Contemporary furniture need not be confined to large modern lofts, and period features don’t have to cramp your style. Mixing old and new in an interior is not only fashionable and exciting; it’s a great way to breathe life into an older house, accentuating its timeless beauty in a bold and unexpected way.
This old English manor house has strong traditional architecture that could easily have dictated a dark and old-fashioned style of decorating. Instead, well-judged use of cool, clear colour and contemporary furniture has carved out a modern and soothing space, perfectly in tune with the soft east morning light that streams through the mullioned windows. The original wood-panelled walls have been washed with a beautiful sea-green paint, which immediately makes the space feel light and modern without clashing with its traditional features and flagstone floor. Much of the floor has been covered with a rug in palest duck0egg blue so that the modern furniture sits on a clean contemporary ‘island’, with just a strip of the beautifully textured old floor visible as a contrast around the edges.
The cool colours determined the choice of furniture – tables and chairs that are comfortable but uncompromisingly modern in shape, shade and texture. The black leather armchair, a modern classic with a masculine, tailored feel, is quite unexpected – the softness of the leather contrasting with the shiny metal legs. Yet it looks absolutely right, and inhabits the room almost like a piece of sculpture. The other pieces of furniture – a wonderfully comfortable club chair in ink-green boucle wool and a large low sofa in pale ocean linen, retreat happily into the background.
There is a lot of white – on the ceiling, in the floor lamp, on the coffee table and in the voluminous linen curtains. The tall white arum lilies and alliums, fanning out into the space, perfectly suit the simple restrained elegance of this room – even the green of their stems and calyxes picks up on some of the other colours. To bring in accents of brighter colour, the curtains are edged with a bright sea-green silk cuff, and there are cushions in lime and chartreuse. These help give the room its sense of perfect balance – without them it might have felt almost too cool.
Inspiration: "thinkcolour" by Tricia Guild
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