A traditional country house bedroom elevated by an astonishing hand-painted wallpaper

The discovery of a hand-painted, botanical wallpaper offered the perfect foundation for the newly-refurbished bedroom in Dorset. Arabella Youens takes a look at a lovely scheme put together by Edward Hurst.

In this bedroom of an 18th-century manor house in Dorset, ‘there was no cornice, no dado, no chimney — nothing at all,’ explains Edward Hurst, an antique and interiors consultant who specialises in 18th-century furniture and art. ‘I found a neo-Classical chimneypiece and built it up from there.’

The backdrop to the scheme is a botanical wallpaper that has been hand-painted onto individual segments. Named Botanical Studies, the wallpaper is part of a new collection designed by the American decorator Michael S. Smith for hand-painted wallpaper specialists de Gournay.

The large-scale renditions of passion flowers, gardenias and heliotropes reference the 17th-century home of the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus.

‘I immediately thought of my client when I saw it,’ explained Mr Hurst. ‘When I unrolled a section of it, it was clear to us both that we had to use it.’

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Softening the overall look is a blind made in Flora Soames’s Honeycomb fabric, a lozenge weave inspired by an 18th-century ornate French silk damask. The furniture is all sourced by Mr Hurst; at the window is a George II tripod table with a pair of English elbow chairs.

On either side are a veneered marble-topped side table and a splendid Chinese lacquered cabinet on Chippendale Rococo gilt stands. ‘I like mixing periods and styles — it helps to ground a room,’ he explains.

Mr Hurst believes that every decorating project should begin with what he calls ‘listening to a house’. ‘It almost tells you what to do. Rather than bulldozing through and identifying palettes, it’s important to do the right thing for the house.’

Edward Hurst — www.edwardhurst.com