Interior Designer + Belgravia Pied-a-Terre = One Seriously Covetable Vacation Rental: Meet the Owner of Eccleston Square 2

11 Jul 18

Interior Designer + Belgravia Pied-a-Terre = One Seriously Covetable Vacation Rental: Meet the Owner of Eccleston Square 2

11 Jul 18

Stepping into Virginia Howard’s relaxed Eccleston Square apartment feels like coming home, although it’s a much chicer home than most–which is no surprise, considering her decorating work has won her a coveted position in House & Garden’s top 100 interior designers. Tasteful colourways and sumptuous fabrics are artfully punctuated with exquisite antiques and some very fetching paintings. And while every inch of it sings with immaculate taste, Virginia has maintained a comfortable, homely feel. We chat to the eminent designer about what she loves most about her home, her favourite haunts around Eccleston Square, and, of course, those Picassos!

One of our previous guests has said of your home, ‘Everywhere one looks, there is something to please the eye.’ What has inspired your approach to decorating it?

‘My home is a reflection of my work, and it’s really how I like to decorate – simple, with touches of colour. And as it is my home, it is very special to me. There’s a story to most things here.’


What do you love about being here?

‘The tranquillity. It’s a peaceful haven in a busy city [Eccleston Square is five minutes from Victoria Station], and it comes with the marvellous award-winning Eccleston Square Garden. I often sit out on the lovely terrace—there’s a table and chairs out there—and I also go out into the garden, which guests have use of when they stay here.’

Everything in your house is exquisite! What’s your favourite thing—if you can possibly choose?

‘I love everything. I love my Picassos, they’re very special—a present to myself after a very successful year. They’re from my favourite print shop on Ebury Street, a stone’s throw away. It’s next to one of my favourite frock shops, Tomasz Starzewski. They’re all on that little parade. I have some lovely paintings in the bedroom from when we were children and we lived in France, in Provence for a few years, and some others from an old friend, the late Harry Holcroft. My bathroom is very special, too. And my pride and joy was making my little laundry area off the kitchen.’

Where did you find all these beautiful things?

‘Lots of things are designed by me – the large pouffe and the Perspex table are my designs. Some of it is inherited. The oak bench I bought in Spencer Swaffer Antiques in Arundel—it was one of the first pieces I ever bought. The carved elephants are from Kenya, where we used to go on holiday. And I adore my geraniums which I bring with me from the country. They’re a very grand colour, bred at Waddesdon Manor estate, Jacob Rothschild’s pile.’


Do you enjoy hosting with Ivy?

‘Yes! I have a daily help who comes and cleans up. They look after things immaculately. I love my books—I leave all of them out for guests. I usually let my home in the summer when I’m not in London. I also let it at Christmas, and the odd time when I’m away on holiday. It’s very convenient.’

What are your best-loved haunts in the area?

Elizabeth Street is wonderful for shopping, but Pimlico Road is my favourite because it has all the decorating shops. That’s only five minutes away. And it has a marvellous farmers’ market on Saturdays, with all the organic food. There is a great florist, too. And it’s so close to the exhibitions here!’


How about your go-to local restaurant?

Oliveto on Elizabeth Street. Mario, the owner, is an old friend of mine, and he opened around 25 years ago. Also the Daylesford farm shop on Pimlico Road has a lovely café. And on Ebury Street, there’s a Peggy Porschen cake shop.’

What do you most enjoy about living in Belgravia?

‘I was in Knightsbridge before, and I find that Eccleston Square is much more like London used to be. There’s always someone around–a cross-generation of people, activity and stuff going on. There’s a sense of community here. It has a real down-to-earth feel, with the garden square and families out walking their dogs. It’s a wonderful place to be.’


Eccleston Square 2 is available for bookings! Click here for more information

Further reading

Quintessentially English


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