A VISION OF LUXURY
Based in the heart of Monaco, boutique studio Carte Blanche Interior Design has been creating exclusive and beautiful spaces for its jet-setting international clients for the past 15 years. Its stunning designs have been commissioned in cities around the world, including Paris, London, Geneva and Moscow, and you’ll find examples of its work gracing luxury homes in the snow-capped Swiss Alps, yachts in the South of France, or in apartments as far afield as the sand-covered beaches of Sydney, Australia.
Owner Lydia Hegbourne honed her design skills by renovating old jam factories alongside the River Thames in London. She moved from the UK to the Côte d’Azur in 2005, relocating to Monaco in 2010. She says that what sets her six-person team apart is its passion for design and its close bond with clients. “We thought that ‘carte blanche’ was the best way to describe the possibilities available to those seeking the very finest from interiors,” she explains. “We turn dreams into reality.”
In order to do this, Lydia’s team work closely with each client. “When you’re creating someone’s interior, you’re helping them in the way that they’re going to live their life, which means that they will often become good friends as well as clients,” she says. “Each project is a collaboration. People know what they like and what they don’t like. It’s for us to take those elements and to try and implement them into a scheme that is harmonious, practical for them to live in, and comfortable. Being able to complement individual lifestyles within the most personal of spaces is a priceless talent. And we want the process to feel worry-free and seamless for our clients.”
Whether it’s designing an iconic Georgian London town-house, a villa in St-Tropez or a towering penthouse in New York City, Carte Blanche ensures that each project is unique and delivers a new customization of the term “creativity” to reflect and enshrine the taste and needs of each client. In Lydia’s opinion, a project should suit, resemble and reflect each individual client, mirroring their lifestyle, but it should also push boundaries and surpass their expectations. The team’s profound understanding and experience of different spaces provides it with the expertise to improve the layout, functionality and flow of a space, be it a home, an office building or a wine bar or restaurant.
Lydia takes her inspiration from varied and eclectic sources: her past experiences, her future aspirations and from both modern and historical influences, with the aim of ensuring that each home she works on becomes its owner’s castle. In order to achieve this, she spares no expense, sourcing the newest, most diverse and most exclusive materials, and blending them with products from around the world, while employing the latest technology. Wood, glass, metals and natural stones merge seamlessly together creating a living, breathing space for people to live in luxury.
Lydia describes the Carte Blanche Interior Design studio’s design style as “timeless”. She prefers to use soft colours, which create a warm, welcoming environment, adding flashes of brighter hues with paintings and ornaments.
“Every single project is different and for each one we’ll find a particularly beautiful feature to put in,” Lydia explains. “On one job, it could be a majestic chimney, on another it might be an amazing architrave or lighting feature, or a stunning floor.”
Creating timeless chic also ensures that the designs have longevity. “I don’t like to do things that will date in a couple of years,” she says. “We are working with extremely large budgets – often in the millions of pounds – and so our designs are made not only to last for decades, but also with the goal that our clients don’t tire of living with them.”
Always innovative, one of the company’s most impressive projects was the creation of a motorhome for a racing driver. “People in Formula One have to travel around during the European Grand Prix,” explains Lydia. “The teams travel with state-of-the-art trailers and often drivers prefer to use one as their home instead of a hotel. The design was a challenge. Due to the nature of the vehicle, all the elements were moveable or extendable, and – given that it is a moving platform – special and non-breakable materials had to be used. I’m very proud of what we achieved. When you drop the sides of the motorhome to open it up, it looks like you’re in an 80-square-metre apartment. You forget that you’re in a large trailer. It was a unique project to work on, and since we completed it, other drivers have asked us to design something similar for them.”
Carte Blanche is currently designing a very special dressing room modelled on the principle of a fairground carousel, where the structures and shelving units are all moving parts. The studio is also working on a luxury boutique hotel in Paris, for which all the furniture will be sourced from the exclusive Promemoria brand.
Impressively, Carte Blanche has never marketed itself or put itself forward for awards; all of its work comes via word-of-mouth referrals. Lydia says this lack of marketing is testament to the high quality and professionalism of the team.
Her next ambition is to design the interior of a private jet. “We’ve done luxury villas, hotels, restaurants, yachts, arts spaces and workspaces,” she says. “The one thing missing is a private jet. I’d love to be able to tick that off the list.”