One of my favorite design books EVER, Modern English by Emily Todhunter and Katie Earl is a book to revisit often. The talented design duo share a diverse selection of projects that include contemporary townhomes, boutique hotels, restaurants, ski chalets, super yachts, country homes, grand heritage houses, private banks, contemporary new builds, and their own homes. Their projects are numerous and varied- and because discretion is an integral part of their business, quite a few have never been photographed or published. Modern English is divided into three sections: country, town, and abroad.
Todhunter and Earle are known for unpretentious discreet interiors (where budget does not appear to be an issue). Their style exemplifies a hard to quantify Englishness to its very core. I am not referring to what one might consider typical English, with chintzy florals, their bar is waaaay higher. Their laser focus is on how the client FEELS in their home, how one experiences each room, creating places of sanctuary and comfort. Their aesthetic is all about elegant solutions in the best taste possible- not showy, but unpretentious and discreet, yet super high end.
While many designers develop a signature look that tends to repeat itself throughout projects, these two clearly have a laser focus to their clients’ desires and needs. Clearly, they have earned the trust of their clients to work their magic. Enough gushing about how incredible Modern English is- let’s take a look at a few of their beautifully photographed projects:
Kitchen above and bedroom below are from the same Knightsbridge project for a couple with a bold aesthetic sense. These particular design challenges might have been a deal breaker for many- but clearly Todhunter and Earle thrive on challenges. In this home they successfully manipulated space to seem considerably larger than it is.
Knightsbridge home bedroom.
This magnificent Scottish home was purchased by a family moving from Switzerland. When Todhunter Earle Interiors started this project, the home was in a state of disrepair. As well, it is a listed building, so these two had their work cut out for them to update within national historical parameters. The outcome is worth purchasing the book to see- nobody balances heritage with modern living better than these two.
For this Chelsea project, Todhunter Earle Interiors combined two homes to create an expansive sense of scale and proportion. Gorgeous combinations of texture and color grace this interior. Outdoor spaces were designed as rooms. The resulting aesthetic honors history while infusing the modern freshness of today’s world and technology.
This dreamy Battersea property is a hidden oasis that is not visible from the street. It is accessed via a discreet archway between two homes, which leads to the gardens. Todhunter Earle Interiors planned both the interior and landscape architecture in tandem- to blend imperceptibly, maximizing the living space.
This castle in Ireland has been in the same family since 1614, and has been a long term project for Todhunter Earle Interiors.
I’m not sure words can even do justice to how incredibly talented this duo is. They share insights into pivotal factors and challenges encountered on each design journey along with design solutions. This one is a must-have for design professionals and non professionals alike. Every page turn inspires, and the variety and personalization of each project highlights how attuned Todhunter and Earl are to their clients’ needs and wants. Each project includes photographs*, stunning renderings by watercolorist Marianne Topham, and text by Helen Chislett, luxury design journalist/author of 20 books.
My only criticism of this book is,
Just kidding- seriously there’s not a SINGLE thing to not love about it!! On a scale of 1-10 I give it a 300. I can’t recommend it highly enough for yourself, your cocktail table, your tasteful friends. Order your copy here.
*Photography by Ray Main, Paul Massey, Andreas von Einsiedel, James Fennell, Alicia Taylor, Darren Chung.
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