Our Designer of the Year Sophie Ashby on decorating her rented Georgian house | Design Notes


Just as the pandemic hit, Sophie Ashby and her husband, the fashion designer Charlie Casely-Hayford, moved into an early 19th-century house in Spitalfields. It was a rental–an opportunity to enjoy more space than they had in their small flat in West London, and a stop-gap before buying a house of their own. Rather than being frustrating as an interior designer–indeed, House & Garden’s current Interior Designer of the Year–and restricted by the limitations of what you can do to rental property.

‘Actually, I found it really liberating’, she says. ‘I didn’t have to worry about any of the architectural framework of the building. It had already been made beautiful so I was able to come in and fill it up with beautiful things.’

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