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  • To help us tailor your appointment, we have a few simple questions.

    (Based on linear meters of cabinetry). Please include the circumference of any islands when calculating the size.
    View size guide

The design team interviews: Merilin Kook

This month we meet Merilin, the Design Manager at HØLTE. We discuss her many lives in Tallinn, Rome and London, her love of Hackney and her advice on the best way to spend a day in London.

Could you tell us about your background and how you came to work for HØLTE?

I was born in Tallinn in Estonia, but moved to Rome with my family at the age of fifteen. Upon graduation I came to London to pursue Part I in Architecture and I ended up never leaving.

Soon after graduating, I fell into marketing and I spent a good few years working for a Danish household name followed by a pioneering global surface brand. I curated many product launches and experiential showcases, designed and managed builds for trade shows like the London Design Festival and Clerkenwell Design Week and lots more. Whilst my years spent on that side of the business were exceptionally fun and creative I realised during lockdown that my real potential lay elsewhere.

I dipped my toes into freelancing on the side for independent interior designers and eventually, I took a leap as an interior architect for an interiors company specialising in high-end residential design. After a year there, the opportunity at HØLTE came up, and I just jumped at the chance!

What are the best things about working at HØLTE?

I admire the business ethos and vision that Tom & Fi have – I admire their care for the environment but also their dedication to doing something about it. It feels good to be a part of HØLTE, where the mission is to try and help clients design kitchens in a more environmentally-responsibly way.

I also love being part of the team here; everyone is nice and friendly. All my colleagues are great designers from many different backgrounds, and we have fascinating conversations in the studio. The clients are also really lovely – I think we attract a particular type of client!

We also get fantastic clients! Generally speaking, the UK kitchen industry is very conservative, so I think customers come to us because they’re interested in a more playful and contemporary approach.

wood kitchen white worktop red doors hanging pendant lights

What’s the best thing about working in Hackney?

The best thing is living within walking distance! Hackney has been my hub since I moved to London.

How would your coworkers describe you?

I’m very quirky! We Estonians have quite an interesting temperament – we may seem calm and reserved at times but we also have a very passionate side. We’re particularly concerned with accuracy and detail, maybe because we’re a super small nation?

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

I like it when I can take the stress away from clients and help them to enjoy the process. It’s not always easy, especially when the client is project managing a bigger build or renovation themselves!

What’s your favourite part of the working day at HØLTE?

My favourite time is my first coffee at my desk in the morning and late afternoon when I take a deep dive into CAD.

How would you sum up working for HØLTE?

Fantastic! There’s not been a day that I’ve dreaded going to work, and that’s refreshing.

white kitchen counter and cupboards

How would you describe your favourite day out in London?

I like to stick to Hackney in my everyday routine but it’s nice to head to central London sometimes. Here’s my perfect day: head over to Marylebone High Street followed by a picnic in Regent’s Park, somewhere in the Park’s inner circle. I spent a lot of time here as a student as my campus was located near Baker Street. On the high street you have Conran shop for your contemporary design dose, Daunt bookstore with its beautiful interiors, Neal’s Yard for gourmet snacks and charity shops for great finds.

And now moving on to cooking and all things kitchens.

What’s your favourite family recipe?

I only really got into food when I moved to London. Growing up in Estonia, the food was very beige and bland. But my favourite family recipe would be Estonian pancakes.

What’s your favourite sweet treat?

I love macaroons by Pierre Hermé or Forno pastries, they have just opened their new bakery on the same road as our Studio.

What’s your favourite dish to cook at home?

I love to cook lasagne – it’s the first recipe I ever tried, and I’ve been working on it ever since.

Which famous designer would you enlist to design your dream kitchen?

I’d choose the London-based designer Beata Heuman. She brings humour and playfulness into her designs, so I’d love to see what she would come up with!

How would your dream kitchen look?

There’s an amazing kitchen in the movie The Big Night and I’d love to re-create the feel of it in my future home!

What kind of music would you have on?

I always choose jazz, something like Herbie Hancock or Dan Guest.

And now for the quickfire round!

What’s your most prized possession?

That’s a tough one! I’m going to say my 70s vintage marble table lamp. I like my interiors relatively minimal, peppered with special objects sourced from different places, be it flea markets, sample sales or prototypes.

What kind of animal would you be?

According to Chinese horoscope, I was born the year of the horse, and the description matches up quite well!

What’s your favourite guilty pleasure song?

Anything ABBA

What’s your favourite conspiracy theory?

The Bermuda Triangle


Thanks Merilin, nice to meet you!