Taking the decision to refresh the décor and interior of a Queen Anne manor house is no small task. And yet, this is exactly what is underway at The Elms hotel – with fabulous results being unveiled!
Carrying out projects on large private houses, both in the UK and overseas, Darron Woore runs Focus Interior Design Ltd. With a very loyal client-base, Darron has been working with Tim Hopkins, owner of The Elms hotel for no less than 25 years, and so it was an obvious choice to ask him to take on The Elms with all its historic country house glory.
With the project well underway, I asked Darron to provide us with a little bit of insight into his vision for The Elms and what the interior refurbishment entailed.
Design insight from Darron
Before taking on a significant project like this, it’s important to truly appreciate the history and notable features of the building, whilst additionally understanding how the hotel guests wish to use the space and what they would find most appealing. Regarding The Elms, it was clear that whilst we did not wish to compromise on quality, we did want to make the interior feel more relaxed and intimate, whilst remaining welcoming to all ages.
Country hunting lodge with a modern twist!
Provision of many comfortable areas to sit and admire the beauty of this building whilst enjoying a coffee, a casual meal or indeed a three-course dinner was paramount to the hotel refurbishment plan
So, in short, we summarised the brief as: “Country hunting lodge with a modern twist!” Whilst The Elms is indeed a hotel, we wanted to return its feel and look to more like the grand country home that it used to be whilst ensuring a relaxed and slightly more modern feel.
Farrow and Ball, Crucial Trading and vintage leather
With the large reception, lounge area, drawing room, dining room, bar and stairway all part of the first phase, work started on 14th October and the majority of this will be complete by Christmas, with further plans to refurbish additional areas of the hotel and grounds during 2018.
Starting with the paintwork, we’re making use of just three Farrow and Ball colours throughout the entire downstairs area: London Clay, Worsted and Dovetail. To present a more modern feel, coving and window frames are painted the same, quite dark colours to become the backdrop for the warm atmosphere that we are looking for.
Retaining the original slate hard flooring, refurbishing where we need to, Crucial Trading bordered rugs will feature in many rooms. Newly acquired furnishings will also feature, such as vintage and new leather chairs, characterful tables and tweed sofas with tartan and faux fur throws to add a cosy feel.
Sympathetic to original features
Throughout The Elms, there are magnificent features to preserve, such as the original fireplace that heralds the focal point of the lounge, and original pieces including many large guilt mirrors, that were most likely designed for their locations in the grand home, and a large sideboard in the Brookes restaurant. These all continue to take pride of place amongst the sumptuous décor, and stand the test of time for any interior design vision.
Additionally, we are placing some fun pieces such as oversized ginger jars and a giant orchid to add drama and scale in such distinguished and well-proportioned rooms.
Atmospheric lighting to complete the look
As with so many interiors of grand, historic homes, lighting is an essential component to complete the look and feel that we desire. Whilst the large, Queen Anne windows, simply dressed in luxurious velvet, bathe the interior in natural light, many creative levels of interior lighting will provide a lift for the deliberate, dark base tones, ensuring that The Elms is a truly indulgent place to sit and relax for a while, by day or night, throughout the year.
I’m delighted to be leading the interior refurbishment of this hotel and look forward to further creative challenges as we continue with the work into 2018.