Design Dilemma: Bringing British Style Home
With all eyes on London this summer for the 2012 Summer Olympics, it seems natural to take a closer look at British style. For years we’ve admired the quirky, fashion-forward interiors we see in British design magazines. The looks are never as buttoned-up and polished as homes in American design magazines, and feel more eclectic, more alive.
Take for example, this North London flat which seems to epitomize the characteristics of British style:
What’s the look? In general, there is always a mix of old and new. The Brits, being British, always appreciate tradition. And of course, everyone’s inherited something from Aunt Mary or Uncle Joe. Yet, the British have also strongly influenced modern fashion and style, ever since Vidal Sassoon made his mark with the Mary Quant bob. Hence, the British seem masters of combining modernism with antique Chesterfields, an old trestle table or a traditional Shaker style armoire. The quirkiness is born of this mix.
By-the-book interiors that are straight mid-century modern or sleek minimalism are eschewed. Perhaps that’s because the British prize coziness and homey interiors. Anything that is too one-note just doesn’t have that collected feel. Hence above, in the West London Victorian, a wingback chair sits comfortably next to a modern wire end table and across from a mid-century modern chair. Great architectural bones, such as high ceilings, wonderfully tall windows and carved mantles are a wonderful backdrop to more modern design.
The British homes that have caught our eye in recent years always quite dramatic. White is often the backdrop to large paintings and artwork.
These interiors also incorporate a sense of humor by juxtaposing pieces in differing scales and of differing periods. Interiors feel cozy and warm, but remain uncluttered. Who else, but the Brits, could combine a traditional chandelier and a chrome arc lamp in the same room?
Want to see more? Check out the British house tours at: www.housetohome.co.uk.