Where I work: Emma Sims-Hilditch, interior designer

Emma Sims-Hilditch, founder of Sims Hilditch, is — like so many of us — looking forward to returning to the office. She spoke to Rosie Paterson about drawing inspiration from the countryside and why you should always have a tidy desk.

Emma Sims-Hilditch hasn’t always worked in interior design. Her career began in film production, working alongside the director Ridley Scott.

The shift happened when she relocated, with her husband and young children, from London to Wiltshire. Drawing inspiration from her new rural surroundings and an innate creative streak, Emma started making curtains at the kitchen table — where all good businesses are born — initially for herself, and then for friends and neighbours. Shortly after, she recognised a gap in the market for high quality, English country design. Fast-forward a few years: Sims Hilditch formally launched in 2009 and Emma has earned a justifiably glowing reputation for her contemporary approach to English country house style.

The interior designer now spends her days (pre-lockdown) meeting with clients and sourcing high-quality materials and furnishings. ‘Quality,’ she explains, ‘is at the heart of everything we do, so we believe it’s worth the investment.’

Emma is looking forward to welcoming customers back to her Cotswolds studio, The White Hart. It’s a Grade I listed, former pub, that, with her team’s help, she rescued and restored to former glory, in 2014. There’s also a large country estate in the North — which has been in the same family for more than 500 years — and a number of London-based projects to install, before the end of the year.

She spent the duration of lockdown working in Cornwall, moving from room to room depending on her mood. ‘It is a bright, calming space with lovely sea views, which is great for getting the creative juices flowing.’

The summerhouse in the garden proved one of her favourite spots. For those with no return to the office in sight, Emma recommends positioning a home office space away from any central family areas. Invest in good lighting — either a desk lamp or natural light — a supportive and comfortable chair and a solid desk, for optimum health and productivity.

Go to office uniform

I tend to favour a comfortably elegant style when I’m working which wouldn’t necessarily look out of place relaxing in the garden, or dining in a restaurant. I love a loose-fitting flowy blouse and some comfortable jeans, with nice trainers.

Work soundtrack

Classical music can be very calming and uplifting in equal measure, which is why it’s an excellent genre to maximise both productivity and creativity. I also love Jamie Cullum.

Messy desk or tidy desk?

I very much subscribe to the ‘organised desk, organised mind’ school of thought, so I would say tidy.

Best piece of career advice you’ve ever been given

Delegate! It’s so easy to get involved in every last aspect of a business, but it’s a real skill to recognise when you need to pass the buck to another member of your team. We all have different strengths, and it is important to let your team know that you appreciated theirs.

Your Instagram hero

We love Instagram and have two accounts — my personal and our business one. At the moment, I have a real appreciation for American designers. Two of my favourite accounts to follow are Studio McGee and Amber Interiors.

I also love to follow up-and-coming artists on Instagram — my daughters Betty and Daisy both use Instagram to sell their work. It is a very powerful tool.