Words by – Martin Teo


With a self-assured style, a young talented designer emanates the value of her unique palette, quirky shapes and inspiring artworks in a show flat in Southbank, London.


“I don’t like things too perfectly coordinated. I am interested in quirky shapes and objects,” Sophie Ashby exclaims in a recent interview about her personal style with a twist. A glance through Ashby’s portfolio digests into her keen eye on simple clean lines, unique mix of colours and leitmotifs, as well as spaces that are laden with an eclectic collection of arts.

Known as the ‘next big thing’ in the interior decorating industry, the South African-born, London- based decorator – still in her 20’s – is also the Director of Studio Ashby. Her passion for arts started at a very young age and up to this day, her inspiration for her works begins with the art. In the Southbank Tower Show flat, Ashby’s remarkable style shines through with a space that is full of character and personality; curated with meticulous layering of objects, furniture, lighting and art.

Ashby describes the space to be an authentic and convincing home with personal, sophisticated dressing touches. The use of an eclectic mix of antiques and statement art within a space of natural earthy tones and texture aims to create a calm and peaceful retreat in bustling Central London.

As one moves into the bedrooms, there are more arts to be seen and looked at. Interesting works and photography, framed using different frame styles suddenly become a conversation starter in this private room. From the way these rooms are put together, it is clear that the designer has had her fair share of travels as an eclectic mix of aesthetics comes live in the spaces. The use of exotic fabrics, distinctive patterns, cultural references, tribal-inspired décor pieces and unconventional blend of colours tells of Ashby’s unique style of containing diversity in one calm and collected ‘box’. “We take the human approach to our designs. This is above all else a home; and so it has to be warm and friendly with a little sense of humour. The design language forms a platform that hosts a carefully curated selection of beautiful things, things that show a life, a story and a personality,” summarises Ashby.

The proximity of the apartment to the Thames, the Southbank and all the culturally rich attractions is an amazing axis for dwellers to explore London as well as just to live the London life. “We wanted to create an interesting furniture arrangement but not too loud; so not to compete with the views looking out of the flat,” Ashby explains. The rich textures and patterns in a complementary natural palette form the foundation of the space’s overall character. The curves of the River Thames also have inspired the shape of the key furniture pieces in the reception area.


Creative Collection

The apartment is clean, uncluttered, eclectic, quirky in places, calm and interesting. While many words can be used to explain this quaint living space, there is one word that could express Ashby’s signature style that shapes the spatial ensemble – unique. The interior space is colourful. A clever combination of warm greys with khaki green, olive and taupe creates a calming palette that softens the space.

Earthy palette is used as the base of the overall space with pop of colours injected through furnishings, décor pieces and artworks. The designer has a way to not deflect the colours thrown in from outside, but using them to create a more complex interior that spells harmony. Featuring a unique bespoke wall-mounted shelving unit in the reception, the combination of Calaccata marble, unlacquered brass and birds eye maple facets, forms a statement display for a collection of treasures. From this display alone, it is evident that Ashby has a talent to put things of varying characters together while looking fabulously in sync. The nonlinear furniture orientation also creates a dynamic visual impact to draw interest into the space; especially with a unique coffee table that is made using a rare single piece of burr elm with ‘live’ edges along the sides to create an organic statement piece.

The dining space illustrates an enticing, humble and harmonious setting. The angular pedestal-dining base topped with a thick slab of beautiful Verde Guatamala marble creates a simple yet luxurious dining table. The deep green colour of the natural stone enriches the natural and calming palette throughout the apartment. In its mystical dark jade, the table accents the space together through a combination of soft taupe, off-whites, wood tones and sunlight.

The communal space is built upon an open layout. The design studio conveys a fluid space with different richness of colour tones throughout the flat. The layout emphasises on the enjoyment of the views from all aspects; whether one is entertaining, dining, cooking or watching TV.


1\\ The joinery piece in the reception area maintains the open layout of the apartment, keeping the overall impression light, whilst using strong angles and varied materials to bring richness and interest.

2\\ Ashby designs an angular pedestal dining base topped with a thick slab of beautiful Verde Guatamala marble to create a simple but luxurious dining table.

3\\ The coffee table made by a UK based skilled woodworker, is a rare single piece of burr elm with ‘live’ edges along the sides to create an organic statement piece.

4\\ The kitchen is composed and streamlined with simple touches of loose decor pieces for a personalised touch.

5\\ A series of shots taken at the Pushka Camel fair in India by Helene Sandberg captures the mood and atmosphere of this unique event. Her work showcases her love for travel in search of interesting photographic projects, satisfying her non stop curiosity for exploring and learning about different cultures.


Words by – Martin Teo


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