Monday, February 18, 2013


Great English country houses have inspired legions of American designers over the years. Taking their cue from defining moments in great British interiors, like the cozy, intimate room arrangements, floral wallpapers, sweet patterned chintz's and elaborate trim work, many a decorator looked to the hallowed halls in England for ideas.
Nicky Haslam, the ageless London decorator and swell of the social swirl, is lucky enough to own a home in Hampshire,  England, the former home of great British design icon, John Fowler, partner in the esteemed Colefax and Fowler. The Hunting Lodge, built in the dynamic Jacobean Revival style,  has been restored to it's former grandeur by Haslam, and is the subject of his forthcoming book with Rizzoli, Folly de Grandeur. Turned into a cozy escape in a bucolic setting,  the house provides the ideal backdrop for entertaining while being an escapist sanctuary.  The understated interiors are lush gardens are done up in a way that shows how spaces can be warm and inviting, and at their core, veddy veddy British. Appearing in the March/April issue of Veranda, Haslam's home is accompanied by an article written by Mario Lopez-Cordero, a great interviewer and writer I know from my House Beautiful days. It really captures the sense of place and fresh charm Haslam has brought back to the Hunting Lodge, a true historic treasure.

Photos courtesy of Veranda
So true, a return to pretty is upon us! The March/April issue of Veranda celebrates that pretty is always in style.

Photos by Simon Upton
The 16th century brick lodge's facade with elaborate, soaring gables. Arched windows and potted manicured topiaries make up a patio garden closer to the house.

The living room has plenty of upholstered seating to sink into.  Slightly askew cushions make the lived-in space even cozier. Choosing to keep the rosy brown Sienna Pink washed wall hue done by Fowler, Haslam created a great spot to gather by the fire. He shared his design take on the intimate spaces he created, saying, There’s a slight carelessness to the decor that looks impromptu. It’s not a stamp of English decorating as it is now, but as it’s always been—to look like one hasn’t tried too hard. All the edges are rubbed off. The atmosphere has to have a lot of patina and probably a lot of dust.”

A busy, climbing floral Mauny wallpaper kept from Fowler days is the backdrop for a portrait of Haslam's mother and a well-stocked welcoming bar. Meaningful decorative accessories provide a personal take, truly reflecting the owners interests. That certain British combination of antiques, florals and overstuffed upholstery makes everyone instantly feel at ease.

The bedroom ceiling is made to look even higher by Fowler's application of a wallpaper border vertically running up the wall. What a great way to add height. I have been seeing a lot of great paper borders lately, is this technique ripe for a comeback? Long silk panels at the windows are framed by tailored valances trimmed in red. So chic.


Hamptontoes said...

Between this post and Downton Abbey, I need to live in a castle! :) Love the window treatments in the photo. Not sure about wallpaper trim, have never used in a project. You?

penelopebianchi said...

Hi there!

LOVE LOVE LOVE this post
And I adore you blog!

You must remember (or maybe you are too young to know!) Nicky Haslam; just as John Fowler before him do not OWN this house!

The "National Trust" owns this house! Too bad America doesn't do that!

Everyone who has leased this divine "folly" has improved it at his expense; however, it has belonged to the National Trust for decades!

Brilliant post!

Marisa/Stylebeat said...

Hamptontoes- I know right? To the castle!
I think the borders used this way is fresh looking v british!

Marisa/Stylebeat said...

Penelope you are correct! I need to go on a tour of all those homes asap!