If you have a weakness for the English country style of decorating you will enjoy the newest book from veteran design writer, Ros Byam Shaw: Perfect English Farmhouse.
The homes presented are labours of love. She tells the stories of how they were acquired and the work that went into making them places fit for the glossy pages of a design book.
Often, they begin like the tale of a love story. The house is glimpsed and the person smitten. A house is pursued, or even “stalked”, until the buyer possesses the object of desire.
The houses presented are no longer part of working farms but have been separated from properties that are now consolidated into larger holdings to make them economically viable. The owners tend to be writers and artists, shop owners and antique dealers.
These homes have the character and patina that comes with age and feature many of the characteristics associated with the genre. There are mellow bricks and beams, tiled floors, enameled Aga cookers and faded chintz. Buildings are nestled into charming gardens where hybrid chickens scratch at the bricks in the sun-dappled courtyard.
For those who are fans of country-modern style, the section, No Frills Farmhouse, shows fabulous old houses with interior furnishings that are spare and contemporary.
I want Becca and Bill to invite me for tea in their lovely long kitchen/sitting room. Sigh. It’s all a fantasy world of idyllic English country living.