Superior Interiors

Ronnie Truss


Ronnie Truss trained as a chef and is now the managing director of BGR, the restaurant group with an annual turnover of more than £70m which includes Fish!, the award- winning Bank, and Zander, all located in London.

In the past we've only used interior designers for specifics like, say, soft furnishings. Somehow, though, if you do the rest yourself, there's always something you miss. It's usually the mundane things that cause the most grief - you end up thinking, "Why didn't we put in more plug sockets?"

When we bought our current family home, my wife Michelle and I were determined to avoid the same mistakes, plus we wanted to make sure the interior style complimented its architecture - it's a 1930'x house built in a retro style. I'd actually sounded out two interior designers before i spoke to Gordon Russell. Originally, we planned to let another disgner work on the rest of the house, leaving just the kitchen to Gordon - he's designed a restaurant we'd bought so i knew his craftsmanship was great. As soon as he saw the house and started talking about its potential, though, it became obvious that the whole project should be his.

He's our sort of age and, like us, he's married with two kids, which may help to explain why he's good at getting inside our heads and taking ideas we've had just that one stage further. In the kitchen, for example, I'd already chosen a big state of the art American fridge as a feature of the room, but Gordon used its door handles as a motif and echoed it on the cupboards. And he was happy to use classic materials such as granite and maple; who wants a room that's so fashionable, it's dated by the time it's finished? Above all, the kitchen functions incredibly efficiently - and I trained as a chef, so I'd really notice if it didn't.

Gordon has had some brilliant ideas - ones we could never have come up with. In the Bathroom, for example, he embedded the showerhead, so that the water appears like magic, straight out of the ceiling. he also designed some incredible pieces of furniture for us: and ebony wardrobe and a tan leather sofa that can seat eight comfortably. And they're all one-offs, which is a thrill in itself.

It hasn't all been roses, though - where strong personalities are involved the off run-in is inevitable. It's how you handle them that counts. Michelle wasn't happy with a couple of elements in the finished study, so Gordon redesigned them without fuss and now it's her favourite room. And when we did disagree, he was usually right. He was convinced that marble would work in our bathroom; I thought it would look too car-dealerish. In the end; he used a matt black marble that's very deco and elegant, and the finished look is just what the house deserves.

What Gordon has created is a space that's great to live in, where every room is different but the overall effect is timeless. We wanted to be really involved in the redesign of our house and we have been. But Gordon is so good at finding solutions that I reckon we could have gone away for six months and the whole thing would still have got done.