Art 101

The Power Pair of Interior Design

The founders of interior design and decoration practice Salvesen Graham are an art loving duo. For Nicole Salvesen and Mary Graham, art is a key player in their interiors projects. Plus they're active enthusiasts and collectors themselves. We find out more about the Salvesen Graham founders and their passion for art.

By Rise Art

In 2013 Mary Graham and Nicole Salvesen started an interior design practice that would specialise in “classic interiors with a modern twist”. Today Salvesen Graham boasts an extensive list of clients, both commercial and residential, across the UK and abroad. The company has also been included in House & Garden's Top 100 for 2018. Mary and Nicole have decked out all kinds of spaces - from ski chalets and country homes to London apartments, hotels and members’ clubs. Art plays a key role in their projects, and the founders themselves are keen collectors.


Mary Graham (left) and Nicole Salvesen.


How did you and Mary meet, and when did you start Salvesen Graham?

We met at Durham university and then lost touch for a while only to reconnect at a mutual friend’s dinner party, where we discovered that we both worked in the Interior design industry and we stayed in touch.



Mary worked for Cindy Leveson and I worked for several top design practices including Nina Campbell who I left to have my first child. I set up by myself for a short time before Mary and I decided to start Salvesen Graham in 2013.


Light Breezy Day by Andrew Kinmont


What role does art play in your design practice?

Art is a key part in our design process as many of our clients have existing art collections which have to be taken into consideration when designing. We see art as another design element, a way to bring in interesting detail and colour to a room.


What power does art hold in an interior?

Art is so emotive - it can add more than just colour and interest to a room. We always say that our interiors are as much about the way you feel in a room, as the way it looks, so in that sense both the art and the interior scheme have equal strength in how you exist in a space. Interiors without art feel very flat to us, there needs to be something on the walls or in the space to make a room come to life. 



What are the more general interiors trends that you’re seeing this year?

We don’t tend to follow trends, but we love and are known for using colour, pattern and texture to bring a fresh interpretation to traditional interiors.



We are pleased to see colour is around in abundance at the moment. We thrive on mixing modern and traditional styles in both furniture, fabrics, accessories and of course art to create welcoming and elegant homes.


Icelandic Poppy I by Paul Coghlin


Do you and Mary collect any art yourselves? If so, what are your personal tastes?

We both love art and though we like a lot of the same things we also differ. I love still life and abstract paintings and am currently keeping my eye out for a large and impactful photographic piece.


Mary on the other hand prefers landscapes and some of the work they have reflect her husband’s love for Spain. We both think there is space in every home for art of varying values and meaning, sometimes reframing something existing can give it a new lease of life!


Browse Nicole and Mary's top Rise Art picks >> 


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