Exclusive video feature: My Design London - Interior designer, Tara Bernerd

Interior designer, Tara Bernerd opens up her little black book on her favourite London shops, designers and gems.
Tara Bernerd, pictured, daughter of London property tycoon Elliott Bernerd, left school at 16 to forge a career in interiors, going on to train with such illustrious names in the field as designer and architect Philippe Starck before setting up her own Belgravia-based interior architectural practice (tarabernerd.com), which has since cemented her as one of Britain’s leading designers.

Her London projects include the Mr and Mrs Smith luxury boutique hotel Belgraves, and the iconic Heron and One Blackfriars high-rise towers. Bernerd has also made her mark on the international scene with residential and commercial clients in New York, Chicago and Hong Kong. She even designed the interiors for a super-yacht.

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Interior designer Tara Bernerd (left), and her penthouse Battersea home in south-west London (right); her Stillnovo floor lamp is from againstbcn.com
Her home in south-west London, which blends an industrial backdrop with soft touches and breathtaking floor-to-ceiling views of the Thames, is the ultimate bachelorette pad. Bold, chic and glamorous, Bernerd’s signature style reflects her personality.

Where I live
I live by the river at Battersea. It’s a penthouse and a sort of declaration to bachelor girls. It is a modern apartment where I have tried to maximise the open-plan living area, minimised on bedrooms and used some great materials, from concrete and steel to petrol-blue leather and Travertine. For me, one of the greatest aspects of my home is its view. London living is fast and furious and with the intensity of my work, stepping back and having the luxury of windows with a river view is something I am so grateful for.

My dream living space
Given the draw of its cinematic view, plus my love of an open-plan living space, if money and planning permission were no obstacle I think my dream home would occupy the entire top floor of The Savoy, which I would remodel. Of course, the room service would be another plus.

Favourite piece of home memorabilia
It’s always tough to choose a favourite as my home is a collection of all my most precious objects and pieces of furniture. However, I derive huge pleasure from one piece of art in particular — Love, A Decisive Blow Against If, by Harland Miller. Harland is a great friend, as well as a British super-talent, and the words themselves speak volumes, as I am someone who chooses not to live my life by saying “what if”.

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Making a statement: the Harland Miller print, Love, A Decisive Blow Against If (right). From £1,632: Sebastian Herkner's handmade Bell Side Table, from a range available at Aram (left)
Most coveted design object
Absolutely anything from the mid-century furniture collections of Phillips. I have to drool through the catalogues because, unfortunately, they are out of my price league at the moment. Recently, a set of six dining chairs by Pierluigi Giordani in a smoked olive green velvet winked at me, along with most of the lights by Arredoluce and Angelo Lelli, all circa the Forties and Fifties.
 
Hidden homeware gem
I would recommend Retrouvius (retrouvius.com) in Harrow Road in Kensal Green, where I have found some exceptional pieces. Indeed, if Phillips is out of the question, Retrouvius has a great eye and offers fair prices. My most recent purchase is the Fifties Italian-designed sideboard in my home.

My favourite museum 
It is based online — the  Museum of Everything (musevery.com) — and was founded by Jamie Brett, a good friend of mine. He puts together a roving exhibition that focuses on the country’s undiscovered talent. It is well worth the wait for the next one to turn up in London. The eclectic mixture is beyond inspiring. 

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Favourite spot to escape with friends: Randall & Aubin's Soho restaurant
Where I like to escape
Escaping means different things depending on my day. Sometimes it is to be locked in my studios, with nothing but the design of a new project to focus on, other days it is a long walk down the river and sometimes it’s simply seeing a lot of old friends in a great restaurant, such as Randall & Aubin in Soho (randallandaubin.com). 

Most stylish restaurant
Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone, recently launched by André Balazs who is an impressive and talented man. The Firehouse oozes his cool style and taste. The food is great, the courtyard is fun and my favourite aspect is the atmosphere in the old bell tower bar. 

Where I seek design inspiration 
I love picking out places a little off the beaten track to visit such as Leighton House Museum in Holland Park (leightonhouse.co.uk), where the Arab Hall takes interiors to another dimension. 

Where I source my fabrics/materials 
Lelievre (lelievre.eu) has a fantastic collection, including textiles by my old-school favourite Holland & Sherry (hollandandsherry.co.uk), which has every London gent’s suit material as well as Gaultier’s latest fabrics. It is based in Chelsea Harbour (dcch.co.uk). Here I would put in a plea for this fabric mecca to open on a Saturday. 

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EXCLUSIVE VIDEO TOUR
Watch Tara Bernerd give Amira Hashish a tour of her home for London Live on homesandproperty.co.uk/Tara
Duration: 1:36 mins


 


My favourite designer
Zaha Hadid has an original style like no other and never ceases to make an impact. Recently I joined her for a dinner at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, which she designed — so impressive.

A rising design star
A new design practice we found at the Swedish Furniture Fair this year is Buster and Punch (busterandpunch.com). Based in London, they are doing great things, in particular a very quirky, stylish drinks cabinet.

How to transform a room 
If you have worn-out floorboards, consider repainting them an ivory white, or adding new flooring throughout for maximum impact. If walls are the focus, go for a different colour or finish, depending on budget. Tidy up and revisit what you really need, and think about powerful art. Remember, less is more. 

A typical Saturday 
I don’t have one. Because I travel so much it is a great treat to be in London, where I run in the park in spring, and maybe have a bite to eat at Daylesford (daylesford.com) in Pimlico while reading the papers. I enjoy buying food at deli Luigi’s at the Saturday market outside the Saatchi Gallery in King’s Road. Then I might invite a wonderful, opinionated gang of friends over for a chatty, foody, fun dinner. That or a good box set.

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Portfolio: Bernerd styled the Mr and Mrs Smith luxury boutique hotel Belgraves in Chesham Place, SW1
My latest design project 
The latest project completed is the 247-bedroom Thompson Chicago hotel in the US. It’s very true to my style and uses a lot of industrial materials, which combined with  mid-century furniture create a sense of informal luxury. It has a similar design philosophy to our London hotel, Belgraves — a complicated building in the heart of Belgravia which is now a great example of industrial glamour. I’ve been working recently with The Natural Kitchen, a lovely addition to the organic food world and a very cool place to eat. There are locations in Marylebone, Fetter Lane and Trinity Square. 

SHOPPING LIST
Where the designer furnished her own home:
Robin dining table by Bruno Fattorini and Partners (mdfitalia.it)
Poul Kjærholm 1960 dining chairs (fritzhansen.com)
Erik Buck bar stools (erikbuck.com)
Brokis shadow lights over the kitchen island (brokis.cz)
Lampada Poltrona lamp (azucena.it)
De Parma table lamps (deparma.com)
Sergio Rodrigues 1973 armchairs for Espasso (espasso.com)
Linley Max Club chairs (davidlinley.com)
Merrow Associates coffee table (merrowassociates.com)
Minotti Powell sofa and Spencer bed (minotti.com)
Louis Christiaan Kalff table lamp (treadwaygallery.com)
Crittall doors by D&R design (dandrdesign.co.uk)
Mass Concrete panels (mass-concrete.com)
Gubi Adnet mirror (gubi.dk)
Hope print by Erwin Olaf (erwinolaf.com)
Messengers pigeon photographs by Geoff Weston from Hamiltons Gallery (geoffweston.co.uk)
Reflections on Past and Present, Paris 1996 painting by Ben Johnson (benjohnsonartist.com)

 

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