Norfolk by design

PUBLISHED: 17:20 08 June 2015

The study designed by Lanassir Lawes.

The study designed by Lanassir Lawes.


A client’s literary ancestor is the inspiration for the latest project by Lanassir Lawes, our expert interior designer from Bressingham.

I am currently working with several clients who have interesting properties but want to turn them into comfortable family homes that look great and work for the way that they live. Some projects involve a complete renovation, others just require a new decorative scheme. This usually consists of new wall finishes, window treatments and light fittings and a few carefully selected accessories to complement the clients’ existing furniture.

Sally and Jonathan called me in to add soft furnishings and lighting to their hallway. Inspired by the transformation we then swiftly moved on to the study - Jonathan’s multifunctional den that is used for both business and pleasure, and which is home to some magnificent furniture - some because Jonathan is a very talented cabinetmaker. However, the centrepiece of the room is the desk that belonged to Jonathan’s great-great-grandfather, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, the author of adventure novels set in exotic places.

With the brief to give the room a lighter feel for modern living, I selected a printed cotton fabric by Sanderson called The Voyage of Discovery as it features exotic curios just like those that may have featured in the cabinet of a well travelled Victorian gentleman.

The other prominent feature of the room is a large fireplace with grey and red toned brickwork inset with yellow and blue ceramic tiles. These influenced my choice for the colour scheme. The walls were painted in Clay and the fireplace surround, complete with little seats, was painted in French Grey, both by The Little Greene Paint Company.

The house dates back to the 17th century with many alterations and additions having been made since, giving a lovely eclectic, relaxed feel. This is something that I was keen to emphasise by using a selection of fabrics in each room so as not to feel too formal.

The Sanderson fabric dresses the main window and has been teamed with a checked fabric and textured plains at the other windows and for cushions to complement the colour scheme. The wall lights that Jonathan made many years ago when he and Sally first moved into the property have been updated with simple blue shades, the other lamps in the room were also given new bespoke shades.

All that is left to complete the room is a photograph of Jonathan at the desk, just like the one of Sir Henry Rider Haggard - who wrote King Solomon’s Mines - that hangs on the wall.

It’s not just home offices that I work on, another of my projects at the moment is to design and coordinate the refurbishment of the new offices of Steeles Law solicitors in St Nicholas Street, Diss, making the most of the space available in the period property while giving it a modern feel in line with the business’ distinctive branding. No two projects are the same, each creates its own challenges. ◆

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