Leslie Walford AM | 1927-2012

Interior Designer

Leslie Walford is perhaps one of the best know figures in this country in Interior Design and Decoration and worked at the top levels of design for several decades, not only in Australia but also in Europe, Asia and the UK. His business, Walford + Horgan Interiors, was a byword for excellence in design.

When he was two years old Leslie’s father died. His mother took him from Sydney to England for his schooling and from there he went to Paris to study design. It was in Paris that he developed a passion for period furniture.

Leslie rose to prominence early. During his career he won numerous awards. A great deal of his work is known to us through the major publications and Leslie himself was a writer of note.

He was appointed to numerous committees and was a Director of the NSW Art Gallery, and was a foundation member of the Society of Interior Designers. He served as National President from 1965 to 1966, 1978 to 1978 and again from 2002 to 2004.

In recognition of his contribution to the profession Leslie was made a Life Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia and in 2008 he was inducted into the DIA Design Hall of Fame. Leslie lived in Double Bay surrounded by an eclectic collection of furniture and artwork.


Leslie spent his childhood in Australia and was then sent to public boarding school in England. He went on to study politics, economics and philosophy at Oxford University before undertaking a 3-year design course in Paris. It was during this time that he developed a love for and a collection of European antiques. He returned to Australia at the age of 27 and in 1958 set up an interior design business in Knox Street Double Bay, filling it with an inventory of antiques. His clients included the Murdocks, Packers and Fairfaxes and his projects included Elizabeth Bay House and Kirribilli House for Gough Whitlam. For many years he wrote a social column for the Sun Herald. He was a founder member of SIDA and served as National President of SIDA from 1965 – 1966 and 1978 – 1979. He was on the Executive of the SIDA Foundation since it’s inception and served as President from 2002 – 2004.

He guided 2 major European Tours in the last 12 years and generously shared his substantial knowledge and contacts with the groups. He went into partnership with English born decorator Cornelius Horgan and they worked together as Walford + Horgan Interiors until his retirement in 2007. In 2008 he was made a Life Fellow of the DIA and was inducted into the DIA Hall of Fame in that year. In 2010 Leslie was made a Member of the Order of Australia. "My style has always been to put things together in a beautiful, colourful traditional way. I want to be remembered as someone who made places beautiful and comfortable and did it well". He certainly did. Leslie’s funeral service was held at St Marks Darling Point, where a Qantas First Class sticker was affixed to his casket. He was a wonderful character and he will be sorely missed.

(l to r) Alma Maccallum, Leslie Walford and Meryl HareLeft to right: Alma Maccallum, Leslie Walford AM and Meryl Hare