The April issue of WSJ. Magazine hits the newsstands this Saturday, March 26, and lucky me, I've been given an exclusive preview of one of its delightful home décor features. To write her article "For the Love of Country," writer, decorator, and former Domino editor Rita Konig took a trip to the 16th century hunting lodge of interior decorator and bon vivant Nicky Haslam in the woodsy, Little Red Riding Hood land of the English countryside. Haslam's home is a Jacobean-revival house that was built for Tudor king Henry VII, and now, as Konig says, it "perfectly encapsulates that terrible phrase, 'English country-house style.'" Haslam has decorated for the likes of Ringo Starr, Oleg Deripaska, and the Saatchi brothers, and he names rock stars, movie stars, royalty, designers, and more famous faces as his friends, but his interiors are far from precious or pretentious. He's perfected the look of worn sophistication, and every room feels well-loved, timeless, and casually chic.
Proof of Haslam's laid-back yet refined attitude towards design comes straight from the horse's mouth. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the story:
On shopping for home décor:
I don’t consciously collect anything drily precious or impersonal; I just seem to have acquired pretty bits over the years and, ofcourse, some of those bits came from now-famous old friends. I tend to look out for things with a resonance to my youth—artists or objects that seemed romantic all those years ago. I never buy anything purely for its value. I like possessions that smile back at me.
On playing host:
When I entertain, I like it to appear as casual as possible, but in fact I will have orchestrated everything quite carefully, by producing surprises for the eye, mouth and ear. I prefer to do it all myself. I’m a pretty good cook and the house is too small to tell the help where things should go.
On his home's miniature grandeur:
The English truly understand the dynamic between buildings and land. On the continent, the country is tamed into submission round a house, while in America homes are statements in that vast landscape. Most English houses, grand or small, nestle in an intimate pastoral setting.
Pick up WSJ. Magazine on newsstands Saturday to read the article!
Photos courtesy of Simon Upton for WSJ. Magazine