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
Arts and Entertainment
Reimagined: Gwyneth Paltrow and Toni Collette in the film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma
books
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
Cannes 2015Dheepan, film review
Sport
sport
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine