Design Ideas For Your Home Inspired by the National Trust, by Alison Dalby
If you like visiting National Trust Houses and/or are considering revamping your home and/or like well illustrated books this is for you.
It begins with showing interiors by style ; Georgian townhouses, arts and crafts period, art deco and modernist with just sufficient synopsis of the history and origins without it becoming an essay.
It then guides you through by colour theme, from blue and whites, greens, yellow, orange, red, red and white, pink and white, black, white and neutrals.It is not the object to appeal to an infinate variety of tonal effects but rather to demonstrate colours as they were used by period, and designer. I found it easy to associate yellows with Regency period and of course the stunning sunbursts of yellow as used by Sir John Soames for the drawing room at Wimpole Hall. Blue and white as a combination has been popular throughout the ages and is demonstrated in a Georgian bedroom, drawing room, bathroom, Victorian dining room through to some of the Trusts’ holiday cottages.
Then follow sections on pattern,texture, lighting, accessories, collections and displays. The layout of the book is a particular strength in that unlike other interior design books it doesn’t rely on a rigid format of room by room or colour by colour ideas; it has a remarkable ability to present overviews from a period or style and then to telescope into a specific feature such as lighting, presenting a glass or picture display. Throughout there is a balance between the ornate and large scale historic properties (such as Wimpole Hall, Knole and Wightick Manor) to the smaller scale and more modern interiors (such as Shaws Corner, and over a dozen holiday cottages) Neither does it go down the “create the look” route where a particular pattern of fabric and matching shade of paint are then shown together with suppliers, prices etc; rather it has a comprehensive list of suppliers at the rear as it assumes the discerning reader will want to conduct their own further research , and right from the beginning suggests the importance of testing and sample s once you have found an inspiration.
It is a densely and well illustrated book (with over 200 photographs) and is testament to the fact that a design book can be lavishly produced without being a coffee table book or coffee table. It is small and portable such that it can be put in the handbag to take to the fabric dealer/auction house.
The downside? well being an extreme bibliophile with a modern house overflowing with books I would like to have seen more modern ideas for storing books as well as library furniture/accessories shown in situ such as ladders, bookends, and of course the obligatory shelves of Penguins organized by colour of spine.
Hence my favourite page is page 143 which shows a modern, uncluttered bedroom as designed by Erno Goldfinger for no 2 Willow Road. Painted white with a black carpet, white bedspread. No other furniture or colours apart from the bed ……and the adjacent WALL of books…sweet dreams!