Country houses for sale

Contemporary library design ideas

How to reflect traditional tastes, but with a light, contemporary touch.

The project: The room is the library of a newly built house in a small town on the coast of northern Connecticut.

The designer: Roger Jones (020–7493 2231; graduated from Cambridge before qualifying as a barrister. After practising as a senior government lawyer for a number of years, he was invited to join Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler in 1994 to run the company’s antiques business. For the past 12 years, he has also had his own interior-design team.

Roger has worked on projects in the UK and Canada and currently has three schemes in America.

library design

Giles Kime says: The house was designed by a local architect for an American couple who were clients of the designer when they lived in London. Because they were keen that the house should look discreet, they asked the architect to make it appear smaller from the outside than it actually is. The house is traditionally built in clapboard but the internal layout is sophisticated. This room is away from the from the main, busy art of the house and is used as a quiet informal living room.

Recommended videos for you

The aim throughout the house was to create an interior reflecting the couple’s traditional tastes, but with a light, contemporary touch—and to ensure that, although there are many English antiques, the overall character of the house should be American. The proportions of the rooms help achieve this, as does the choice of fabrics and colours, which was dictated by the location, not least the bright, clear east-coast light.

How to get the look

Vaughan at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, G1 Chelsea Harbour Drive, London SW10 (020–7349 4600; sells a wide range of classic lighting designs similar to those in this scheme

The linen fabric on the sofa and two chairs is Sommersby from Claremont, 35, Elystan Street, London SW3 (; 020–7581 9575). Colefax and Fowler, 110, Fulham Road, London SW3 (020– 7244 7427; also sells a wide range of classic fabrics and wallpapers

Kingcome Sofas is a great source of traditional upholstery, including sofas, armchairs and stools. It’s at 112–114, Fulham Road, London SW3 (020–7244 7747;

** See more interiors ideas from Country Life