One of the most charming houses featured in the recently published John Fowler: Prince of Decorators (written by Martin Wood) is Fowler's beloved country house, the "Hunting Lodge" . The Gothick style house is actually quite small, but this limitation did not deter Fowler. According to Wood's book, Fowler wanted to create a home that was "utterly unpretentious, very comfortable, with a veneer of elegance and informality and the feeling that one can sit down anywhere without having to move a chair." When I look at the photos of Fowler's home, I'm struck by the soft, faded colors, the chintz, the Mauny wallpaper, and the charming antique furniture. It is, in the words of Fowler, elegant and supremely comfortable.
After Fowler's death, the Hunting Lodge was deeded to the National Trust. Its current tenant is British designer Nicky Haslam, who has kept much of Fowler's scheme intact (do you think that would happen here in the States?). While Haslam's incarnation is a bit more formal and not quite as faded, it's still cozy and inviting nonetheless. British House & Garden recently published an article on Haslam's country home, so I thought I would show a comparison between the Hunting Lodge of each of these design legends.
The sitting room designed by Fowler. The color of the walls was "Sienna Pink", according to Wood.
Haslam's version of the sitting room; note that Haslam kept the Sienna Pink color for the walls.
The dining room from the Fowler era: originally this room had been a front hall. Fowler added trompe l'oeil paneling, a chest of drawers, and an upholstered chair to keep the room from looking like a "dead dining room".
Haslam's dining room, which was the only major change from Fowler's scheme. Haslam eliminated the wall between Fowler's smaller dining room and a service kitchen to create a larger room.
One of my favorite rooms from the Hunting Lodge- here, Fowler converted this little hallway and stairwell into a small library and study. The wallpaper is Mauny.
I'm so glad Haslam chose to keep this beautiful wallpaper, seen in the background.
Fowler painted his bedroom in blue distemper and applied a Mauny border vertically (a trick that Fowler also used in other homes). The bed hanging is "Victoria" chintz.
Once again, Haslam chose not to alter Fowler's scheme.
Fowler's summer house is still there too!
(Haslam images from UK House & Garden, photographer Simon Brown. Fowler quotations from "John Fowler: Prince of Decorators" by Martin Wood)