British Influence

British elements in American interiors



Union Rug

photograph courtesy of The Rug Company

Ahh, the British, they just keep calm and carry on.

I have to admit that I like most things British (saying that I like all-things-British would be an overstatement - I still don't understand why one would choose to drive on the wrong side of the road, be rained on all the time, or make pies with organ meats, but hey, that's just me).

I spent a lot of time in England - studying, working and traveling for pleasure. My husband in half-British, I got engaged in Wales, I have friends, family and clients in London.

So naturally, I have seen a lot of British interiors over the years and I grew to love the way Brits think about their houses - be it a medieval castle, Victorian mansion or hip London flat. Nothing has to be perfect, nothing has to match, patterns and periods are mixed bravely and with ease. It's all effortless and fun (an impression you would not get from watching "Keeping Up Appearances", but the aspiring working-class interiors should be a topic of a separate article).

Many people picture in their minds English interiors as filled with lots of dark stained millwork, large leather club chairs, and busy floral prints... but there is so much more to British interiors of today. There is one British designer whose work I absolutely love, and whose creativity and sense of humor in decorating inspire me daily. Enter Martyn Lawrence Bullard (now with a firm based in Los Angeles) whose impressive client list includes Sir Elton John, Cher, Kid Rock, The Osbournes, Ellen Pompeo and Tamara Mellon. His interiors are eclectic and sophisticated (and at times outrageous like his clients), but always comfortable. His book Live, Love & Decorate (Rizzoli, 2011) is one of my favorites!

I see a lot of British-inspired elements in our homes here. My favorite ones are those inspired by the British flag, perhaps because it is so literal and fun. So let’s shatter the wood-coffered ceiling and have some fun!

jonathan adler pillows

Like a Queen Pillow by British Design

British Flag Stool by Jonathan Adler

Mustard Color British Flag Paperweight by Jonathan Adler

The Queen Clock by British Design

So if I want to leave you with one thing, it is this: I think when one stops obsessing over period accuracy, matching wood tones and a tear in an antique rug (this one seems to be a British specialty), one starts having fun decorating. Which makes one a happier person. This, in turn, makes one not care about the rain, or the class system or warm beer.

I wish the same to all of us. Happy Fall!


Olga AdlerOlga Adler is a fashion-loving and world-traveling interior designer. Known for her fondness for simple forms, love of color and unique accessories, she has won acclaim for her refreshing approach to classic design. She is the author of “Distinctive Interiors of Fairfield County” and recipient of 2010 Fairfield County “40 UNDER 40” award.

To contact Olga visit her website: www.olgaadlerinteriors.com or call 203-221-2411.

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