Mary Fox Linton
Mary Fox Linton is a world-renowned interior designer who has remained at the forefront of design and innovation for over 50 years. She is known for her modern use of high calibre materials and an outstanding sense of elegance, comfort, timelessness and humour. She launched Fox Linton Fabrics in 2004 as a natural extension of her passion for authenticity, colour and quality.
Recognised throughout the industry as the ‘Grande Dame’ of interior design, Mary has received many awards over the years including the Lifetime Achievement Award from Architectural Design, The Royal Oak Foundation's Timeless Design Award and the BIID Merit Award for her outstanding contribution to the field of Interior Design. More recently she was awarded the Homes and Gardens lifetime achievement award.
Coming from a family where her great uncle, her mother and other relatives all studied architecture, Mary recalls being surrounded by this theme as a child. Her family home in the south of England was full of life and colour and her memories are of a vibrant and happy childhood.
Mary's desire to be an architect was short lived when marriage and motherhood soon took over her life. But after being widowed at a very young age she needed to find something that fitted around raising a child so interior design seemed to be the natural alternative.
Interior design scarcely existed as a profession in the 1950s, a period when most UK homes were traditional, with brown furniture and a mix of chintz and damask décor. Mary was never a fan of this look and favoured clean looks such as white walls and floors, geometric patterns and bold colour blocks. This is not to say that Mary didn’t love antique furniture - she constantly searched for pieces that looked good in both modern and historic settings; it was reproduction furniture that vexed her sense that "all things should be real".
She soon started to gain clients, usually Americans and Europeans living in London. The British people she knew at the time fell very much into the ‘traditional’ category of those who had little time for contemporary art and architecture.
In the 1960s Mary remarried and had three more children but continued her work in the UK and abroad.
In the 1970s Mary collaborated with friend and fellow interior designer David Hicks on private houses all over the world as well as hotels and shops. By this time she was being commissioned to locations globally and as a result had many eminent clients from the world of royalty, politics, entertainment and the English aristocracy – a sophisticated elite – who preferred her architectural approach and unapologetically contemporary style.
She founded her interior design practice Fox Linton Associates in the late 1970s but it was in the boom years of the 1980s and her move to new premises in Fulham Road that really saw her company go from strength to strength. At that time many young people were making a lot of money from the stock market and were investing in property that they wanted to look fresh, modern and "chintz-free" - so they came to Mary.
Importantly, it was also at this time that Mary began her longstanding friendship and collaboration with Jim Thompson and The Thai Silk Company, which still flourishes today.
The 1990s saw Mary’s rise into large-scale projects. In collaboration with hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray she created the pioneering and award winning design of One Aldwych in London, defining the aesthetic of 5 star boutique hotels across the world. This was followed by Carlisle Bay Antigua and Le Gray Beirut.
Fox Linton Associates went on to build a world class reputation for hotel design and the name is associated with some of the most iconic luxury hotels of recent times including The Grove Hertfordshire, Turnberry Scotland, The Dorchester Collection’s Coworth Park, The Caledonian Edinburgh and The Wellesley Hyde Park London.
Although having retired in 2014, Mary continues with part-time consultancy to high-end residential and global hotel clients. When not working she divides her time between her house in France and an apartment in south London in the constant company of her children and grandchildren.