Clutter Can Be Beautiful—Let This Historic House Be Your Guide

by AryanArtnews
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When I was at a university in New York, my art history professor sometimes touched on the clubhouse of an artist group. Imagine an expanded version of an artistic summer camp, and any European cottage that flies across the projection screen will be energized. But I was really hooked. Charleston, a ridiculous, craft-filled, maximalist farmer from the Bloomsbury Group Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant on the soft hills of East Sussex, England, is different from the country of the sky in California where I was. grown.

Charleston, a stone farmhouse in the idyllic East Sussex of England.

Painter and interior designer Bell and Grant were central members of a progressive group of artists, writers and intellectuals who gathered in the Bloomsbury district of London in the early 20th century. The duo stayed in Charleston during World War I and snuggled up to Bell’s sister, Bloomsbryan’s companion, and writer Virginia Woolf.

Bell and Grant filled every corner of the house with paintings, some painted directly on the walls. The duo’s own idyllic scenes, portraiture, and advancement into abstract art hang in his contemporary works. And when I didn’t create the canvas, I painted almost every other surface, from the dresser to the window trim, with decorative hand-painting.

In the kitchen, the assortment of buttoned porcelain transferware, a remnant of London’s life, contrasts with the whimsical handmade luminaires.

Despite the fascination of the university, I returned to London a year ago and visited my house for the first time. Since Grant’s death in 1978, it has been operated as a private museum and now hosts contemporary exhibitions alongside a tour of the interior of the house.

The changing style of the English home helped to inspire my new interest in Charleston’s decoration. People in West London swarmed strange Bobs next to the oil paintings, rejecting the sophisticated minimalism of covering furniture with Suzani and vintage sari. In support of a simplified version of the abundance of ingenuity I remembered from those slides in Charleston, the fineness of traditional British design was submitted.

The dining room is adorned with a table by Vanessa Bell and a portrait of Duncan Grant’s writer Lytton Strachey around 1913.

I chose a very English day to visit. It’s cold and rainy, and it’s not loved by people who don’t wear boots. In the rain, I rushed into a 15th-century stone farmhouse covered with vines, hid in the side doors, and first stepped into the kitchen.

A clunky white Agastove warmed the room and my eyes were fixed to the lamps. They look like ceramic colanders hung on street fair beaded necklaces. Each is randomly hand-painted in the style of folk and primitive pottery, handcrafted by Duncan Grant, and scattered throughout the house. In the rest of the mantelpiece, four blue and white porcelain platters, remnants of previous London life, are a companion buttoned to those wacky lights. For some reason, pairing looks confident and funky. Even when Vanessa Bell’s son Quentin Bell combined a scattered teapot.

In the living room, block-shaped graphic rugs give Duncan Grant a place to rest in the sponge-decorated marble pattern and the ferocious momentum of Obermanntel’s paintings by busy Spanish and Italian pottery. increase.

Next, I set foot in the dining room. It is dominated by a huge round table drawn by Vanessa Bell in a concentric pattern. The vague Art Deco motif, block-printed by Duncan Grant and Quentin Bell, is repeated on the wall in 1939, the year after Adolf Hitler began marching across Europe. Quentin Bell writes in his book Charleston: Bloomsbury’s House and Garden that he believes this pattern has a “sedative effect” on Grant. Looking at the geometric yet pictorial zigzags also smoothed my nerves and made me a little confused after an early morning scramble to East Sussex. Later, I asked Manhattan interior designer Sean Scheller how this busyness could be calmed down. “Your eyes like to see repetition,” he explained. “It helps to feel calm, even if it’s happening a little.”

The pallet in the room is also like an angel. The dark blue of the walls and the soft pink and gray-green of the kitchen table can be combined with the pigment of the Annunciation of Fra Angelico, a masterpiece of Italian Renaissance elegance. The cheap, chalky paints used throughout the house imitate frescoed paints. Sarah Stacey, an interior designer in Austin, Texas, told me that subdued tones are part of what “tones down the decoration a bit” and results in “casual maximism.”

Another important element of Charleston’s lasting charm is the clever combination of tatters and sophistication. The noisy design, like the glittering market table received as a wedding gift, lives with bare floor coverings and worn armchairs. As I walked from room to room, I wanted to rent a London prim sofa and wipe it out with a collection of mud and frayed French linen. British designers like Ben Pentreath and Emma Grant, far from fragile mansions, combine patina-rich furniture with glittering furniture on big-budget projects.

In the bedroom, rugs made by local artisans echo at right angles to Duncan Grant’s mixed media fireplace.

Returning to the United States, textile designer Serena Dugan, formerly from Serena & Lily, also witnessed the rise of a very personal layered design. “Things that are inherited or tell a story are heavier than what you buy at the store,” she said. Tess Newall, a local artist whose hand-painted furniture often refers to Bloomsbury’s aesthetics, describes Charleston as follows:

Sophie Wilson, a ceramist who created a Grant-like collection in 1690 in a British house as fragile as Charleston, talked about the close relationships between Bloomsbury members and how those relationships affected the house. Is quoted as part of the attraction. Charleston suggests to her that “who and what we choose to surround ourselves is our most creative endeavor.”

Form your own Bloomsbury Group

Six parts that guide aesthetics

Clockwise from top left: Beautiful Pastels Vintage Suzani, $ 650,; Bloomsbury Lamp, about $ 682,; Large Savernake Chair, $ 18,800,; 1690 Vase, $ 680, Nickey Kehoe. com; hand-painted cupboard, from about $ 1,115,; boarded mahogany daybed, from $ 12,500,; Perrotine Vintage Sari lamp shade, about $ 407,


F. Martin Ramin / The Wall Street Journal (Blanket)

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