MDS- How would you define your style?
VG- contemporary classicism with one eye on the past and one on the future. To put it simply, you should always be able to smell the street.
MDS- Where did you grow up and how do you think that influences your work?
VG- I grew up in Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand. The influences were obviously living in a suburban environment by the sea. Neither of these show in my work at present but the glorious thing about suburbs is you begin to understand houses and how they work and, most importantly, how environments really relate to where the houses are; e.g., in Long Island, New York (a very similar environment to my childhood). It is a different kind of environment to that of very urban London.
MDS- If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
VG- I’d be a postman on Waiheke Island in Auckland, New Zealand because I love walking, I love being by the sea and I love reading other people’s postcards!
MDS- Who or what is inspiring you right now?
VG- On a daily basis, my beautiful Lurcher, Rio (a cross-breed of greyhound/ sighthound/whippet/Bedlington), who loves to lie on mink blankets and, as always, walk in the English countryside.
MDS- What is your favorite room in your house?
VG- The salon of my country house, The Temple, facing east over the water and west over Constable countryside, and in perfect harmony with nature, incorporating the principles of Palladian architecture – simple, grand, country, luxurious and altogether composed and relaxed. It is my ultimate refuge.
MDS- Is there anything you obsessively collect?
VG- Indian miniatures, Islamic pictures, Islamic calligraphy that are all going to adorn my new house in Morocco.
MDS- Fill in the blank: “I could never own too many !”
MDS- If you could decorate anyone’s house, who’s would it be and why?
VG- It would be a Regency Villa for the supreme architect Sir John Soane – a lovely modest, architecturally perfect villa on the banks of the Thames in Twickenham in about 1805.
MDS- What do you want to be known for?
VG- Integrity, honesty and turning up on time.
MDS- What do you think is chic, stylish and glamorous?
VG- Upholstered walls, highly polished wooden floors, fresh flowers, real log fires, ‘Pyramide’ Georg Jensen cutlery and French 18th Century guilt candlesticks.