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Publication Date: 2014-03-16

Inspiration

A Country House in the City

And so we end the week with a trip back in time to London, more specifically, a townhouse decorated by the late Tom Parr of Colefax and Fowler. Photographed by Derry Moore for the May 1978 issue of Architectural Digest, the townhouse was located at the end of a private lane, where it was surrounded by trees and a small garden, thus giving visitors a sense of being in the country. Because of the townhouse's bucolic surroundings, Parr decorated this city house in the manner of a English country house.

The article's author, Elizabeth Lambert, noted that "the English are exceedingly good with their country houses, be they city versions or truly in the country. They know how to live in them, and they know how to decorate them- the living and decorating so entwined that to mention either attribute separately is almost impossible." So true. And Tom Parr was quoted as saying, "The best country houses are always totally relaxed, cottony and simple. Above all, they are easy to live in." I think that both Lambert and Parr's statements sum up exactly why Americans are so enamored of the English country house style.

Parr filled the townhouse with furnishings that epitomized both comfort and elegance. Comfy-looking seating, warm light, easy-on-the-eyes colors, and pretty fabrics all add to the relaxed atmosphere of the house. Thirty-five years after being published, these interiors don't look the least bit dated, a testament to Parr's skills as a designer. As he noted, "Decorating must not be ephemeral. The idea of changing colors every year is absolute rubbish. It's too expensive, for a start. There should be a timelessness about every room, and if enough thought has been given to what makes a particular house livable, then a decorator will be very good friends with the owners when the work is finished."

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