Q&A with Sophie Coller of Kitesgrove

Sophie Coller is the Managing Director of Kitesgrove, an interior design and development management studio based in the heart of Chelsea.  Prior to her role at Kitesgrove Sophie worked for The Rug Company for 12 years working in all aspects of the business from marketing to franchising.

Kitesgrove work on a diverse range of projects which include private client homes, residential developments and commercial spaces.   The design team works hard to give clients a tailored and unique design experience and this is reflected in their portfolio.

We got in touch with Sophie to ask her a bit more about her background, but also for advice on creating a suitable space for working from home and how to instil a sense of calm in your interior design.

Sophie, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, perhaps you could start by telling us a little more about your background and how you came to be Managing Director for Kitesgrove.

Having read History of Art at UCL University, I started out at Bonhams, which led on to a stint in art journalism, both at The Art Newspaper and then as Style Editor at ArtReview magazine. This period of my career fuelled my interest in craft and my passion for art & design. I then met the founders of The Rug Company, Chris & Suzanne Sharp, in 2005 and soon became part of ‘the rug family’. During the course of 12 years, I had a myriad of roles (from marketing to franchising) and was lucky to be given the opportunity to play an integral part of the brand’s growth worldwide. The knowledge and exposure this gave me to the luxury design market has stood me in good stead for my current position, heading up Kitesgrove. Back in 2017, Kitesgrove were quietly making a mark in the interiors world and they were firmly on my radar. I met the founder through a friend and the rest is history.

Did you ever feel a bit ‘poacher turned gamekeeper’ moving from the supply to design side of the interior design industry?

It’s a bit like working in PR and then becoming a journalist! I actually think it’s given me a well-rounded perspective; I’ve had an insight into both the commercial side and the creative side behind a design brand.  And given Kitesgrove are evolving into product design with some exciting collaborations on the horizon, my experience in the product world will become very handy.

People are suddenly finding themselves in the position of having to work from home – and for many they won’t have a dedicated home office.  Do you have any advice on how best to set up a room, or even an area, conducive to working?

I find gaffer taping your children to the floor is conducive to a quiet working environment. I jest of course…

My home office essentials are: 1. A comfy chair with a good cushion (I have a lovely needlepoint cushion from The Rug Company of course), 2. A peaceful view from your desk (I’m lucky enough to look out onto my garden – it keeps cabin fever at bay), 3. Classic fm or Radio 6 on in the background (I have to have background music…the clock ticking away reminds me of stuffy school libraries) and 4. A glass of wine on my desk for when I’m working passed 6pm, which is often (that would explain why the spelling mistakes increase after 6pm!)

Sophie working from home

We’ve seen many pictures of amazing projects that Kitesgrove have completed – they all project a very serene atmosphere – do you have any tips for people wishing to bring some of that aesthetic into their own homes?

I think the serenity that is so often attributed to Kitesgrove’s work, comes from a myriad of factors but primarily through palette and the feeling that our schemes have come together slowly over time. We rarely use bright primary colours, preferring quieter earthy tones in a series of complimentary schemes and interlocking vignettes. Likewise, I think there’s a serenity to our interiors because you can sense how much time has gone into them; the careful consideration that goes into every detail and often painstaking process of sourcing the perfect antique piece.

Who are your personal style icons? 

There are too many to list but Ilse Crawford has to be high on the list with her cerebral yet compassionate approach to design.

Is there anything you particularly covet for your own home?

We moved house last August so I’m still doing up my home. I have my eye on an apple green lacquered trolley from The Edition 94. I can blame the lovely Beata Heuman for that current obsession!

How do you think the current situation might affect design and influences on design in the coming months and years?

The pace of life has slowed down. We’ve been forced to rethink our connection to our surroundings and each other. In light of this, I feel people’s homes will become more treasured and meaningful. I wouldn’t be surprised if this new pace of life filtrated into the way we bought things for our homes too – maybe people will be in less of a rush, purchasing in a more considered manner and considering crafted pieces with longer lead times. I hope so anyway.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions – we hope you continue to stay safe and well.

Total pleasure. You too!

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