Barn Raising


Kelly Hoppen admits that she has a difficult client, someone constantly repositioning the furniture and accessories that she’s already carefully put in place. The client comes up with completed design ideas that she insists take five minutes to draw on what Hoppen calls “loo paper” and then expects Hoppen’s staff to put everything in place right away. Also, the homeowner has so many existing pieces of furniture that she has trouble making choices.

“I am that client from hell,” Hoppen admits, referencing the rebuilt and repurposed centuries-old lambing barn in the Cotswolds that she shares with her partner as a country home. Hoppen is one of Britain’s—if not the world’s—most well-known interior designers, having written nine books, appearing regularly on TV shows, designing accessories for companies, and earning the status of CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for her role in promoting British design. And while she and her staff might be working at any one time on forty simultaneous projects, she confesses to lying awake at night in bed in her London home thinking of ways to design the interiors of her weekend property.

Hoppen embodies the glamour and energy of London, but she recognizes the need to recharge in the country. “The country does something to me,” she emphasizes. “Every time I arrive from London and come through the front door, it’s as if a calming angel greets me to push my shoulders down six inches.” And while Hoppen is eager to show guests the courtyard from which she gazes every morning at the birds and foliage when she’s in residence, she admits, too, that “I’m not ultimately a country girl.” She points to a pair of green Wellies neatly positioned near the door, conspicuously clean and uncreased from use. “I wanted a quintessential country home that still had that edge of London to it.”

This story appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of MILIEU. To read the complete story or to see all photos, visit the MILIEU Newsstand to purchase this issue in print or visit to purchase this issue in digital format.