Decorator Index: Beata Heuman

Known for her love of the fantastical, we explore the interior designer’s playful style

Interior designer Beata Heuman
Beata Heuman

Who is she? Swedish-born, London-based Beata Heuman took an unconventional route into interior design. As a child, she obsessed over her doll’s house, constantly rearranged her bedroom and sketched the interiors she read about in novels. She went on to study Italian and fine art in Florence before returning to study literature at Sweden’s Lund University.

Interior design isn’t a very common career in Sweden – ‘people take pride in doing things themselves,’ she says, but when Heuman moved to London in her early 20s, good fortune intervened. ‘I was offered a job at Nicky Haslam’s studio through a mutual acquaintance and never looked back,’ she explains. ‘Almost everything we did was bespoke – he taught me how to make a space truly unique.’ Heuman spent nine years with Haslam before setting up her own studio in 2013.

Farm Girl restaurant in Chelsea by Beata Heuman
Farm Girl restaurant in Chelsea by Beata Heuman

What’s her style? It’s a mixture of the bold and theatrical with classical restraint – think clashing colours and patterns alongside timeless furniture. ‘We avoid the standardised approach, treating each project uniquely,’ she says. ‘The interiors that we create are playful and original, and each has a completely different look.’

‘My style is a mixture of the bold and theatrical with classical restraint’

Recent designs Heuman has just finished her first big job in America – an early 19th-century Greek Revival house in Nantucket, covered in classic white clapboard. ‘It was stunning before we started, but we have turned it into a proper home,’ she says.

Farm Girl restaurant in Chelsea by Beata Heuman
Farm Girl restaurant in Chelsea by Beata Heuman

In the UK, she’s designed the whimsical interior of Chelsea restaurant Farm Girl. ‘It’s an oasis in the urban jungle, and transports you with a hint of the fantastical, so you forget about the outside world.’ She’s also expanded her collection of furniture and textiles with designs inspired by ancient eras – the bright ‘Farao Stripe’ fabric is based on Egyptian Revival style, while her ‘Luckdragon’ stool is a twist on Roman curule seats.

Holland Park house by Beata Heuman
Holland Park house by Beata Heuman

Current projects A handful of London townhouses (including one in Holland Park, above) and a new-build in Hamburg. Her dream project, though, is a members’ club. She says: ‘As a studio, we only take on projects that we know we can make really fantastic – it’s more about the client’s vision than the budget.’ beataheuman.com

This article first appeared in June 2019 issue of Elle Decoration

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