David Collins Studio (DCS), the design company headed up by star designer David Collins - the interior designer behind some of London and New York’s most opulent and highly acclaimed interiors including The Blue Bar at the Berkeley Hotel, Artesian bar at The Langham hotel and The Wolseley on Piccadilly – has transformed Lime Wood with a high level of refinement and elegance.
At Lime Wood DCS worked within a framework of a re-imagined 18th Century home updating it and reinventing the so-called English Country style. The look is laid back luxury – relaxed but not without attention to detail and the odd eccentric touch. Local materials such as ash and stone have been teamed with simple, subtle colour shades reflecting the estate’s landscape, creating an interior of quality, integrity and style. The hotel features original marble fireplaces in four different reception rooms and carefully selected artwork, ceramics and objets to create a welcoming sense of a private country residence that has evolved over time. All of the rooms are different – some duplex, some with huge bathtubs, some with marble baths, some with walk in showers – the variety brings countless different styles and we all know that variety is the spice of life.
The accommodation offers a range of stunning rooms and suites. The Eaves in the main house are snug rooms with beautiful views of the lawns. They have large beds, stand alone baths and are all in soft neutral tones. The ‘Cosy’ rooms in the main house have partition walls that slide open allowing a graceful flow of bedroom into bathroom; the ‘Spacious’ and ‘Generous’ rooms have freestanding tubs for bath time basking and ‘Forest Suites’ come with real fires and private gardens. All rooms are beautifully enriched with natural textures such as hand knotted rugs, stitched leatherwork and silk curtains, and the bathrooms feature personally sourced marble from Italy with traditional nickel fittings for a chic, classical feel.
A skilful blend of styles gives each of the public areas a character of their own. Max’s Bar is an intimate space with sexy contemporary features; leather tables, reflective teal blue panelled walls and mirrored silver leaf bar give a level of glamour and opulence. The Scullery is informal, simple and utilitarian, harking back to an 18th Century country house kitchen, with stonewalls and a central open stone fireplace used for roasting meat ‘a la ficelle’. The dining room is in turn an elegant and intriguing mix of colour, texture and form featuring woven carpets and golden silk curtains. The morning rooms are stylishly relaxed and magnificent lavender coloured silk wallpaper adorns the walls of the drawing room.
Architectural designers Charles Morris and Ben Pentreath have re-designed Lime Wood and its ancillary buildings. The duo have built on a Regency vernacular and have evolved this with a combination of ‘Arts and Crafts’ and classical design. The overall effect is both traditional and of its time.
Ben Pentreath of Working Group Design restored the main house and extensions. The design of the main house is intended to suggest a subtle evolution of a rambling, attractive country house that has grown over time. The new entrance façade is a seamless extension of the existing fine Regency house and draws on the original stucco and Portland stone detailing. By contrast, the garden wing, overlooking the formal pools and the Pavilions, has an early 18th Century character that draws on local examples of handsome red brick Queen Anne architecture.
Internally, the existing building has been re-ordered to provide substantially upgraded accommodation, with a series of classically designed sitting rooms, library and private dining rooms, an elegant dining conservatory and sixteen bedrooms and suites. The rooms are laid out around a central arcaded courtyard, with stone columns and arches in English Palladian style, fully covered with a glass retractable roof.
A double height stone cantilevered staircase was a major new feature in the building.
Charles Morris was the architect for the ancillary buildings at Lime Wood (previous work includes the Orchard room at Highgrove). Morris’ vision is for decoration to become a part of the structure revealing a contemporary demonstration of original ‘Arts and Crafts’ principles. His work at Lime Wood is reflective of a commitment to honest and visually satisfying detail, quality of materials and craftsmanship.
The Garden Lodges were conceived with a view to each having its own identity, distinctive from each other and from the main hotel building. This is aimed to give the guest the sensation of having "a place of their own" whilst remaining physically and visually connected with the hotel and its grounds. A guest’s privacy is guaranteed with each suite having its own front and back doors, every terrace or balcony backs onto the forest, all have an upstairs and a downstairs and there are log fires throughout so creating a mini home-from-home.
The Coach House takes its cue from the original stables which stood on this location. Adopting a generally modern Arts & Crafts style, the building is dominated by a proto-classical entrance façade composed of an upper loggia over an arcaded entrance leading to a cortile in the Italian manner. This open and "accessible" entrance, combined with the forecourt, gives the Coach House an invitingly perceptible bond to the Garden Walk and the hotel building.
The Crescent, as its name suggests, responds to the turn in the boundary where the building meets the forest edge, gently linking the Coach House to the Pavilions. It forms an enclave further protected from the outside by a long pergola with a belt of water over which there is a simple boardwalk bridge which is the only direct access. By its design and choice of external materials, the primary aim was a building which would glow against the greenery of the forest and the garden and which would be light and easy on the eye. The look is Franco Scottish meets new England – it works!
The two Pavilions are intended as unabashed eye catchers viewed from the hotel along the axis of the two long garden "canals". Recognition is given to "nature first, architecture second" by allowing one of the Pavilions to be partially obscured by a fine amelanchier tree which was carefully protected throughout the building works. The arches and columns give the Pavilions a glorious dash of Palladian.
The Suites range from duplexes with galleried sleeping areas to forest hideaways that contain real wood burning fires. In both sitting rooms and bedrooms there are stylish private balconies looking onto the forest.
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