Tuesday, February 15, 2011


When it comes to design, the Brits are different. From a very young age, British children are exposed to a centuries-old history and culture, they live among magnificent historical buildings, have access to great design concepts and collections at museums like the V&A. Today's design shops that line Pimlico Road, the Kings Road, and Lots Road, are witness to this great history. This is the case with Veere Grenney, who served as a director at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler's design studio for many years. The Brook Street location houses the famous yellow room of the great Nancy Lancaster, where her barrel vaulted library has become a pilgrimage for design cogniscenti. He is lucky to have worked in such hallowed halls.
I caught up with Veere when I heard he was bringing his furniture and fabric designs stateside, to Kathryn M. Ireland's LA Almont Yard shop.

Photo courtesy of Verre Grenney
A bedroom with a simple canopy bed is made cozy with bed hangings and swing arm lamps peeking through. What an interesting addition to the foot of the bed-- a demilune table is a nice change from an expected bench.

A library done in a light colored scheme with touches of darker colors

A generously sized upholstered ottoman acts as a coffee table and deep seated sofas and chairs make this high ceiling living room a great place to relax.

Cabinets with wire covered doors and shirred fabrics is a very Colefax detail that I love. It makes this breakfast room warm and provides easy storage.

A tailored valance and clean pendant lights put the focus on an ornate antique pool table.

In a Long Island retreat, touches of pink anchor a grey and white color scheme.

There is nothing fussy about these classic English details-- a four poster bed with tailored hangings and bed skirt mirrors the simple built in bookcases, letting the ornate moldings be the star.

Talk about ornate moldings- the glamorous detail is offset with clean lines and a serene simplicity in this London dining room.

A restrained mix of pattern and texture add up to a livable and sophisticated British drawing room with touches of taupe.

What is your design background?

Veere Grenney :My early life was about travel in the East and Morocco, this had a profound influence on my design sensibility. In the apprenticeship of my career it was a stall in Portobello Road dealing in vintage, antiques and artworks and the antique shops off Portobello; then a design assistant with Mary Fox Linton before going onto being a director at Colefax and Fowler and about 15 years ago setting up my own practice.

What knowledge do you use the most from what you learned at Colefax?

VG: Tailoring, scale and proportion are all vital ingredients of a beautiful room; also appropriateness for a project i.e. the fabrics, furniture, art work etc… the look it is all about what is appropriate to the environment.

Where is textile design today as compared with back then?

VG:Today it is less flamboyant; then design was imposing; today it tends to be more discrete.

Is the floral print on the wane?

VG:The floral is always appropriate in the correct place. Today it is not essential; maybe 20 years ago every room had some floral.

What makes an interior distinctly British?

VG:Very comfortable and not being a slave to fashion or fad like English fashion; good British interior design is original and eclectic.

What are the differences in how the British live versus how Americans live?

VG: The English have a tradition of country house living being cozy, comfortable and right for the climate. The English don’t get stylish suburban where as in American a great part of the design sensibility is for beautiful large houses and gardens (both tropical and in colder places) that are not anchored to the countryside.


Papers are artfully styled on end.

The Woodperry print has tiny leaves

An assortment arranged by coordinating colors

The Townline Road print as an ikat quality with a uniform pattern

Soundness is an abstract disguised as a floral

A modified wing chair by Veere debuted at London's Decorex Show recently


quintessence said...

Beautiful!! Love it all - you know me - understated chic and I'm all over it! Love the design and the products. "original and eclectic 0 comfortable not a slave to fashion: - my kind of guy!!

stylelinx said...

Lovely! How great that he's easily available here in the states now!! Thanks for sharing.

The enchanted home said...

Fantastic interview, visuals and inspiration..love the papers. The principles of good English design have always appealed to me and always been the hallmarks of our personal style in our homes. It is timeless and classic, with little regard to "whats in" or trendy...its a personal choice, of course but I lean most towards this look. Thank you for sharing!

Stylebeat said...

He is totally under the radar here and does what he does so well!