English Chic

Shannon and I are working on a beautiful home in Orinda with a decidedly English vibe.   Beautiful green ivy creeping on the facade, with views of mature oak trees and manicured gardens out every window.  Shutters, original to the build, adorn many of the windows while multiple sets of iron-cased french doors provide breezy access to the fountains and foliage that await outside.

We are designing this house with (irreverent) British undertones and thrilled about how everything is coming along.  An English room is timeless, slightly moody and should make you want to pour yourself a stiff cocktail (brown liquor, not clear) and cozy up by the fire with a novel. 


Everyone can do greige, but it is way more interesting (and stylish) to skip the safe, catalog look and get a little more creative.  A leather sofa? Never out of style.  And buffalo check chairs? Yes please.  The toile can go on drapes, on the wall...or skip it all-together and incorporate a Pendleton stripe for a more masculine take on this room (And no, the wallpaper is not upside down.  Look closely)

1.  This cognac leather sofa is the modern take on a classic piece...and only gets better with time.

2.  Because it wouldn't feel truly "English" without an equestrian nod.  

3.  Slightly preppy, totally stylish.  This chair is a necessary element, adding whimsy and pattern.

4.  Toile...elegant and feminine.  Upholster your headboard in emerald green toile fabric with crisp white linens in a bedroom, or add toile wallpaper in a study to balance the more masculine elements.

5.  Pottery Barn got it right with this piece.  Sculptural with an aged patina, this coffee table feels luxe for a great price.

6.  A cozy (faux) fur throw is essential while drinking a brown liquor cocktail and reading by a fire.  It just is.

7.  The oil painting.  Find one online, at your local consignment shop or in your grandma's garage.

8.  Mixing textures and patterns adds depth and interest.  Finish the room by throwing a few plaid pillows on the sofa (you can mix it up).

So, go ahead... add some leather, fur, plaid and and a creepy old man in a gold frame to your living room, and see if you don't find your conversations more interesting, your reading selections more sophisticated and your bourbon palette more evolved.  Unfortunately, I can't make any promises on the accent(: