Wednesday, August 22, 2012 4:23 AM EDT
English Country Look images via François Harland.
Full disclosure: I’m a bit of a Britophile. And why shouldn’t I be?! The fact is, I was born in England (although raised in Canada), to two English parents. I grew up thinking that I was the same as all of my classmates until I realized that a jumper was actually a sweater, that a period not a full stop comes at the end of a sentence, and it’s better to call that thing on the top of your pencil an eraser instead of a rubber. I’m also not afraid to admit that I love Marmite and a good cup of tea. If I ever find myself lucky enough to own a little English cottage, I would pick one of those rustic, well-worn hovels where wet Wellington boots, dogs and children are all free to come and go — the kind of place where you could cook up a big family meal on a Sunday (on an Aga stove, of course) and serve it to family and friends.
The key to achieving a successful English country cottage look is all in the materials. If you’re looking to recreate the look in your own home, choose natural products like stone, wood, and hard wearing fabrics that develop a beautiful patina over time.
- Dark Green Velvet: Mohair Velvet, Evergreen; Designer Fabrics
- Yellow Damask, 7604/1; Designer Fabrics
- Red Velvet: Ital Alpaca, Colour 1102; Designer Fabrics
- Red Tartan: Moon, Heritage, Skye, Claret; Primavera
- Olive Tartan: William, Peridot; Designer Fabrics
- Blue Paver; Stone Tile
- Green Houndstooth: 6597/Chamonix, Colour 664; Designer Fabrics
- Pale Green Stripe: Moon, Baronial Vol. Two, Tioram, Spruce; Primavera
- Black and White Stripe: Designer’s Guild, Panaro, Bisenzio; Primavera
With an eye to the lush landscape outside, choose crisp shades of spruce green, misty grey and crimson rose to establish your colour palette. The great English paint company Farrow & Ball has a beautiful limited palette of colours that will steer you in the right direction. For your floors, choose time-proven favourites like hardwood and stone pavers that will stand up to heavy foot traffic and look better with age. A well-worn Persian rug or kilim thrown over top will help warm up the look and provide definition to rooms.
For your furniture, seek out some beautiful antiques or vintage pieces, to give your home character and depth. Cover a chesterfield or comfortable reading chair in a lush velvet, and accent with tartan pillows. Don’t be afraid when the velvet starts to wear away — the lived-in look is what you are going for! Golden damask curtains (the kind your grandmother might have owned) add a traditional conservative element and will last you a lifetime. Choose weathered brass hardware for door knobs and pulls.
Finally, pull out that set of fine china dishes you own — you know: the ones with the floral print — and use them as your everyday plates. A cup of tea never tasted so good!