Continuing with the tear sheets I unearthed recently, I have this interesting example from English House and Garden magazine. I'm not sure when this first appeared, probably in the early 2000's. I think I probably tore this one out not because it gave even the remotest inspiration for any interior I would ever be involved in (stately homes are rather thin on the ground in Australia), but because of the Architectural interest in this design.

The owner of this home in the English countryside wanted a house that borrowed heavily from Palladio's Villa Capra, also known as La Rotonda, located in the Veneto at Vicenza in Italy and built in the 1570's. Andrea Palladio is probably the most influential Architect in history, and the Villa Capra is his most famous and influential building. His designs epitomised all that were good about classical Architecture, and were quite revolutionary during the Renaissance. His designs of course were based on those of Ancient Rome, but he played with proportion and scale to ensure that his structures were pure symphonies of proportional perfection. Several hundred years after his death, his designs were discovered anew, this time by English Gentlemen on their Grand Tour. The Grand Tour would take in many areas with artistic and cultural merit, and Gentlemen on their Grand Tour would typically travel at a leisurely pace for several years, collecting antiquities, intaglios, statuary and sketching the buildings and scenery that they saw. When they returned to England, they wished to show off their enlightened and cultural ways, and sought to emulate the designs they had seen while on their travels.

entrance hall

stairs to the upper level

entry hall, the doorway has putti playing musical instruments hand carved especially

Palladio's designs directly influenced a style of Architecture that has become known as Georgian Architecture in England. This house is much more recent than that however, and was built in 1987. It is described in the text as being "modest in scale", which I suppose it is if you compare it to your common and garden Stately Home with 60 bedrooms. The text also notes that it is decorated with informal family life in mind. Now this is casual country living if you are used to a lot of staff I'd say. 
The interiors were done by David Mlinaric, with much of the curtain fabric being specially woven commissions. Attention to detail means that there are many little drinks tables placed where you'd want them, and items such as Butler's pantries (for your real Butler, not an imagine one) conveniently located (and apparently with charts for the staff pinned on the wall showing how a formal table setting should be done). 

bathroom with Victorian style shower

Dining room with Fortuny damask upholstered walls and a Venetian chandelier

view from the sunken courtyard

the breakfast room with Meissen plates on the wall, each one with a different bird

The drawing room

If you're interested in Palladio and his works, there is a Martin Randall tour this year on this very topic. How I would love to go on it as it is led by an Architectural Historian, and would be completely fascinating as they're accessing privately owned homes that are not open to the general public. But alas, it's not to be as I tackle my own, rather more modest Villa this year. So while I don't think that this home will give any inspiration from a decoration point of view, it's always nice to have a little glimpse into someone else's life, and in particular something that has been conjured up from someone's Architectural dream. 


  1. I remember this one! I also saw this featured in one of those bbc4 home documentaries.

    I adore this style. Hard not to like with its beauty ratios everywhere. I can't remember which guy it was but he cleverly put the pi formula on everything showing how equal and symmetrical everything was.

    But in modern life it seems Georgians are a headache to renovate as they didn't for the most part include a room for loos so you end up with a gigantic loo and lose out on a bedroom...

    But it does show how one never gets tired of a classic.

    Happy Easter by the way xx

  2. That would have been interesting to see in a documentary, photos can manipulate spacial perception I think.

    The Golden mean (or Divine Proportion as it was known in Renaissance times) was an Ancient Greek system of proportion in Architecture based on Pi as you said. Palladio led the revival of interest in it as he published four very influential books on Architecture explaining the importance of the proportions. I think though, that it was widely used by everyone in the Renaissance, including Leonardo Da Vinci, and like Da Vinci's Vetruvius man diagram, Palladio did a little bit of fudging of his Architecture to prove the Golden Mean in his books, so it wasn't completely perfect.

    I remember working on Georgian buildings in London back in The Olden Days, and yes, a huge headache to renovate, especially if they had a Grade II * listing, as one did in London that I was involved with (on a very junior level I have to add). Hope your reno's go smoothly, but you're in a Mews house aren't you? Bit more scope for creativity?

    Happy Easter to you too N xx

    1. That's so interesting. I've learnt a lot reading this post, Heidi. Thanks for the opportunity to learn!
      I've always had a bit of an obsession with Georgian buildings. One of my old friends at primary school lived in a huge and beautiful Georgian Mansion and I loved going to sleep overs there.
      I particlularly love those bigs wooden shutters and huge windows.

    2. Proper Georgian buildings are so beautiful, mostly because they did get the proportions right (and so many of the recent copies in Australia are nothing like the real deal). I absolutely loved the shutters in the windows too, such a lovely and practical detail. xx

    3. You are ahead in the reno...I am still waiting for official planning permission. I am in the nebulous stage...I am not even thinking paint colors bc you of all people must know that my head is exploding with ifs and having to commit! We shall see but will keep you posted and your expertise might be needed :) x

  3. Not sure if you have seen Kevin McCloud's Grand Tour which is available on DVD, but it is v. interesting as the first episode covers Palladio and how the gentlemen of the time used to take the Grand Tour around Europe. Was quite informative as until I watched the DVD I had no idea where the ideas for London had come from.

    1. I did see Kevin's Grand Tour, and loved it! I bought the book for Mr AV a couple of Christmas's ago. Must go and reread it. xx


  4. A really fascinating post, Ive always considered Georgian and Palladain tow distinct styles .. maybe Im thinking Goergian as in NSW such as Old Government House Parramatta.,_Parramatta

    though I do undertand that many of the Palladians were built in the Georgian era in the UK, whatever they are certainly fascinating .

    We used to have a friend when I was young who had built a more simplified Palladian but it had a round marble floored hall with a dome and a staircase that ran up one side of the hall with the bannisters in a circle and rooms were off that mezzanine floor. It was painted in washed out mediterranean colurs, It remains one of the most beautiful houses I know.

    1. I think Australian Georgian (and there's not much of it in Australia aside from Tasmania and a little in Sydney) is a little more austere, and has some additions to suit the climate, such as verandas. I think because the colony didn't have many builders/ Architects or highly skilled labourers, they were a little limited at that time with what they could produce. The typical Palladian style influenced all the large stately homes of the time in England, plus was distilled into the rows of Georgian columned houses that you typically see in London and Bath. Your friend's house sounds amazing smr - a beautiful stair really does make such a difference to an entry. xx

    2. Thanks for your reply Heidi , isnt talking about Architecture great? though wiht my limited knowledge of the terms it's difficult for me to describe houses and indeed any building.

  5. Wow! This is absolutely STUNNING! Thank you SO much for sharing! Hugs from Cali! xx The Golden Girls


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