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  • The ‘English Country House’


    The ‘English Country House’ is so ingrained in our consciousness that it is easy to miss the fact it was a style the invention of which is credited to an American-born woman, Nancy Lancaster. In developing the English Country House style, along with the architects and designers (and husbands) she worked with from the twenties through a large part of the 20th century, she was in part reflecting an era of decline and redefinition for the English aristocracy.

    She went on to become owner of Colefax and Fowler, and several books have been written about her approach to interiors and garden design, which combines comfort and elegance.

    The Arca Country House is a contemporary take on the English Country House style. Designed by Bayswater Interiors, it makes for a warm, relaxed yet formal space for work, meetings and study. The Arca comes with furniture and fittings, but we asked Gemma from Baywater about styling the interior for the photo shoot you can see on our website.

    “We use faux plants from Abigail Ahern and quirky details like the garden fork lamp to add interest. Wood-panelled Regent wallpaper in Linen from Andrew Martin sets up a formal background, and we use hardwearing guaranteed waterproof laminate ‘ sawn oak’ flooring to protect your garden room from the elements.”

    To complete the look with your own individual touches, Gemma has some tips.

    “The Country House is designed with an old-fashioned library in mind. If you have a collection of beautiful old books, these will be quite safe and secure in the Arca, which is supremely well built and insulated. Alternatively you could pick up some leather bound tomes at flea markets or second hand shops, to add atmosphere and depth and make an inviting and reflective atmosphere for concentrated study.

    “Real or faux plants work equally well – you can choose according to how much you enjoy caring for your specimens! Classic country house bouquets would include traditional roses or hydrangeas, or you could add an exotic flavour to complement the bespoke kilim-print armchair, redolent of international adventure, with orchids or lilies.

    “Other ‘ country house’ style notes might include old prints (like the antique Audubon flamingo seen pictured) or antique maps on the wall. A traditional spinning globe or vintage telephones would also look great in the Arca Country House.”

    And when all else fails we can look back to Nancy Lancaster for guidance . “One should create something that fires the imagination without overemphasis” – excellent advice for creating a workspace in any era or style.

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