Marks of distinction

Period interiors can be transformed with distinctive mix of the colourful and the quirky, says Country Life’s Executive Editor, Giles Kime.

‘Design that is distinctive, individual and non homogenous. Things that are attractive with a bit of a story or a connection with the past. A light or a chair that might have roots in an old idea, but will have been reinvented, rescaled, redesigned for contemporary use. That’s the kind of thing I am looking for,’ says Country Life’s Executive Editor, Giles Kime.

His job is to respect and celebrate traditional rural design, but also embrace modernity, adapting and contemporising as countryside tastes and lifestyles change and develop. ‘It could be a Liberty cushion that feels very true to its Arts and Crafts antecedents, a third-generation Victorian sofa of myriad, loose cover incarnations that is now tightly tailored in a new and vibrant Nina Campbell fabric, or a Jonathan Adler Nixon baby alpaca graphic print throw from Selfridges. Choose wisely and you can transform a space without needing to make big acquisitions.’

Dear Friend and Gardener: Letters on Life and Gardening, £9.99, by Beth Chatto, Christopher Lloyd and Fergus Garrett, from; Nixon baby alpaca graphic print throw, £345, by Jonathan Adler, from Selfridges. Credit: Mariell Lind Handsen for American Express

Nor does owning a period house necessarily mean that people have to live with a colour palette straight from a Jane Austen costume drama, according to Giles, who is currently flying the flag for accents of lime green, orange and turquoise. ‘There’s a really interesting new culture shift, spearheaded by the younger people that are now moving out of town, which is looking to a simpler and less cluttered way of doing things.’ This more minimalist look is all about carefully selected, key pieces and demonstrates that you can live in the countryside in a way that is arguably more true to the original roots of rural architecture and design.

‘Nixon’ baby alpaca throw, £345, by Jonathan Adler, from Selfridges. Credit: Mariell Lind Handsen for American Express

The period of isolation has revealed what Giles calls domestic deficiencies. ‘With many country-house owners at home 24/7, there’s been a lot of pressure on interiors. Things and services once delegated to other people have now been taken control of. There’s a flight to quality, a desire to invest for the long term and embrace good design and craftsmanship.’

Valuable American Express Membership Rewards® Points — one for each pound spent — can be collected with purchases of indoor items, then redeemed for alfresco products or experiences.

Delightful tins enliven a country-house sideboard (Toffolossus biscuits, £17.95 for 600g; pistachio & clotted cream biscuits, £12.95 for 250g; Marc de Champagne truffles, £24.95 for 250g, all by Fortnum & Mason). Credit: Mariell Lind Handsen for American Express

An outdoor dining fan, Giles will be calling on the Platinum Concierge service to get him an open-air table at La Petite Maison in Mayfair, or at Colbert in Sloane Square, close to the interior-designer community’s favourite shopping destination of the Pimlico Road — both restaurants are part of the American Express Global Dining Collection and offer specially reserved tables for Platinum Cardmembers. ‘The last year has been a particularly productive time for garden furniture,’ explains Giles. ‘We’re now looking to prolong the enjoyment into the cooler months; set up a brazier or a fire pit, enjoy an autumn cocktail or a winter picnic.’

Photographer: Mariell Lind Hansen; Interiors styling: Benjamin Kempton; Words: Simon Mills

Reward yourself

Retail is more rewarding with The Platinum Card. Treat yourself to your favourite things by earning a Membership Rewards point for every £1 you spend. Whether investing in fine art or indulging in fragrant candles, you can offset nearly all purchases on your Card statement using your points.

The Platinum Card can also help you enjoy dining out in style. Among its 30 travel and lifestyle benefits is the Global Dining Collection, which holds specially reserved tables at select restaurants.

Call the Platinum Concierge service, on hand 24/7, which can find a restaurant for you and make the reservation. They can book your travel, too; stays at Fine Hotels + Resorts come with benefits for Cardmembers, such as late check-out and room upgrades, when available. And using your Card to book means you’ll also get complimentary worldwide travel insurance.

For more information and to apply for The Platinum Card, click here.

Annual fee: £575. Terms and Conditions apply.

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