Some styles of decorating have a longer shelf life than others. One of the most durable is English Country Style, which works just as well in a city apartment or suburban home as it does in a rectory or manor house.
We may recognise an interior as archetypally English, but putting a finger on exactly what makes it so can be tricky. One of the strengths of English style is that it isn’t prescriptive. In fact, quite the opposite. It is relaxed, laissez-faire, and endlessly adaptable – all reasons, no doubt, why it has enjoyed such longevity. You know it when you see it, but what are its essential ingredients? In Perfect English Style, Ros Byam Shaw looks at a range of rooms with a strong English feel to them. As it happens, they are all in England, though this is a look that travels the world, still predominantly English in flavour even when spiced with foreign ingredients. Ros explores the main rooms of a house, from hallways to bedrooms, their characteristics and furnishings, and how they achieve that mix of comfort, informality and visual charm that is the hallmark of English style. Ros also homes in on specifics; the qualities of patina, the important role of fabrics and fresh flowers, how to buy, use and include antique and vintage furnishings, and how a collection, whether of pebbles or 18th century glass, adds individuality and character.