And what is an 'English Country House' look? I am not talking about Country Homes which are grand places, few of which remain in private hands, but larger country homes owned by families for generations.
What defines this look? It is difficult to pinpoint but it is a look which is achieved over time and generations. So not everything is from one period, but just what fits in a space and has been found in the parents attics. Sofas will be recovered (but only when the dog has eaten so much of the stuffing the springs are painful), battered chairs painted, old rugs used until they are in such a state you are in danger of tripping up through the holes.....
I don't come from the sort of family whose house had attics full of furniture (I do remember all our Victorian and Edwardian furniture on a big bonfire before we left England for Australia). We did get a few old pieces from my in laws house and an old aunts but we had to part with most of these as they just wouldn't fit in the cottage. I will never fully get this 'look' but enjoy using elements of it.
I bought these four oak chairs about 8 years ago from an antique/junk shop. I loved the barley twists on the stretcher and the backs. I painted them cream and as we used them the paint wore off in various places, like the right hand of each stretcher where we rested our feet as we sat after dinner. Toad Hall was big enough to lose another set of 6 chairs in the bedrooms and around the house for when there were more than four for dinner. So now they have to go for someone else to write their own history on them. I have room in this house for a larger kitchen table so the other six chairs can be used here. The table arrived freshly reconditioned and painted but in the wrong colour for me. So the old table, the four chairs, the six chairs and the new table have been repainted. I washed them thoroughly and the applied a coat of Zinser BIN. This amazing paint is a Primer, stain blocker and sealer all in one and best of all, it takes out the need for complete sanding.
This is one of the legs of the smaller kitchen table.
So now I have two new 'sets'. The table and the six chairs is in Farrow and Ball Blackened. The other four chairs and table in House White. (these will go on Ebay this week)
I have commissioned a new dresser (a buffet for those over the pond) to go on that far wall and that is arriving on Saturday.