The happy house: At home with fashion designer Emma Hill

Fashion designer Emma Hill’s London home is as playful as her covetable handbags.

at home with Emma Hill
A flashing vintage-style fairground sign, designed for a Mulberry catwalk show (Emma used to be the fashion house’s creative director), adds a sense of fun to the dining room. Emma’s artworks include gifts from friends and have been collected over many years. The dining table is from knoll.com; the Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld figurines are from luciekaas.com. Image: Megan Taylor

You don’t often spot a bubble-gum-pink front door inspired by the children’s book character Barbapapa – complete with googly eyes – let alone in West London’s swanky Holland Park. But as the home’s owner Emma Hill, founder of luxury handbag brand Hill and Friends, says, ‘Life can be too serious!’

Emma Hill
Emma in front of her home in West London. The door is painted in Flamingo Fun 2 by Dulux. The googly eyes were a gift from her business partner Georgia Fendley. Emma says, ‘My front door causes lots of local amusement – at Christmas I add a beard and at Halloween it’s horns. People are always stopping to take photos’. Image: Megan Taylor

Inside the Georgian house that Emma shares with her son Hudson, 13, and French bulldog Bleecker, the fun doesn’t stop at the door. There are more cartoon characters – Snoopy phones and a giant Miffy rabbit lamp – a bright pink laundry room, neon signs, whimsical porcelain and covetable art, plus fashion collections that chart Emma’s career. 

at home with Emma Hill
Bleecker sits on an Oscar sofa from scp.co.uk. Its classic style is juxtaposed with a Castiglioni Flos floor lamp (flos.com) and vintage zebra rug. A beaded rainbow cushion from rockettstgeorge.co.uk and an alphabet cushion from jonathanadler.com were presents from Emma’s friends. She saw the artworks in a New York gallery 20 years ago. Image: Megan Taylor

Standout one-off items have been impeccably curated and colour-blocked with trademark aplomb. ‘Things have to be the real deal but always high mixed with low – a Hockney print next to a Mr Men figurine, a tuxedo jacket worn with denim, dark walls contrasted with light. To me, that is perfection.’

at home with Emma Hill
White shelves display some of Emma’s favourite porcelain treasures, including a skull by tedmuehling.com wearing a seletti.it crown. She says, ‘Mum was a printmaker and ceramicist, Dad was a mathematician. Both had a massive influence on me – I am driven by a need for both maximalism and order. Colour blocking displays help calm the collections.’ Image: Megan Taylor

Having studied fashion design in London, Emma spent 14 years in New York at brands including Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs, designing everything from ‘sharp monochrome suits and stilettos, to slogan tops and glitter roller skates’.

at home with Emma Hill
The bespoke laundry room, in floor-to-ceiling neon pink, was made and lacquered by Emma’s joiner Mark Dayman (mdaymandesigns.co.uk). The reclaimed mini butler sink features a mixer tap from vola.com. Image: Megan Taylor

Returning to London, she joined Mulberry in 2007 and, as its creative director, was credited with turning it into the UK’s most covetable designer handbag brand, receiving a CBE for services to British fashion in 2012. After leaving, she launched Hill and Friends in 2015 with Georgia Fendley and has again defined a new standard in handbags – classic styling with a generous dose of fun, value and warmth. 

at home with Emma Hill
Dark walls (painted in Railings by farrow-ball.com) offset the giant reproductions from nationalgallery.co.uk. Boy On Sofa is by David Hockney. A mid-century Knoll rosewood sideboard (regenerationnyc.com) displays many of Emma’s favourite pieces – including a charcoal clay figurine from a small New York gallery and a Napoleon mash-up plaster sculpture from a friend. A porcelain owl (tedmuehling.com) sits on the fireplace. Image: Megan Taylor

‘In New York, life was about work, studio living and dancing. In London, home is at the centre of everything. I love nothing more than cooking for and spending time with all my favourite people. My parents measured success on how you were valued as a person – that has kept me grounded.’

at home with Emma Hill
The whitewashed master bedroom is punctuated with bold pops of colour and gifts from friends including a
spotty artwork by Yuske and a personalised ‘Miss Hill’ cushion. Image: Megan Taylor
at home with Emma Hill
Emma’s accessories closet is a feast for the eyes, full of bold colours and prints including silver shoes from Francesco Russo, a tiger-print Mulberry pair that Emma designed and Tabitha Simmons leopard-print ankle boots. They are displayed alongside striking bags from hillandfriends.com. Image: Megan Taylor

Shop the look

Steal Emma’s style with a pick ’n’ mix of quirky and classic

Fornasetti candle, £495, libertylondon.com 

 

Brass chandelier, £479, padlifestyle.com 

Floor light, £300, tomdixon.net 

Chair, £375, conranshop.co.uk 

Neon light, £70, amara.com 

Side table, £59, houseology.com 

Rug, £699, modern-rugs.co.uk 

Lamp, £67.99, wayfair.co.uk

Jackie O and Elton John wooden dolls, from £38 each, selfridges.com 

Gnome, £28, pamono.co.uk 

Cushion, £98, jonathanadler.com 

Discover more at hillandfriends.com, or @hillandfriends on Instagram

Report by Ali Heath. Styling by Nicole Gray. Shopping edit compiled by Charlotte Page.