Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Great Country Estates of Britain Series. Part Six: Wrotham Park

Wrotham Park, Hertfordshire is a Palladian English country house, designed by Isaac Ware in 1754 for Admiral John Byng. It is set within a 2,500 acres estate seventeen miles from Hyde Park, making it one of the largest private houses inside the M25.

Originally part of an estate known as Pinchbank, first recorded in Middlesex in 1310 and owned in the 17th and early 18th centuries by the Howkins family, the property passed to Thomas Reynolds, who renamed the estate Strangeways. His son, Francis, sold the property to Admiral Byng, who changed the name to Wrotham Park in honour of the original family home, Wrotham, in Kent. Admiral Byng never had an opportunity to live in retirement at Wrotham, being court martialled and executed first. It remains in the family today.

A disastrous fire in 1887 burned slowly enough to permit retrieval of the contents of the house, but gutted it. It was rebuilt precisely as it had been.

Scenes for Robert Altman's Gosford Park were shot at Wrotham Park, including exterior scenes and the staircase, dining room, library and living room. Scenes for the ITV Jeeves and Wooster series were also shot at Wrotham Park. Both the interior of Brinkley Court and the interior and exterior of Chuffnell Hall (Episodes 4 & 5, Series 2) were filmed there.

Other film and television sitings include The Line of Beauty and Peter's Friends.

Wrotham, however, is more important to me for inspiring the idea to provide disabled access to Willowbrook Park via two ramps on either side of the front entrance, as per the twin set of steps at Wrotham...

We had been searching for a way to enable the less-abled (and ourselves in our dotage) to find ingress and egress without breaking a hip. If instead of a magnificent twin set of steps, one had a twin set of ramps of a suitable gradient, one could have disabled access without spoiling the overall aesthetic of the front entrance...

Wrotham's steps remind me of another building - Keddleston Hall...

But Keddleston will have to wait for another exciting installment of The Great Country Estates of Britain series.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beds and Bedrooms...

Willowbrook Park will have 5 guest bedrooms in total, each with its own theme. There will be:

  • The Brideshead Suite

  • The Chatsworth Suite

  • The Blenheim Suite

  • The Carriage House Apartments

  • The Royal Suite
The Brideshead Suite is the largest of the bedrooms suites, measuring 10m x 5m (32' x 16')

The Chatsworth Suite is the next largest, measuring 7m x 5m (23' x 16')

The Blenheim Suite is the smallest of the bedroom suites at 6m x 5m (20' x 16')

The Carriage House Apartments are 17m x 4m in total, comprising several separate rooms.

The Royal Suite is 13m x 5m (42' x 16')

Each suite has a unique character and colour scheme. The Brideshead suite will be decorated in beiges and golds. It has two distinct reflected ceiling mouldings to define the bedroom area from the lounge area, and a separate marble en suite. Below is an example of the sort of colourscheme and layout the Brideshead suite will have. Note the use of reflected ceilings, and the traditional furniture layout. I like the way one can break a long room up into several different spaces, whilst keeping it open and light:

The decor that will typify this suite: light and classical...

Other examples of light and open suites:

I also love fireplaces in bedrooms. It is so Luxurious!

There is a fireplace in the Royal Suite and also in the Chatsworth Suite.

I also like the idea of beds in custom built alcoves, however none of the suites at Willowbrook would be suitable for this.

Other beds and bedrooms...

Above and Below: Muted Shades. I like the paneling.

I am not a fan of the colour yellow, even if it is a warm colour.

Green is peaceful, though slightly cool.

Above and Below: Empire Day beds. I Like the canopies. Perhaps in the Blenheim Suite.

I love the bed below. Unfortunately, New Zealand being a million miles away from anywhere, is an expensive place to ship to.

Above: A flamboyant statement. I like the red walls with the purple and green silk canopy.

Below: Too much. I wonder if Marie Antoinette suffered from frequent migraines?

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