Entering Alice Palmer’s house in north London is a little like taking a peek inside her mind; designed entirely by her, from the kitchen extension – which she deftly coordinated without an architect – to the palette of primary colours that’s woven throughout the property, every element is perfectly in tune with her own design sensibilities. As the founder of Alice Palmer & Co, which specialises in lampshades and homeware, she spends her days cooking up beautiful designs for other people’s homes – so it stands that her own space would be just as expertly curated.
Ticking the cosy and fun boxes in one, the designer has combined treasured antiques with playful colours and prints to create a true house of fun. Think sunshine yellow walls in the hallway, a hand-painted red-and-white striped fireplace in the sitting room (the perfect complement to her much-loved Rander Ceramic Stool), and her very own Alice Palmer lampshades strung from the ceiling in the kitchen. It’s in the latter that we gathered when Palmer kindly invited us over to discover her world. We asked her to answer a few quick-fire questions about her home truths, and this is what she said.
Workspace: I am so lucky to have found a studio space right at the end of my road (it was a stroke of luck; a friend was moving out of it at the same time I was looking for somewhere). We have now turned it into a shop that’s by-appointment-only as well, which is such an exciting step.
Dinner party game: I’m more ‘have a dance after dinner’, with some good music and friends. But I also love a game of Oh Hell or Perudo.
Dinner party guest list: Édith Piaf, to sing to us; Jaime Parladé, a Spanish interior designer whose work I am obsessed with; Quentin Blake, a favourite illustrator of mine; Frida Kahlo, I would love to see what outfit she would turn up in; Paul Newman, for a swoon; Joni Mitchell, a true female icon who, I think, would have some amazing stories; and Moira from Schitt's Creek – just for a laugh.
Ice breaker: Laughter is definitely the best ice breaker.
Fakeaway: I love to make my signature slow-cooked pulled pork with tacos, guacamole, salsa, spicy sweetcorn with Mexican cheese and black beans. Building your own tacos makes for such a relaxed (and delicious) meal.
Way to greet guests: A drink on arrival. I always have olives and antipasti laid out, and light scented candles.
Night in alone: I am quite a doer, so if there was anything that needed to be fixed around the house, this would be when it gets done. I love a late-night painting session or some pottery at my kitchen table.
Binge-watch TV series: The Handmaid’s Tale. Praise be.
Reading nook: The day bed in my kitchen. I designed it with my builder, mainly to store my children’s toys inside, but it makes for the perfect spot to relax and read.
Welcome home: It's always a joy for me to come home to a spotless house, but the best welcome is my children running to me for a hug.
Dance-around-the-kitchen song: ‘Emmylou’ by First Aid Kit. I can’t not sway along.
Framed photograph: I have a black-and-white posed family portrait up in our studio, which was taken at a Ralph Lauren event on a staged set. I see it every day at work. It’s very 1980s and makes me laugh.
House plant: I have lots of house plants (I would like to have more!). My favourites are geraniums, pelargoniums, money plants and blue star ferns. I love bunches of eucalyptus around the house, too.
Colour palette: For my interiors I gravitate towards terracotta and greens. I’m also a sucker for a stripe and think that there should always be something red in every room. For clothes, I love navy and red; navy is always flattering and red funks it up.
On your nightstand: My Alice Palmer & Co Moroccan Lamp Base with the Calico Box Pleat Lampshade, an Alice Palmer & Co Red Striped Tissue Box, and a small ceramic bowl I made.