Decorator Index: Barlow & Barlow

This dynamic practice mixes classic influences with an injection of modern colour and pattern

Lucy Barlow
Barlow & Barlow

What’s the story? Lucy Barlow set up this Holland Park studio in 2013 with her brother Max, a lighting designer (he now works independently, but still contributes to projects). Today, she runs the practice with her husband, architect Joshua Sear. Barlow studied at the London College of Fashion, before training as an interior architect at the prestigious Inchbald School of Design. ‘I always thought I’d become a fashion designer, but when I was younger I was forever redecorating my bedroom, so I suppose the writing was on the wall,’ she says.

After graduating, she worked for decorator Mark Gillette, collaborating on country-house projects. The springboard for setting up her own practice was the design of four luxury apartments in Gatti House, a Grade II-listed building on London’s Strand. Barlow brought their lofty proportions and ornate plasterwork to life with clashing patterns and colours, setting the template for her playful look.

Bedroom designed by Lucy Barlow for a Dublin fashion PR
Barlow & Barlow

Is there a signature style? ‘Generally, I like eclectic, layered interiors; I try to be respectful to the past while looking forward,’ explains Barlow. She resists the idea of a ‘house style’, but concentrates on ‘a sense of fun, a love of colour and pattern, and never taking the boring option’.

‘Generally, I like eclectic. I try to be respectful to the past while looking forward’

daughter home
Property in Fulham designed by Lucy Barlow
Barlow & Barlow

Recent designs An apartment for a Dublin fashion PR, where art deco details fuse with a modern palette of cobalt, ochre and gold, as well as a property in Fulham that showcases her flair for pattern and colour with a bold mix of pink and green. In the Notting Hill house, period features get an update.

home notting hill
Living room in Notting Hill designed by Lucy Barlow
Barlow & Barlow

She says: ‘It’s about creating a space that makes your life better. Colour, pattern, warmth and lighting: they’re the essential tools for making you feel happy at home.’

This article first appeared in July 2019 issue of Elle Decoration

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