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Perfect English [Hardcover]

Ros Byam Shaw
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 April 2007
The English style in interior design is admired and copied the world over. At its grandest, it is a stately home furnished with antiques, but the houses featured in this book are country cottages, farmhouses, townhouses and flats. What links them is as much an attitude as a look. The English style of decoration is practical and informal, designed around the people who occupy the rooms rather than to impress. These houses are lived in and loved, with interiors that are relaxed and not afraid to be pretty. The book's chapters, 'Plain English', 'English Eccentric', 'English Rose', 'English Country House', and 'Classic English' reflect the many facets of English style, and each section ends with pages devoted to ideas for furnishing a house in all these versions of English style.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ryland, Peters & Small Ltd (1 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845973445
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845973445
  • Product Dimensions: 30.6 x 25.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 361,612 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ros was born in London in 1960. She read English at Oxford and her first job was working for an antique dealer who specialised in early silver. Her most difficult task was being taken for a walk by two English mastiffs, both of whom weighed more than she did.

Fortunately, it wasn't too long before she was offered a job at The World of Interiors, an innovative magazine based in upstairs rooms on Fulham Road. She was Features Editor for several years, left to work as a freelance writer, and then returned after the birth of her first daughter to work part time. When her second daughter was born, Ros went freelance again which is where she has remained ever since, writing about houses, their occupants and their interiors. Ros has written and contributed to many books and is the recipient of several awards.

In 2002 she moved from London to the West Country to a 16th century house close to the sea. The restoration of the house is now finished, but the large garden is an ongoing project.

She is the author of the forthcoming title Farrow & Ball Living with Colour, along with Interiors by Design, Old House New Home and the bestselling Perfect English and Perfect English Cottage (all published by Ryland Peters & Small).

'Any book by Ros Byam Shaw inspires confidence and delight, being brilliantly researched and handsomely illustrated.' The World of Interiors

Product Description


English Home, House & Garden, World of Interiors, BBC Good Homes, Livingetc.

About the Author

Ros Byam Shaw is a former Features Editor of The World of Interiors. She is now a freelance journalist and writes on design and interiors for House & Garden and the Telegraph, among others. She is the author of Interiors by Design and Old House New Home (both published by Ryland Peters & Small). She lives in Devon.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and practical 1 Jun 2007
Ok I know this is just a pretty pictures, shallow kind of book and it's not going to change the world. But as far as these kinds of books go, I think this is a pretty good one. I wouldn't hesitate to give as a gift. The images are elegant and inspiring, the editorial is nicely written and not at all twee, and there are some good practical tips and supplier lists. All the houses used as examples are quite unique and eccentric, not "chocolate box" type houses. If you're debating whether to buy it - go ahead. It's satisfying, practical and inspiring.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect! 27 Nov 2008
By anna
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a lovely book. But it is more than just a 'lovely book', delightful though it is to look at and handle. Nor is it just a parade of 'aspirational' interiors beyond the pockets of most of us - though there are some pretty sensational houses here. It's more a celebration of English individuality - that you can do what you like with your own space - mad colour and piles of stuff if that's your bag; or restrained colour and pared down decor if that's what you want. To guide you, there's a gentle categorisation of the different types of English house and a neat summary of the essential elements of each. But there's nothing prescriptive here - and uniformity is told to take a running jump. The message, really, is have faith in what you love and surround yourself with that. All these interiors are totally at ease with themselves - not concerned with keeping up with anybody, or 'making a statement' - except to say: 'Welcome and enjoy'. Congratulations to Ros Byam Shaw for reminding us that in making a home, as in living our lives: 'To thine own self be true'.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential English 21 Mar 2008
By Jarah
I'd vowed not to spend any more money on interiors books, but I just couldn't resist this one. It's delightful and inspiring. The interiors featured here are a welcome relief from the impersonal, 'hip hotel'-style designer rooms which fill most interiors magazines and estate agents' brochures these days. The personalities of the owners shine through.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eccentric English 13 Aug 2010
I have many books on interior design and this is my favourite. The houses photographed dont slip conveniently into glossy-magazine categories but are great examples of individual, slightly eccentric british homes created by people who dont feel the need to follow slavishly current trends in interiors. They clearly have confidence in their own good taste. Many many photos, all beautiful and interesting. More 'World of Interiors' than 'Ideal Home'. Inspirational.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful spabby interiors 3 July 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book, I leant my first copy to a friend who didn't give it back, but I really missed it and had to buy another copy! There is nothing like it and it's sister book, perfect english cottages. I help run the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings Gloucestershire branch so that's why I call old and beautiful things spabby. This is the perfect book for creating spabby style, that is using things that generally aren't mass produced, that value beauty and associations rather than condition and a style that actually creates comfort and rooms that people can relax in and feel comfortable in. This book is about houses to live in, houses where you can kick your shoes off and cosy up to the fire. There are too many books about boutique & minimal style, this is a book for real people and real families to live in. I only hope Ros is working on other books in this style - they're fab!
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