Celia Sawyer founded her Luxury Interiors company 20 years ago and now works predominantly out of her Mayfair base with a wealth of both private and commercial clients - but her home The designer, who has appeared on Channel 4's Four Rooms for the last six series, and on her own show, BBC1's Your Home In Their Hands, talks to Living's Emma Joseph about her signature style, working for Middle Eastern royalty and why it doesn't get much better than seaside living.

Tell me how your career in interior design began?

It started 20 years ago when I bought a flat in London and then added another floor to it and did all the interior design. It was a very successful development and a great experience. People saw what I did and asked me to do theirs, and eventually it lead to being a full time job! The estate agents saw my work and recommended me to their clients too … the rest is history!

Were you always interested in interiors?

When I was a young girl I always wanted to go and look at show homes. I was fascinated as to how they looked so good, and wanted to learn how to do the same myself. I had also always loved art, which was the only thing I was good at at school!

Would you say you have a particular signature style?

Yes I would say my style is classical contemporary, glamorous, chic but with a touch of “bling”

You have a number of high profile clients – did you aim high when you started designing, or did that come as something of a surprise?

Not long after I started designing, I worked with a few famous sporting personalities who would recommend me to others in the same circle. With larger budgets people wanted more exciting interiors, which really lead to me raising the bar, which raised my profile. The clients I have now vary from high net worth business people, property developers, and A-listers, through to royalty so it is varied and fun!

You have a base in Knightsbridge, but also in Sandbanks – what’s the draw for you to stay local?

I have moved to Mayfair from Knightsbridge as I prefer being based there - it is so central when seeing clients. I love Sandbanks, I am lucky enough to live on the water so I get the best views and in the summer there is no place better in the UK, however, I still love the shopping and restaurants in London so I guess I get the best of both worlds!

Have there been some stand-out design projects for you over the years? Something particularly unusual, or something you were particularly proud of?

Quite probably the Airbus A340 which was for Middle Eastern royalty. It was quite a challenge as I had only ever designed a small executive aircraft previously, however, what is great about this is that if you are fresh to a type of project and haven’t always worked in the same area of the design business, you can offer a fresh view on ideas and are not stifled by what has always been done. If you look at a lot of private aircraft you will see that there is a lot of beige and brown…. I don’t do beige!

Tell me about your own home – are you constantly re-designing and re-arranging the rooms?! What’s your preferred design for your own home?

My home hasn’t changed fundamentally very much since I moved in ten years ago and really that is because what I created was timeless. By that I mean it was not worked out with “fashionable” colours and wallpapers, it was a simple design with lots of accessories to add the interest. The main changes are my artwork, as you know I buy and sell art too as well as other artefacts so my home is forever changing in what I have at the time. I like my home to reflect my family life, and so not too sterile, warm and inviting but still stylish and chic.

How did you make the transition into TV? Is it something you’d like to do more of? Is anything else in the pipeline?

TV was a bit of an accident really, it was an advert I saw for Four Rooms (now in its sixth series) asking for interesting items to send in. I sent a photo of myself saying 'what about me as one of your dealers?!' This was really because I saw it as an opportunity to purchase some artwork and collectibles for clients…. I have been on the show since. My BBC1 show called Your Home In Their Hands was great fun too, but some of the home owners weren’t happy with the outcome so the BBC decided not to make another series. I am in discussions on other projects on going and we still have six more shows on Four Rooms on Channel 4 coming soon.

You’re about to unveil “superyacht design” – tell me more about that.

I have started on the design for one of my clients but the design is very top secret at the moment. I will be able to show a couple of images once completed and once the client has given me the “all clear” as to which ones are allowed!

What else do you have planned for the future?

I am developing an affordable range of candles and diffusers of which we are also talking to Harrods on a more upmarket range which is exciting! Work is very busy at present, I am designing 250 apartments in Essex with a concierge, large gym, beauty salon, coffee shop, florist and hairdressers … as well as working with a very large London developer on their penthouses and apartments throughout the city.

I will need a holiday soon, so once my son has finished his GCSE’s we will take a quick break to France or Italy, and then in August go to my house in Barbados to chill out. There is always something going on and that’s how I like it!

You’re involved with a number of different charities – how important is the charity work you do?

It is very important to me to give something back. There is a lot of work involved with the charity side, and I can’t take on any more at the moment, but I do enjoy it and try and do what I can to help.

How do you make time for the family, and how do you like to spend your down time?

It does get quite full on when I am very busy, however, I have still found time to help my son revise for his exams, and my family always come first. It is about good organisation and structuring your day to be the most efficient you can be. I get up at 5am go for a run, come back shower and take my son to school, and then get on with my day. My daughter is 19 now so she looks after herself!

Down time to me is eating outside by the sea with a nice glass of fizz, it doesn't get much better than that!

Celia Sawyer Luxury Interiors 52 Brook Street, Mayfair, London

T: 020 7129 1425

E: info@celiasawyer.com

W: celiasawyer.com