Monday, May 21, 2012

English Garden and Architecture Design Continued...

Will this English period ever end, you ask?   Actually, when looking back now at all the books and magazines I amassed during this phase of my decorating journey, I ask myself that same question.  Admittedly, it was a long period, and we are nearing its end - just not yet.  We need to discuss another garden designer and his home.  We need to visit another beautiful London home with Colefax and Fowler connections.  And lastly, we must peek at yet another very English kitchen from the English company, Plain English.

Christopher Lloyd loved and designed gardens for most of his life.  The garden and home to which he devoted most of his time was the one in which he was born - Great Dixter, between Sussex and Kent.  Edwin Lutyens (the architect from my last post) did much of Great Dixter's restorations and additions to the house and gardens.  But, Christo, as his friends called Christopher Lloyd, was the true lover of the gardens there, and he nurtured them until his death in 2006.  He published several books and many articles on his garden endeavors.  Today, I am posting photos from Christopher Lloyd's The Year at Great Dixter, and I'm sure you will notice the hand of Edwin Lutyens in the house and garden's design.

First we see Great Dixter's topiary garden on a misty day in January.  His father started this garden, but his son got to see the mature topiaries.

In May, we glimpse Great Dixter with its wisteria in bloom.  The house was constructed around 1460, and around 1910, Lloyd's father "engaged Edwin Lutyens to make the restorations and additions and to design the garden".

Here we see lichen growing on the Lutyens-designed circular stairs.  (I keep thinking I need steps like these somewhere in my garden, but fear it will have to be in my fantasy one.)

A glimpse into a Great Dixter's interior, a room filled with June poppies (and two chairs to give your eye teeth for.)

July at Great Dixter with Christo posing in the Long Garden.  The house looks so lovely from this angle.

When the sun comes out after a summer storm, how many times have I seen skies look just this way?  Sadly, my garden does not look quite like Great Dixter's after a summer storm, just the sky.

An August view of the beautiful Great Dixter and its garden.

Love potted lilies at the entrance to the house.

Late autumn.

And this is December.

If you are a gardener and do not own this book, I recommend you rush out and buy it.  Besides containing beautiful photos of the gardens, it is chuck full of Christo's anecdotes and wonderful gardening advice.  My copy has notes and highlights on almost every page.

Remember in an earlier post when I referred to the design firm of Colefax and Fowler and one of its designers?  The following London home belongs to the head of this same design firm in 1998, David Green.  I found it in Elle Decor Italy from 1998 and had to include it sometime on my blog because it is just so pretty and so English, containing all the elements of English design.  From now on, I'm saying very little about this lovely home because I do not speak Italian, but the photos "speak a thousand words."

 I believe the fabric here is Eaton Check because amid a sea of Italian words those were in English.  (Sorry for the blur.  Another double-pager.)

Definitely fantasy home material.

Love this sitting room; it's just so darn pretty.   Eaton Check, Malabar, and Beaufort  fabrics (I think).

Such a great landing with such a great window and dog.

Perhaps great art should also be included in the English design aesthetic.  It's omnipresent in English homes.  I so loved revisiting this home even if the text was in Italian.

And now to Plain English kitchens from their website.

At the risk of offending some readers, I have to admit I am not a huge white kitchen fan.  They all seem so similar.  But this kitchen is white and I love it.  Tricia Foley's kitchens are white and I love them.  Loi Than designs white kitchens, and I love them.  OK, maybe I do like white kitchens.  This one is from Plain English's Cornish Holiday Home.

So pristine.

Love black boards in kitchens.  They seem so practical and so not-white.

Also, my daughter and my daughter-in-law both have white kitchens.  I feel like the character in Green Eggs and Ham - I do, I do, I do like white kitchens.

And lastly from Plain English, their Arts and Crafts boot room.  And it is not white!!!!

I have my next post planned out, dear reader, and it is still in England, but I promise you it is not all in white.  Till then,


  1. Thank you for this post Billie. I can't get enough of the Luytens houses! They are all so charming and oh so cozy.
    As you I am not a big fan of white kitchens, unless it is a very modern kitchen.
    But yes I know the kitchens of Plain English and I have to admit they are beautiful.
    I am looking forward to your next English post!

  2. Lovely photos, Billie! And I absolutely love Plain English kitchens. My sister who lives in London has just installed the 'Chelsea Studio' in her new flat - in white. I just about died when I went to the Marylebone showroom with her last winter to sort out the final details. I wanted to move in. All best, Phyllis

  3. Hello, Billie - Thank you! Thank you! :-) BTW, I also love Tricia Foley. She is an amazing designer with a pure, simple and timeless point of view. I have so many of her images on my Pinterest boards.

    And, now to Great Dixter and Christo Llyod: I visited that amazing house and the gardens recently. Though I'm more into structured gardens, Dixter was phenomenal and a wonderful departure. Color, texture, sensory overload....all very beautiful! Definitely a plantsman's garden! And, the perfect setting for the incredible Elizabethan timber-framed house. Thanks for another lovely post, friend!!

    Looking forward to your next one.

  4. I am thoroughly enjoying reading through your posts on a beautiful lazy Sunday morning while sitting on our patio. I found you through the beautiful blogs of Henhurst Interiors and Loi Thai of Tone on Tone Antiques, you are in excellent company!