One aspect of the great quarantine this spring was the way that interior designers used Instagram. The designers we all love and admire started to make long videos, sharing their homes and thoughts in interviews. And the best part was it was all so casual and unstaged! Wonderful! There were a few designers that stood out that I especially loved.
First there was Rachel Ashwell of Shabby Chic. She started hosting talks in her darling English cottage where she discussed everything and anything. One talk I especially loved was the one about the house that got away: her Malibu beach house which she wrote a book about. Nirvana! This is my favorite Rachel book and house and to hear her say she wished she had never sold it and it was the big regret of her life, well I was just floored!!!!! I’ve always wondered why she DID sell it!!!
Rachel's favorite house and mine too!
The new owners gave this wonderful old style Malibu beach house a rather horrid redo. Go HERE
Listen to Rachel talk about the house HERE.
A lot of other designers are giving tours of their houses which is always fascinating. I loved watching Danielle Rollins give an hour long tour of her gorgeous Atlanta home which is now for sale. She took us into rooms we had never seen before. It’s definitely worth a watch. I love her sense of humor! HERE
Danielle Rollins’ glamourous Atlanta dining room.
And Tara Shaw!!! Oh my gosh!! She is giving a series of talks that coincide with her new book.
She is taking us from room to room and if she isn't the cutest thing in the world, I don't know who is. Her clothes alone are worth watching the videos for!!!
Start HERE and watch them all. She is fabulous!!
Buy her book by clicking on the photo!
I could go on and on about all the wonderful videos on Instagram (Ashley Hicks for one) but this next one really caught my eyes and ears:
A few weeks ago, interior design great Veere Grenney gave an Instagram interview with Justin Van Breda HERE. Grenney was sitting in the middle of what many consider one of the prettiest drawing rooms in all of England, maybe anywhere. Dealing with an appallingly bad wi-fi, it was such a shame that we couldn’t really see much of the drawing room because it was so blurry, but nevertheless, it was still a very captivating interview.
Veere at his home in Tangiers as seen in Arch Digest.
Veere Greeney is a charming man, witty and a fast talker with the sweetest smile that makes his eyes sparkle. He had me hanging on his every word, until his wi-fi finally stopped completely and the interview was abruptly over. It didn’t matter though, it was such a treat to listen to Veere talk all about his beautiful home in London, his vacation place in Tangiers, how he got started in the business and then, most importantly, more about his gorgeous drawing room and how he came to hold the lease on this most beautiful room in all of England. He even talked about how he might redo the décor– from the palest of dusty pink to pink and yellow (his favorite color combination) mixed with chintz!!
To order, just click on smaller book, above
Grenney, from New Zealand, is an international darling of decoration and fabric design. His hit book was released in 2018, and inside, he showed many old photographs of his country house, or, The Temple as it is known. Listening to the Instagram interview led me straight back to his book again, and google, inspiring me to really delve deep into the life of the Temple from its very beginnings.
Veere’s Country Home – “The Temple”
During my research, I discovered details about the “Fishing Temple” that I hadn’t known before and felt that if I didn’t know these details, perhaps some of you didn’t know these historical details either. And if I found them interesting, perhaps you would find them interesting too!!!
And so, let’s take a look again at the beautiful Temple, with the beautiful pink Drawing Room.
Fix a spot of hot tea, sit back and enjoy!!!!
The Fishing Temple, Veere Grenney’s country home, is just a tiny blip on a very large, very old, historical estate called Tendring Park, in Suffolk. Here you can see it below on Bingmaps:
On Bingmaps above, you can see the vastness of the Tendring Hall estate, the large canal is at the very left, although it looks small compared to the park.
Where is Tendring Hall on the map, you might ask? The country mansion was demolished in 1955!!
Here, closer, I’ve circled Veere’s Fishing Temple in red. You can see the canal with the alee of trees on both sides of it. Past the canal is a large pond that feeds the picturesque canal which acts as a mirror for the Temple. The River Stour feeds the pond.
Let’s first take a look at the history behind Veere’s Fishing Temple.
THE HISTORY OF THE FISHING TEMPLE.
What exactly IS a fishing folly/temple?
Starting in the 16th century, fishing lodges became popular on large, country estates. These were small buildings that were erected on private estates to provide shelter for fishermen. The early, original fishing lodges were more utilitarian, they were actually used for shelter as opposed to socializing. Later, the fishing lodges became known as follies, structures that were created for socializing, a place to have tea with guests after a leisurely stroll down from the grand mansion. The popularity of fishing temples peaked in the late 18th century.
Robert Adam’s Kedleston Hall’s Fishing Folly
Considered one of the prettiest of all the fishing follies, Kedleston Hall was designed by the great Robert Adam. This folly still stands, albeit in rather bare surroundings, as opposed to the luscious gardens that were originally designed to offset this folly.
Another photo shows the fishing folly with a view of Kedleston Hall in the background.
The Kedleston Hall Fishing Folly included a plunge bath which the men would use either before or after fishing – or both.
Inside the Kedleston Fishing Folly, murals of fish adorned the walls, while a fireplace kept the visitors warm.
Read all about the unique history of fishing temples in England HERE. At Tendring Park, where Veere Grenney’s Fishing Temple is, a canal was built sometime before 1723, as it is seen on an estate map of that date. With the canal built, of course, a fishing temple would have to be built for protection of those who came to fish there. The temple was commissioned sometimes around 1764 by the Rowley family who still own the large Tendring Park!
The Rowleys also commissioned a new, larger mansion designed and constructed in 1784 by the uber talented Sir John Soane.
While Sir Soane designed the mansion for the Rowleys, their Fishing Temple was designed by another great architect, Robert Taylor. He based the design on an earlier residence he built on the River Thames in 1761 – Asgill House.
Asgill House on the River Thames, one of Taylor’s earlier commissions. Now, notice the similarities between this and Veere’s Fishing Temple at Tendring:
Similar design by Robert Taylor.
Here, is the rarely seen back side of Veere Grenney’s country house, The Temple. You can see the similarity between Robert Taylor’s larger house, Asgill and this Folly. Each had a prominent bay window from which the views could be enjoyed.
LET’S LEARN A BIT OF THE HISTORY BEHIND TENDRING PARK:
The area which the Tendring Estate still occupies is steeped in ancient English history. There are reports of it from the 12th century and earlier. Originally there were 8 manors combined, with Tendring being the largest. King Henry III created the Duke of Kent and gave him the property. It was then given to the Tendring family who built the original manor house. A William de Tendring married, producing a lone heir and daughter, Alice, who married a Howard, who remained for several generations at Tendring. During this time many heads were lost and it’s almost impossible to keep up with all the changes in ownership as everyone has the same name!!
The Howards were followed by the Windors and then the Williams until the Rowleys became the owners and remarkably they remain owners to this day!
The Howards were very aristocratic and it is through this line that the owners of Tendring Hall were grandparents and stepgrandparents to three English Queens, one being Catherine Howard who lost her head to Henry VIII, another was the also headless Jane Seymour and another had a link to Elizabeth I!!
Despite the Howard royal connections, it was the Rowleys who put such a large stamp on the property.
With the canal built before 1723 and the Fishing Folly built by the Ramseys, they next focused on their new mansion and its gardens.
I never found any paintings of the earlier manor house that was built in the late 16th century on Tendring Park, but there are many photos of the new house that the Vice-Admiral of the Navy, Sir Joshua Ramsey, had commissioned by Sir John Soane, the great English architect.
Sir Joshua Rowley, 1st Baronet.
Rowley spent most of his life at sea for the navy but he managed to marry and father seven children!! He died, aged 56, in 1790 at Tendring Hall having reached the rank of Vice-Admiralty.
Gainsborough painted this beautiful portrait of Rowley’s daughter, Philadelphia. It’s easy to imagine Philadelphia, all dressed up, strolling along with her guests, down from the mansion to have tea and to fish at the yellow Temple where Veere Grenney now lives!!
The very elegant Sir John Soane! What a portrait!!
After studying the property, Soane moved the site of the new manor from where the original house stood. The new site was on a higher elevation, giving sweeping views of the countryside from inside the house.
The new Tendring Hall, 1810, almost as Sir Soane designed it. During this time between 1809-1811, the house was extended with new wings which increased the house to twice the size that Soane designed. Later the exterior stairs would be removed. In this painting only one wing has yet been built.
Beautiful painting of Tendring Hall
by Sir Alfred Munnings, Dedham, Essex.
A photo of Tendring Hall, looking remarkably like the painting above. The pond connects to the canal which Veere’s Temple overlooks. Notice how the grove of trees surround the house, acting almost as they are embracing the manor.
The 20th century, Tendring Hall
The front façade of Tendring Hall, with its large Bombe front and two wings which were added to Soane’s original design.
The Bombe design was very popular at this point in time. It was much copied and you can find it on many different country estates if you look for it!
Sometimes later, a grass tennis court was added. Look at all the urns and vines and flowers and steps – so pretty! Notice the difference between the landscape in the two photos. It’s so grown out in this newer picture. But still, a tennis court? Couldn’t they have found another more hidden place for the court rather than straight out the back door??
Thanks to “ Building’s Fan” for the photos HERE
One more photograph of the back façade – here you can see the basement with its arched windows.
The Bombe area of the house was the drawing room on the ground floor and above was Lady Rowley’s sunny yellow bedroom. A rare photograph of her bedroom remains, before the house was demolished:
Lady Rowley’s sunny yellow bedroom located in the Bombe of the second floor. What a shame the house could not be saved!
A view of the front door, which is the only thing left standing of this large house after it was demolished.
And here, the Essex & Suffolk Hunt!
Here are the doors - the PORTICO is a Listed II Building. Amazing that they left this from the demolition. I wonder why???
Still, isn’t it beautiful in all its decay?
And today, the missing house where it was sited – with the view towards the canal where Veere Grenney’s Temple is.
Sir Humphrey Repton (1752-1818)
Sir Joshua Rowley who commissioned Soane to build the new Tendring Hall died in 1790. His son Sir William hired Repton to create the parklands. A famous landscape designer, Repton created “Red Books” to give to potential clients. These books were the plans for the landscapes he designed. Many of Repton’s proposals in the Tendring Hall Red Book were executed: there was a wall built around the kitchen garden, and he proposed the cow shed be beautified. In 1857 an article in Gardeners’ Chronicle showed the gardens with its shady walks, the park, its prolific kitchen garden and all the flower gardens as designed by Repton. Over time though, the gardens were neglected and most were lost. Traces of the garden paths remain but not in the glorious way they once were. The beautified cow shed which was used as a summerhouse is now gone. The Grove remains from before 1723 and was replanted. The 18th century dovecote, red brick, is now Grade II Listed. The Temple is also mentioned when the gardens are discussed.
Repton had plans to alter the Temple and Canal – but they were not carried out (thank God!) and they remain today as they were originally built.
Repton was a confident, arrogant man – which becomes obvious when you read what he wrote about Tendring Hall: “…had I been previously consulted, the house would neither have been so lofty in its construction, nor so exposed in its situation.”
He is an interesting man, to be sure.
The Red Books – these fascinating books were presented to each of Repton’s potential clients. There were 1000 of these books written and over 400 are known to exist today. The Red Book presented to the Rowley’s is missing.
Repton would draw the Before image of the house and landscape as it was – and place it on an overlap over the After drawing. Here is the before of a country house in their Red Book.
And here is the After – the house is now painted white. Just like all the red brick houses in Houston today!!!
An aerial view of the garden – you can see the old paths.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO TENDRING HALL, ONE OF SIR JOHN SOANE’S EARLIEST AND LARGEST COMMISSIONS???
For some unknown reason, in 1915, Tendring Hall was leased out to the Hon. Henry Coventry for 15 years. When his lease was up in 1931, an advert was placed to find a new tenant.
The lease included the entire estate with its 200 acres (plus 4000+ acreage for shooting!!) along with its the main house, numerous outbuildings, stables, tennis court, cricket field, lakes, and many (23!!!) bedrooms. The rental came with all the furniture except for some of Coventry’s furniture that was pictured in the advert. The cost? $1300 a year for all this plus $1000 for shooting expenses!
These rare photos of Tendring Hall were included in the rental ad:
This photo showed the entry with its marble columns, stairs, and a tall clock with tufted wing chair – love that lantern!!!! The Bombe area is off to the right. OH – I wish these photos were in color and were clearer!
In Soane’s original drawings, look at the center stair hall and the two columns which divide the stair hall from the Bombe’s drawing room. The original house does look rather small compared to how it looked after the two wings were installed.
The dining room, next to the Bombe drawing room, looks a bit Victorian.
The billiards room with a fabulous light over the table.
“Quaint” Old Elizabethan Clock Tower – “part of the ancient mansion.” I can’t find this clock tower on the maps. And it’s not a clock tower at all. It’s actually a chimney stack from the original manor. The avert also claimed Tendring Hall was built by Adam!!!! NOOOOOO!!!
The stack was located behind the old stables, which must be where the old house was?
A later photo of the turret from the first manor, shown now covered in ivy.
The red brick dovecote.
The Cricket Field house. In the 20th century, Sir Rowley was approached by the area’s Cricket Club and asked to restore the field and the club house – which he did. Charming!!!
Along with the photos of the estate, the advert for Tendring Hall Lease bragged that the house had electric lights, separate furnace for constant hot water, radiator heat, water from a water wheel and Fox Hounds for hunting.
The original kennel that housed those hounds was right next to the Temple and today, this kennel houses Grenney’s two guest rooms!
There is no evidence if a new tenant was found in 1931, but during WWII, Tendring Hall was used by troops. Later, Tendring Hall housed Italian prisoners of war. The remaining years after the war took a terrible toll on the house. Left unoccupied, dry rot was rampant and the pretty lemon-yellow paint inside peeled off the walls. The rot was accelerated by lead thieves which left the house open to the elements. Sir Joshua Rowley tried in vain to restore Tendring Hall, hiring architect Raymond Erith to either renovate it or to build a new mansion instead. Neither was ever accomplished.
Instead of working on a new Tendring Hall, then Temple tenant David Hicks hired Erith to help with some small restorations.
Erith was a popular classical architect. He renovated the interiors of 10, 11, and 12 Downing Street for Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
Just another extraordinary name associated with the Tendring Hall estate.
With the mansion and parks now gone, along with their stables and kennel, the Fishing Folly Temple became more important the the Rowley family. Could they rent it out?
Originally, the Temple was easily seen off the winding country lane that runs behind the estate. The question was - how to create privacy yet still allow for the Western fields to be seen from inside the Temple?
Today – on Googlemaps – you can see that the hedges were grown up tall on both sides of the estate, except right in front of the bay window. There, the hedges are cut lower so you can still see the beautiful fields on the western horizon.
And from the other side, you can really see how the hedges are cut to allow the view of the fields on the western side.
The beauty of the fishing folly – or The Temple - is that the main drawing room has eastern and western views. You can watch the sun rise over the canal and then later that afternoon, you watch the sun set in the western fields.
Although The Temple is several hundred years, we only know four people who have lived there – all in this 20th century.
THE FIRST TENANT: DAVID HICKS
In 1957, a young, not yet married, David Hicks rented The Temple from its owner, Sir Joshua Rowley. It was just two short years after Tendring Hall had been demolished in 1955. The Temple, like Tendring Hall had been, was run down and in desperate need of renovating.
The first known tenant - a young and handsome David Hicks who later became known as a decorating genius. Today, he is more known to some as being India Hicks’ father!! This photo was taken in 1954, just three years before he moved to The Temple. National Portrait Gallery, by Francis Goodman.
From Veere’s book.
BEFORE: We are so used to seeing the Temple in pristine condition that it’s hard to believe it once looked like this. The canal was full of weeds and debris. The walls of the Temple were dirty and faded. And notice the arched window on the left. At some point it appears that a window replaced the wall as you can see in the matching niche on the right side. Today, shutters hide the window – which leads into the master bedroom.
AFTER: What a difference! Notice the walls, all nice and clean. The canal is also cleaned up – there are ducks swimming. Landscaping was installed and shutters were added to the niche on the left (which leads to the one bedroom in the Temple.)
One of the most important changes made by Hicks was the oeil de boeuf window. Architect Sir Raymond Erith installed the round window in the Temple’s kitchen to allow more daylight to flood into the ground floor rooms. Another change thanks to David Hicks was the addition of the lower portion of the Palladian style mantelpiece.
The center section with the David Hicks window (shutters were added later on the left side to create a hidden wood store.)
I read that the front door was once here, centered, where the window is now, but it was moved to create a better flow through the dining area.
A few years before Hicks hired Sir Erith to help with renovations, the architect had been hired by Sir Rowley to design a new Tendring Hall, but those plans were never completed and to this day there is no Tendring Hall. Neither are there many, if any, photos of the David Hicks décor of the Temple, but it has to have been quite beautiful. When Tony Armstrong-Jones, later Lord Snowdon, needed a setting for a Vogue photoshoot, he chose The Temple.
I searched high and low for those Vogue photoshoots. I even purchased several old Snowdon photography books hoping to find the photos, but it was all in vain.
But… just when you are about to give up….your luck changes!!!
Hidden in an old Instagram post were these two photos from that Tony Armstrong-Jones Vogue 1957 photoshoot!!!
I was so excited when I found these – you would have thought I won the Lotto!!!!
“BEN, BEN, I found some photos of the Snowdon shoot!!!!!!”
Look how wonderful this is – a rail thin model (so, models have been ultra thin for decades, not just since the babyboomers claimed they created anorexia!!) stands in the Temple’s large window that overlooks the canal.
That row boat was used in many photoshoots over the decades.
Vogue described the Temple as “having a sitting room decorated with cool blue and white covers (slips?) white ticking curtains, rush matting and pale gold walls- Jersey cream colour.” That’s the only description I could find about the décor from the David Hicks era. We do know that the matting stayed installed for decades, until Veere replaced it just a few years ago. Veere reports that the Temple was rather primitive during Hicks stay. It had one bedroom and one bathroom, with a loo in the kennels. The kitchen was very simple and there was no heating – it was freezing in the winter!
This series of pug dog photos were taken at the Temple. You can see the proof looking matching the molding and the matting. What a vase!!!!
Hicks didn’t stay at the Temple for long. Three years later he married and moved to his own fabulous country house.
For the next fifteen years, an "academic spinster" lived in the Temple - Veere Grenney let that factoid spill during his interview with Justin Van Breda.
After the spinster moved out, the antique dealer Charles Beresford Clark moved in.
An unusual photograph of the Temple from the left side of the canal! Isn't this gorgeous? These Ken Kirkwood photos from Charles Beresford Clark's time at the Temple were found in a book called English Style, 1984, that I bought on Ebay.
This beautiful photo shows how Charles Beresford Clark decorated the drawing room. Clark painted the walls a cozy peach color. The curtains are a quite fancy style but were actually unbleached muslin. French chairs in chintz. In this photo, the two niches are bare. Notice the beautiful ceiling. This photo came from House & Garden UK.
Another view from the book.
Clarke kept the thick Suffolk rush matting that had been laid by David Hicks.
In an unusual twist, the niches were filled with antique jug lamps.
And, most importantly, the landlord, Sir Rowley, provided the once missing four busts which were then arranged on the pedestals around the room.
The view towards the entry. The short door leads to the stair landing which is wallpapered in red damask! Inside, a yellow skirted table is loaded with books and leaves. The second jug lamp is seen here in the niche. Lots of art, prints, hang from the walls. The short bookcase remains in the Temple today with Veere.
Well…….I guess not! It's funny how your mind and eye plays tricks on you. I thought FOR SURE it was the same bookcase, but no, Veere's bookcase is more fancy than Charles with tis gilt trim.
Or is it????????????
Overlooking the western fields.
This staircase was original to the Temple, but Clark had them completely restored. Red and cream damask wallpaper lined the staircase. Up the steps, the door opens to the main drawing room.
The door is quite short which opens to the 14' tall Drawing room, a startling effect that many who experience it marvel at.
On the ground floor - the dining room sits in front of the round window that David Hicks and Sir Erith installed. I love the antique oil lamp and the hanging shelf. New French chestnut chairs and an antique table mix. Through the shutters is a tall clock and the front door. The kitchen is on the other side. Through the window you can see the center porch that overlooks the canal.
Charles and Veere became friends and at some point, Veere came to the Temple for a weekend stay. Veere says it was quite primitive - with no real kitchen and no heating. He was frozen and slept underneath heated blankets! But, despite the conditions, Veere feel in love with the Temple's beauty. When Charles Beresford-Clark moved away, Veere was able to take up his lease. But first, he had to sell his London to afford it - something he says, he has never once regretted all these thirty plus years later.
1984: The photogenic boat and statue vie for attention on the canal. The bushes on each side of the Temple were the brainstorm of John Fowler who encouraged David Hicks to plant them. At this point the canal, was not yet completely cleaned out. Charles would teasingly ask his brunch guests to help dig the canal for their meal! What a photo!
2020: From Veere's Instagram
The same angle. The same view, including the statue - just 36 years apart. Look how beautiful the hornbeams are that flank the house, courtesy of John Fowler and David Hicks.
Amazing, all these years apart and it looks like just days. Good design last forever.
AN EXCITING FIND:
Here's a real treat!!! In 1990, House Beautiful did a story on Charles Beresford Clark after his move from the Temple. And look!!! There’s his beautiful Pugin oak table and the French chairs with the same print - Old Rose Chintz! Loved finding this photo in the bowels of Pinterest!!!!
And this photograph says it all – why my stories take so long to complete. I keep searching and searching for nuggets like this and when I find them it’s so exiting to share! I keep saying, another day, another day, until it adds up to weeks.
From Veere’s Instagram. The canal today. It's an amazing mirror. Inside, the drawing room stands 10' over the ground, making it appear as if the room is floating over the canal.
From Veere's Instagram.
Looking at the canal, now turn your gaze to the left and you will look at the entrance gate past the guest house/kennel. Veere’s large topiary reminds me of Prince Charles’ Thyme Walk - just a bit more restrained. For example:
The Thyme Walk at Highgrove - Prince Charles' fantastical topiary has inspired a new generation of landscapers.
Veere's gardens are filled with flowers that are cut and brought inside the Temple.
VEERE GRENNEY'S THREE INTERIORS:
With Veere Greeney now in charge of the Temple, how would he decorate it? In all, he did three completely different decorative schemes.
For the first scheme, Grenney decorated the main drawing room in the Temple using bright yellow walls:
1989: The Drawing Room in Chinese yellow and the same curtains, although it looks like the muslin was dyed darker. Not sure of that. Notice that the two niches are filled with statues, although this was temporary. Later, Veere much preferred large potted plants instead of plaster statues.
Originally Veere placed plaster statues in the two niches - which is how they were intended to be used. But, this was the only decorative scheme when he used the statues, instead he later mostly used flowering shrubs.
French chairs surround the skirted table. The gilt wood chandelier is replaced with a open iron lantern. It’s all very English Country House – cozy and warm. But does it fit with the grandeur of the room itself? It’s hard to see this and say how perfect it is (which it IS!) while knowing how much more perfect Grenney will make it some years later.
And, it’s hard to not see this scheme as perfect for a country house. But, Grenney made the hard choice to respect the architecture and not a lifestyle.
Not a great scan. On the first floor, under the Drawing Room is the dining room/kitchen. The front door and stairs are through the shutters.
The Second Interior by Veere Grenney:
Ravishing. Is there another word for this? The second décor! This look was so completely different from the cozy English Country Manor.
Veere’s long-time friend and partner at this time was David Oliver who photographed the Temple for magazines and stories. He was also Creative Director for Paint & Paper Library and his influence on Veere is evident in the colors chosen in the Temple. Here, the choice was Kinky Pink from John Oliver’s Paint Line. (I’ve always wondered – were John and David related?)
Veere remembers that David Hicks was horrified by the shocking pink, but later a much softer blush pink was seen in both Hicks and Grenney’s country homes. And don't forget the shocking pink that Hicks did in his own living room around this time:
Not sure why Hicks didn't care for the Kinky Pink in the Temple judging from his dining room in Britwell!
Veere laid a large yellow and orange rug over the rush matting. The coffee table is actually a Indian daybed that came from his London home. And please notice the antique crystal chandelier that Veere put up. Originally he used the lantern, but that would never have worked with his new dressier décor. In the niches, the plaster figures are forever gone, now replaced with plants. The muslin curtains are also now gone - replaced with these beautiful, billowy, I assume, silk versions. But how in the world does he protect them from the sun???
These view over the canal. Love the old doodling on the photo! The shades are just gorgeous!!!
These photographs came from The Peak of Chic HERE.
British House & Garden, January 1998, Jeremy Young photographer.
A close up of one of the Heads that Sir Rowley returned to the Temple. Note there is art work hanging on the walls. For the next decorative scheme, Veere states there is no art work on the walls.
Here is the dining area stylized for this photoshoot. A mix of chairs surround the skirted table.
And in another photoshoot of the same era, there is a screen made of the same gingham. Geraniums sit in the window sill of the Hicks oeil de boeuf window. Hanging, is a candle lantern.
THE THIRD GRENNEY DECOR SCHEME -
THE TEMPLE TODAY:
After the pale gold walls of David Hicks and the soft apricot walls of Charles Beresford Clark, the Chinese Yellow walls of Veere Greeney and the Kinky Pink walls from John Oliver Paints – we now arrive to the color that everyone associates with the Temple – the soft blush. In 2002, the walls were changed to a shade that Nancy Lancaster made popular at her house Kelmarsh Hall. Her niece Elizabeth Winn called the soft pink "Potted Shrimp." Later, David Oliver created the shade for the Paint & Paper Library, naming it “Temple.”
Above is Kelmarsh Hall today - renovated in the Nancy Lancaster shade of "Potted Shrimp" pink – which was an inspiration for Veere. What a beautiful shade of pink!
AND…then, there is David Hicks’ last country house, The Grove. Veere doesn’t mention if he was inspired by The Grove and perhaps he wasn’t. Conversely I wonder if Hicks was inspired The Temple. Without a doubt, the Drawing Room in the Grove looks so similar in color to the Temple.
When I first became aware of the Temple, I would get its photos mixed up with these photos of the Grove!!
The Drawing Room, The Grove. Such a beautiful room. Today, Lady Pamela Hicks still lives in this house, where nothing has changed. Things have been updated for cleaning - but nothing changes.
This large window at the Grove reminds further of the large window at the Temple.
It's interesting how Veere Grenney and David Hicks are both so tied to the Temple, especially through
a];rw4/ their use of blush pink.
Let's go back to the Temple:
In one of the wings is the original grand staircase. It leads straight up to the Drawing Room - the short door opens to the grand 14' ceiling. Look towards the left, below the stairs, and you can see the yellow center terrace where the wood is stored - and the front door is.
In this photoshoot for Architectural Digest - the walls are a plain gray paint. But in other photos - you can see a beautiful paper was hung in the stair landing.
From Grenney's Book: Here, on the ground floor - the original stairs lead up to the Temple. A collection of walking sticks (a must for every English Country Manor) and in the window, one of a set of side chairs sits before the chintz curtains.
From Veere's Book: Another view of the wallpaper covered stairwell. I love this set of chairs in the Temple!!
Let's go further up the stairs to the Drawing Room:
The short door opens and you get your first glimpse into what is called the prettiest room in England.
And, as the door is fully open…you take in the room in all its glory.
On the right is the white sofa that overlooks the fields that Constable painted centuries ago. In the middle is a greenish blue tufted velvet ottoman (shades of the Charles Beresford Clarke interior.)
Veere’s “Temple” chair, now covered in his fabric.
Straight ahead are two banquettes - fashioned after a pair by Elsie de Wolfe.
Elsie de Wolfe at Villa Trianon, Versailles. Her banquettes, with the exposed legs, were the inspiration for Grenney’s pair of banquettes.
From Veranda, Simon Upton. The two banquettes sit against the back wall.
Of the three décor schemes Veere has had in the Temple, over the past 35 years, he has made small changes that you probably never even noticed.
Originally the banquettes had skirts and looked quite different from the sleek version that is there today – and look so inspired by Elsie de Wolfe.
I like this version – again, which I also prefer.
So glad that Veere listens to my suggestions!!!!
And here, another change.
An earlier version of the Drawing Room had this contemporary sofa at the window. Later the curved, slightly banquette looking sofa replaced this one. Again – this is a better choice.
The antique chair is 1810 Directoire.
Beautiful 2007 photos of the Temple are by Andreas von Einsiedel.
The newer sofa which has a bit of a banquette look. Next to the sofa is the upholstered chair Veere produces called The Temple Chair. Originally the chair was upholstered in white, but later he replaced the white with one of his own fabrics.
The bay window that looks over the fields. To the right, you can see the door that leads to the stairwell.
In this decorative scheme, notice that there are no paintings in the Drawing Room, no hanging art work – only the four statues from the Rowley family.
Photograph By Ben Pentreath.
Here you can see the fabric that Veere replaced the white with.
David Hicks had put in the Suffolk Rush Matting back in the 1950s. John Fowler had been a big proponent of the matting - he liked things that "looked simple but cost a fortune" and the matting does cost a fortune. It was just a few years ago that Veere finally replaced the matting in the Temple! His rugs are said to have come from the neighborhood company Suffolk Waveney Rush.
It's a wonderful story - the history of the Suffolk Waveney Rush company. I'd always called it apple matting, but it really is bulrushes from the river. The story of Moses comes to mind.
The new white sofa sits in the bay window that overlooks the western fields that Constable painted.
The contemporary floor lamp is from the 1950s by Gino Sarfatti. The modern touch is a bit of a surprise, a lark, which makes the interiors alive and up to date and less of a museum.
From Veranda - the magazine photoshoot that helped make Veere Grenney a household name even if it is so hard to learn how to spell!!!
A look over the canal, close to dusk. You can see the fruit trees and the unlit chandelier - I found this beautiful photograph on Instagram - taken by photographer Alexander Hoyle. I find his photographs of the Temple some of the best there are!!! What an eye he has!!!! I just love this one so much. See more of his work HERE.
From Veere’s Instagram: The niches filled with flowering bushes.
From Instagram. I love the lighting of the Instagram photos. There are so many that are tagged #VeereGrenney, that it was hard to just show a few here! But, the natural light shows a viewer what the Temple truly looks like. The colors are not blown out like they are in some professional photoshoots and these photos look so natural.
And there is yet another décor change – in this recent photo an area rug make an appearance.
OK. Let's just say this right now. There isn't much Veere Grenney does that I don't love!!!! Even his personality is so endearing and sweet.
The ground floor - the room right under the Drawing Room is the Dining Room/kitchen.
One version – against the wall is a banquette. Remember that screen was once covered in red and white checks?
In this version, the chairs are now painted ivory instead of black.
FROM AD: Veere stands in the dining room, looking out the Hicks window.
From Instagram: The view from inside the dining room – looking out the window that David Hicks had installed.
Here, a bit of a chair change, probably just for the Schumacher photoshoot.
Bedrooms and Bathrooms
There has always been only one bedroom in the Temple, a small space carved out under the stairs on the left side of the house.
Charles Beresford Clarke:
The one bedroom was once on the landing - over the "dressing room." You can see the first floor below with the door that opens through the faux niche which hides behind the shutters.
Here, you can see on the far left, the master bedroom – upstairs from the bedroom is its bathroom. In the middle is the front door that leads to the dining room/kitchen and on the far right is the grand, original staircase that leads up to the Drawing Room.This arrangement with the master bedroom upstairs was changed by Veere Grenney. The "dressing room" below became his master bedroom and his sink was brought upstairs:
The bathroom was moved upstairs. Notice the sink. Later, t his will undergo a transformation.
For Veranda, Veere’s beloved dog! The bed got a new headboard and I spy a radiator. No wonder he no longer needs electric blankets.
The view from outside – with the shutters and doors open. You can see just how tiny this is and how much every inch of space is used. Despite the size, it’s the height of luxury and beauty!
More recently, the bathroom got a facelift. Remember the brown stained vanity? It’s now yellow and a cabinet was built to hide the plumbing. It took me a while to realize it was the same vanity.
And, onto the Kennels. This has been renovated into two bedrooms and baths. Veere’s partner had two sons who stayed in one room, with weekend guests in the other.
Veere’s first decorative scheme, the cozy English Country Manor, had this bed - painted black. I love the French desk at the end of the bed. In fact, I love this décor, just like I love this décor upstairs too.
Later, the bed was painted white and Veere’s fabrics were used as the canopy’s curtains.
Close up of the fabric inside the canopy. This is one of my favorite of Veere’s fabrics! I especially love the pink colorway.
The bedroom’s bath with the matching skirt and another one of those antique chairs that Veere moves around the Temple.
Here’s another scheme with a different fabric. Look, if I owned a fabric line my furniture would have a different set of slipcovers for every month!!
And I think this may be the final version? Not sure though!!! The rug is a nice addition, as is the touch of vivid Grenney Yellow!
The Twin Bedroom:
A Kennel bedroom set with twin beds for David Oliver’s sons. One of the accent chairs from the dining room is used here for a nightstand. This room is from the cozy English Country Manor décor.
Old iron hospital beds, painted black. How wonderful is this?! Great rug!
And so, we’ve come a loooong way – from early 14th century to Sir John Soane to Tendring Hall to Constable to World War II and to David Hicks and more. How many wonderful names are associated with this estate? Even two of Henry VIII’s wives make an appearance!!!
And despite all that has happened in the world and England during the past eight hundred or so years, the Temple lives on – more beautiful than ever. She’s been spared garish renovations and she’s ready for another eight hundred or more years.
And Veere Grenney? He said he might have one more decorative scheme in him. Chintz. For sure chintz. Maybe yellow and pink.
Simon Upton photograph.
Beautiful, beautiful Photograph from Alexander Hoyle’s Instagram HERE.