Born in Cairo, Charles Rutherfoord was educated at Westminster School and at Magdalene College, Cambridge where he read Architecture and History of Architecture. He worked in the furniture department at Christie's, King Street and specialised in English 18th and 19th Century furniture and tapestries.

After reading interiors at Kingston Polytechnic, he worked at Conran Associates designing offices for Lord Carrington at GEC, Seibu's European headquarters and the office of the Minister for the Arts (Lord Gowrie), as well as designing the first commercial V.I.P. lounge at Heathrow for Diner's Club.

He set up his own practice in 1984.

A member of the Chartered Society of Designers since 1988, in 1995 he was commended in the Royal Horticultural Society's General Examination and in 2006 became a member of the Society of Garden Designers.