At home: A tour of cosmetic queen Millie Kendall's house

MILLIE Kendall's dream of having her own make-up range came true when she set up Ruby & Millie cosmetics with her best friend, make-up artist Ruby Hammer, in 1998. Two years ago she received an MBE for services to the make-up industry.

When you meet Millie, you can see why she has been so successful: she is passionate about make-up, music, cooking and practically everything she does. So it makes sense that her bathroom is packed with new make-up, potions and creams. Every week she turns her kitchen into a "Friday night disco", complete with its own colour changing lights, while she roasts chicken for a group of her daughter's teenage friends. Her oldest daughter Sadie is 12, and Lucia is three.

Millie started working at the age of 13, washing hair in her father's Beverly Hills salon. Although she was born in the UK, her parents lived between Los Angeles and London. She lived with her grandparents from 14 onwards after deciding to settle in London and finish her schooling in England, taking a Saturday job washing hair at Tony & Guy.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

At just 18 she qualified as a hairdresser after completing a course in New York. "I always loved working. It really appealed to me. As soon as I could, I wanted to get out there and be meeting people, working and earning my own money. My parents didn't seem to mind, as long as I was keeping out of trouble and doing something that I liked."

Eventually she decided hairdressing was not for her, so she started working on the launch of Shu Uemura in Europe. It was a big job for a 19-year-old, and she travelled all around Europe setting up the new brand in stores. She then helped set up the now world-famous Aveda brand in Britain with her company MKPR and launched many other brands including Stila and l'Occitane.

When Millie and her husband first moved back to the UK they wanted their new home to have outside space, a garden and enough room for the family and visiting friends. Currently Millie's mother and her nanny are also staying in their five-bed-room house in London's hip Crouch End area. "It's a part of London that I love. I always lived nearer Hampstead and Camden before, so it was important for my husband and I to start afresh somewhere we had never been. When I saw this house, it seemed to tick all the right boxes. It has a wonderfully modern kitchen and an almost Edwardian sitting-room," she says.

When you come in the door, stained-glass windows pour light into the hallway. It's a fabulous mix of new and old that gives the house great character. When Millie moved here she brought all her furniture over from LA. "It is not actually as costly as you would imagine, and I much prefer to have all my own things than to have to buy everything new again," she says.

The house has a stunning patio garden that is almost like another room in the summer time. It has white walls throughout and Millie has decorated in a fresh and natural style with a quirky, upbeat edge. She has been collecting pictures by Vladimir Tretchikoff (he painted the iconic blue-faced Chinese Girl) for some time and these are placed throughout the house along with newer pieces picked up from antique fairs and charity shops.

"I'm not really into shopping in a big way – when I see something I like, I tend to buy it there and then. Probably my most treasured pieces of furniture are the Warren Platner table and chairs that I bought in LA from a store that also makes many film-set pieces. I was dating an actor at the time who took me to this shop as he knew I loved vintage furniture."

Millie's bedroom on the second floor has an en-suite shower-room and a huge fitted wardrobe. Lucia's bedroom is next door and Sadie's room is directly above.

The kitchen on the ground floor is all white and has a double cooker, making cooking for large parties a breeze. Throughout the ground floor the floors are tiled in white, while the rest of the house is covered in cream carpeting.

Millie loves to display fresh flowers in her home. "Nothing makes me happier than a bunch of lilies or roses. I don't know what it is about flowers but they have such a positive effect on you." k

www.hammerandkendall.com

My favourite things

What is your favourite hotel?

Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles.

What is your favourite book?

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (right) by Stieg Larsson.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Anything on Sadie's iPod. Generally I listen to Sixties and Seventies jazz and funk.

Who is your favourite fashion designer?

Courreges.

What is your favourite room at home?

My bedroom.

Who is your favourite artist?

Joan Miro.

• This article was first published in Scotland on Sunday on 24 January, 2010