Interior Designer Kelly Hoppen

150 150 Rob McGibbon

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Published: 14 April 2012

Interior designer Kelly Hoppen:

The prized possession you value above all others...My father Seymour’s photo albums. He died when I was 16 from a heart attack; he was only 48. I have five albums dating back before I arrived, so they give me an insight into his life. I miss him and think of him every day.

The unqualified regret you wish you could amend...I get a sense of deep regret the morning after a big party when my head’s pounding!

The way you would spend your fantasy 24 hours, with no travel restrictions...I’d start with a jog in Hyde Park, then have breakfast at home cooked by my daughter Natasha [28], who’s a chef. Then we’d go for a walk around Portobello Market with my stepchildren [actress Sienna Miller and her sister Savannah from Kelly’s second marriage to Ed Miller, from whom she is now divorced].  I’d then meet Nelson Mandela for lunch in Mvezo, the village where he was born. I’d absorb his wisdom and humble spirit and learn from him about my own South African heritage [Kelly was born there but moved to the UK when she was two]. I’d have dinner with friends at Nobu in LA then listen to great music at the Birdland jazz club in New York.

The temptation you wish you could resist...Cadbury’s chocolate. I’ll buy a Dairy Milk, a Topic and a Ripple and scoff the lot. Oh, and a Daim Bar!

The book that holds an everlasting resonance...The Adventures Of The Wishing-Chair by Enid Blyton. It reminds me of my happy childhood.

The priority activity if you were the Invisible Woman for a day...I’d stand in a locker room while Brad Pitt and George Clooney were taking a shower!

The pet hate that makes your hackles rise...Those hideous fabric covers people put over loo seats and loo rolls. Why? They’re so unbelievably naff. 

The film you can watch time and time again...I watch It’s A Wonderful Life every year and never tire of it. It’s such a beautiful fairytale and I particularly love the angel, Clarence.

The person who has influenced you most...My mother. She always tells me the truth when others won’t. Even my friends’ children go to her for advice.

The figure from history for whom you’d most like to buy a pie and a pint...Marilyn Monroe. She was beautiful, sad, and a great actress. A few vodkas with her would be a hoot.

The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child...Believe in yourself because if you don’t, no one else will. And never ever give up. I lecture children all over the world and tell them this.

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity...I’m obsessed with tidying my fridge. I have a large Gaggenau and all the drinks are in ordered rows and all the food is organised in a certain way. It might be a mild form of OCD, but I don’t lie awake thinking about it!

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again...My dad’s Taurean zodiac medallion, which was given to me after he died. It was the only thing I had that had been close to his skin. It was stolen in a burglary a couple of years later. It was very special and I wish I still had it.

The unending quest that drives you on...To always do better. No dream is too big for me and I’m always striving to do more. I’m not happy to stop.

The poem that touches your soul...The Owl And The Pussycat reminds me of my hatred of school. I’m dyslexic, so it’s impossible to memorise things, but that is the one poem I learned by heart.

The misapprehension about yourself you wish you could erase...That I only get out of bed for £300,000. That was written years ago – it’s a lie!

The event that altered the course of your life and character...When my book on style, East Meets West, was published in 2001. People loved it, which gave me the confidence I was doing something right.

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it...I’d steal Picasso’s Jeune Fille Endormie.

The song that means most to you... Aretha Franklin’s I Say A Little Prayer. It reminds me of wonderful, carefree times with all the family singing it.

The happiest moment you will cherish forever...Getting my MBE from the Queen in 2009 was a proud moment. When she looked at me my heart leapt!

The saddest time that shook your world...My father dying. He was a true gentleman with a great sense of humour. But such a loss so young made me self-sufficient and helped me to succeed.

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you...I’ll not rest until the world is covered in taupe! (I am well known for having taupe in my styling).

The philosophy that underpins your life...Nothing is impossible. You have to believe that to succeed.

The order of service at your funeral...I’d have a simple service and be buried next to my dad in London. I’d also lay on a party for everyone who knew me. They’d drink cocktails, eat healthy food, dance to jazz and soul, share stories and light candles.

The way you want to be remembered...As a caring and loyal person who made a positive difference to the world.

The Plug...I’m proud to be an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust. Please support this great charity by visiting