Former supermodel Tamzin Greenhill grew up in Notting Hill and now divides her time between London and New York as an interior designer and special projects editor for USA Elle Decor. Here, she shows The Resident around her gorgeous London home
Why did you become an interior designer 15 years ago?
Modelling isn’t a forever career. While I was a model I had a lingerie shop in Wimbledon Village that I designed beautiful underwear for, so even at 24 I was conscious of finding a new path and getting out of modelling. Modelling is a job you have no control over – you always feel old, as there is always someone younger than you close behind. I wanted a career where I could be 80, a career that I just got better at with experience and age, like Andrée Putman who was still working until she was 87.
Were you always interested in interior design?
Yes. In fact I started modelling to earn money to go to interior design school. However once I started to earn serious money with my modelling, I soon put that idea on hold.
Does your modelling career play a role in how you approach design?
With a modelling shoot, it is all about teamwork, everyone plays his or her part in the job to make it right. The photographer, stylist, hairdresser, make-up artist… I think it’s very important in a project to collaborate as a team and not let egos get in the way. As a designer the team involves the architect, interior designer, contractor and obviously the client. We are all working together to get the best out of each other for the project.
What do you think makes you a good interior designer?
For me personally, I think understanding your client, but at the same time teaching them about design and furniture, and not making them feel ignorant if they don’t understand something, even if it’s how to read a plan. I’m always very positive with my clients, as there is always going to be some anxiety and invariably some building or design issues along the way. I am a problem solver, I want solutions and I never burden my clients with all the troubleshooting and problems designers have to deal with. I feel it is my job to protect my client from the stress of the project.
How do you like to approach projects?
Well I first have to meet the client and see the project and make sure it is something I feel I can work with. Then I create a private Pinterest page with my client and we start bouncing ideas back and forth. I then present each room to my client with plans, mood boards, swatches and ideas for furniture.
Tell us about the project you recently completed a project in Holland Park…
The brief from the client was to freshen up the place and make it feel younger. The client has an impressive art collection that was being overshadowed by heavy curtains, dark colours and old-fashioned furniture. I get so excited when a client collects art, because a room can never really be complete unless there is art to complement and complete it.
Do you have a favourite room or piece of design that really pleases you?
The most challenging room was the master bathroom. It isn’t a big room, but when it was finished it looked and felt spacious, bright and elegant. I also love the huge borsani console in the living room, which we had to cut down and make fit. It’s a gorgeous floating piece of very collectable furniture that works perfectly in the place it is now.
What is your favourite London project and why?
Probably the one I am doing at the moment. I am working with Found Associates who are a RIBA award-winning firm. The house in Hampstead is incredible, and the clients are perfectionists, so they really push me, which is good.