The British Colonial style has always been a favorite of mine and not easy to find and definitely needs a good understandings of its origins. I am sorry for the old pictures but when we did this place, we hardly used digital cameras and of course I didn’t care to shoot my projects well…
The British were forerunners of the Colonial, also called Plantation, style where they left many of their interior decorating influences in their colonies around the world from Calcutta (then Fort William), India, to the West Indies, Singapore, and Caribbean islands such as Barbados, Turks & Caicos, Trinidad & Tobago, and the British Virgin Islands. Mixing in with the local aesthetics and needs that were guided by the tropical climate, the style that resulted was a blend of island style and English sophistication.
It all starts with light (often white) walls were combined with dark wood furnishings and flooring to bring a sophistication with carved teak or ebony furniture, airy window treatments, and local ethnic accessories. It’s a well-traveled look, and is still very popular today.
The older homes did emphasize on high ceilings. India being a tropical country, which is warm most times it seemed like a very pragmatic practice. Warm air rises, so allowing it to inhabit the upper reaches of a room only makes sense.
Light colored walls with reflective paint adorned all the rooms, making the spaces feel light and airy…at least visually.
Sitting outside in the evenings on a veranda facing north or east provided a respite from the oppressive heat that was a part of life in hot, humid climates. We creates a white washed veranda and placed a simple teak wood bench and threw splendid white upholstery on it. Of course, who could forget the strange yet lovely artwork?
Folding wooden chairs, writing desks, and collapsible beds, chests, and cabinets became known as campaign furniture. It also looks so simple yet has a deep character. I loved how the chest of drawers and dining chairs make the place look beautiful. Here we hand-painted the chest of drawers to give it a twist.
Lightweight and sometimes sheer cottons and linens were often used at the windows. Shutters helped control strong breezes and shut out tropical storms in British Colonial homes. Here we added a small new sofa with saree curtains and some Turkish hanging lamps to bring in the amalgamation of India and Britain.
A lot of eclectic and frames and artwork was used from the clients travel and ancestral property. Their home was a treasure to carved pieces, globes, boxes, magnifying glasses, and a wealth of ethnic accent pieces made locally and at a very undervalued price.