Looking at designer Sally Wilkinson’s London apartment, it’s difficult to believe that when she and her husband moved in during the pandemic, they had little more than several suitcases of clothes between them. The Chelsea flat, a compact 800 square feet, is layered with art, antiques, and botanical motifs galore. Its cozy charm is the sort that typically comes from years, if not decades, of considered curation.
And while the flat is the quintessence of old-school British hominess (or as her London neighbors might say, homeliness), Sally isn’t British. Born in Texas, she worked with an Atlanta design firm for eight years before she and her husband made the leap to London for a job opportunity on his end. After living in temporary housing for several months, they found this flat.
“We were lucky that it has excellent bones architecturally—the big windows and tall ceilings make the rooms feel much larger than they are,” Sally says. “When I walked in and saw the light in the living room, I knew we had found our home.”
Sally didn’t have a particular style in mind when she started decorating her new home, other than to “make it feel collected and warm,” she says. “It has been fun to slowly collect things I love and see how they all interact and work together.”
She made collecting art a priority, “as it is impactful and practical to invest in and will always move from house to house.” On trips back to the States (she returns frequently, as she has clients on both sides of the Atlantic), she’ll retrieve a favorite artwork or two from storage. “It is nice to have some things around that have been with us for while.” Besides, she adds, “I tend to sell things right off the walls to clients and friends, so there is always a new hole to fill.”
Not that Sally minds. “I am constantly moving things around. It is ever-evolving; I am not sure it will ever be ‘done.’ I suppose that’s the curse of being an interior designer—never quite satisfied!”
As her home evolved, so did her aesthetic. “I will say that living in London has impacted my personal design style, and I have surprised myself in some ways,” Sally notes. “I find I am braver with colors and patterns. and I wanted this flat to celebrate this chapter of our lives and the adventure we’re on. And if and when we return to the U.S., we will have more than a few suitcases in tow!”