Interior Designer

107/ Trade Secrets: Charlee Allan-Quinton

For our first Trade Secrets of the year, we’re thrilled to talk to Charlee Allan Quinton, interior designer and responsible for the original creative direction of the beautiful Margate House.

We had the pleasure of stepping inside her South East London home which, as her residential projects, is full of character, colour, and hosts a vibrant art collection featuring Partnership Editions artworks.

Here she shares her design motto, her dream project, and her secrets to collecting interesting art and objects.

 
 
 
 

 How do you approach a residential project vs a hospitality project? 

To me, a hospitality project is one that you can really go for. It’s a chance to create an impact that needs to both resonate with the guest from the moment they step foot in the door, but most importantly it needs to stick in their mind when they leave and make them long to return. 

When I approach a residential project, functionality plays an important role as well as aesthetic. Ultimately I still favour a beautiful and bold space, but with residential projects I tend to just pair back the scheme ever so slightly so that the space works seemlessly for a client day to day, with regards to both colour and practicality. 

A hospitality project gives you the chance to design a space that a guest wouldn't necessarily choose to live with day in day out, but for the time that they are engaged, it gives a real sense of escapism.

 
 
 

What are your favourite tips to inject colour in your interiors? 

My favourite tip is the introduction of a stripe into a space. The humble stripe is so open-ended and versatile and works with all styles of design, for all genders and can create both subtle and impactful detail. 

Another tip for impactful use of colour is looking at spaces that can boldly handle colour but not necessarily where you might expect to see it. A bold, solid colour inside a cupboard, on a ceiling or on a staircase is a way of introducing colour without having to commit to an entire room.

 
 
 
 

Where do you source the art and objects in your projects? 

I have always been a keen collector of ‘things’. Whether that’s jewellery or furniture or crockery. There is very rarely a trip, whether at home or abroad, when I don’t return home with lots of new bits and bobs for my collection.

Markets of all shapes and sizes are always exciting chances to find new pieces, I also like to source object from auctions, concept stores and restoration yards. Another handy way to source pieces are Whatsapp groups with dealers and designers, this way I’m constantly in the loop and often spot the perfect piece that I might not have otherwise come across. 

 
 
 
 

What design motto do you live by? 

It might be cliche but the motto that ‘fashions come and go, but style lasts forever’ is the truth. You can jump on a fashion and you may create a space that looks beautiful for a short time, but if you truly embrace your own personal style and design your space with conviction and confidence, you will create a space that stands the test of time and you won't tire of.

 
 

What would be your dream project? 

My dream project would be a country manor set in the middle of the Scottish Highlands or a masseria set amongst olive groves in Puglia - if Heckfield Place, Los Enamorados Ibiza and Masseria Potenti had a baby we'd probably be along the right lines!

 
 

 
 

If you could have any painting in the world in one of your interiors, which would it be?

Jadé Fadojutumi's 'Jellyfish is a preferable state of mind'. The palette, texture and energy is the dream and would be the perfect piece to create a scheme around.

 
 
 

A MARGATE QUICKFIRE

Favourite local spot for interiors shopping in Margate? L’Absurde Objet, a brilliant concept store in the centre of Margate that curates the most curious collection of furniture, art, homewares and perfumes. Kristin, the stores owner, let me raid the basement in the days leading up to the opening of Margate House and explore her collection
to style the hotel. It was a trove of reclaimed marble pieces, vintage French furniture waiting to be re-lacquered, and beautiful art and glassware - incredible. 

Straw on Columbia Road always has a beautiful collection of baskets and ceramic works that I can never resist. The baskets sit so beautifully in a room when hung up high with wide velvet ribbons and are the perfect way to hold dried flowers. I keep my dried wedding bouquet and flowers from the birth of both of our children in mine. 

Favourite place to eat/drink in Margate? A tiny family run Italian restaurant called Bottega Caruso on Broad Street. My husband and I got married in Puglia and from the first time I visited it took me back to the perfection of authentic, rustic, Italian cooking by modest, humble and talented staff; a rarity. 

If Margate was an artwork it would be? Studio Lenca’s “Arbolito” - Vibrant, proud, empowering. I was lucky enough to add one of the works to my collection just before his 2023 Soho Revue show and everyday it reminds me how empowering the design process is. 

How has Margate influenced the styling of Margate House? I designed Margate House to be a space that works for all people and in all seasons, a cosy bolt hole that celebrates Margate in all of its curious and creative forms, all the while evoking a sense of ‘I’ve been here before’. I think that’s true of Margate as a destination - we remember visiting a long time ago when things were very different but now we return and it feels like a lot has changed but you’re at home as soon as you walk through the door. 

I chose curiosities and pieces that evoke a sense of past, paired with modern touches - a 1920’s glass haberdashery counter filled with brightly coloured contemporary coffee table books and literary classics, modern glass jars with traditional pick and mix sweets, high gloss red side tables with reclaimed terracotta pots. It celebrated everything fun and charming about Margate's current creativity whilst reminiscing of Margate from days gone by.

 
 
 
 

FOLLOW CHARLEE

@charleeallanquinton | caqdesign.com | @margatehousehotel

Margate House photography by Boz Gagovski & Charlee's home photography by Freya Llewellyn-Smith



Charlee's Curation

  • Precipice
    Precipice

    “Shades of pink always provide a calming moment for me in any space or artwork and the way Mary has created little calming moments in a sea of blue chaos here is something I really enjoy.”

    Vendor
    Mary West
    Regular price
    £8,500.00
    Sale price
    £8,500.00
    Unit price
    per 
  • Sleeping Rock Four Print
    Sleeping Rock Four Print

    “I bought a piece of Sophie’s work ‘Studio Anemone’ last year and found comfort in the contrasting colours. When I saw ‘Sleeping Rock’ and Sophie’s explanation of the piece as a space for the woman to rest in, it rang true as a woman and mother. I chosen it in the vibrant red and it gives me a sense of energy when I look at it throughout the day, sometimes in moments when I need permission to rest or a little energy lift.”

    Vendor
    Sophie Glover
    Regular price
    £250.00
    Sale price
    £250.00
    Unit price
    per 
  • Alcea in white
    Alcea in white

    “These organic ceramic forms are enchanting and explore natural materiality beautifully.”

    Vendor
    Lucy Whitford
    Regular price
    £250.00
    Sale price
    £250.00
    Unit price
    per 
  • September 13
    September 13

    “Phillips abstract works always evoke a sense of light and dark, happy and sad for me and this piece with its vertical stacking does just that.”

    Regular price
    £2,000.00
    Sale price
    £2,000.00
    Unit price
    per 
  • Children of Tethys Sold
    Children of Tethys

    “I could lose myself in Colette’s work for hours and some of her works hang next to my bed - the dreamy, mystical landscapes and soft palettes are just beautiful.”

    Regular price
    Sold
    Sale price
    £3,500.00
    Unit price
    per 

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