Design your living room

This substantial garden room is built along the lines of a Georgian orangery, with one wall made almost entirely of glass and top-lit by a partly glazed roof. The most prominent element in the scheme is the tall, Norwegian, ceramic stove reproduced from eighteenth-century Scandinavian designs. (It burns wood or wood-derived fuel and is ultraclean’ in operation, which means it is exempt from the proscriptions of the Clean Air Act.) The seating is a combination ofpainted, wooden, Verandah’ furniture by Charles Edwards and an upholstered day bed for lazing.

The twig-motif mirror and head-shaped vase are by the highly original ceramicist Oriel Harwood. Fixed to one wall is a wide timber trellis supporting climbing plants. The floor has large flagstones laid on the diagonal within a straight border. The effect of the room is light and white with an infusion of fresh, summery, cornflower blue. An IdealHusbandby Oscar Wilde is set in London in the 1890s, a period of extraordinary stylistic diversity and creativity in interior decoration. Michael Howells realized appropriate settings for the play’s fashionable characters by exploiting the opulence and richness which continued to be hallmarks of the smartest decorating. A man of his times’, Lord Goring is an English gentleman of Proustian decadence.

Design your living room Played by Rupert Everett, he is wealthy and in possession of an advanced aesthetic sensibility. His flat is decorated in the latest Oriental style offspring of the Aesthetic Movement, which fostered an interest in the exotic, with Moorish, Japanese and Chinese accessories, including vases and screens as supplied by Liberty, then much in vogue.

Aesthetic interiors boasted peacock feathers, parasols, paper fans, masks and japanned furniture. In Lord Goring’s rooms, dark shades of purple, blue and black suggest the world of the opium den and lend a darker interest to Goring’s personality. Howells was inspired by a series of rooms in Cadogan Gardens, designed in 1888 by A H Mackmurdo for the artist Mortimer Menpes. The rooms represented the most thorough Japanese interior of the time. Other influences were the artists of the avant-garde Vienna Secession group and the geometric severity of the Weiner Werkstatte, particularly the work of Josef Hoffmann.

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