A country house’s main distinction–whatever its size–is that it derives its income from its land, whereas city houses provide accommodation for those whose income and work comes from an outside source, whether that is from city business or from the country estate.
Large country houses and estates own and generate a certain amount of wealth that is to their benefit and that of those living in the surrounding communities–they are the local business and neither can survive without the other. At all levels, right down to crofting, the house and its land work together: people, animals, crops, mud, the seasons, all interlinked and interdependent. At it’s best it’s an arrangement of mutual respect.
However smart and sophisticated the furnishings, this very real relationship is less demanding of show and more of comfort.
The country house style should therefore show depth and intelligence–it isn’t just about chintz curtains–but about a connection with a traditional and sustainable way of life, with craftsmanship, and with the travels and experiences of those who have brought the home into being. As second homes–or an alternative to a city house–they are less formal, reflecting a slower pace and a more leisured approach.
The English Country House depends upon the mix of East and West for its signature comfortable, eclectic and globally aware essence: Persian rugs, Indian chintz, English wallpaper, Chinese, English French and Gustavian furniture and accessories and you pretty much have it. This intellectual and world reference is vital for re-creating the idea of the English Country House, without which the idea becomes a flat and lifeless pastiche.