Kelly Hoppen, like any other self-respecting personality, is spending a lot of time in the Cotswolds. The interior designer, nicknamed the Queen of Cream, is creating the interiors of some boxy-looking lakeside homes near Lechlade. It’s a yoo development – yoo being the über-trendy design company formed by property mogul John Hitchcox and French designer Philippe Starck; with designers including Jade Jagger and Marcel Wanders. Kelly Hoppen is the newest recruit.

“Do you mean yoo, or do you mean me?” she says, swishing her gold locks, when I ask her about it. So we start with Hoppen, who is nursing a bandaged arm, having been mugged on the street outside her design studio in Notting Hill earlier that week. “I can’t believe how nice everyone’s been to me,” she says, referring to the flowers and cards filling her office. But why wouldn’t they be? Hoppen, 50, is held in high regard as an interior designer and a businesswoman. Earlier this year she collected an MBE from the Queen, for services to interior design – rumour has it that she doesn’t get out of bed for less than £300,000. And then there’s the homeware brand (furniture, fabric, paint and candles), the shop (called the Yard), and the design school (the “day spa” of interior design courses apparently – a five-day course costs £2,921) – all run from the Notting Hill HQ. On top of all this, Hoppen has written six design books.

Some might say Hoppen has been riding the crest of a wave. Her decluttered and symmetrical, neutral-tone interiors became synonymous with affluence and success – and the property boom. She designed the British Airways first class lounge, loft apartments and ski chalets for bankers and entrepreneurs.

But then the recession hit. “It made people stop and look at what they’ve got,” she says. “We had this awful need for change; I hated what was happening. Prices had gone through the roof. We’ve dropped fees. Everyone’s working harder – I think we’ll come out of it with a better feeling of home…”

For all her primped cushions, matching orchids and chain mail curtains, Hoppen is a homely person at heart; it was the concept of homeliness that first inspired her interior design. “My grandmother had the most unbelievable home; I was obsessed by it,” she says. “If you saw it you’d think ‘really?’ It’s not my style. But it was how she lived in it that fascinated me. She had unbelievable plates, and big cupboards full of things and the whole place smelt of fresh coffee. We’d go there for Christmas and it was like a story. Nothing was for show; if something broke, it broke.”

Home, she says, is all about understanding how you live. “It’s about zoning and allocating space, not just about making things beautiful. It’s important to mirror your home to who you are.” The home used to be much slower to evolve than fashion, she says, and then suddenly it caught on. “We went through a stage where everything was too enforced. But what’s happening to fashion now; the leather jackets and the pearls, the evening wear mixed with relaxed wear is happening in the home. It’s more relaxed. My new home (in Notting Hill) fits me like a glove. I wear what I wear because it feels comfortable; the home is the same ethos on a bigger scale.”

But if the home is so personal, why hire Hoppen to design it? “I get into people’s heads. I’m quite good at understanding what people want,” she says.

Which brings us to the Lakes by yoo, the development of 167 second homes in 650 acres, where buyers can choose between a Hoppen or a Jagger design. Each house has a deck overlooking the water, large windows, and generous rooms. Prices start from £775,000, for a four-bedroom house with water views.

“I had to get into pretend people’s heads. I felt it needed to be very homely. We (John Hitchcox) talked about it forever then I had six weeks to produce two mock-ups. I tried to create a country/city feel – it’s like ‘I’m still hip but I’m in the country for the weekend’.”

The “shabby chic” look she’s gone for features antique Hungarian linens, unlined curtains, whitewashed floors, and wide New England-style shutters. There are tongue-in-groove kitchens, heavy-duty matting carpets, and vintage and modern furniture.

Hoppen has her own “very little” cottage in the Cotswolds, but says this is a different concept altogether. “It’s a community and lifestyle thing,” she says. “If you’ve got children it’s wonderful as they can go on bike rides and go fishing, canoeing and walking in a gated environment.” She likens it to the American summer camp.

A glorified Center Parcs, then? She pauses. “Yes, why not? Children can have an adventure, there’s a concierge service to fill your fridge, it’s totally secure and safe. I’d give my eye teeth for this kind of thing.”