If you are looking for a refined, masculine, classic decorating style, try the English Hunting Lodge decor of the late 1800s. Wealthy upper-class Victorians in the United Kingdom made fox hunting a social pastime and decorated their country lodges in great detail to support the sport. Today, this same style can easily be translated into a modern, sophisticated home with plenty of comfort and style for the entire family. Rich, oiled woods, a big cosy fireplace, some well-placed hunt art and interesting rare hunting accessories bring home the elegance of Victorian England and create a warm, comforting atmosphere in your own home.
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The English hunt lodge evokes images of heavy oak tables and chairs and masculine, comfortable, leather sofas and recliners. The great room or den is the perfect jumping-off point for redecorating a few rooms in this relaxing style. Make your fireplace the focal point for warmth, and provide ample, oversized seating in rich brown, red or navy leather. Brass and pewter accessories such as lamps, hunting horns, and bookends polish off the look.
The colours indicative of the hunt are hunter green, which represents the forest, dark blue for the sky and bright red for the scarlet-coloured riding jackets of the hunt. Finding a plaid or check in these colours is not difficult, and it is perfect to use for upholstery, pillows or window treatments. Queen Victoria favoured Balmoral plaid.
The use of dark woods and dark-coloured fabrics begs for a lighter wall such as gold, taupe or even grey, so that the darker colours stand out against it. Keep your window treatments tailored and open to enjoy the view of the great outdoors.
If your family has a tartan or crest, this is the perfect opportunity to showcase those heirlooms.
Explore local antique shops and estate sales for interesting objects depicting fox hunting. Equestrian accessories such as riding crops, boots, boot scrapers, bits, bridles, hats and gloves are all great decorative articles. For some beautiful hunt lodge decor items, try The Fox Hunting Shop (see Resources 2), which has canisters, kitchen sets, dishes, light covers, bedding, towels, lamps and many other decorative item in the English hunt theme.
For one decorator who provides excellent photography of this completed look, see Gail Claridge's website.
In the late 1800s, an artist named Charlie Johnson Payne (nicknamed Snaffles) began to paint pictorial landscapes of the hunt life in rural England. He always added a slight touch of humour to his work. A framed reproduction of his or one of the many other English sporting artists is a perfect addition to your hunting lodge walls. Tapestry and butler bellpulls woven with detailed hunt scenes can be still found today at places such as Charlotte Home Furnishings (see Resources 1).
The Fox and the Hound
No hunting lodge would be complete without some display of the sport's two main stars, the fox and the hound. Whether you incorporate these two in sculptures, wall art, door knockers or lamp finials, they provide you with the total look.
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