If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of our aesthetic, you should probably look no further than our creative founder, Emma Sims-Hilditch. Emma worked alongside our co-founders John and Giles as they set up Neptune some twenty-seven years ago, styling the first shoots with favourite pieces from her own kitchen, and still today, advising on collections and colour palettes.
But Emma’s also an interior designer in her own right and now, with the publication of her first book, she can add author to her list of accomplishments. The Evolution of Home, English Interiors for a New Era is a coffee table hardback packed full of insightful design ideas, clever spatial planning, and inspiring colour schemes. ‘I wanted the book to be a compendium of great interior design ideas and details,’ explains Emma. ‘It’s a directory of design for classic and contemporary houses.’
The book focuses on nine city and country projects that Emma’s design company, Sims Hilditch, worked on, from a seaside cottage in Cornwall and a Knightsbridge townhouse, to a historic estate in North Yorkshire. Divided into chapters which reflect the way we live – Relaxing, Cooking, Working, Sleeping and so on – Emma shares her considered but practical approach to interior design (often mixing in Neptune classics with clients’ antiques and artworks) and explains how thoughtful touches can make a space feel special.
Whether she’s advising on a new collection for Neptune, or working on an interior design project for a client, Emma’s philosophy is clear: ‘every room has to sing and have a purpose and reason.’ This approach often means Emma and her team have to look for ways to improve a home’s adaptability to modern living, whether that’s better organisation or more informal entertaining opportunities. ‘I’m interested in the way homes have evolved and changed over time,’ says Emma. ‘I know from our own home, which we’ve lived in for over thirty years, that you can continue to evolve it as the way you live changes.’
Interior designer Kit Kemp, who wrote the foreword to the book, notes that Emma’s work takes on ‘a pared-back approach in order to create a look that combines the elegant feel of classic English houses with a more contemporary take on the practicalities of daily life.’ But as Emma herself reflects, the primary aim with any project has always been the same: ‘to create homes that make people feel happy.’ This new book allows us to see just how Emma achieves that.
The Evolution of Home, English Interiors for a New Era by Emma Sims-Hilditch with Giles Kime is published by Rizolli and is available to purchase on our website, at Waterstones, Bookshop.org and independent bookshops.
Photography by Simon Brown for Sims Hilditch