Model home: Sarah Doukas reveals her stylish London home

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Sarah Doukas, founder of Storm, has an eye for beauty (she famously discovered Kate Moss). But is the house where she started her empire as 'fashion-forward' as you'd expect?

A pale green front door separates Sarah Doukas' home from a leafy south London street lined with neat picket fences and family-sized Mercedes. Through the door, and a tunnel of natural light guides visitors down the hallway towards the kitchen, and beyond this, to an inviting decked garden, where a discreet water feature keeps a steady background rhythm. "Chaos reigns in my life!" Doukas announces, as she sweeps towards the living room on vertiginous patent shoe-boots. I wonder which dictionary she consulted for her definition of chaos.

Just minutes past 9am on a crisp Tuesday morning, and freshly prepared meatballs stand to cool on a spotless kitchen counter, whipped-up from scratch between conference calls to the office; Doukas' granddaughter is dressed for a trip to the park, and there is the distinct waft of recently aired washing. Meanwhile, the lady herself looks like she has just stepped off a film set. Personally, the ordeal of crossing the river at rush hour, and locating a pair of matching socks for the journey, seemed like an impressive feat of self-discipline. But then, with three daughters – Noelle, 28, Genevieve, 16, Poppy 10 – a sprawling farm in the New Forest to maintain, and a highly demanding business to contend with, Doukas' relationship with multi-tasking might differ somewhat from my own. Founder of Storm Models, Doukas, 52, was running her fledgling agency from this very house when she famously scouted a 14-year-old Kate Moss at JFK airport, some 20 years ago. Since signing Moss, Doukas has added the likes of Carla Bruni and Lily Cole to her books. And while her home is as slick as one might expect from a leading figure in the fashion industry, this is clearly a family pad first and foremost, as implied by an extensive display of handmade figurines. "What is that?" Doukas gasps, surveying a lucid plaster of Paris statue, as if seeing it for the first time. "God knows what that's meant to... oh yes, it's a leaping dolphin. Of course!"

And then there is 10-year-old Poppy's bedroom. Here a small bed is barely visible beneath a tsunami of teddy bears, and behind it, a graphic 10-foot palm tree, looming from a sandy shore. "The wallpaper's a little quirky. My husband Tim found it on the internet. Poppy actually wanted clouds." The ingredients of Doukas' own bedroom – an ornate 18th-century gold mirror and chandelier, carved Simon Thorn bed and Andrew Martin horn side table, with a backdrop of delicate cream birdcage print – courtesy of Nina Campbell – is a less vivid, yet equally dramatic, visual feast.

The ground floor is the result of 25 years of continuous home improvement, to which Doukas is a self-declared addict ("The neighbours think I'm personally responsible for increased planning restrictions in the area"). One recent addition is the "indoor/outdoor garden", an area of laid decking and bamboo, masterminded by her husband. "I came home one day, and Tim had rallied a group of men from the local pub. I'm not exactly sure what went on, but they had demolished my garden. They'd literally taken away all my favourite things. I could have killed them!" The garden, it becomes clear, is not the only place where Doukas' things "vanish". But this is part-and-parcel of the domestic arrangement. "Here, you have two people with opposing ideas of how to live. I like people, clutter, things, whereas Tim likes order." To illustrate the point, she marches back towards the living area. "Take this room," she says, pointing towards a row of shelves lined with ornaments and smiling family portraits. "Things

have inexplicably disappeared from here. I used to have an antiques stall in Paris, and collected the most wonderful pieces. Well, I daren't put any of them out anymore, for fear my husband will confiscate them the moment I turn my back." Tim – when not confiscating his wife's possessions – busies himself as an art director, and his "natural eye for composition" provides a neutral palette for Doukas' oddities. Creamy beige walls and nude carpets are offset by a single panel of rich Neisha Crosland design; splashes of colour leap from mismatching Moroccan candle holders and a plum-purple Paul Smith sofa. There's a decadent Thirties lamp here, an antique harp there, all under the warm fuzz of mismatching light fittings. This is Doukas' touch: design pieces spliced with one-off finds. As she prepares for a meeting at her office, it is time to leave.

Short of peering under her bed, every effort has been made to locate evidence of the reigning "chaos" to which Doukas referred. There was none to be found. But that at least settles one thing: the only addition this place needs is a leading English dictionary. Good job Christmas is on its way.

Get the look

Wallpaper, 'Birdcage Walk' by Nina Campbell, £39 per roll, osborneandlittle.com

Candlestick, 'Skimmer Fin', IKEA, £7.99, ikea.com

Chair, 'Side Chair' by Harry Bertoia, from £290.71, arucana.com

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

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

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album