Mission interior design: Adventurer Ben Fogle goes into soft furnishings

Why Fogle is the new face of home shop OKA

"If I wasn’t a TV presenter, I would be an interior designer," Ben Fogle informed me earlier this month. Really? The same Fogle who rowed across the Atlantic and pounded on foot across the Antarctic? Apparently so. Confirmed this week, the intrepid explorer is the latest ambassador for the home furnishings store OKA.

Search for the perfect furniture with The Independent house and home database, powered by mydeco. 

Following in the well-heeled footsteps of Jemma Kidd and Jane Churchill, Fogle is partnering with OKA to unveil their new Spring collection (including very "fresh" gloss art deco voyage furniture) this week. Yet in truth, this collaboration between an adventurer and a fabric shop is not as incompatible as first envisaged. Fogle has soft furnishings in his blood and OKA is renowned for its exotic collections sourced from Far East trips. His mother, the actress Julia Foster, runs a decorative antique business specializing in painted Scandinavian pieces from the 18th and 19th century and his aunt Alex Adams runs The Cloth Shop on Portobello Road which sells sought-after antique Swedish rag rugs, cushions, Indian silk shawls and Navajo blankets.

Fogle's interior style is inspired from his travels making him a natural fit for OKA, a brand as famous for their Chinese wooden trunks as their stunning Indian-inspired Ikat fabrics.

"I love design and eclectic styles from different eras and countries," says Fogle. "I don't like conformity in design. I'm quite eclectic and OKA's design range seems to work well with things you’ve inherited or found on wonderful holidays or travels."

His Notting Hill house is a shrine to his adventures to remote corners of the world; "I usually pick up something either small or useful for my home that reflects my travels. My favourite place for shopping is Peru and Bolivia. I have a large collection of antique Ponchos which are incredible."

Time recuperating at home is understandably precious to the explorer who is currently planning his next expedition, a 2,500 journey across deserts, rainforests and mountains in Australia. He says of Hastens beds which are top of his wishlist, "They are incredible. I once slept in one and promised that I would one day treat myself. They are eye-wateringly expensive, but what price to you put on a good night’s sleep?"

When not trekking across remote lands, Fogle likes to host parties in his kitchen in London. "My wife and I live in this light, spacious room and we love sharing dinner with friends and family around the big table." What does he advise for hosting at home? "Be relaxed and fun with your décor. Prepare as much as possible in advance so that you can enjoy spending time with your guests when they arrive instead of setting the table or cooking."

Fogle isn't one for minimalism or chintz; he's into clashing colours and mix and match furniture. "If my house was burning down, I would try to salvage my colourful Squint sofa and my elephant painting by Olly and Suzi." Like Fogle, British nature artists Olly and Suzi trek to wild areas for their work; their art sometimes feature animal paw prints and bite-marks.

Since December, it's been all change in the Fogle household. He became a father for the first time when his wife Marina gave birth to their son Ludo. "The nursery is decorated in neutral colours," he says. "It is dominated by the most enormous felt map of the world with hundreds of Velcro animals and country names. Ludo will be able to track my adventures from his cot. I hope he likes maps."

Annie Deakin is Editor of furniture and interior design website mydeco.com.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas