Not far from Buckingham Palace is Chelsea, one of the finest addresses in London. The high society does its shopping here in the quiet, little shops and it is also here that one of England' s most famous interior designers has his office. People such as the Rothschilds, the Flicks or the Duchess of Kent, who admire Victorian style and classical-traditional decoration, are equally complimentary about this small shop which is almost bursting at the seams with heavy brocade fabrics, satin and precious antiques.
Here, at 116 Fulham Road, the 'good old days' are recalled daily, and, apparently, there is nobody who is better at it than the Swiss Christophe Gollut. Although he was not born and bred in England, he has managed to establish himself as a top interior designer in conservative England.....
There is quite a lot of demand for interior design in London. The English always use their houses much more than the foreigners – means that they really are living in their homes! The house is more important in England than it is in any other country. The British seem to have 2 houses. Most of them have a house in the country, which is their real seat, which is where they think they belong. And then they have a house or a flat in London. So again that doubles the importance of the interior design. I mean if you have one house it‘s bad enough to do it alone but if you have two I guess you really need help.
Why I am spoken about is because I intend to do jobs which don‘t necessarily look like any others persons work. My work is slightly more personal – I use a lot of old material, I always make a house look like it‘s been there for ever and ever. What means I am not very modern in principal, but I can do modern work as well. But my work is more traditional and really what I try to do is to make it looked lived in and cosy, which is a wonderful expression…“
Christophe Gollut's appearance reflects his ideas on interior design for illustrious clients: old school but not fuddy-duddy; homely but not without style. There is an unmistakable touch of the industrial revolution in the air. Gollut's private world is reminiscent of his grandmother's era - not without reason - since the interior designer grew up with his grandparents in a grand 19th -century villa, very Napoleon III in style, which, as he says himself, was extremely bizarre and unusual. Gollut' s detailed work is also very unusual although it is not something one actually sees straightaway.
One interior highlight in Christoph Gollut's old flat are the Venetian tapestries on the walls, which discreetly hide the kitchenette.
I use a lot of red, which is a reputation I have – to be a „red decorator“ - which is slightly wrong. I like red rooms very much, I think red rooms are interesting and very English – or may be Russian?
What's always interesting for me to know: who are your clients?
My clients are a mix of rather well off Europeans who live in London. I work a lot for important Italiens like the Etro, Camelli etc. For the Germans I work for the Flicks all the time, I did Mr. Flicks two last houses in London, I worked for the Neven duMont…
..and the Rothschilds?
.. yah..for the Rothschilds, which are the English and the French one…
…and what about their tastes, what is the taste of Mr. Flick, does he like very pompous things or is he more „reduced“?
He likes very ornate and glamorous things, he has a collection of very serious things as well. He has the best English silver, very good pictures. They like more ornate things than I like. I prefer things a little bit less rich than they do.
And what about the Rothschilds, they are a very famous family, everybody knows them and everybody thinks they live in palaces…
…well, they do…
But especially palaces, they often seem to be very cold, very museal…do they really like the museal part?
Quite a lot of them like a dark look and quite a rich look similar to my dining room here. That‘s I think what we would refer the „Rothschild look“.
You are also interior designer for members of the Royal Family.You did the Princess of Kent‘s house what I heard..Princess Michael of Kent …
Well not really - Princess Michael is a decorator herself. She asked my advice on various occasions but I am not actually her decorator. We are great friends – I advise only. In that kind of line I have decorated some rooms in the House of Lords, I‘ve done the new dining room in the House of Lords, which was a very nice project and quite extraordinary that actually the House of Lords has chosen a foreign decorator to do that work.
Christophe Gollut who was born in French-speaking Switzerland first studied law in Geneva before starting a course at a well-known design school. He came over originally for a year - in the mean time he has been here for more than 2 decades. The bachelor with good taste loves London, but also likes to occasionally escape the grey skies to fly off to the sun - not to jetset destinations like St. Tropez or Marbella however - no - of all place to the Spanish Canary Islands. It is on Gran Canaria that the interior designer has found his dream horne which he renovated to match his own demanding taste.
Its successful blend of romance and nostalgia has enthused many photographers. Gollut's casa has been awarded many prizes and appeared on the cover of numerous books on interior design.
Christophe Gollut Interior
116 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6HU
Tel: 020-7370 4101 Fax: 020-7370 4123
If you would like to contact the interior designer directly, please send an e-mail to
and I will forward your request to Christophe Gollut personally
* This special feature "Christophe Gollut" has been one of more than 200 VIP-Portraits, produced by Nathalie Gütermann for her TV-Shows 'Nathalie's Lifestyle' and 'Nathalie's Art of Living' that were broadcasted between 1990 - 2003 in Germany and in 15 countries world-wide. The content has been updated with actual information in 2004 for Nathalies-Lifestyle.com © 1990 - 2004. The reproduction or other use of any text, photographs, etc. needs the prior written permission of the Chief Publisher.