English Country House Style: 7 of the Most Charming Examples From the AD Archive

In our imaginings, English country house style is defined by coats of wallpaper and an abundance of aged art and antiques. Besides castles or official government residences, there is perhaps no group of homes with more easily accessible history—regional books recount their transformations, and in the case of many, if not all, information on centuries of renovations and inhabitants is collected on Wikipedia for all to access. Below, we’ve chosen a few of the best English country houses from the AD archive, from the most historically notable to those with the memorable decor schemes.

Designer John Stefanidis’s English home includes a Dinning room with a bench window seat. *** Local Caption ***Derry Moore

A view of the Thames

Before Chelsea was the chic London neighborhood it is today, it was a popular spot for statesmen to build country houses between the 16th and 18th centuries. The Lindsey House is one such property, built in 1674 by the third Earl of Lindsey on the Thames riverside. When AD100 Hall of Fame interior designer John Stefanidis first moved in, he lived just on the first floor—the house had been divided into apartments years prior—but by the time his space was featured in AD’s May 1987 issue, his home spread across all three floors. While the decorations aren’t generations old, the skillful use of antiques leave you none the wiser. The most substantial structural change to the home since the 17th century had been a bay window added to the dining room in the 1800s. Stefanidis accessorized the space with cushions and striped Roman drapes, the perfect spot from which to enjoy a view of the Thames.

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The Garden House at Charleston Manor, Sussex, home of the late Lady Birley *** Local Caption ***Derry Moore

Full bloom in Sussex

A true English country house is incomplete without a proper garden. The Charleston Manor in Sussex, as captured in the June 1985 issue of AD, may have been among the most lively, with 10 acres of gardens developed over the late Sir and Lady Birley’s 50 years of ownership. The couple purchased the home in the 1930s and reformed it from what was once a working farm into a proper country house where all manner of visitors could flock to. Working with gardener Arthur Taylor, Lady Birley created an array of terraces and enclosed gardens, filling the countryside with color.

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