On this page I will show some rooms that I really like and explain why. Of course there are hundreds of rooms in my head that I think are great, so chosing a small group is extremely difficult.

Although I adore established, historic interiors where lots of layers were added by different generations, here I have chosen rooms which were deliberately and more or less recently designed as a complete scheme.    

Horsted Place, Drawing Room

This incredibly inviting room shows the hallmarks of Colefax and Fowler style: informal clutter, great comfort and a  mixture of furniture styles in a careful framework of colours.

There is one patterned fabric, here a flowery chintz, and this determines the two accompanying colours, used in plain fabrics for things like armchairs and cushions. As the first fabric often has pink flowers with green leaves, one tends to find a lot of pink and green rooms, which has become the most classsical of 'English' colour combinations. So there is a solid pink armchair with a cushion in the chintz and in the foreground a chintz armchair with a cushion in solid green.  There is also a cream sofa with, I guess, chintz, pink and green cushions plus a few needlepoint ones to prevent it from getting too rigid and contrived.


Photograph from : Colefax and Fowler, Chester Jones

Jed Johnson - Manhattan Interior

If there is a formula for classic English interiors it is this: start with either a patterned fabric or a rug, take three colours out of this (one being the background) and match everything else in the room to these three colours. This room by the late Jed Johnson shows how this system can be applied to modern interiors just as much English country houses like the one above.

The rug has a gorgeous mid blue and rusty brown on a beige ground and these are the colours for everything, except the black, of which there is quite a lot, which takes its cue from both the artwork and the window frames, and which prevents the scheme from going bland. 

So there is a very traditional idea at the basis of this stylish and totally modern room.

Indian inspired Sitting Room

This room is another twist to the John Fowler idea, where a chintz of flowers on a pale ground set the colours, here quite a strong green and dark red. I love the painted curtain cornice, which looks like those 18th century painted four poster beds in the Indian style.


The table full of blue and white porcelain doesn't fit in the colour scheme, but it makes for a beautiful side table and reflects the blue in the portait above it. That kind of quirk makes this room into a genuine and personal interior.

Lime Wood Hotel, David Collins

Kelly Wearstler - Staircase

I found this photo on the famous Kelly Wearstler's website and it shows a mad genius idea which makes me smile. I'm sure I couldn't live with a staircase like this myself, but I think the strict black/white/coral scheme is terribly smart and the random paint strokes must have been such fun to apply, probably before anything else in the room was finished.

The great thing about black + white + one other colour is that in this case you can imagine the coral brush strokes in any other bright colour and the effect  to my mind would be equally good.


Nancy Lancaster's Drawing Room

This is of course one of London's most famous 20th century rooms, in what is now the Colefax and Fowler headquarters. It shows a cream, yellow and red scheme and feels totally English, even with very little chintz. 

I particularly love the books, which were recovered in red paper by Nancy Lancaster herself. I hate the look of modern books and have been known to group blue coloured spines and hide them behind a picture ....

Michael Smith Bedroom

The designer must have been so pleased when he found this rug, which shares all its colours with one of his own fabrics. The rest of the room is in grey/blue and even the gold of the mirror can be found in the carpet.

By making the curtains in a plain blue, the focus of the room is entirely on the bed.   

Library in Kensington

When I saw this room I decided never again to paint a library only one colour. I love the grey with the red of the interior, which helps to blend all the various heights and shapes into a pleasing background. When shelves are too light, a library can get unpleasantly strong horizontal lines. Here there are narrow pilasters which give vertical accents, which suits this very classical and rather Swedish looking room in London.


Orsini - Landing

Hall, Peach and Green