Decorator index: Rachel Chudley

The London designer reveals the passions behind her colourful, inventive style

Portrait of London-based designer Rachel Chudley
Rachel Chudley

Who is she? Rachel Chudley set up her London Fields studio in 2015 and is a rising star of the British interior design scene. Her USP is a dual expertise in decorating and artworks: she has a BA in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, and also studied at the Interior Designers Institute in California. Her studio team is made up of artists, product engineers and designers. She also works regularly with renowned American colour consultant and palette expert to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Donald Kaufman, as well as the iconic American architect Philip Johnson.

A bright vicarage in east London with pink walls and eclectic art
Bright vicarage in east London designed by Rachel Chudley
Rachel Chudley

What’s her style? ‘Painterly, personal, whimsical and eclectic,’ she says. ‘I’m inspired by the houses designed by the Futurists, the Marchesa Casati’s fabled gold rooms and faded British glamour.’ Chudley’s previous projects epitomise her aesthetic of colourful, arty spaces updated with a modern twist – the bright vicarage in east London full of geometric shapes, the Islington townhouse, complete with Andy Warhol prints and the decadent warehouse conversion in east London adorned with plants.

‘I’d describe my style as painterly, personal, whimsical and eclectic’

The origins of Chudley’s passion for decorating are suitably romantic. ‘I became fascinated by interiors as a child, when I fell in love with a green wallpaper decorated with pineapples that my grandmother had in her hallway,’ she explains. ‘When she told me that pineapples were traditionally a symbol of welcome, it sparked an obsession.’ Chudley lives with her husband in a converted stable in east London, which is ‘a canvas for some of my wackier ideas’.

Rachel Chudley designed living room in Islington, London
Rachel Chudley designed living room in Islington, London
Rachel Chudley

What is she currently working on? A family home in Hampstead, London, that is being designed around an art collection and an Edinburgh townhouse where the challenge is ‘creating light, warm spaces that look out onto rather grey skies’. One of Chudley’s favoured techniques is to study the nature and daylight outside a building, using these to inform the colours inside.

Industrial-style kitchen and dining room designed by Rachel Chudley.
Kitchen and dining area designed by Rachel Chudley
Rachel Chudley

She says: ‘The challenges of working with unusual spaces push me to be more inventive. I like working with people who want to get behind fun ideas; luckily, I find these people own all sorts of properties.’

Article first published in ELLE Decoration March 2019

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