The couple behind Retrouvius who met while studying architecture in Glasgow, have set the pace in a decade where the nature of what we consider to be luxury design has changed radically - purchases are now being made more conscientiously, an appreciation of craftsmanship has been brought to the fore.

Their showroom in west London is stuffed with the reclaimed relics of Britain's grand Victorian institutional past; a living testimony to their manifesto that 'at the heart of Retrouvius is the belief that good materials and well-made things are precious; whether quarried stone or a piece of expert joinery. These objects were hard won and have an intrinsic value that argues for them to be re-conditioned and cleverly re-used.'

From rescuing 2,000-square-metres of beautiful Hopton Wood fossil limestone from Heathrow Terminal 2, to buying up the Victorian mahogany cupboards that were once storage for the Victoria and Albert Museum's textile collection, it is an ecologically mindful ethos without sanctimony, and their look - deftly mixing robust industrial Victorian, mid-century Italian and Scandinavian, and delicate modern lighting and vintage textiles - has trickled down through the food chain, spawning a thousand copycats.

We're delighted to celebrate Retrouvius' work by naming Maria Speake our Interior Designer of the Year for 2019. It was a unanimous decision by the House & Garden team, who have long admired her intelligent rooms and refined craftsmanship.

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  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    The duck egg blue living room of Henrietta Courtauld's London home features a marble chimneypiece and Seventies mirror, both from Retrouvius.
    See the rest of the house here.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    More pressed flowers and pink velvet appear in the seating area of the bedroom, flowing through to the bathroom.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    Flowers by The Land Gardeners in the entrance hall.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    The drawing room.

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    A wood panelled wall leads into the kitchen.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    The Plain English kitchen, with its cream Aga, was installed 12 years ago. Maria had it repainted in an Emery & Cie green to refresh the room.

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    The Land Gardeners' studio is in the garden shed.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    A daybed has storage underneath.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    The new slim staircase at the side of the entrance hall.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    Reclaimed marble makes up the flooring here, running up to dado height and finished with a band of antique bevelled mirror.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    In the main bedroom, framed pressed flowers are arranged above the headboard, which is upholstered in a hand- dyed pink velvet by Kirsten Hecktermann, with the same velvet used for the panelling between the bedroom and bathroom.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    Responding to the challenge of turning a 'corporate-looking' flat in the Barbican into a welcoming home for her clients, reclaimed materials and a muted colour scheme work beautifully together, creating a warm interior compatible with the Brutalist Seventies architecture.
    See more pictures from this Barbican flat

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    The owners felt the resin floor they had laid a few years earlier was partly to blame for the coldness. A parquet floor was mooted but Maria persuaded them that the floor should remain and warmth and texture could be added by different means. Instead, in her typically playful way, Maria clad walls and sliding doors with parquet.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    This project required a different approach to Maria's usual one, which normally begins with addressing spatial and structural elements. Here it was about the furniture. The owners wanted to get rid of everything bar a few pieces of art, something Maria, the queen of reuse, is loath to do. She persuaded them to keep a B&B Italia chaise, which she re-covered, but the rest was cleared out and Maria brought in a mix of unrestored 'raw' pieces to play around with, to create different groups of seating and see what would work. She also took them shopping to various places, including Larusi, to look at vintage rugs and textiles. 'I knew I didn't want to present a fixed idea,' she explains. 'I wanted to show them things and see what they responded to, to suss out their gut instinct.'

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    The owners immediately liked the idea of using reclaimed materials. As well as the parquet, all new joinery, including the discreet wall-hung television unit, the bathroom panelling and the 10-seater dining-room table, are made from old laboratory worktops; the darkness of the wood echoes that of the window frames.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    The dining table is made from an old laboratory worktop salvaged from a school. For a personal touch the designer Maria Speake used typographic lettering on the table's drawer handles, which spell out the owners initials and the number of the flat; these can be found at Retrouvius for £3 per character. The dining chairs from Paere Dansk have been recovered in leather discarded by Dunhill.

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    The owners gave Maria a detailed, written brief describing the atmosphere they wanted and what they liked doing, such as reading and entertaining. Warmth was key, and they felt the mahogany frames of the windows - typical of the Barbican - should form a starting point.

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    The parquet came from a local school and was in a terrible state - 'it arrived in sacks of dirty, glued wood that looked ready for the bonfire.' All the pieces were scrubbed and individually hand-sanded, so that they reflect light in different ways. The result is wonderfully tactile, almost sculptural.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    Beautiful Hopton Wood fossil limestone is used on the floor and walls of the bathroom, rescued from Heathrow Terminal 2 - 'it seems made for the Barbican, its colour aligns with the concrete.' As an aside, the last batch of Retrouvius's 2,000-square-metre haul has found its way to a rather different home; it was sold to the Duke of Devonshire to be laid at Chatsworth - the quarry is local - and Lismore Castle, his Irish estate.

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    The furniture in the bedroom is mostly mid-century Italian; its elegant shapes add femininity and soften any harshness.

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    Voile curtains are adorned with delicate pieces of lace from a collection Maria has accumulated over the years.

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    A strip of Anatolian silk inspired the palette for this tiny bedroom and used as a feature panel in the curtains. The colours are echoed by the vintage Indian bedcover. With no floor space for a bookshelf, adding one over the bed is not only practical but also gives the wall an injection character.

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    A vintage leather gym bench is used as a coffee table in front of the sitting room's Royal Doulton ceramic-tiled chimneypiece in this renovated farmhouse.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    The living room of this renovated farmhouse is split an area for kids and one for adults. At the adults' end of the room, the curtain trim and the ceramic Emery & Cie side table are in peacock blue.

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    At this renovated farmhouse salvaged mahogany sliding doors enclose the children's area of the sitting room, where the chimneypiece is covered in peacock-blue tiles by Emery & Cie.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    At this renovated farmhouse an internal window looks into the sitting room from the hall.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    At this renovated farmhouse the hall is divided by curtains made from embroidered fabric found at Sunbury Antiques Market.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    On the landing of this renovated farmhouse, reclaimed gym floorboards form a mosaic on the walls and a door leading to the attic.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    At this renovated farmhouse, the built-in cupboards in the main dressing room feature a laser-etched design of birds and foliage by Daniel Heath.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    Curiousa and Curiousa pendants hang above the Alvar Aalto dining table at this at this renovated farmhouse.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    The chairs in the kitchen of this renovated farmhouse are 'Wishbone' by Hans Wegner.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    The open shelving unit in the kitchen of this renovated farmhouse is an antique from the Victorian era.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    In this renovated farmhouse an animal theme was sused for children's areas. The walls of this spare room are lined in 'Sheep' wallpaper from The Art of Wallpaper.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    In this renovated farmhouse chicken wallpaper from The Art of Wallpaper in Norfolk gives the children's bathroom a playful finish.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    For the spare bathroom int his renovated farmhouse, Maria found two rolls of this vintage wallpaper - just enough to cover one wall. The stone was reclaimed from Heathrow Terminal 2.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    The Byre in this renovated farmhouse was converted from stables and is now used as a study, is where the family lived while the house was being restored. The armchairs are from Ercol.

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    'The teak on the walls behind the dining table subtly divides the space in this family kitchen, and along with the lighting, creates a grown-up, atmospheric area for eating. However even better than that, the dark wood is virtually indestructible, and is much more resilient than a painted wall when grubby little hands go wandering. The panelling extends down in to a built in bench. The table is made from a combination of science lab worktop, with legs made from old stair banisters.'

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    'You come straight in to this part of the house from the street, so I knew that whatever I put on the floor would have to work hard,' says Maria. 'I chose a combination of reclaimed wooden boards, and Emery & Cie tiles in tonal greens. There are random ones dotted about the room with letters printed on them representing the children's names. The combination of the wood and tiles distinguishes the kitchen from the living areas.'

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    'We used modern lighting designs, which work beautifully next to the reclaimed elements. I feel it's important to have a mix of old and new, to stop the scheme from looking stuffy. In the kitchen we have used directional Anglepoise ceiling lights which are great for cooking. In the dining area the light had to be more diffuse, so I used a combination of hanging 'Pukeberg' lights from TwentyTwentyOne and Vibia 'Funnel' wall lights (pictured), which are great. You can actually paint them the colour of the wall so they blend.'

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    'In honour of their previous incarnation, we filled some of them with pages from hand written archive books rescued from a defunct Savile Row tailors. Each one has a swatch of felt attached and the details of the person who ordered it.'

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    'The beautifully made Victorian mahogany cupboards were once storage for the Victoria & Albert museum's textile collection. The glass panels in the doors can be left empty, or filled to change the look.'

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    'The worktops are made from reclaimed science lab tables, and the fronts of the cupboards are covered in a white laminate, which gives a different energy to the space. On the kitchen wall we used green tiles from Emery & Cie.'

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    'We quiz clients at great length about silly details like whether they rinse their plates before putting them in the dishwasher. Always put the fridge in a place that can be accessed without blocking anything else, and make sure the island is never in a thoroughfare. You want people to be able to easily get to the places they need to go. This settles the space.'

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    Constructed from entirely reclaimed wood - sourced from places as diverse as the Victoria & Albert museum and a school science lab - Maria talks us through the execution of this family kitchen.

    'You walk straight through the front door in to this space, which spans the full length of the house and works as a dining room, a living room and a kitchen. The design had to have longevity, so wood is great because it can be adapted relatively easily with a lick of paint. The owners have four small children, so they were a huge consideration. It had to be smart, but also homely and child-proof.'

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    A wall of bespoke wardrobes lines one wall of this bathroom. The doors are made from tulipwood and oak - remnants of shelves salvaged from the Patent Office on London's Chancery Lane.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    The colour scheme for the restaurant of The George in Rye in Sussex sprang from the palette of the William Morris fabric used on the bench in the foreground of this image. Mid-century Danish rosewood tables and chairs have been covered in turquoise leather.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    Floor from an old army gym and Iroko from school science lab work benches make up the bar.

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    This mosaic rocket was reclaimed from the head office of Barclays bank.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    In this London home, a room that was originally a kitchen has been redesigned as a central hub and dining space for the family to congregate. The original flooring and the clients existing furniture is complemented by the addition of Thirties mahogany doors, and a wall of fossilized limestone surrounding the fireplace.

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    Having been granted planning permission for a building on the plot, TV presenter George Lamb commissioned Maria to construct a cabin at the end of his garden that would function as a guest room. Rather more luxurious than your average shed, the space is kitted out with underfloor heating, triple skylights and a bathroom.

    The front, made from an old church partition with original red paint still intact, opens completely. 'The idea was that in warm weather it would work like a summerhouse, and in winter the doors close and a heavy curtain made from a patchwork of old textiles draws across to keep out drafts. It's very cosy.'

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    Inside, uncut limestone and reclaimed wood panelling give the walls an inviting patina. A panel slides back to reveal the mirrored bathroom.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    In this kitchen, designed for Adam's brother, the central section of the room is picked out in blue patterned tiles from Emery & Cie.

    Re-purposed mahogany museum furniture has been used for the room's central island. Originally solid wood, glass panels have been installed in the doors to lighten the feel. One side has mirror-backed shelves, while the side nearest the sink houses a dishwasher.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    An appealing mix of Emery & Cie tiles and wood has been used on the floor.

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    To enhance the feeling of connectivity between the drawing room and kitchen, glazed pocket doors were installed which secrete unobtrusively in to the wall when open.

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    Archive drawers rescued from the National Museum of Scotland have been fitted in to the white laminate cupboards.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    A vein of salvaged oak parquet runs from the floor up the door of the cupboard.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    In the master bedroom of this apartment in the Marais area of Paris, reclaimed parquet flooring flows up the wall to form a panelled headboard, in which electronics for plug sockets and light switches have been elegantly concealed. The bedside tables had a former life as juror's desks; while industrial brass outdoor lights with filament bulbs (a look which has spawned a thousand copies) have been fixed to the wall as reading lights.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    Salvaged mahogany doors lead to the bathroom, where nautical lights - 'great for bathrooms as they're water tight' - are the perfect foil to the chic porcelain sink from Lefroy Brooks.

  • Interiors by Retrouvius Reclamation & Salvage Design

    Maria chose a rich saffron paint by Emery & Cie to complement the mahogany parquet. The company - purveyors of wonderful tiles, hardware and paint - are used in many of Maria's projects, and now use a corner of Retrouvius's warehouse as their London showroom.

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    In the corner of the bedroom an early Victorian chair has been reupholstered in vintage yellow Kantha.