i have found the books by alexandra stoddard instrumental in making my home. i am influenced by john fowler, nancy lancaster, ralph lauren's tartan interiors, ben pentreath, and ros byam shaw. i would fall all over myself to meet laurence llewellyn bowen.
my style is english country house/"shabby genteel"/colonial williamsburg with bright Georgian wall colors, queen anne and chippendale furniture, leather Chesterfield sofas, books everywhere. history buff.
my house is very out of place with today's look. i find most of my stuff and furniture at charity shops.
here is a story that i posted on another site
i was lucky to spend the day in an english noble lord and lady's home when i lived there for halliburton. the lord of the manor worked for halliburton as an engineer and so invited my ex and I to a day at their home and lunch. this is where i learned to relax in the "matchy matchy everything has to be new and beige" american thing that we do.
the home originally was a medieval timberframe - as you entered to the right, there was a BIG, huge, saggy, off center, classic medieval hall with the little rooms (buttery, bedroom, etc) off the end. Imagine the fire in the middle of the hall floor. Imagine a lady in a warm woolen houpeland and hennin hat telling her servants instructions for the day. Imagine everyone asleep in the hall. the medieval section was used as a library, saggy with books.
then got added tudor/elizabethan addition with linen fold wooden paneling, flagstone floor, enormous fireplace, and the stairs which went up, which was presently the entry hall area. There was a georgian addition to the rear, which was technically and for photographic purposes the front of the house. there was an upstairs to the georgian addition. It was long and one room led into the other, in the baroque style. To the left, a modern 1960 era addition with a modern kitchen, heat, and plumbing-- trailing off the end of the house.
all the plumbing was in that end of the house so if you wanted a toilet, radiator heat, or a shower you had to put on a robe and go to that end of the house. I'm sure there was heat elsewhere, i just didn't see it. in england there are these fancy white painted radiator covers you can get that look like furniture.
we weren't allowed upstairs to the private family rooms. the house wasn't that big, big enough for a normal (upper class) family. i can't begin to imagine what the taxes were on that place or trying to comply with english heritage. the wife ran the estate while her hubby was an engineer.
what i learned was that everything doesn't have to match. that rich, upper class, people use washable slipcovers in chintz and damask, and keep furniture for generations. it was interesting that 1960s furniture was in the medieval hall, that modern, jacobean, georgian, victorian and medieval furniture existed comfortably in the same room. It was ok that the paint was peeling, and that the walls weren't straight. All of these things would drive an american batty.
so learned to relax and paint my front door royal blue.