Born and raised in Malmö before moving to Paris at 18, Charlotte Rey has now been a Londoner for over a decade. Since meeting Duncan Campbell on the editorial team of Acne Paper and forming the dynamic design duo that is Campbell-Rey, the designer and creative consultant has called the capital home, regularly flitting – at her own admission – between bases in the east and west of the city.
As we speak, she’s settling into a new space, a cosy, colourful flat in Notting Hill that also functions as a masterclass in combining some of our palette’s most cheerful shades. We caught up with Charlotte to ask her top tips on making a rented space feel like home and to get a sneak peek at what she’s working on next.
Photography by Harry Crowder
Hi Charlotte, thanks for inviting us into your new home! How has it been working on a project for yourself?
It has been really fun! But there’s still quite a bit to do. I daydream about what to do next – change that fabric there, move that chair over here, where’s the banana tree going to go, oh curtains... It becomes a bit of an obsession and I guess it’ll never stop.
What are your favourite things about your new space
The colour contrast between the Arsenic wall paint in the sitting room and the burgundy sofa. And how cosy the bedroom is – I feel very relaxed and happy there. I love being able to sit on the floor and strew all the Sunday papers around me with a cup of tea in the morning sun.
Walls painted in Arsenic No.214 in Estate Emulsion
We love the colours you’ve chosen – how did you decide on your palette?
It was a little bit tricky! I decided on the pink bedroom early on, and then came the blue entrance and bathroom. Hardest was the sitting room, I was initially looking for a peach yellow colour but couldn’t find what I was looking for, and I was very drawn to the Arsenic, but thought it might be a bit too out-there for me. In the end, it was a snap decision and I just went for it. And now I am so happy with it, every time someone walks in, they comment on it. It feels quite unusual but gentle.
What tips would you pass on to someone about to redecorate a new place?
Live in the space a bit first to get a sense of how you use the rooms and how the light falls. Give yourself some time to soak up the energy a bit before making any big decisions. Don’t rush, but give yourself time to enjoy the experience and to find quirky personal pieces that add personality and individuality to the room. Also, don’t be afraid to take a chance!
Walls painted in Nancy's Blushes No.278 in Estate Emulsion
It can sometimes be difficult to make a rented space feel truly yours – how do you do it?
I think painting the walls and hanging art makes a huge difference. And putting down some lovely rugs. I had a conversation with my landlady before I moved in and we agreed I could make these changes as long as, when I do eventually leave, I put them back as they were. I also love decorative objects and books – I feel they really make a room your own. I have silly things like a fun mini replica of Botticelli’s Venus from the gift shop at the Uffizi, next to a lovely malachite tray on top of piles of books. I like the surprise of mixing high and low culture, personal trinkets with objets.
Can you let us in on any exciting projects you have coming up?
Yes, we are currently working on the interior of a restaurant on James street behind Selfridges in London and a few private residences, one outside London which has been newly built from the ground up –we’re very excited about it. We have a new Murano glass collection coming out, and an accessories collaboration with a Savile Row label that is launching end of the summer. We’re also working on a few bespoke furniture commissions, which are taking shape nicely.
What’s been the most memorable project Campbell-Rey has worked on so far?
Oh, good question! I believe working on our own products have been hugely rewarding. Suddenly we’ve been our own clients, which has enabled us to create in a completely new way. It’s been very rewarding researching materials, finding new producers and making new connections with craftspeople. I’m very proud of all the projects we’ve worked on because each one has had its own tone and role in the development of our aesthetic, and has given us the opportunity to explore different sides to what we do and how we do it, so they’ve all been memorable in their own right. Although I think our Thierry tables, which were our debut at Salone del Mobile in Milan, were extra special.