LM: You were a successful model. How has fashion influenced your design aesthetic?
CM: Modeling introduced me to some of the world’s most expert and wonderful designers and courtiers and I could not help but be enchanted by their creativity and often-meticulous attention to detail. Couture fashion in particular is all about elegance and fine detailing and I believe that this is an important objective for any finished room I design. Modeling also allowed me to travel around the world and in-between photo-shoots or fashion shows, I would often sneak off to find antique markets, museums and local monuments. Culture, history, art and of course, fashion, have all played their part in my design aesthetic today and I hope that clients enjoy this interplay.
LM: Where in your home is where you feel the heart is and why?
CM: Objects that evoke memory and bring joy due to their beauty or heritage make a house a home. There is a feeling of immense pleasure to look at my vintage or antique pieces (sourced from around the globe), as they always have such uniqueness to them, almost a personality of their own and can evoke such lovely memories. My beautiful books are also a very important part of me, and a great source of knowledge and constant learning and evolving.
LM: Where do draw your inspiration from to come up with the best interior designs for your client?
CM: History, art, literature, fashion and culture inspire me in equal measure. I also have an extensive source of inspirational ideas/concepts and images I use to enhance a project. When I travel I photograph, write down and note the beautiful things I have seen, or been inspired by. I keep a scrapbook of inspiring images at all times, from my travels, magazines, from films and design books both historical and contemporary – I am constantly learning and evolving. I also like to keep in touch with all new innovations and I love working with new and up and coming designers. I develop a storyboard for my clients and start to build on the mood boards for each room – the Design Concept – this is always an on- going process, but the initial ideas and inspiration can only truly take place when the architectural spaces are confirmed. Strangely I do find that the first impressions are the ones I tend to follow through. I do give myself utterly to the process of the design concept, along with sourcing everything, finding or having bespoke pieces made, and attaining the perfect harmony and symmetry in all the fine detailing. My vision is always to achieve elegance based on purity of line, logical structure, highly skilled craftsmanship with the use of unique, rare, and beautiful materials.
LM: Which design brands/labels do you like working with and why?
CM: I love working closely with Bisazza, who has the most beautiful collection of mosaics, as the Roman aesthetic (and use of mosaic) often inspires me. I take this historical reference and use it in a current and sophisticated way. I have used Bisazza mosaics on many of my projects, creating beautiful mosaic floors, shower enclosures and splashbacks, evoking Roman baths with beauty and simplicity. The mosaic has its own innate beauty in the depths it can create and reflects and captures light within its colours. For me, the pure white gold mosaic is particularly uniquely beautiful because it evokes such a subtle, pure and beautiful light. I have also used a particularly inspiring designer, Herve Van Der Straeten. His lighting designs are unique, beautiful, unpredictable and very sculptural. They can always be used to elevate the space with maximum effect. Herve pieces are also an investment, as his talent is highly acclaimed worldwide. I also love working with Bruno Triplet as I find its fabrics and colours so beautiful. I never fail to find the exact shades I need, often in silk, which are simply beautiful and need no further adornment to shine.
LM: Where is your favourite place to travel/visit?
CM: Without a doubt Italy has my heart. Rome is a place that inspires me completely. I am so happy when I am there and spend hours and days just looking, being utterly inspired and learning all about the ancient world. My favourite hotel is the Hotel de Russie. For the summer months, Positano is heaven. I love the Sireunese – the owner Franco Sersale is the most charming and elegant of men, he is truly a great pleasure to be in his company, as his knowledge of history is astounding and he is fascinating to listen to. The Sirunese is a beautiful hotel and I truly love to be there and only wish I could go more often. If I close my eyes I can always take myself there in my imagination, and I am always sitting on the lovely terrace having a cocktail, before anyone else is around, the wind gently blowing with the views unparalleled – wonderful!!
LM: What do you like to do when you are not coming up with interior designs?
CM: I love to spend time with my daughter and close friends in London, going to museums, restaurants etc. After a big renovation project, a spa trip can be the perfect escape. I like Babington House, the beautiful Grade II listed manor house nestling in the most harmonious landscape in Somerset. Or SHA Wellness Centre in Spain. This is a spa for mind and body.
LM: What is luxury to you?
CM: Luxury is subtle. You cannot define it. It is just present in every small detail and manifests itself in a feeling of real pleasure and happiness for each individual, reflected so personally in their own beautiful and harmonious surroundings.
By Reena Patel