the client and I when the vision approved together is ultimately achieved. I am a complete perfectionist and very passionate about every project I undertake. I hope that this passion is shown in the design and mirrored by the client’s delight at the finish.
LM: Do you have a house style?
CM: I am inspired by the neo classical style which owes its framework to classical architecture of the ancient world, (mainly Greece and Rome) and am interested in how their design ideals- to create perfect proportions, unity and harmony throughout – can be updated and utilised today and modernised. I believe that small classical touches elevate the whole property and importantly, do not date. However, I use a variety of contemporary and vintage pieces and finishes to make every project unique. Each client is an individual and this keeps every project very exciting in its own way. Sometimes a room might be centered around an original vintage piece, or paintings that both the client and I love – an item that has the power to touch your heart – because of its history or significance. It is these unique and beautiful pieces, which can enhance and complete a design concept. I am always on the lookout for such rare and exquisite pieces.
Part Two of the interview by Reena Patel continues tomorrow.