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The design team interviews: Sean Reilly

This month we meet Operations Manager Sean Reilly. We find out about his previous life in a band, his kitchen music playlist and his love of all things food-related.

Could you begin by introducing yourself and telling us about your role at HØLTE?

I’m the Operations Manager at HØLTE, which means that I get stuck in to a bit of everything. It’s great; I really enjoy it.

I was born in Edinburgh, and my dad was in the army so we hopped around a lot – I’ve lived in Germany, Northern Ireland, and a few different places in England.

After university, I joined my friends’ band and enjoyed doing that for a good few years. We were signed to a pop label and travelled to places I didn’t ever think I would see.

How did you come to work for HØLTE?

I joined HØLTE in August of last year, so I still feel pretty fresh to the job. I heard about the company through the Modern House directory; I was scrolling through it, wishfully thinking of renovation ideas for a house I didn’t yet have!

Previously, I was working in the same industry but in quite a different area; I was the Managing Director for a very high-end carpets & rugs company based in Chelsea. When I saw HØLTE advertising the job, the emphasis on sustainability and conscious design really drew me to them.


What’s the best thing about working for HØLTE?

The team here is great; everyone is enthusiastic and passionate about their work.

Also, having a lovely, fully functioning kitchen in the studio is also great, as we’re all big foodies!

What’s your favourite part of the workday?

Probably lunch; someone is always making something exciting in the kitchen – we have some excellent cooks in the studio.

I also always find it enjoyable to peer over one of the Designers’ shoulders while they’re working on something interesting; I get a bit of a creative outlet that way!

What’s the most satisfying thing about your job?

Working here is great fun. I’d say we’re quite a curious bunch – everyone is always bringing new ideas to the table. It’s a very interesting and collaborative environment to be in.

I also like that the job is very varied – I regularly jump from finance to HR to marketing. It gives me a lot of satisfaction when I can make the designers’ lives easier so that they can design the best they can.


And now on to all things London.

Which part of London do you live in, and what’s the best thing about it?

I live in Walthamstow, and a lot of our kitchen projects are in Walthamstow too! I love the area; it’s great.

What would your favourite day out in London be?

I’m probably repeating myself quite a lot here, but it would be food-related! I’m a big fan of cooking for my friends, so I might head to a market like Broadway or Borough and look for some inspiration for ingredients for a big slap-up dinner.

And now for all things cooking!

What’s your favourite family recipe?

My grandma used to make an amazing casserole – a bit like a beef bourguignon – which was delicious.

What’s your favourite dessert?

I love tiramisu; it’s nice and simple. I’m a bit of a coffee addict.

What’s your signature dish?

It would probably be something pasta-related, like an old-school Roman carbonara. A friend of mine recently gave me a pasta-shaped tattoo, so I can’t really say anything else, can I?

What would your dream kitchen look like, and who would design it?

I’d love to have quite an industrial kitchen with a lot of stainless steel. There’s a company called Retrouvious, who I used to work with quite often; I love their ethos of working with refurbished and repurposed goods. I’d like to give the brief to them and see how they went about things.

What songs would be on your kitchen playlist?

I love David Bowie & Talking Heads, so there would be a lot of their music on there. It would be very varied. I’m currently listening to a lot of Ezra Collective, which is a London-based jazz group; that would be good for a dinner party too.

And now on to the quick-fire round.

Do you have a nickname?
My school friends tried to call me Sean the Sheep, but luckily it never stuck.

What’s your most prized possession?
It would either be my Spanish guitar or my bike. I cycle pretty much everywhere; it has served me well.

What kind of animal would you be?
Probably a needy annoying dog or a monkey throwing things at people from the trees!

What’s the worst item of clothing you’ve ever owned?
When I was little, I had a matching two-piece tracksuit from Tesco with red and blue stripes. It would probably be quite trendy now – walking around Hackney these days, I’m sure I’d fit in just fine!

What would be your guilty pleasure song?
I have a bit of a guilty pleasure for Dua Lipa songs. Slow by Kylie Minogue slaps.

What’s something that everyone looks stupid doing?
Not many people look good running, and I’m one of those people!

What’s your favourite conspiracy theory?
I’ve always enjoyed the moon landing theory. If that was fake, then that is pretty hilarious.

Thanks, Sean; nice to meet you!