My first home was a modest 1930's terraced house. It came complete with original stained glass windows and doors, wooden floor boards and original tiled cast iron fireplaces which rather sold me on it. Although not belonging therefore, to the Arts and Crafts period in terms of its architecture, it did lend itself well to being decorated in the style and that's just what I did. I wish I had some photos to show you but unfortunately, I don't.
At the time, I was potty about all things Arts and Crafts. I worked and saved my pennies which were then spent on William Morris print curtains in Liberty and Pomona wall hangings along with gorgeous copper fireplace fenders and so on for which I bid hard on good old eBay.
I have many many books on the subject and during the school holidays, it was a source of amusement yet delight to me that the Munchkin came over all engrossed with architecture. He'd while away the hours making line drawings of buildings and when I suggested he might like to browse my extensive book collection he was well and truly hooked. So when my parents came to stay for a while and we discussed where to go, I was delighted when my Dad suggested we re-visit Standen, a house I'd visited and fallen in love with at the height of my obsession probably ten years ago.
As you can see, it's really rather stunning, nestled in the rolling Sussex countryside pretty much in the middle of nowhere, a glorious spot, built for a well-to-do solicitor and his family. It is astoundingly well preserved as it has always remained in the family (it's now owned by the Nation Trust).
Inside, I was thrilled to discover that they now allowed you to take photos, albeit without a flash so apologies that they are a little dark, so I am able to share the glorious interior with you. Much of the furniture and textiles were commissioned especially for the house by famous artisans of the Arts and Crafts era such as William de Morgan, W.A.S. Benson and William Morris.
What struck me is that it was a house well placed to make the most of a television-free era. There was evidence of many books to read, musical instruments to play and tapestry and sewing going on. I can't think of anything more heavenly!
All the original features are intact and all the wonderful light fittings by Benson.
The orangery takes my breath away.
So does the kitchen! Farrow and Ball eat your heart out!
Upstairs is spectacularly beautiful. What I think I love so much about this design style is that although it embraces the natural and flowery, it does so in a relatively restrained way with clean lines, with an emphasis on good quality workmanship and good, honest materials. It is not fussy like the Victorian style.
Amazing William Morris wallpapers and fabrics abound.
Oh for a dressing room like this one.
The views from the windows are captivating.
The simple gardens are beautifully tended.
The surrounding cottages on the estate are picture-postcard perfect.
The view from the gardens unsurpassable.
Simply an extremely special place. Do visit if you have the chance.