THE INTERIOR DECORATOR
Lucy Hammond Giles works for Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, the longest-established interior decorating firm in Britain.
A country house is like a character in a drama. Each has its own story and style, and is made up of layers – sometimes literally, as they have been built over many centuries. It is thrilling to bring out the best in a house so it gives the people living there a home that works.
What makes a country house a home has changed over time. Today the kitchen is as important as the drawing room; it is where a family spends the most time and socialises, so it needs to be spacious and comfortable. Where planning permission has allowed, I have knocked rooms together to make a larger space or moved the kitchen to another room so it is light, with beautiful views.
Orangeries have always been popular – people want an outdoor drawing room with lots of light and the textures of brick walls. Rattan furniture and plants lend an air of informality and spontaneity.
I love a hall; it comes into its own in a country house, offering a transitional space between the outside and the inside. With space now at such a premium, it feels like a wonderful luxury.
Empty walls, if balanced by the architecture, textiles and other objects in the room, are another breathing space. However, we also like to hang antique textiles and art for better acoustics and to give a room a finished feel.
We always use natural materials in our design – they have a character and a style to them, are beautifully made and last longer.