Thursday, November 08, 2007

Quiet English Elegance



I've long had a love of all things English- perhaps it's a result of having grown up in a family of Anglophiles. Lately, however, I've been particularly drawn to the British homes that I've seen featured in various magazines. I don't really know why. Perhaps it was the "Anglomania" exhibit at the Costume Institute last year? Or perhaps the whole English look just feels "right" right now.


I'm especially taken with this London flat, designed by Robert Kime. Yes, the home is somewhat formal and grand, but to me it seems comfortable nonetheless. The walls in the main room (which consists of living, dining, and music areas) are a custom color created by Kime- he likens the blue/gray/rose color to a three-week-old bruise! Despite the sickly connotation of this comparison, the walls are a perfect backdrop for the fine antiques and richly patterned fabrics that are used here. Of course, the fabrics are sublime, but one would expect that from Kime, who is also a textile designer. What I find interesting is that used on their own these prints can be rather bold and a bit distracting, but here they are really quite subtle. The mix seems to give the flat a depth of character, and isn't that really what good design is all about?


The living area of the main room with the bruise colored walls.


The dining area of the main room shows Kime's deft use of pattern (I believe the dining chairs are upholstered in Kime's "Peacock" ikat print, the sofa to the right in "Chenille Stripe", and the sofa on the back wall is in "Long Runner"). The narrow mirrors hanging on either side of the portrait were added to create "internal architecture", according to Kime.


A very orderly and symmetrical vignette.


More images of the flat. Note the top right picture which shows the extremely modern and minimal kitchen in the background. Quite a contrast from the rest of the home.

Image at top: The music room area of the main room with a Flemish tapestry on the wall. The chairs are upholstered in Kime's "Harlequin" print.

(All images from the October issue of British House & Garden; Simon Upton photographer)

23 comments:

  1. Hi Jennifer,
    beautiful posts! Compliments. I love your previous grey post and this British home. Great pictures and great writing.
    Ciao from Beijing

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  2. Jennifer, what a treat. I'm a huge Kime fan and I guess a serious Anglophile too. Thanks for sharing so many images.

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  3. Anonymous10:28 AM

    Robert Kime is a brilliant and subtle decorator, and a very nice guy (( had lunch with him once). He really is a stealth talent, known to a circle world but not much known beyond it (despite his being Prince Charles's decorator). I love the apartment's combination of "ethnic" patterns (ika, etc) with 19th-century English furniture, honey-colored woods, glints of mirror, et cetera. Very seductive space, masculine but come-hither as well. I imagine a woman wearing lots of Armani living there :)

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  4. Glad you like Suzie and Courtney!

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  5. Anon- I think it's his subtlety that is so appealing, at least to me. I think perhaps what's drawing me to English design right now is that so many of the homes are more masculine, which I like, but are comfortable for a woman too.

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  6. I agree, the English style is very interesting right now. It is more of a sophisticated flair, with touches of glamor and elegance - and not so bohemian and romantic as the last years popular French style been.

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  7. Wonderful post. I adore the ikat on the dining chairs - and that octagonal table? I'll be thinking of that for a long, long time.

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  8. Jennifer, I can totally relate to your love of English. I vacilate between English and French - I think perhaps my favorite home would be for an ex pat living in Provence - the best of both worlds! I love, I mean love English country homes and try to infuse that "feel" into my home: lots of magazines, lots of books, lots of clutter, layers, slipcovers,faded flowers ala Bennison, Kime, blue and white porcelains, remnants of a life in India, etc. If you like an English look, go for it, embrace it! Don't fight it. It's like a marraige, you just know deep down in your heart that it's right, that you are in love! Thanks for sharing your feelings!!!

    Joni

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  9. Jeanette- Yes, that is a very good point.

    Patricia- That table is fabulous!

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  10. Wow Joni! First, I think you've definitely accomplished that in your home. Secondly, yes, don't overthink things. If we did, we'd all be sitting around in our homes, lonely and bored!

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  11. Wow Joni! First, I think you've definitely accomplished that in your home. Secondly, yes, don't overthink things. If we did, we'd all be sitting around in our homes, lonely and bored!

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  12. Anonymous5:15 PM

    I love the idea of "bruise-colored" walls ... one of my favorite old-fashioned roses, a moss rose, is bruise-colored ...

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  13. Anon- This has me rethinking bruises! That moss rose sounds divine.

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  14. The British have such a way of infusing comfort and chic elegance at the same time in their homes, which I think is very appealing.

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  15. Very smart! Though, I would be very surprised if this particular client was English.
    Have you ever seen pictures of his house in Wiltshire? An old HG or WoI layout, gorgeous.

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  16. Anonymous6:51 AM

    I believe the rose is called Henri Quatre ... I could be wrong ... French rose from about 1825 ...

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  17. HOBAC- V. curious- what nationality do you think they are?? Elaborate please :)
    Also, have not seen photos of his home, but it sounds like I need to!

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  18. Anon- Don't know a lot about roses... sounds like I should, though. :)

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  19. I love this very english decoration ..so elegant and so colonial .
    I love the exotic fabrics in this timeless decoration

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  20. I think half of this couple is non English. There is a degree of crispness here that was not even evident in Mr Kime's redecoration of Clarence House (also very beautiful). The restrained formality evident in the use of balanced pairs suggests to me, at least, at least one American resides here.
    There is something different here that I haven't seen before in his work - and that sprung to mind. I could be totally off - who knows?

    Hope the fop did not shock too much, ha!

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  21. HOBAC- I reread the article, but the only thing it says about the couple is that they're "highly social"(!). You could be right- I think it's an interesting observation. I'm off to find images of Kime's other projects for comparison's sake!

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  22. I love this style, thanks so much for posting on it and sharing the photos!
    I've gotten behind on your blog, so I am enjoying catching up!

    Melissa

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  23. Beautiful post and photos! I think even Phil & Betty Windsor would be at home in any of these rooms!

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