Katarina Laurent knows her neutrals. She set up her Instagram account, Styling Neutrals, to share the interior renovation of her Kensington flat, which she completed in close collaboration with De Rosee Sa. Her profile has since amassed a respectable following, all keen for an up-to-date insight into Katarina’s city home. Followers are fond of her pared-back aesthetic, which makes simplicity look easy. But, as we catch up with Katarina, we discover that while less can be more, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the process of achieving it is as effortless as it’s made to look.
I would like to think of it as elegant simplicity. I like interiors that are timeless and pared back, and I focus a lot on details and finishes, from wall colours to door handles.
I did not really have any real ambitions for my Instagram account. I had just finished renovating our flat and, as Instagram had been a great source of inspiration to me, I thought maybe someone else might be inspired to see what I had done.
My favourite piece is probably the antique Swedish chest of drawers. I also love the bespoke marble sink and everything about the guest cloakroom – it came together even better than I had hoped for.
I think both Instagram and Pinterest are great sources of inspiration – Pinterest in particular really transformed the way I worked on this renovation project. I also enjoy reading interior magazines and books. There is no better way to start a Sunday morning than with a cup of coffee and the latest copy of AD or Living Etc.
Yes, of course. I try to choose timeless items and neutral colours that will not date too quickly. I favour natural materials when possible and also mix vintage/antique finds into my interiors.
Yes, definitely. I think my ‘less is more’ approach to interiors or fashion, and the focus on neutral colours and natural materials, is very much inspired by my Scandinavian upbringing.
Take your time. For me, a good interior scheme does not happen overnight. Think about how items will work together; sometimes what you think looks good working off plans or a mood board doesn’t quite work in the actual space. I prefer starting with the larger pieces and then adding on from there. Try not to settle for something that is not quite right, but allow yourself the time to look around until you find the item you love. For example, I spent a long time trying to work out what I wanted as the ceiling lights in my living room, and I spent hours and hours searching online. I couldn’t be happier with the end result.
I try to layer natural materials and textures with a few well-selected accessories to soften the space. For example, I opted for a natural oak herringbone floor to add warmth and, although I did not initially think I wanted curtains in the living room, I realised it felt too cold without them. But they are unfussy and neutral, and so enhance the feeling of simplicity.
It is a very intuitive process. We already had the artwork by Ethan Cook and, during the renovation project, I had an idea of where I wanted it to go but was not sure it would quite work. In the end, it is as if it was made for the spot, and it definitely transforms the space and gives it a more contemporary feel. The other pieces are from artists that I have found and gotten to know on Instagram. Simone Polk has the most stunning home, so she has been an inspiration in many ways, and I just love the simplicity of Sé’s work.
In many ways I think working for so many years in fashion honed my attention to detail and obsession with quality. I don’t want to settle for something that is not quite right – I think we tried over 30 different neutral shades before settling on the colour scheme. At the same time, I think it has also taught me to make clear decisions. If I don’t like it I will know straight away and be able to move on to find something else.
I am not in the slightest sentimental, so I am not attached to buildings or items. Home for me is a space that feels comfortable and welcoming, and where I can enjoy spending time with my husband and two daughters. I love how my home looks but nothing is too precious – I find it sad when you can’t enjoy a space for fear of messing it up.
There is usually a fair amount of going back and forth to activities, as the girls do ballet and figure skating respectively, as well as horse riding. We also enjoy spending time in our house in Surrey, so head out there most weekends in spring and summer when the weather is nice.
I opt for darker tones of neutrals (no surprise there). So dark greys, navy etc. I prefer introducing ‘colour’ through accessories or items such as brass lamps and textured marble.
I love interiors but as my approach is more ‘step by step’, I am not sure I feel quite ready to pursue this in any professional capacity. But I guess time will tell. It definitely is an area that I am very passionate about, so you should never say never.