For this English country manor on the outskirts of London, interior designer
Rachel Laxer created a relaxed yet elegant look that complements the home's beautiful windows, intricate plaster ceilings and original wood detailing. 49
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Laxer was careful to respect the home's history and architecture while making it feel modern and current for the young family moving in. For the entry hall, she paired floral drapery from Robert Kime that brings a traditional English look with the clean, more modern lines of the red leather bench and black-and-white photography.
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The ornately carved niche at the end of the entry hall serves as an intimate seating area and was created to visually anchor the space. The settee is vintage and was restored and recovered in simple linen. Mohair cushions bring a pop of color, and an ornate gilded mirror adds a decorative touch. A gilded coffee table with leather top complements the mirror and does not compete with the panelling.
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Curtains create a welcoming aspect to the long hallway and soften the look. The curtains can be drawn to close off the great hall and still allow natural light to filter though.
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The great hall features L-shaped sofas in a modern chesterfield design and leather ottomas with inset trays, which were custom designed by Laxer and made in England. This layout maximizes the seating arrangement for large, casual gatherings yet retains an elegant feel for more formal occasions.
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A white and cream color palette creates a clean and bright look in the kitchen while black chairs from Julian Chichester add a crisp contrast. A practical natural linen was chosen for the window banquette and is easily removable in case of spills.
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The kitchen has the home's original black Aga oven, which is typical of the kitchens in great homes across the country. To complement the classic piece, Laxer used black absolute marble in a honed finish for the countertops. The cabinets are original to the home but were freshened with paint from Farrow & Ball, and new hardware was chosen for a more elegant look. The floor is the original limestone.
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The dining room exemplifies Laxer's skill at mixing vintage items with contemporary pieces to create a layered, interesting look. The crystal chandelier was found at Alfie’s antique market, a favorite place in North London. The Davidson red lacquer mirror adds a contemporary touch and complements the Julian Opie lithograph on the adjacent wall. The dining table and chairs were custom designed by Laxer and handmade in England by local workrooms.
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The dining room is dominated by heavily paneled walls and windows, so Laxer balanced the space with elegant yet relaxed furnishings to avoid a stuffy, formal look. The room is softened with the simple, natural linen fabric of the window drapery while the colorful band of Robert Kime fabric at eye level adds accent and echoes the touches of red on the mirror and window seat.
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The bedroom was painted in a matte Farrow and Ball paint to give a chalky finish to the plaster moldings. The chair and ottoman from Ochre create a wonderful place to read or have a cup of tea. The rest of the room is filled with traditional furnishings belonging to the homeowner; the result is a calm, elegant and layered bedroom.
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The ensuite master bathroom has a timeless look and is flooded with natural light.
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In the lounge, the custom sectional was designed by Laxer in grey flannel to bring a more masculine look while keeping the feel soft and relaxed. Velvets and classic English wools complete the room, making it one of the more intimate, comfortable spaces in the home.
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The original paneling in the library was cleaned and polished to bring a shine to the space. The desk is an antique that was restored with a new leather tooled top, and the desk chair is upholstered in a classic black horsehair fabric that brings a hint of texture. The window treatments feature the same natural linen used throughout the home to keep the space light and fresh and let the exquisite architecture take center stage.