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Naturally Good-Looking

Oxfordshire based interior designer Amanda Hanley on classic 20th-century shapes in natural finishes

Vincent Sheppard's versatile blend of classic heritage and chic contemporary updates sits perfectly in Cotswolds home interiors

The look I get asked for most often by my Cotswolds clients is ‘contemporary country’

– and nothing does the job better than natural materials and traditional techniques. Giving things a contemporary twist with modern shapes, a few statement pieces or retro-referencing designs keeps the overall look dynamic. Over the years, I’ve built up a portfolio of inspiring bespoke manufacturers and trusted craftsmen to deliver beautiful results; here are some of my top tips for getting the look in your own home.


Focus on materials

Wood, wool, stone, leather, natural cane and paper: these finishes are tactile, warm and durable. They also offer a tantalising range of textures – a key skill of a designer like me is balancing colour and texture in a way that stimulates the senses but remains soothing, creating an elegant overall effect that’s never dull or uniform.

Seek out iconic Lloyd Loom furniture, which uses tightly rolled paper to make a rattan-style material that’s both stylish and long-lasting. Originally created in the early 20th century, it’s now produced by only a handful of workshops, including one of my favourite European furniture-makers, Vincent Sheppard.

Home in on heritage

For impact and longevity, you’re always going to get maximum value from great quality. That’s why I love working with Vincent Sheppard; their versatile blend of classic heritage and chic contemporary updates sits perfectly in Cotswolds home interiors, but you’ll also spot their furniture in luxury design hotels and buzzing bistros across the world, from Marbella’s elegant Finca Cortesin to hip beach bars in Ibiza – a testament to their good looks, great value and durability (think of the high-traffic wear and tear they get put through!). Every piece is handmade; and with FSC accreditation, you know the materials used are sustainably sourced.

Mix and match styles

I’m often asked how to make the retro look work in a period setting; the key is to source a new piece with a mid-century design lineage that blends in with a country interior – try using a statement chair in a reading nook or bedroom, for example, or placing a pair of bucket chairs and a coffee table in a conservatory.

I invite clients to my studio or go to their houses to help them select and customise products that work with their lifestyle; a modern mix of great-looking, stylish furniture to create a welcoming home that’s unique to you.

I’ll liaise with the workshop to specify the colour and finish, ensuring a match with your decorative scheme – whether it’s just one chair or a roomful of furniture – and be there when it’s delivered to check and position it perfectly. The end result? A beautiful home that will give you pleasure for years to come.

Ask the expert...

Q. I have a big country-style kitchen diner, which I’d like to give a contemporary spin. Ideas?

A. The retro look can sit really well in traditional Cotswolds homes. I use Vincent Sheppard’s Lloyd Loom pieces as they reference 20th-century designs and combine beautifully with my bespoke, hand-built kitchens. When it’s not practical to replace your existing kitchen, a quick way to effect change is to invest in new dining chairs and table. My best-sellers include the classic beech-framed Marco chairs, and retro-style Lily seats in oak. You could look at your lighting too; some new pendants can make all the difference. I can source a variety of shapes and styles; together we can find something that’s perfect for you.

- Amanda Hanley

T 01993 822 385 | M 07976 353 996 | amanda@amandahanley.co.uk


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