Farrow & Ball
ali's philosophy

Living Magazine, Published March 2018


Being an interior designer, you need to have a combination of skills – you need to probe like a detective, ask questions like a journalist and have a psychologist’s understanding of what your client likes. People employing the services of an interior designer are often short of time or firm ideas, and they need someone who can cut to the chase and offer them an interior design plan that is just right for them.  She has learnt that you can never stereotype someone who walks through the door of the showroom. That’s the hallmark of a successful interior designer. “There are several key questions you need to ask,” she tells me, laughingly adding that the questions are a trade secret and she won’t divulge them. But she does reveal that half the battle is knowing what people don’t like. “My husband is amazed that I can find a fabric someone likes in a matter of minutes, but it is only by knowing the right questions to ask.” I put her to the test, challenging her to pick a design that she thinks I would like in my living room... and she does, almost instantly. We have been looking at a file of pictures showcasing continuing and emerging trends for 2018, and she hones them down and picks two for me to look at. “I think you would like restful,” she decides, immediately eliminating the darker tones or more strident styling, before making her selection. The light-filled room she shows me has blues and greys and muted tones with Sanderson curtain fabrics, and accent cushions on the sofa with a splash of mustard. The second room has neutral colours with the muted green and yellow. I could happily live in both.

Ali has a pragmatic approach to interior design and incorporates trends rather than being a slave to whatever is in fashion. “Interior trends are very much like the catwalk. You wouldn’t necessarily wear the clothes you see, but the ideas are diluted down and incorporated into something that is more wearable.

Ali's style isn't too blingy, or glossy or linear, it's a more relaxed style – a lovely mix of contemporary and country, or traditional with a modern twist.  Most of our fabrics and wallpaper are British.  For Ali, it is not what is in vogue that is important but what the client likes and what they will find comfortable to live with. “Every client has different taste and every house is different. In any case, it is difficult to say what is actually in vogue at the moment because there are so many different themes and one style will not suit everyone,” says Ali.