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Keys of a Quintessential English Home

Anglomania rears its head every so often, and we’re in one of these moments. Case in point: the London Summer Olympics filling our screens. And of course, Downton Abbey. The popular TV show whipped huge numbers of people around the world in an Anglophiliac frenzy with its own soap opera plot line and gorgeous English manor setting.

between aristocratic mansions and London’s ultramodern architecture is the standard English style that has adored around the world. Fads come and go, but the British method of decorating seems to go out of style. Perfect English ($40, Ryland Peters & Small) by Ros Byam Shaw, former features editor of the British magazine The World of Interiors, showcases homes which are contemporary yet have that quintessential Britishness concerning these.

Byam argues that what constitutes British fashion is a lived-in look that awards comfort above anything else. Consequently, her book focuses on houses which aren’t professionally designed but rather express the personality of the owners. Divided into five chapters exploring the country’s most common interior design motifs, the book contains practical how-to guides in the close of each chapter for achieving the look.

Get in touch with your inner Anglophile and read on for ideas from Perfect English.

English high fashion. Not quite Downton Abbey, this dining area is neverthelessclassily chic.Antique tableware, a brass chandelier and a porthole mirror display the lasting British affection for both history and nostalgia. At precisely the same period, the starkly colored walls provide the space with a contemporary canvas.

Hint: If you are considering replicating this look, remember the tchotchkes — clusters of cherished keepsakes are a part of the English home.

The eccentric home. Being eccentric is an issue of pride in England and this mindset extends to houses. This approach to house design prizes personality — quirks and all — above all else. In this vibrant, whimsical dining area, ’70s decor matches children’s fantasy land, indicating that a creative mind at work. Unconventional rolls include drapes made from mohair blankets and a reimagined fireplace adorned with plates and broken china.

Country cottage. Another frequently exported British look is the country cottage. Normally associated with daybed and breakfasts, the style is employed tastefully in this London house. The red and white outfit of toile-covered sofa and gilt-framed etchings manages to be both crisp and stately.

Hint: Extend the height of a low-back sofa and cover it with cushions for added comfort.

Incorporate character in your decor. Component of the country cottage look is your liberal use of nature-inspired decoration. Instead of the typical floral textiles, create your mark on the subject by displaying unusual objects, like the eye-catching blossom and marine specimens in this dining area.

Hint: strand cloth on a long dining room table to place a relaxed, rustic scene.

Impeccably tailored. The British also are known for the sartorial perfection of Savile Row suits. The two armchairs in this living space, distinctively upholstered in men’s suiting material, are a nod to this tradition. Using its unfussy decor and manly lines, this is clearly the area of a modern-day gentleman.

English increased. This sweet bedroom captures the romance of a English manor home. To do this look, pair elaborate accessories — mirrors, chandeliers and chairs, such as — with antique wood furniture and floral textiles.

Hint: For a genuine English increased room, use antique wallpaper. Many classic wallpaper retailers now can be found on the internet.

Perfect English Ros Byam Shaw Chris Stubbs – $40

To purchase: Perfect English by Ros Byam Shaw


Eclectic Row House in London

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