Step 1 of 2
Join Our Mailing List
Effetto is the marketplace connecting interior designers and collectors with curated selections of high-end furniture and collectibles from the world’s best dealers.

To ensure you get the most relevant news please let us know if you are:
Please select an option to proceed

Inside the world of Studio Peake, where imagination and tradition joyfully collide

London-based interior designer Sarah Peake, founder of Studio Peake, is celebrated for combining surprising details with richly layered finishes to create a new vision of luxury – an approach shaped by her lifelong love of textile arts.

The Pink Panther doesn’t typically have a place in design-driven contemporary interiors – but in an opulent Grade II listed apartment in Notting Hill by London-based interior design practice Studio Peake, an enormous poster of the animated feline takes pride of place in the master bedroom. “It’s objects like this that contrast or jar slightly that bring a room to life,” explains Sarah Peake, founder of Studio Peake. “It might be a lovely tonal scheme but it’s not finished until you throw in that final oversized light or big piece of contemporary art that is completely out of place.”

The Notting Hill pied-à-terre is a Grade II listed apartment in the heart of Notting Hill. The brief from the client was to “bring it to life with a focus on craft, layered textiles, and bold colours”.

These unexpected details that celebrate a client’s personality have come to define the work of the studio, creating an inimitable style that combines modern and traditional features with joyful abandon. According to Peake, it’s all about building up layers of textiles and natural finishes to complement and contrast the architecture. “Everything has a relationship and our interiors are very layered – from the living room to the bathroom,” she explains. “That’s the difference in how we think about our interiors. 

Objects that contrast or jar slightly bring a room to life.

Sarah Peake

Peake’s fascination with crafting a new vision of opulence can be traced back to her childhood. Her father was an estate manager for grand houses such as Castle Howard and Cornbury Park, and her mother and grandmothers passed down a shared love of textiles. 

Both of her grandmothers were seamstresses with impressive collections of textiles that Peake would rummage through as a child. She honed her skills at school and university, where she did a pattern cutting course and trained in tailoring, and even had her own fashion business, creating pieces on the professional flatbed sewing machines in her great uncle’s clothing workshop. “It all comes from that background,” she says. “I always had little creative businesses that revolved around making things with fabrics – but I never had this overarching idea that I was going to be an interior designer.”

This interest in textiles led to various internships, including one with an interior designer and another with a fashion photographer in North Carolina. When she returned to the UK, she undertook work experience as a stylist at House & Garden magazine, and then found a job as a junior designer with internationally renowned designer – and former Sotheby’s director for Islamic works of art and textiles – Alidad

“Alidad was so knowledgeable about really niche areas of the design world, and that really drew me in as I get quite obsessed with details,” recalls Peake. “He would send me on a mission to go source Persian antique glass or Bohemian glassware, or collect lots of Léon Bakst prints – and I think this is what ignited my love for interior design.”

After three years, the aspiring designer made the move to a more commercial oriented interior design studio and found herself running huge projects all over the world. “They really threw me in the deep end,” she says. “I absolutely loved it.”

Five years later, in 2019, having honed her skills and built a solid network of industry connections, Peake decided to found Studio Peake. In the beginning, Peake was working on her own in the spare room of her apartment in Barons Court. Success came quickly, however, and today the studio is a team of seven that occupies a light-filled Victorian bakery in what Peake playfully calls “the unglamorous end of Hammersmith” and works on major projects across the UK and abroad.

Studio Peake’s inaugural project was a small Georgian cottage in Vauxhall for a client who relinquished complete creative control, allowing Peake to explore her layered approach to interiors that are full of surprises. 

I don’t like a house that looks like it’s been done by an interior designer.

Sarah Peake

Take, for example, the Chelsea townhouse that features a secret door from the master en suite to a dressing room with pink walls adorned with hand-painted dancing ladies; or the Notting Hill pied a terre, with a bold red and yellow entrance hall that leads through an archway to spaces clad in ornate wallpaper. “When an interior is constantly revealing itself to you, it’s fun,” says Peake. “Adding colour and texture creates different feelings as you walk through the spaces.”

Importantly, each project evokes the character of the clients. “I don’t like a house that looks like it’s been done by an interior designer,” says Peake. “It’s lovely if it feels like it’s evolved over time. We might rummage through a client’s artwork, or spend a long time over the course of the project finding artwork that doesn’t necessarily match to achieve this.”

The other element that unites each project is a focus on the handmade and craft. Peake works with dozens of artisans across the country to create bespoke pieces, from patchwork bedheads by textile artist Tessa Layzelle and embroidered cushions by Lora Avedian, to colourful carpets by Christopher Farr, Mid-Century-style kitchens by furniture maker Edward Collinson, and tactile lighting in collaboration with ceramicist Rupert Merton. And, it’s the relationships built up over the years of working with these talented craftspeople that has inspired Peake’s other creative venture – Workshop.

The Workshop Peridot Lamp collection is a collaboration with ceramicist Rupert Merton, who has a long collaborative relationship with Studio Peake. Each unique lamp is made from stacks of handthrown ceramic objects.

Workshop is a collection of furniture and lighting designed by Peake and made by the artisans she has collaborated with on bespoke pieces for interior projects. There are currently five pieces in the collection, with more planned to launch later this year. In most cases, the Workshop pieces are conceived independently of Studio Peake’s interior design work, and are an opportunity for Peake to stretch her creative muscles in new and exciting directions.

“Workshop is a celebration of the collaboration between designer and artist, and the making process,” she says. “We will go in with a sketch or initial idea and because these artists are experts who have honed their craft over many years, they will naturally have ideas to bring to the table. There are so many brilliant people we work with.”

The Workshop is an expression of the collaborative process that underpins every Studio Peake project. It’s an approach that not only sets the studio apart in the all-too-often ego-driven design world, but one that brings true joy to Peake as a designer. “I’m completely addicted to my work,” says Peake. “It’s so satisfying to see everything come together after years of work – and that’s what keeps you going. We’re getting more and more inquiries from people who want to push us in different directions. This is exciting as we can use our philosophies but also learn and grow. Every project brings something new to the table.”

Read more: Interior Design | Interior Designers | London | UK