Harkening back to the 18th and 19th centuries in Architecture and Interior Design

July 8, 2019

On Thursday night I went to a talk between the editor of House and Garden, Hatta Byng; antiques dealer, Lennox Cato; silver dealer, Daniel Franks; and curator James Peill. Organised by LAPADA, The Association of Art & Antiques Dealers, the event focussed on the evolution of country house style. The all very interesting speakers discussed how country mansions were decorated in the 18th and 19th centuries, when people were set on certain styles, compared to now where anything goes.

Our ethos at Ana Engelhorn Interior Design is about mixing antiques with contemporary pieces, but this little history lesson was eye-opening. Seeing a fully-furnished room all in one style was truly breath-taking. I wouldn’t want to live in a museum, but I love the detail and pure craftmanship in everything they did back then.

Painting by Simon Quadrat, A Strange Encounter

James Peill, author and curator for Goodwood House, discussed the attention-to-detail, style and important architects of the time. He told us, for example, about the Dutchman, Thomas Hope (1769–1831), influential as a designer, design reformer and collector. Born in Amsterdam, Hope inherited a vast wealth as well as his family’s tradition of collecting. He went on to collect on a grand scale and became an innovative designer who helped define what we now understand as Regency Style. Hope was unique amongst his set in that he opened up his house to the public to show off his style and what he had acquired on his grand tours. He wrote a book called Household Furniture and Interior Decoration that he gave to ‘gentlemen’ of his class and furniture makers. Hope’s success was in part due to the wide distribution of this book.

France has been, and still is, a great influencer on style. Many pieces can be traced back to the country, from silverware to furniture. I especially loved learning that colour was highly regarded in the 18th and 19th centuries as it indicated wealth. When affluent English people went on grand tours, they often brought back influences from Greece or Pompeii, where colour is supreme. Italian fashion houses, for instance, always bring huge amounts of colour into the industry. And if you look at other major fashion houses today, they are also full of colour. It seems the use of colour has long been important and well regarded.


Thomas Hope, Mahogany Greek Revival Chair 1804

Interestingly, traditional English brown antiques that are sometimes considered ‘boring’ were actually quite colourful when they were first made. Wood naturally has many beautiful colours; mahogany, for instance, brings in red and satin wood yellow. In quality pieces, you will find these colours more alive than others.

Good antiques dealers like Lennox Cato Antiques and Works of Art can help you source such pieces. Lennox Cato, who runs the business with his wife, shared some very practical advice about when to sell a piece and when to keep it. In his opinion, if you have a piece stored in the attic, which you never use, sell it and buy something you will enjoy. If you buy a piece it should be something you love and will use, not something you are ‘supposed’ to like but don’t.


Daniel Franks, from the renowned silver dealership I. Franks, was brilliant at telling us about the best eras for silver. He recommended the Georgian period, which had French influences, and the Victorian period, where influences came from all over. To test the quality of a piece of silver, a fork, for example, balance it on your finger. If it stays, it is well balanced. Silver is like jewellery for the home and if you would like to have a full table set, Daniel Franks is your man.

Finally, for anyone thinking of buying an antique piece of furniture, silver or art – look for the LAPADA golden chandelier symbol on the dealer’s website. It is a sign the person selling the products has experience, quality stock and knowledge of their subject.

Back to Journal


  • Here is a project we were involved with in Madrid. Looking out over one of the city's main squares, this small, one-bedroom apartment is a perfect example of our style, combining old and new but also cherishing imperfections, letting the beauty of an imperfect piece come through - just as it should.  Learn more about our process on our webpage!
#interiordesignideas #homerenovation #homedesign #interiordesign #interiordesigner #interiorstyling #passion4interior #interiordesigners #interiordetails #homedetails #interiorinspiration #instahome #home #homedecoration #instadecor #homedecor
  • How to create a successful business plan:

Step one: Understanding your business and its needs.
Start with in-depth research: analyse your product and your market to ensure you have the appropriate contextual expertise.

Step two: Three main questions.
Before you start creating your business plan, you should be able to answer these questions:
1) Where do you want to be in 5 years, personally and professionally? 
2) What is your business process?
3) How does your business make money?

Step three: Go visual.
Put your answers and any ideas down on paper. Writing or typing things out helps give you a clear overview of how to get where you want to be. It’s the same for interior designing – once you put your ideas into drawings and other visuals, you can better see your endpoint.

Step four. Don’t be intimidated.
Most business owners are not business experts – they are learning as they go. Therefore, even if you do not have a university degree in business and commerce, don’t be intimidated to start your business plan. You know your business – you’re the expert on it and can work out the details you need to add in.

Step five: Keep it short.
Write your plan in clear, concise language. Here’s why: 
1) You are creating a tool for yourself to run and grow your business. Therefore, it should be easy to use, to understand and to refine over time.
2) Your business plan will be read by people you will work with. You want to keep their interest and inspire them.
#interiordesign #homedesign #homedetails #interiordesignideas #homerenovation #homedesign #interiordesigner #interiorstyling #passion4interior #interiordesigners #interiordetails #interiorinspiration #instahome #home #homedecoration #instadecor #homedecor
  • Pictures of past projects transport me to different times and life situations. When I see this one, I can't stop thinking about heat and sun - something I'm sure most of us are yearning for after a long winter!  Let us help you create your ideal holiday home which you can reminisce about while working in your office 😊 
#homedesign #ecofriendly #interiorstyling #christmas #passion4interior #interiorinspiration #interiordesignideas #homerenovation #interiordesign #interiordesigner #interiordesigners #interiordetails #homedetails #instahome #home #homedecoration #instadecor #homedecor
  • Everybody has something unique and beautiful about them. It's important to celebrate what makes individuals who they are, rather than trying to hide or photoshop things out. I believe this is true for spaces too. If a space has something in it you want to fix, take a breath and ask yourself, if by trying to fix it, would you potentially make it worse? But if you were to celebrate that feature, might it become much better than you at first imagined?  Sign up to our Newsletter to learn more about us and our philosophy!
#interiordesignideas #homerenovation #homedesign #interiordesign #interiordesigner #interiorstyling #passion4interior #interiordesigners #interiordetails #homedetails #interiorinspiration #instahome #home #homedecoration #instadecor #homedecor