Faiza Seth: interior designer to the world's über-rich creates ultra-luxe Mayfair home

When interior designer to the world’s über-rich Faiza Seth finished work on a 4,000sq ft Mayfair home, her family loved it so much they moved in.

Seth has been helping the international glitterati give their lavish homes the gold-star treatment through her award-winning London-based interior design company, Casa Forma.
The glamorous 37-year-old has worked on countless homes, yachts and home counties mansions for multimillionaires — particularly from Kazakhstan, the Middle East and China — as well as a trophy apartment in the highly expensive One Hyde Park development. But Seth says there is plenty that can be done on a smaller budget to inject jet-set pizzazz into your home.
She was born in India, but her parents moved to the United States when she was two, living in Chicago. She went on to study economics and, after marrying Pallak Seth at 21, the couple travelled to Hong Kong, where she worked for four years in equities at Lehman Brothers.


“Everyone was doing investment banking and consulting at the time, so I thought I should, too, but it wasn’t my thing,” she admits. “I was the only girl on my team, and it definitely wasn’t creative. They were very conservative, too. Once I wore eyeliner to the office. That didn’t go down well.”
In 2007, a year before Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, the couple came to London and found the prime property market booming. Seth promptly set up her architectural and interior design company.
A mink moment: Seth’s restrained classical palette is lit by a glittering chandelier

“Indian parents like mine want you to be a doctor or an accountant or something like that, but what I do now mixes both worlds. I’m involved in people’s views and tastes, but manage a business, too,” she says.

Seth and her husband now rent a 3,800sq ft Mayfair flat where they live with their two-year-old twins Alif and Ayat, one-year-old Aria, and the family’s Yorkshire terrier, Fizz. She designed the interior of the home for a developer as a project, but as it had plenty of space, the young family decided they would like to rent it themselves.
The word “Mayfair” comes from the month-long fair that was held in Shepherd Market from 1686 to 1764, when this area was swampland, and far from grand. Now it is largely owned by the Grosvenor Estate, and there are more posh shops than houses.

The homes command some of the highest rents in the world. Although desirable, Seth admits it is not the ideal place to bring up children and says that, one day, she would like to move them to Notting Hill in more family-friendly west London.
“When we first saw this flat, in 2008, it was divided into lots of dark little rooms, so we changed the whole layout and, along with the kitchen, created fewer rooms, turning two rooms into the master suite,” she says.

Elegant: the restrained colour palette works well with dark wood

“You can apply the same logic to any size flat. It is important to understand how you want to move about your house. Make sensible decisions about where the kitchen and dining room should be in relation to each other, and about how you are going to use the space. It gets more important when you have children.”
Seth added doors between the dining and sitting rooms to improve circulation and, to boost light, she put glass doors between the front hall and the back of the flat. She made all the doors full-height, so that when they are open even more light moves through the spaces.

As the property is part of the highly regulated Grosvenor Estate, Seth had to get a number of planning approvals to do everything she wanted. “Interior design sounds glamorous,” she says, “but there’s lots of paperwork. People have the idea that it’s all froufrou and plumping cushions, but the reality is engineering, architecture, moving walls, plumbing...”
Mirrors matter
She uses lots of mirrors and glass in the interior design. Even very expensive properties in prime locations can be relatively small, and mirrors are a great way to introduce glamour and increase space and light. Seth uses plain, antiqued and églomisé mirrors to give many different effects. Antique or distressed mirrors are often found at flea markets.
Eighty per cent of Seth’s flat is bespoke, all done by her company. She has 15 architects and designers working on top-end projects, which are tailored to people’s tastes. But she buys some items — particularly armchairs and lamps — from high street shops.
Her current favourite company is Ralph Lauren for its roomy, comfy, classic armchairs. She also uses French bathroom company Lefroy Brooks, whose gold-plated taps add a luminous shimmer to the guest bathroom, with its brown porcelain tiles and polished plaster. She also likes David Linley, and interiors company Baker.
But the amazing circular chandeliers in the sitting room and dining room, that look like hundreds of glass icicles packed together, are bespoke and took hours to assemble on site. An engineer had to put a support system in the ceiling because of their weight.

Sober reflection: distinguished colours, offset by mirrors, make a calm environment in the bedroom

Seth is clear about what comprises 21st-century luxury. “People mistake luxury as meaning expensive,” she says, “but for me, luxury is also saving people time. It’s about detail and value. High net-worth clients are savvy and what they want is value, difference and creativity — and the best quality, of course. Everything must be beautifully made and easy to maintain.”
In any home, buying quality that will last and also be easy to look after is the right way to go. “Everything should be easy to clean,” she says. “Can you mop the floors for example?”
To get a luxury look on a budget, Seth says use accessories. “A Deco-look mirror, pictures and a soft woollen throw. They all add the right touch.”
Get the Casa Forma look

  • Design: Casa Forma 
  • Copper bath in master suite from Drummonds
  • Leather armchair and bedside lamps in master suite from Ralph Lauren
  • Gold taps in guest bathroom from Lefroy Brooks 
  • Gold craquelure basin in guest bathroom from Alchemy Glass
  • Chocolate porcelain wall tiles in guest bathroom, Bigelli stone 
  • Handmade black-and-gold tiles in master bathroom — bespoke from Casa Forma
  • Harlequin pattern curtain fabric in dining room from J Robert Scott 
  • The Forever Sofa in the living room is by Damien Langlois-Meurinne at  
  • For luxurious accessories, such as mirrors and throws, try India Jane

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