Interior designer Eliská Sapera on luxury country style

Interior designer Eliská Sapera has created interiors around the world. She loves to combine old and new, and contemporary with traditional pieces to create a unique, timeless look. Here she runs through one of her beautiful home projects and shares her expert advice...

Can you tell us about this home and what you were asked to do there?

‘The brief was to completely refurbish the house. We took it back to its original shell – and in the process found the original flagstone flooring – and then extended as far as possible, both sideways and up. The interiors needed to create a sophisticated take on a seaside house.’

You’ve given this dining area a grand feel even though it’s in a modestly sized home. Can you give us some tips on how to create a country house look when you live in country cottage dimensions?

‘This formal dining room area was created to house my client’s parents’ dining room furniture, which had been made in Scotland at the end of the 1800s. This area runs between the formal sitting area, at one end, and a less formal area, with original flagstone floors, at the other. The key to the dining area is that there are open views at either end and it is wide enough to have a sideboard on one side. My clients have dinner parties with just candlelight – it is a dramatic space.’

We love the colours in this room. Can you tell us a little about how you chose the scheme?

‘The walls are painted in a stone colour I mixed – it’s a warm neutral colour that lends itself to artwork and antique pieces. The 1940s armchairs  are upholstered in tartan; the Victorian Chesterfield is upholstered in herringbone tweed and has scatter cushions in suede and cashmere. The coffee table is an antique Chinese opium bed. The sunburst clock is French, and just peeking out of the corner on the cabinet is an Art Nouveau statue. This is quite an eclectic look, but one that works well in this Scottish seaside house.’

Fabulous view! How have you linked inside and out in this conservatory?

‘I have used upholstery fabric to bring the sea colours into the room. This room is used all year round, so it has underfloor heating, radiators and a fire.’

We love the exposed stone wall in the kitchen. What’s the best way to incorporate a great feature like this into a room scheme?

‘The exposed wall used to be the outside wall and was covered in pink concrete. This was picked off and sandblasted to show the lovely stone. I have hung an altar front on this wall, and the mix of old wood and stone complement one another. I would always expose stone if you have it: it gives a textured look and whether you have contemporary or antique bits, it is a statement on its own.’

This bedroom isn’t big, but it feels spacious. Any tips on how we can achieve the same feat at home?

‘The master bedroom is part of a recent extension. The ceiling is pitched and high, the wardrobes have flush doors and are very spacious, and the room opens out into a large area with beautiful views of the sea from the side and front windows. It is a very restful room with the walls in the same colour as the rest of the house. Lighting is key. There are spotlights, an antique pendant light and table lamps.'

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Sarah Warwick, Guest Editor

View all posts by Sarah Warwick, Guest Editor