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Drawing room ideas

How to mix disparate elements from different periods to a create a drawing room that is quintessentially English.

The project: This is the drawing room of a manor house between Cumbria and Scotland.

The designer: Serena Williams-Ellis (01768 898073; mixes disparate elements from different periods to create rooms for her clients that are both charming and quintessentially English.

Drawing room ideas

Oscar Norton says: This is the drawing room of the designer’s family home on the borders of Cumbria and Scotland, where her business is based. The appearance of the room is the result of a long process of evolution: ‘I never sat down to design the space, but instead set out to fill it with some of my favourite things, old and new, that I had amassed over years of collecting.’ Highlights include a campaign desk she inherited from her great-grandmother and a collection of antique textiles.

On the floors, there’s a mix of richly textured oak from her family’s farms, an English rush rug and an oriental carpet. ‘Whatever scheme I’m working on, texture and layering are important to me,’ she says. She uses her own homes as a testing ground for ideas she later uses in the homes of clients, one of which is her trademark ottoman: ‘I adore using them to give focus to a space and to create extra seating as well as a place for books and trays of drinks.’

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How to get the look: 

For classic English antique pieces, try Rolleston at 104a, Kensington Church Street, London W8 (020–7229 5892; Pimpernel & Partners, 596, Kings Road, London SW6 (020–7731 2448; is a brilliant source of good-value, vintage-style furniture that is ideal for creating a typically English look

Ottomans and foot stools
For a wide range of upholstered foot stools and ottomans, explore the stock of Graham and Green, 4, Elgin Crescent, London W11 (020–7243 8908; Alternatively, Susan Deliss can be commissioned to produce wonderful ottomans using her range of new and old ikats, embroideries, kilims and linens (07768 805850;

For an eclectic selection of fabrics, try Redloh House, The Old Gasworks, Unit R7, 2, Michael Road, London SW6 (; 020–7371 7787)

Rush Matters at Grange Farm, Colesden, Bedfordshire (01234 376419, sells a wide range of products made from woven rush, including rugs

For ginger-jar lamp bases, try OKA (0844 815 7380;

** See more interiors ideas from Country Life