Friday, 16 September 2011

Arts and Crafts

I do love a spot of Arts and Crafts. This time I don't actually mean the sort you do with your hands, but rather the design period, that which spanned mainly from the mid-Victorian era to Edwardian times.

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.


  1. That looks like an interesting place to visit!
    There are two places I'd really love to visit too, one is Eltham Palace and the other is Willim Morris' The Red House.
    Julie xxxxxxxxx

  2. Looks such a homely place! I would love to visit it sometime as I love the Arts & Craft era.

  3. What a wonderful place. It's got such a homely look, not too grand like some National Trust places. I love the crochet bed cover.

  4. Lovely! I'm a sucker for a bit of parquet and that is a perfect example. I also love the kitchen. It looks so calm, I might even enjoy cooking in a kitchen like that! (Or maybe not.)

  5. I'm all about the arts and the crafts, as I love to have real things in my home.
    I shall bookmark this for a visit ond day.
    Thanks x

  6. What a glorious post! The house is gorgeous and I'm so pleased that you were allowed to take photos. Aren't you lucky with Munchkin too, bless him?

  7. Hi Hen

    Thank goodness that the National Trust exists and preserves such beautiful places.
    I can see why you like the orangerie, it is the perfect to sit and relax.
    I recognised the white bedspread, I have the same one (same design).
    It's good that Munchkin found it all interesting. Not enough children do these days sadly...
    Have a lovely weekend
    Isabelle x

  8. I do agree Hen, I adore Arts & Crafts even though we live in an early Victorian cottage now. Our old house in Devon paid homage to the 1930's and I was very sad to part with my 30's furniture when we moved here, but it just didn't really fit in. I do have a couple of original Arts & Crafts pieces, a box and a candle stick which I treasure. That house is exquisite, so stylish and I want the rocking horse. Have a great weekend.
    Jo xx

  9. thank you for sharing, that looks just like my kind of place to visit. Have you been to Chartwell? Not Arts & Crafts, but has a fantastic atmosphere and so evocative of the period (which is what I love about these NT properties) Lizzie x

  10. Wonderful, especially the kitchen, the orangery, the sittinging room - in fact all of it! Thank you for the tour of such a beautiful property.
    Carol xx

  11. OOooo, it looks fantastic! I'm going to look it up, and hopefully we'll get there :o)

    I adore that orangery too, and those estate cottages look so pretty.

    Thankyou so much for sharing what must have been a lovely day out :o)

    Hoping you have a fabulous weekend too.
    Kindest regards,

  12. I had never even heard of this place before your post! It is now on the list!

  13. I love arts and crafts too,thankyou for sharing such wonderful pictures,juliexx

  14. Thanks for sharing your visit, I could move in there tomorrow. No modern minimalist for me.!!

  15. Thank-you for the lovely tour! It is a house you can imagine people living in, not at all like a staged showpiece. I love the garden too. I've got some small pieces of William Morris fabrics in the mini-stash that I've been contemplating for some time. The William Morris wallpaper is just beautiful. XXX

  16. Well the bookcase and contents, the wonderful clean lines of the kitchen, and the orangery sold it for me!
    Lovely photos - thanks for sharing, especially for those of us who can't get there.

  17. looks beautiful, I would love to visit it one day x

  18. What a beautiful house in the middle of nowhere!

  19. I love visiting this house too. Every time I go I see something I hadn't noticed before.
    I walk around imagining living there today - I don't think I'd change any of the decor. I love it just the way it is, don't you?

  20. Standen is wonderful - do try to get to Kelmscott if you haven't already seen it and visit Buscott Park nearby too- bliss.
    Standen is such a comfortable,relaxed house.We were very lucky to live in a house of that period in Holland and it still had all the original woodwork,ironwork and some light fittings.It was bloody freezing (VERY high ceilings) but a visual delight.


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