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Discover The Heritage Lookbook

Jade Bloomfield
By Jade Bloomfield, Editor

In the world of design, only a select few styles are elevated to celestial levels of ubiquitous prestige. Reserved only for the design world’s most enduring—the most classic—the secret of achieving such prestige lies in a symphony of quality craftsmanship, timeless silhouettes and steadfast designs that evoke a spark of nostalgia in even the most contemporary of designers. Whilst the new does have its own undeniable allure, sometimes it’s the knowledge that the very best things last forever that makes a piece feel like a treasure or a space feel like home.

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It’s difficult to pinpoint what is so eternally captivating about heritage homes. Perhaps it’s the fine craftsmanship which has been nearly entirely unmatched by any design style since. Or maybe it’s the cherished history that is built into their walls—the kind that simply can’t be emulated, only preserved. Indeed, to procure a property with such unmatched period features (the oft spoken of “great bones”), half the work is done. Embrace lofty ceilings (and learn to find comfort in the empty space created by them), cherish parquet floors and their timeworn beauty, and treasure all that is panelled. These are spaces and pieces destined to be passed through generations because a classic never dies.

Discover The Heritage Lookbook | Style Guide

Naturally, heritage design must be touched by the past. However, of late, purveyors of the style have blended its timeless aura with a sense of relaxed comfort. The results are warm, inviting spaces where the details speak for themselves.

Intricate cornices and ceiling medallions draw the eyes upwards and the wingback armchairs draw the guests in; mahogany dining tables are balanced with contemporary neutral fabrics and velvet accents; and Georgian sash windows, which allow mullion-marked sun rays into shadowed corners, become prime spots for working from home. Abounding in texture, the new heritage—as manifested by design studio Albion Nord—seeks to layer the formal with the informal, the imposing with the familiar at every opportunity by combining plaster and antique brass with soft wools and worn leather. For to make a space look as though it has always been there requires a certain trace of the undone.

And it is whilst honouring tried-and-true silhouettes that the style’s characteristic details come to life. Button-tufted armchairs elevate library corners; gold rimmed dinner plates bring an esteem to fine dining; and carved wooden accents enhance formal seating areas. Draw inspiration from Laura Hammett’s heritage style and experiment with darker schemes in the bedrooms and studies. Lace the walls with heirloom art or add a nod to glamour with a bar cart filled with an assortment of crystal decanters.

Discover The Heritage Lookbook | Style Guide
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With walls lined in history, it’s the nod to the new that brings these homes to the forefront of today’s design world. Outside, topiary-filled gardens and tree-lined avenues are shadowed by white stucco townhouses and Portland stone villas, their facades unchanged for decades. Step inside though, and you’ll find a new wave of heritage design: previously unassuming basements converted into indulgent home cinemas and cavernous wine cellars now updated to chilled walk-in spaces with softly illuminated bottle-filled rows. Yes, you’ll still find the same brass-finished lights on inlaid side tables, layered rugs and woven upholstery on deep roll arm chairs, only this time they face a screen. Though upgraded for modern living, the integrity of these vast homes remains the same with styles built to last.

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And it’s not only grand residences which are embracing the references of the past. Hotels in the town and country alike are honouring this quintessentially refined yet inviting look, choosing to employ the use of exquisitely crafted panelled walls, expertly curated antique collections and a refreshing array of traditional fabrics. What better way to induce a feeling of escapism and luxury for guests than to recapture a time when details were at the centre and quality reigned supreme.

So whatever its appellation—heritage, classical or traditional—take comfort in the past this season and create a home that can be cherished forever.

Header Image: Albion Nord