These are the top tips we’ve gleaned from the great British design duo.

It was in London in 2013 that Nicole Salvesen and Mary Graham combined their respective interior-design talents and created their own studio, Salvesen Graham.

Almost a decade later, they are still creating: ‘classically beautiful and carefully curated homes that will feel stylish and comfortable now and in years to come.’

The pair’s expert eye and exquisite taste are evident in their interiors, their own product line and in all of their high-end collaborations. They sprinkle their magic on everything from apartments and townhouses to chalets and grand country piles. Their services are highly sought after, and their stellar reputation is global. No glossy list of top interior designers is complete without Salvesen Graham.

Here are our greatest takeaways from their enviable aesthetic.

Skirted Upholstery

You just need to look at an interiors magazine to see that upholstery trends come and go but Salvesen Graham have convinced us that an old-fashioned, country-house-style skirted chair, sofa or stool is a smart and pretty thing that will bring unending joy.

The Importance Of The Drinks Tray

Some might say that we have all those lockdowns to thank for the explosion of snazzy at-home bars and drinks trolleys but Salvesen Graham were adding perfectly arranged drinks trays to their drawing rooms long before the pandemic. (NB: they also make sure that there is an easy and obvious place for everyone to put down their drink.)

Scallop-Edged Woodwork

You’d be hard pushed to find an interior designer who didn’t extol the virtues of beautiful, built-in joinery. It costs a fortune but delivers for ever. Salvesen Graham have taken the obsession a step further, though, and added this playful and appealing scalloped edge to some of theirs. Once you’ve seen it, you’ll never forget it.

The Rug Of Dreams

In May 2018, Salvesen Graham launched this award-winning gem of a rug in collaboration with artisan rug designer, Jennifer Manners. Available in bespoke colours and sizes as well as a standard range of four colourways, it is pretty much the perfect rug. They say of the collaboration with Jennifer Manners: ‘We met her and loved her – she is like a force of nature and has such a great zest for life and the scallop rugs have been so popular.’

Big Fat Checks

Few of Salvesen Graham’s projects are free from big, fat, bold checks. They say themselves that: ‘You can never have too much check.’ They use checks as a paint effect on floorboards, as curtains in their own Great Check fabric, on all manner of charming accessories including lampshades and much more.

The Blending Of Ancient And Modern

In a Salvesen Graham project, a blazing piece of modern art is likely to hang above an old brown chest of drawers. A colourful, newly lacquered lamp might sit on a traditionally flouncy round table. The mixture is always enchanting. Nicole says: “Mary and I both believe in curating a combination of the old with the new, and we enjoy mixing antiques with contemporary design.”

Curated Clutter

Salvesen Graham clutter isn’t your common or garden clutter. It is as immaculately thought through as the set-up for a still life painting. They will cluster a small vase of flowers, a pretty picture propped against the wall and a pot of matches, for example, to make a room look lived in and warm but never messy.

Bold Is Beautiful

One of the hallmarks of a Salvesen Graham project – and the one that it takes the most courage to emulate – is their use of bold paint colours. Neutrals are not for them – yet their rooms never feel oppressive and always feel fresh. They say: ‘People are getting braver and more confident with using colour and pattern, which is great news for us as we’ve always been huge champions of colour in the home.’

By Becky Ladenburg
July 2022

Becky Ladenburg

Features Editor

As the GWG's features editor, Becky has her discerning finger on the cultural pulse. She's also our go-to expert on the property market.