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Studio Peake on the secrets of its contemporary take on country house style

The interior design firm’s founder, Sarah Peake, reveals the inspirations behind her classic-with-a-twist aesthetic

studio peake
Alexander James

Who is the founder of Studio Peake?

Following careers at Alidad and Todhunter Earle, Sarah Peake set up her Parsons Green studio in London at the start of 2019. ‘At Alidad, I began folding rugs and fabrics and worked my way up. I learnt a huge amount about proportion and scale,’ recalls Peake, who took evening classes at The Interior Design School at the same time. ‘Todhunter Earle was fast-paced, with an emphasis on architectural interiors. I honed my technical skills and, as an associate director, saw projects through from the initial layout to the final lampshade.’

studio peake
Sarah Peake
Studio Peake

Peake grew up next to some of the grandest properties in the country – her father was an estate manager at houses such as Castle Howard and Cornbury Park – but it wasn’t until a post-university stint of work experience at Knight Carr & Company, an American interior design practice in North Carolina, that she decided on her career path.

studio peake
The elegant main bedroom of a Georgian residence, with curtains by Pierre Frey
Studio Peake

What is the Studio Peake signature style?

A mix of traditional and modern. Peake likes rooms that ‘aren’t overly curated, so they feel as if they’ve been built up organically over time to reflect the personality of the client’. For instance, she might pair a contemporary kitchen with antique furniture or add colour and pattern in unexpected places, such as inside a cupboard or on curtain linings.

Diverse references range from Vanessa Bell’s hand-painted wardrobes to Christian Bérard’s murals used in projects by 20th-century French interior designer Jean-Michel Frank.

studio peake
A framed wallhanging by BFGF is the star of the living room in Peake’s London flat. The joinery was made to her own design
Studio Peake

What are Studio Peake’s recent projects?

The firm’s first solo commission was a complete refurbishment of a Georgian cottage in Vauxhall. ‘It was really interesting because it wasn’t a case of ripping everything out and starting again. We did lots of restoration, from painting the kitchen and adding new worktops to French polishing the handrails on the stairs,’ recalls Peake.

studio peake
The light and airy kitchen-diner in Peake’s home
Studio Peake

Peake has also completed an apartment in an Edwardian mansion block in Barons Court, decorated to a ‘Parisian Chic’ remit, with a turquoise bathroom and a dark study. ‘We steered slightly away from some of the frilly elements that the brief could have led towards, to create something timeless,’ she adds

studio peake
A bespoke daybed with built-in storage utilises the narrow space in this child’s bedroom
Studio Peake

What is Studio Peake currently working on?

Projects range from a country house in Surrey to a four-storey townhouse in Chelsea. ‘The young clients in London are letting us stretch our legs creatively with designs inspired by nature with Japanese references,’ says Peake. ‘There is so much that’s exciting about this project, especially the bathroom, which has scallop-shaped ceramic wall tiles and cloud wallpaper on the ceiling – when you lie in the bath it’s like you’re looking up at the sky!’

Studio Peake’s top interior design tip: ‘Being brave with colour is so important because it adds character to a home.’ studiopeake.com


The little black book

Sarah Peake, founder of London-based Studio Peake shares some of her most treasured interior design contacts, sources and shops

Antiques

Lillie Road in Fulham is known for its antiques shops. Two of my favourites are Quindry and Dorian Caffot de Fawes, which are both great for 20th-century furniture, mirrors and ceramics. From Dorian, I recently bought an amazing mid-century cabinet that we turned into a television unit. quindry.net;dorian-antiques.com

Textiles

I buy a lot of vintage textiles, such as Chinese wedding blankets, and one-off cushions from Penny Worrall. I also love Vanderhurd’s dhurries – I’m using a silk one at the moment for a Missoni-esque zig-zag patterned stair runner. pennyworrall.com; vanderhurd.com

Bedlinen

I have a huge obsession with beautiful bedlinen. Aleta makes the most gorgeous block-printed bedspreads, inspired by the decorative arts from 17th-century. aletaonline.com

Lighting

Margit Wittig is an artist first and foremost so she has an amazing eye for colour, which translates into her lighting designs. We have collaborated on a chandelier, which launches later this year. margitwittig.com

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