Design Stories by Murude Katipoglu
In Conversation With

of Design

Words by Lucy Siddall

From Cyprus to the UK, a conversation on the importance of
interior design and the influence of heritage with Murude
Katipoglu from Design Stories.

Design Stories by Murude Katipoglu

Boathouse, Ewhurst Park.

Bold decisions come naturally to Cypriot-born Murude Katipoglu, who moved to the UK aged 17 to study Interior Design without speaking English fluently. Yet, underneath her determination and unwavering work ethic is a woman whose rural heritage has given birth to an aesthetic rooted in clean, sophisticated design, steeped in the raw beauty of natural materials. Now 18 years later, London is her home, and she is the Founder of the refined, elegant and eclectic Design Stories Studio based in the heart of London.

The Condo editor, Lucy Siddall, talks to Murude Katipoglu about the importance of storytelling in interiors and the essence of timeless design.

Lucy Siddall: What’s your earliest memory of interior design?

Murude Katipoglu: I was always fascinated by interiors. I was so curious about people’s homes and how they lived, in the spaces in which they built their lives, and where they worked and interacted. I would get lost in my imagination, visualising what I could do to a room and how to improve it; it felt very natural. Looking back, I’ve never had any other path.

LS: How does your heritage influence your work?

MS: In a very significant way - my tastes as a designer definitely stem from growing up in a Mediterranean country. Cyprus is light and airy, with a strong outdoor culture, and I love creating bright and fuss-free spaces. I use a lot of natural materials, and I’m drawn to textures and surfaces. It’s traditional in Cyprus to pass furniture down through generations. I have several pieces in our house given to me by my grandparents and great-grandparents. There is beauty in the story they tell, their age, and how they’ve been a part of my family’s history for so long. This has impacted my style as I like simplicity but layering pieces with meaning.

When you look at our designs, even though every project is different, each is centred around the materials and textures, playing with light and balancing an understated aesthetic with luxury; this overarching influence undoubtedly originates from my Cypriot heritage.

"Each project is centred around materials and textures, playing with light and balancing an understated aesthetic with luxury; this overarching influence undoubtedly originates from my Cypriot heritage." – Murude Katipoglu

Design Stories by Murude Katipoglu

Boathouse, Ewhurst Park. Timber clad walls painted in Archive by Farrow & Ball, Hand Woven Hemp Rug and 'Harare' Blanket by Rose Uniacke.

LS: On your site, you have the beautiful quote, ‘Great design starts with a story’ - can you talk a bit about this and where the idea comes from?

MK: Many people think design is purely aesthetic, but I never believed that. Of course, it plays a significant role, but interior design goes further; it improves people’s lives. Each carefully considered element makes a part of someone’s life more seamless. Also, a beautifully designed space needs context, or it’s just a nicely designed room. Everything within that room has a story, and once you learn it, it becomes more meaningful.

At Design Stories, we work with craftsmen and women who are experts in their fields and have been in the industry longer than us. Their work tells a story, it’s not just a piece in a client’s house. Someone has made it in their workshop. They’ve carefully thought about the details and selected the materials. It’s been on a journey. When you don’t know how the items are made, there’s no meaning behind them, but when you pay attention to those details, everything becomes so much more significant.

That’s where Design Stories came from: the process, the make and the story of each piece, design and idea coming together.

LS: Can you talk about interior design and why it is so important in a space?

MK: It improves the way we live, yet a lot of people don’t realise the power of great design in homes. When you walk into a well-designed space, you have everything you need. Every last detail has been considered and thought about. The ergonomic design is specific to that house and those who will use it. A purposeful and intentional space like this makes us feel better, it lifts our mood. As a company, I feel strongly about achieving practicality and style in a project. Marrying beautiful design with being impactful, meaningful and improving our clients’ lives.

LS: How do you approach the design process?

MK: Initially, I talk to clients about what they want the space to feel rather than look like. We identify what the project needs to represent them fully, so they can move in and feel that their home is perfectly designed and meets their needs. Once we understand the essence of what they are trying to achieve, we look at space planning, overall style, colour and materials.
For me, the process is just as important as the end result. The finished design must look stunning, but the client must also enjoy the journey. I want them to feel listened to, understood and know we’re creating something unique for them. To feel a connection to their design and for the process to evoke positive emotions. I want their story with us to be meaningful and memorable.

Design Stories by Murude Katipoglu

Design Stories Studio, London. Large Plaster Pendants by The New Craftsmen, Wall Lights by Hector Finch and Table Lamp, Vintage (find similar here).

LS: Do you have any simple room styling tips for our readers?
MK: Make sure you know what mood you want to create in the room before you do anything else. Think about the space you’re trying to create and how you want to feel in that room. Then start with a neutral colour palette, that way, if you’re on a budget, you can easily refresh and update the room by adding colour with cushions, a throw or a rug. You don’t need to colour-coordinate everything.

Pay attention to lighting as it creates ambience in a room, so it’s crucial. Spend time ensuring that it adds to the feeling you want to evoke. Consider different levels, too, don’t just light everything from above. Play with lighting from below or lamps on shelves or at different heights. If you don’t have enough plugs nearby, battery-powered options are great.

If you want your home to age beautifully over time, invest in materials that last. Things that, even when worn, will still look good, like solid wood. If it’s possible for you, antiques are incredible. They are old yet still so beautiful, and the material often means they age incredibly well.

I advise clients to keep window dressings plain, as changing curtains or blinds can be a big investment. Updating the rest of the room or the background colours is easier if the colours are plain. This also avoids distraction from the views and creates a connection with the garden or nature. If you don’t have the best views or don’t want people looking at them, go for bigger patterns on your curtains or blinds to keep the attention inside.

Be playful, move around and experiment with the styling of a room before making a decision. Test different items together, group them one way, and then try another if it’s not working. Start editing and get rid of things until you find a solution that looks and feels right.

Design Stories by Murude Katipoglu

"Be playful, move around
and experiment with the
styling of a room before
making a decision."

Design Stories by Murude Katipoglu

Greenwich Apartment. Living Area: Wall Colour, Edward Bulmer - Etruscan Brown, Chairs, Vintage Black Vico Magistretti (for similar click here), art by Hannah Noble. Bedroom: Bedhead upholstered in De La Cuona Primitive Linen, Wall Colour - Farrow & Ball, Smoked Trout, Curtains - East London Cloth.

Design Stories by Murude Katipoglu