Posts Tagged ‘perfect english book ros byam shaw chris tubbs photography interiors’

Book Review: Perfect English by Ros Byam Shaw

April 3, 2009


Perfect English by Ros Byam Shaw is one of those books: one for which you’ll want to set aside a whole afternoon, turn off your phone, brew a big pot of tea, and spend hours immersed in the engaging text and delectable photos. Like that other great English institution Mary Poppins, it is practically perfect in every way.**


It has everything you’d expect from a book about English interiors: plump tufted chesterfields, sumptuous chinoiserie wallcoverings, and antiques galore! I’m pretty much convinced that every house in the British Isles has a hidden attic filled with glorious remnants from times passed…


But there’s so much more to this book than manor houses and country estates. An entire chapter is devoted to that weathered, spare aesthetic that the English do so well. Modern furnishings mix with rustic architecture to create rooms that seem to stand still in time.


When it comes to interiors, ‘shaggy’ isn’t usually a desirable adjective. However, this bright and cozy living room takes shaggy to unseen heights of splendour!


Perhaps I’ve read one too many Regency-era romance novels, but I picture all English children playing with charming and wholesome toys like rolling hoops and spinning tops. This vignette is proof of that, right? Right? (Please don’t burst my bubble on this one, folks!)


Apparently the owner of this home wanted her living room to ‘look like Biba‘. Hence the
madcap mix of ethnic textiles, boho granny florals, and riotous color. As Austin Powers would
say, ‘Very grrrr, baby!’


Where do I even begin with this spectacular dining room? The marble floor, the classic lines of the chairs paired with the playful farmhouse linens, the botanical folding screen? Oh, and shouldn’t every home worth its salt should have a giant framed butterfly collection?


Of course if minimalism is more your scene, there’s nothing like a pure white room with
some carefully edited vintage tableware. Don’t you love the unexpected presence of those
red leather chairs?

perfect english.jpg

Reason No. 459 to start a teacup collection? To have a breakfast nook as sunny and cheerful as this one! (Better not ask me what the other 458 reasons are; I’m sure I could come up with them, and that would just be frightening for us all.)


And speaking of collections, Eddie Ross eat your heart out! Have you ever seen so many
ironstone vessels in once place? I have a feeling that woman above the mantel has heard the rumours about my propensity for breaking delicate objects. The expression on her face screams, ‘Look but don’t touch, Anne!’


All images courtesy of Perfect English by Ros Byam Shaw, photography by Chris Tubbs. A huge thanks to Chelsea from Frolic for the find—she too is ‘practically perfect in every way’. Have a beautiful weekend everyone!

**With most sincere apologies for dredging up every British stereotype under the sun!