How to create interiors that reflect their pasts.

The project: A handsome Parisian apartment, enhanced by collections of books, prints and 18th-century furniture.

The designer: Piers von Westenholz (01279 842545; www.westenholz.co.uk), a former Olympic skier, enjoys a reputation as one of Britain’s more respected antique dealers. He started his career working with the interior decorator David Mlinaric and went on to collaborate with other dealers, including both Christopher Gibbs and Robert Kime. He now works from Hertfordshire (on an appointment-only basis) specialising in 18th- and 19th-century furniture and lighting, much of it on a grand scale. He also designs houses for private clients. Past projects include a wide range of clients in the UK and on the Continent. Recent projects include a villa in Rome.

Paris Apartment.Elle Decor.

Oscar Norton says: This is one of a series of book-lined rooms of a ground-floor apartment in Paris that Piers von Westenholz designed for a bibliophile client. The desk, like most of the furniture in the apartment, is 18th century. High up above the bookcases, which include ionic detailing, is a set of nautical South American prints that enhance the feeling of height.

With the exception of the chair at the desk, the predominant colours are a crisp combination of blue and white that, along with the symmetrical arrangement of furniture, lends the room a cohesive feel. At the double doors are ivory-coloured curtains that do nothing to detract from the view of the apartment’s large garden.

How to get the look:

Prints
Originally founded in York, in 1761, Henry Sotheran, at 2–5 Sackville Street, London W1 (020–7439 6151; www.sotherans.co.uk), offers a fascinating and dizzying array of topographical, botanical and decorative prints that is a must visit for any would-be collectors

Lighting
For a wide range of suitable lighting, try Besselink & Jones at the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 (www.besselink.com; 020– 7351 4669)

Fabrics
Claremont’s showroom at 35, Elystan Street, London SW3 (020–7581 9575; www.claremontfurnishing.com), sells fabrics that are ideal for 18th- and 19th-century interiors. Alternatively, Ralph Lauren Home’s new Elizabeth Street collection includes Annick ticking, which is similar to the upholstery fabric shown on the sofas (020–7535 4600; www.ralphlaurenhome.com)

Table lamps
For classic, blue-and-white lamp bases, try India Jane (020–8799 7166; www.indiajane.co.uk)

Flooring
For reclaimed parquet flooring, try LASSCO in London (020–7394 2100) or Oxfordshire (01844 277188) or visit www.lassco.co.uk. Crucial Trading has a variety of natural floor coverings, including seagrass, coir, sisal and jute (01562 743747; www.crucial-trading.com)

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