My design London: founder of The White Company, Chrissie Rucker

Chrissie Rucker, founder of The White Company, let's us in on the secrets of her favourite interiors shop, a 17th-century Italian pharmacy, and tells us why she always looks up when in London...
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Chrissie Rucker launched The White Company in 1994 from her boyfriend’s spare room with a 12-page brochure, after she tried and failed to find good-quality, well-priced white bed linen. Three years later, married with a newborn, she launched The Little White Company when she had just as much trouble finding decent white baby clothes.

Now the company has a full range of lifestyle products, from home accessories to childrenswear, while the brochure has grown to 130 pages and The White Company has 50 stores around the UK. Four years ago, turnover exceeded £100 million and Rucker was awarded an MBE for services to retail. 
My home
My husband Nick Wheeler, our four children, and I live in Buckinghamshire, in a house with big windows and high ceilings, so it is always filled with light. The whole house is decked out in shades of whites, pale greys and neutrals, with sisal or wooden floors. We have fig trees in the kitchen, office and hall. Friends who come to stay say the house feels very peaceful, apart from our three black labradors who are often found sleeping on our bed.

Home comforts
My guilty pleasure at the end of a hectic day is to sneak off for a candlelit, scented bath with a big glass of wine, followed by an early night with a good magazine in a blissfully comfortable bed. 


Great scents: colognes at Farmacia Santa Maria Novella, Walton Street

Secret shop
The tiny shop of Farmacia Santa Maria Novella in Walton Street SW3, a branch of the 17th-century Italian pharmacy which still has an amazing shop in Florence, has fabulous rose cologne. I love to browse in Books for Cooks in Blenheim Crescent, which has been there for ages, just off Portobello. It has some  unusual cookery books that I can look at while I enjoy a slice of homemade cake and a great cup of coffee.

Favourite landmark
A friend once said to me: “When walking the streets of London, always look up,” and he was right. It’s amazing how much beautiful architecture the city has to offer. I am classical at heart, and love the white-pillared Georgian houses of London, with floor-to-ceiling windows. The Georgians knew how to create beautifully proportioned rooms, filled with light.


A recent masterpiece: Fiddian-Green's horses head sculpture

Most coveted design object: a horses head
I am passionate about horses and riding. At a recent Masterpiece London exhibition, I came across a Fiddian-Green stone sculpture of a white horse’s head on a tall, black plinth. It was absolutely stunning, and is top of my wish list.

Sources for homeware
I have worked with some great interior designers. Nicky Dobree sourced a statement antler chandelier for our house in Klosters where we ski in winter, and Ann Boyd designed a bronze-framed mirror for our drawing room at home. The mirror itself has been hand-antiqued by Rupert Bevan, who is a genius at this kind of finish. I also love the interiors shop Rose Uniacke in Pimlico Road for exquisite light fittings and stunning, large sofas upholstered in antique linens.

The next big thing
For me white is timeless and is always very relevant. Wherever you live, whatever your style, white works. It makes the best canvas, ready to be layered up with touches of pattern or colour.


Stylish monochrome: the black-and-white photography of David Yarrow

Favourite art gallery 
I love black-and-white photography. David Yarrow, the wildlife photographer and conservationist, is a favourite and I have an amazing zebra shot of his.

Interior tips
Comfort, cosiness and texture are key. Layer up beds, chairs or sofas with soft throws and textured cushions, scent the room subtly, with a candle for evenings and room diffuser for day. Add elements of nature, if possible a tree or fresh flowers. I love displaying one type of white flower and mixing it with eucalyptus sprays and fresh herbs. In the evening, lower light levels and add a cluster of flickering candles for atmosphere. 

My latest project
The White Company is 20 this year and to celebrate we have several new projects, including The White Company General Store, which has just opened and is a collection of our most-loved and timeless items over the past 20 years. Also, we have launched The White Heart Foundation, our charity that works with Kids Company, The Prince’s Trust and Refuge, which helps vulnerable women and children in the UK have better futures. 


Cake o' clock: Chrissie heads to Cocomaya on Pavilion Road when in need of a sugar fix

Best for healthy meals....and cakes
I pop into Cocomaya, in Pavilion Road SW1, for delicious salads with artisan breads, as well as chocolate and pastry treats. I prefer to entertain at home, but don’t always have time to cook, so I cheat. Potage is a brilliant new home delivery service in west London that offers a daily selection of mouthwatering and super-healthy meals. All I have to do is serve them in a great-looking bowl.

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