Interior Design

10 design inspirations from Bernie de le Cuona

The founder of the eponymous luxury textile brand reveals her design secrets

de le Cuona
Photography/Jon Day
(Image credit: de la Cuona)

Having set up the de Le Cuona brand over two decades ago, Bernie de Le Cuona has become a go-to voice for elegance in fabric design.

A master in creating linens in exquisite African-inspired colorways and in using them to great effect in interior design, de Le Cuona has paved the way for these tonal natural materials in design.

Here's what inspires Bernie herself...

1. A designer I admire

de le Cuona

(Image credit: Getty Images/National Galleries of Scotland)

A textile designer I admire is Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh. 

The wife of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, her designs were not only in advance of their time, but a key feature in the 'Glasgow Style' of the 1890s. 

As well as textiles, she produced larger watercolors, like The Mysterious Garden (above).

2. The design rule to learn

de le Cuona

Photography/Jon Day

(Image credit: de la Cuona)

The design rule I advocate for decorating is to live with what feels right to you. 

Never be a slave to fashion or someone else’s look. 

3. My favorite fabric

de le Cuona

(Image credit: de le Cuona)

At the moment my favourite fabric is Pure 7 from my Pure organic linens at de Le Cuona

The design of this weave began with and is inspired by the bark of a tree. Woven from fine linen fibres, it is hand washed to become a heavy, yet elegant cloth that falls beautifully.

4. My everyday luxury

de le Cuona

(Image credit: Getty/NurPhoto)

An everyday luxury I can’t live without are my Apple AirPods. 

I listen to stories, music and podcasts on them every day. 

5. My go-to design store

de le Cuona

(Image credit: Claudy Jongstra)

Willer in Kensington is an interiors gallery selling the most perfectly realised selection 
of furniture, objects, lighting and tableware. 

The throws by Claudy Jongstra are irresistible

6. A young designer to know

de le Cuona

(Image credit: Charles Haupt)

A young South African industrial designer I’ve noted is Charles Haupt. 

I’ve bought his bronze Num Num dining table with a base that refers to the thorns on the tree. This collection was inspired by the South African shrub of the same name.

7. The design book of the moment

de le Cuona

(Image credit: Thames & Hudson)

A book I’ve recently read from cover to cover is Contemporary Design Africa by Tapiwa Matsinde. 

It presents the work of designers and craftspeople in a new light. 

8. A design object I love

de le Cuona

(Image credit: Ettore Sottass)

I’m very attached to a table lamp I’ve had for 30 years.

It’s the Pausania by Ettore Sottsass and was the first expensive design object I bought as a young adult.

9. My favorite garden design

de le Cuona

(Image credit: Getty/Wolfgang Kaehler)

The garden I love most is Kirstenbosch, a 
huge garden outside of Cape Town backed by Table Mountain. 

It’s all about woods and exotic plants that look like they should be extinct!

10. A visit worth taking

de le Cuona

(Image credit: Sausage Tree Safari Camp)

For memorable holidays I visit Sausage Tree Safari Camp in Zambia, based in the incredibly beautiful Lower Zambezi National Park.

Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.