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Featured Interview: Louisa Grey

21st September 2023, by Yi Ting Lee

Featured Interview: Louisa Grey
The Holistic Aesthetics and Lifestyle of the House of Grey Founder

“Circular Salutogenic Design® is about creating interior spaces and environments
that allow humans to live in harmony with the planet and themselves.”
— Louisa Grey

Portrait of Louisa Grey, with ceramic pieces by Enriqueta Cepeda. (Courtesy House of Grey; photograph Michael Sinclair). 

Louisa Grey is the heart and soul of British interior design studio House of Grey. Since its inception, the studio has developed and embodied its own principle, Circular Salutogenic Design®, a ‘whole-world-whole-person approach’ to holistic design. Underpinning each of their interior projects is the simultaneous and equal consideration of the practicality, eco-friendliness, aesthetics, ambience and comfort of a space. In fulfilling Circular Salutogenic Design®, the studio collaborates with select craftspeople, artisans and artists to create bespoke and unique spaces tailored to the lives and interactions of the people within the space.

Its holistic approach to design and appreciation of crafts is what makes House of Grey a long-time partner of Maud & Mabel. In anticipation of the London Design Fair 2023, we have the honour of inviting Louisa Grey to share her thoughts with us on design philosophy, lifestyle, running a design studio and managing her personal space in her converted Finsbury Park townhouse – the Home of Holism – which was renovated and launched in 2022.

Q: What inspired you to pursue interior design as a career and what was the journey to where you are today?

House of Grey was born whilst I was 3 months pregnant with my son. I had designed two restaurants and private residential home and I felt there was another way to design and build in a more positive way, one of which had less of an impact on the earth and offered health benefits for its inhabitants.

I had issues conceiving and this led me on a natural path of acupuncture, Chinese herbs and a realisation that the old, traditional ways of living should be the new way of living – simple, healthy and free of chemicals, toxins and pollutants.

Detail of Maud & Mabel piece purchased for private residential client
of Louisa Grey. 
(Courtesy House of Grey; photograph Michael Sinclair). 

Q: Could you tell us a bit about the Circular Salutogenic Design® and what it means to you and your studio? And has this changed for you over the years?

As a design studio we’re constantly evolving from within and looking to the future in all areas of our work: exploring new research, innovating products, developing partnerships, investing in our internal training, honing our design processes and applying our Circular Salutogenic principles across everything we do.

Circular Salutogenic Design® is about creating interior spaces and environments that allow humans to live in harmony with the planet and themselves.

At House of Grey we holistically fuse the features and principles of Salutogenic Design with the aims of Circular Design to create unique, personal environments which actively promote human health and have a positive impact on the planet.

Q: What do you consider important design elements in styling and designing a space? Any tips on how to create spaces with subtle luxury?

Our approach is to have a deep understanding of our clients lives and how they would like to flow through the space as they live their lives. This allows us to design a bespoke space for them which will elevate, support and nourish them daily – constantly responding to their needs, and providing a joyful and pleasurable experience everyday. It is also important for us to embrace the history and ‘bones’ of a room or building and enhance it rather than fully stripping it out.

Working with the unique structure of a building alongside the needs and tastes of the client, we develop interiors that are personal to the individual or specific to the business it homes, making each House of Grey-designed space a nuanced experience that goes deep beyond the aesthetic.

Home of Holism, the finishes on the wall are Clayworks. (Courtesy House of Grey; photograph Michael Sinclair).

Q: We love the work of House of Grey. Are you happy to share with us how you work with your team and how you manage to instil creativity, vigour, and grace to both your work and personal life?

It is incredibly important to focus on the people you have around you, be that in a creative capacity and also on a personal level.

The choice of amazing individuals I have around me in my daily life has given me a huge amount of support to achieve being a single mother, whilst running a creative studio full time; and has allowed me to build on the foundations laid ten years ago and the business to grow organically, while thoroughly enjoying the process along the way.

Q: Does your lifestyle and personality translate into the way you approach design? How does it intermingle? Perhaps you could tell us about this synergy (or separation) in your home.

This is how and why House of Grey’s Home of Holism was born –

In 2019 we faced the task of sourcing a new studio space; after viewing a multitude of potential options, we decided none of them had the right feeling. We quickly realised that we needed to design our own creative space in full, from the ground up, to show how and where we work every day and for potential clients to experience Circular Salutogenic Design® for themselves.

As with the ‘home retreat’, the new House of Grey studio design needed to go beyond aesthetics. I looked at how we were working together as a design studio and decided that we had to create something for ourselves to elevate how we work, boost our individual health and collective creativity.

Home of Holism, the finishes on the wall are Clayworks. (Courtesy House of Grey; photograph Michael Sinclair).

Our aim at House of Grey has been to create both a comfortable home and content workplace environment that people look forward to coming into each day and leave at the end of the day feeling inspired and energised.

Home of Holism was opened in February 2022 – launching the studio's concept for holistic work / life balance which simultaneously encompasses every aspect of founder Louisa Grey’s life. It exists to balance the needs of a designer, maker and creator; a working mother; a business owner; a social being; and person who holds the value of health in high esteem.

The Home of Holism was restored inside and out, from the roof to its foundations, using Circular Salutogenic Design® principles and materials throughout.

Home of Holism, the finishes on the wall are Clayworks. (Courtesy House of Grey; photograph Michael Sinclair).

Q: Do you have a particular designer, artist, art and design movement, style or philosophy that you are inspired by?

It would be either Luice Rie or Gunta Stolz for being strong pioneering women, and encouraging change with creative movement at a time when women were not valued in this way.

Q: What is your favourite piece all time / at home? And why?

My mother’s painting, she’s an incredibly talented painter. I have several of them throughout the house and they really do bring me daily joy, they are the only art I have in the house…I also have a few of Romily Graham’s ceramic vases (she is my pottery teacher) her porcelain pieces are so beautifully fine, it is incredible and I really value the experience and talent that can be seen in her work.

Q: Do you have any memorable pieces or artists you like at Maud and Mabel? What draws you to this particular piece or artist?

I am particularly drawn to Steven Smith’s smoke-fired porcelain vase, it is absolutely stunning. As an avid potter (I have been throwing for 8 years now), I have a deep appreciation for the work that goes into ceramic pieces and for artists that experiment and hone their practice.

Detail of Maud & Mabel piece purchased for private residential client
of Louisa Grey. (Courtesy House of Grey; photograph Michael Sinclair).

Q: Any highlights for you in terms of art / craft / design fairs and events in London? Do you have recommendations for our readers?

I am afraid I don’t as I do not find them that inspiring, I like to discover independent galleries like The Cold Press in East London that are not mainstream and curate the most inspiring and divine exhibitions.

Q: We are excited about the London Design Fair. Are you participating in any way this year?

The 2018 London Design Fair was a huge turning point for us. We launched our approach to healthy design and work-life balance with our home retreat concept at our ‘In the Neighbourhood' exhibition, which really captured the imaginations of many designers and the press at the time.
This year however we are not participating as we have several major projects completing around the same time, which is exciting, and we’ll be watching and supporting the design community in London from not so far away.

Interior of private residential client of Louisa Grey. (Courtesy House of Grey; photograph Michael Sinclair)




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