Being drawn to Scandinavian-inspired spaces and carefully curated pared-back interiors, London-based Cate St Hill chooses beautifully understated items from Finnish Design Shop. The six picks fit her design ethos of simple design as a backdrop for enhancing everyday life.
CATE ST HILL is a design and interiors writer, blogger, stylist and consultant based in London. We love to regularly catch up with her updates on the on-going makeover of her home, where she successfully prioritizes simplicity, sustainability and designs built to last. In our new series, design influencers around the world share with us their favorite pieces of design – welcome along!
Hello Cate, thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Could you please briefly introduce yourself and tell us about the path that led you to where you are today?
“I’m an interiors writer, stylist and designer based in south-east London. I initially studied architecture but my passion has always been for interiors. On my blog, I share inspiration for simple living and relaxed, everyday homes, with a focus on sustainability and design built to last. Instead of buying into fleeting, new trends, I believe we should invest in how a space feels to be in. I’m fascinated with how our homes can become our inner sanctuaries, soothing our souls and uplifting our wellbeing.”
“Good design for me means function and form, it needs to look beautiful but it also needs to work and make living feel easy.”
Do you have a dream creative project or collaboration? Can you share with us your vision?
“As a freelance creative you’re always having to reinvent yourself and expand your portfolio. I would love to design a product in collaboration with a brand, putting my ethos for simple, honest design for everyday living to practice. When designing interiors, I’m always thinking about how someone might use a space and what their experience will be like, so it would be wonderful to connect that thinking to an object someone would get enjoyment out of every day.”
What does good design mean to you? What makes a design classic?
“Good design for me means function and form, it needs to look beautiful but it also needs to work and make living feel easy. It’s thinking carefully about the end user and designing an object or piece of furniture from their point of view, not to inflate the designer’s ego. A design classic endures if it’s honest, well-crafted and made with care and quality. The most celebrated design classics all have something in common – the idea has been condensed down into an instantly recognisable form, superfluous of unnecessary details. The best design classics can cross eras and defy trends, looking at home in any style of space, whether it’s minimalist or maximalist.”
Cate's 6 top picks from Finnish Design Shop:
1. For everyday use
“I really think good design should be appreciated and used every day, not just saved for best. I get daily pleasure from using my Teema plates, bowls and cups from Iittala. They were designed by Kaj Franck in 1952 and are still one of Iittala’s most popular ranges today. Mix and match the colours to create a contemporary look – I love combining the grey with the cream.”
2. For a healthy home
“Plants help improve air quality and studies have shown that they also help reduce stress levels and soothe wellbeing. Add a few house plants to this modern Plant Box from Ferm Living to instantly brighten up the home.”
3. Wavy treasure
“This organic-shaped Aalto vase by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto is a design classic. It’s one of the objects I’d save if my house was burning down. Designed in 1937, its fluid shape was inspired by the Finnish landscape. The curves of the vase help hold individual stems in shape to create dynamic floral displays.”
4. Coffee table for a tidy home
“Natural materials help give tactility and texture to a space. Menu’s Turning Table is made of white oak with a beautiful soft grain. I love how you can hide things in the coffee table, perfect for creating a tidy, organised home.”
5. Iconic Danish lighting
“Good lighting helps set the mood – I like to have lots of lamps on to create a cosy ambience. The AJ Mini lamp was designed by legendary Danish architect Arne Jacobsen for the SAS Royal Hotel in Copenhagen. It’s got a sculptural cone-shaped shade that helps diffuse the light.”
6. Storage solution in Swedish style
“The String shelving system was designed in 1949. I love how flexible and adaptable it is – you can create endless configurations for any room in the house. I have a white String Pocket shelf in my kitchen, and it’s perfect for displaying small objects and favourite books.”
Text: Silvia Filippelli Images: Manufacturers