Ana Engelhorn Interior Design embraces the imperfections of antiques to create classic and modern residences around the world
Ana Engelhorn describes her approach to interior design as “perfectly imperfect”. Inspired by the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, which looks for beauty in imperfection, Ana’s work celebrates the flaws and blemishes in natural building materials and antique furniture. “It is these imperfections that help to bring out the innate authenticity of a place,” she says.
Ana’s residential and commercial interior design firm is based in London, but she draws upon a broad cultural heritage. She was born in Switzerland to German and Spanish parents and has travelled widely since childhood. “My parents inspired me from an early age with their love for beautiful spaces and talent for design, converting historic buildings across Switzerland and Spain into hotels and restaurants,” she explains. “My own designs incorporate these early influences – through objects, artwork and my love of historic elements. Like Rolls-Royce and Bentley aficionados, I appreciate timeless beauty and enduring design excellence.”
An early career in hospitality and events management took Ana around the world, with work including the Bernina Gran Turismo classic car race in St Moritz, Switzerland. She renovated a succession of her own homes, and it was after one of these was featured in Homes & Gardens magazine that she decided to take up interior design professionally.
Ana has worked with clients across Europe for the past 10 years and, after studying interior design, moved to London to launch her own international design studio. She says her favourite projects involve restoring period buildings, focusing on bringing historical features back to life while adding a contemporary twist. These have included renovating a 16th century Catalan farmhouse on the Costa Brava, using authentic materials and restoring elements such as antique floorboards and the original high ceilings. The house won the International Property Award for Interior Design in 2019.
While historical buildings are her first love, Ana also enjoys working on new builds, bringing in natural elements and combining old pieces with new to complement the design of the house. In every project, the quality of the materials is key to creating a space that is rich in texture and history, and where imperfections are not glossed over but celebrated for the beauty and authenticity they bestow.