The Aesthete: Sophie Hulme talks more personal taste

The designer concludes her list of likes with baked scallops in Devon, flea markets in Paris and Italian wine in Islington

Sophie Hulme at home in London
Sophie Hulme at home in London | Image: Trent McMinn

My style icon is Françoise Hardy. There’s something very cool about the way she looks. She’s beautiful in a slightly boyish way; even when wearing quite basic pieces she looks really chic and effortless.

The last meal that truly impressed me was at the Anchorstone Café in Dittisham, Devon. We spent a lot of time sailing around here when I was growing up, and this café is right on the water, so it’s really pretty. I had delicious scallops baked with breadcrumbs and garlic – everything is ridiculously fresh. Manor Street, Dittisham, Dartmouth TQ6 0EX (01803-722 365; 

A facial with blue light therapy at Debbie Thomas
A facial with blue light therapy at Debbie Thomas

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Donald Judd, particularly his woodblock prints that come in series of 10 or 12 – I’d love a whole set. His use of colour and space is really clever.

The best gift I’ve received recently was a print by the architectural photographer David Grandorge, which my husband, Ted, bought me for Christmas. It’s one of his early pieces featuring interesting buildings in east London. It’s very simple but incredibly beautiful; he has an amazing eye. 


If I didn’t live in London, the city I would live in is Paris. I go a lot for work but when I’m there for weekends with my husband it’s a totally different experience. I’d really like to get my French back on track. I often visit the Saint-Ouen flea market for the antiques, and I particularly like the Paul Bert Surpette section – it has some of the most interesting dealers. Empreintes is a great ceramics and craft shop in the Marais where you can discover really interesting pieces. Maison Plisson is a wonderful food store with a restaurant; it has the most amazing products, from jams to juices, which are sourced all over France. And there’s Restaurant Pertinence – a fairly new place with a Japanese chef but French food; I love that combination of the Asian influence with all the French flavours. Empreintes, 5 Rue de Picardie, 75003 ( Maison Plisson, 93 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 ( Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, Avenue de la Porte de Clignancourt, 75018 ( Restaurant Pertinence, 29 Rue de l’Exposition, 75007 ( 

The best book I’ve read in the past year is Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. It’s about a man who goes to find his old professor, who has a terminal illness. It’s an incredibly simple and honest book that reminds you about what’s important in life.

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

My favourite room in my house is the painting room my husband designed for me. It has skylights and opens out onto a patio where we are going to have lots of plants in pots. It’s my space to have some quiet time and do my thing, and it was my one stipulation when we remodelled our home.

The people I rely on for personal grooming and wellbeing are hairdresser Lesley McIntyre, who has a salon in Holborn and does a really easy, natural cut; Debbie Thomas, who does facials with a lot of technology – it’s like going into a spaceship, but she is brilliant with my sensitive skin; and Heather Gibson, an osteopath who has changed the shape of my back. I spent years having massages for a really bad neck but Heather has cured all that. Debbie Thomas, 25 Walton Street, London SW3 (020-7118 9000;; facials from £120. Heather Gibson, 07986-456 309;; from £90. Lesley McIntyre, 14 West Central Street, London WC1 (020-7836 6188;; cut and blow-dry £100. 

Singer Françoise Hardy
Singer Françoise Hardy | Image: Getty Images

In my fridge you’ll always find lots of antipasti and cheese from a great Italian deli called Monte’s, which is just around the corner from our place in Islington, and a bottle of wine, such as the Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, from The Sampler, a local shop that sells fantastic wine. And, having just had a baby, we normally have some comfort food – casseroles, cottage pie, meatballs – from my mother. Monte’s Italian Delicatessen, 23 Canonbury Lane, London N1 (020-7354 4335; The Sampler, 266 Upper Street, London N1 (020-7226 9500;; Avignonesi, £27.50. 

An indulgence I would never forgo is underfloor heating in our bathroom. It’s so nice on a cold day. Our baby loves it, too, but the biggest fan is my beagle, Alan; every morning I find him spatchcocked across the floor with a very warm tummy.


The last music I downloaded was To Build a House by Cosima – a young singer-songwriter I discovered through my senior designer. She has one of those beautiful soul voices, and this particular song sounds like an instant classic – I have it on repeat. 

If I weren’t doing what I do, I’d be a painter. I’m not sure I’d be good enough, but I would love to paint and draw as a career.