Now I am not suggesting that a full English is to everyone’s decorating palette but parts are very tempting and difficult to resist. Katrina Burroughs wrote on this very topic in the Sunday Times Homes last weekend and described English country-house style as;
‘Warm and mellow, chaotic and off-the –scale uncool, loved equally by owners of historic homes and those in new urban development. And like our rain transport issues and class system, it is never going to go away.’
I also think that this look needs a good bone structure to begin with. If you’re not blessed with chiselled features and a Georgian pile then it’s off to the auction houses – a bit of wear and tear is part and parcel of English country-house style.
You can still take a house back to its roots or invest in the beautiful basics – relaying stone or wooden floors, replacing or reproducing cornicing, changing doors and frames. After which you can fill the rooms with lamps and rugs, antiques and a mix of patterned textiles and colour to create comfortable rooms that look as though they have evolved over time and are welcoming.
I have learnt a lot from working with the likes of Ben Pentreath, Max Rollitt and Will Fisher. All classicists at heart, but each one with their quite brilliant individual interpretation of English decoration and it all seems so effortless, which is actually the whole point. If my numbers ever came up I would want them all.
For Max Rollitt (image above) it is all about creating joyful homes that have wit, integrity and reflect the architecture and history of the house whilst keeping a light touch.
Admirer Michael Smith summed up Will Fisher’s style well saying says he’s 'someone whose aesthetic is so unbelievably English with an eye for patina and detail but put together in a clean fresh way.’
In his book English Decoration, Ben Pentreath says; ‘the most magical – and, of course, elusive - constituent of English decoration is gentle, slow-roasted time.’
‘The unstudied way in which we have in an instant achieved both comfort and cosiness, grandeur and simplicity, sense and sensibility; in short a place the English can call home.’
English Decoration is available from Pentreath & Hall