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Inside Tricia Guild’s English Heritage collection

Interior designer Tricia Guild joins House & Garden in our latest episode of Uncommon Threads. Tricia founded her extraordinarily successful homewares brand Designers Guild in 1970, and has been at the heart of the UK interior design scene ever since. During this episode, Tricia gives us an inside look into the Designers Guild English Heritage collection — inspired by the archive of historic wallpapers held by English Heritage. Tricia Guild talks us through the importance of preserving the beauty and texture of these patterns, mostly inspired by 18th-century wallpapers preserved by English Heritage, whilst making these fabrics and papers work for a modern interior. Watch the full episode, as Tricia gives us an insight into how a collection like this comes to be and how it can work in a decorative scheme.

Released on 10/14/2022


[classy music]

What was really exciting for me about English Heritage

is to actually view and to be in front

of all these beautiful pieces of mostly wallpapers actually,

and to be able to use them

in a way that I've never done before for Designers Guild.

I've always really loved working

from documents and from vintage pieces,

but reinterpreting them completely

into a contemporary fashion.

Whereas, with English Heritage,

there's this amazing history.

So Wrest Park is this amazing house, wonderful garden.

For English Heritage, they're really starting to connect

with this archive now.

The space that it is in, is not an amazing space yet.

It's in the process of being redeveloped.

And so we're part of that and that's really exciting.

I think most of the archive was collected in sort of 1980s,

and it's not about changing that,

it is about reinventing them

because they're to be used now.

But it was just like finding a treasure trove

and then being able to use it.

It's a fantastic opportunity.

The huge task was actually from this beautiful archive,

putting together a collection.

I mean, you have to understand

how different fabrics and wallpapers can work together.

And then we started by repainting everything.

We wanted to reprint in the way

that it would've been printed.

Surface printing, so you get this beautiful texture.

I mean, to remain as faithful to the original as possible.

And then where were these beautiful wallpapers found?

I mean, St. John Street Trellis was wonderful,

house probably 18th century.

Craven Street, in Soho Craven Street.

It's so varied, this amazing history.

So because I wanted the collection to sort of really work

using patterns together,

with each group that we've put together,

you'll see that there's a linking of the colors.

And I think that's what makes it much more helpful

to use pattern together.

'Cause it can be a little bit messy,

but if the colors are really sort of thought through

and taken through,

you'll find that link actually makes them work together.

Also, I didn't want all the papers to be exactly the same.

So some of the wallpapers take a part of the pattern.

Some are exactly the same,

but with different color backgrounds.

So it gives a kind of interest in the collection.

It's not bland, but it's very usable.

And that was the aim,

and that's what English Heritage wanted as well

and they're really happy with it actually.

So that's very great. [chuckles]

So within the collection,

what I wanted was a different scale of patterns,

and for each pattern to be its own right.

So Suffolk Garden from this beautiful house in Suffolk,

and this is kind of the most chinoiserie

of all the patterns.

It's got a little bird and butterfly, very beautiful,

sort of larger scale

but none of the scale is actually too enormous.

Carlisle Fauna.

Originally, this design was just a one-color stripe.

So that was recreated

to be a completely gorgeous allover patterned,

almost like a little block print.

And then something like St. John Street,

this you can use anywhere.

It's almost like a plane, and it works with everything,

the small scale, whether it's fabric or wallpaper,

is almost sort of maximal

but very traditional at the same time.

It's quite quirky, I like that.

So within the wallpapers,

what I'm always trying to do is give our idea

of how these patterns can be used together.

And that's what I'm trying to do in each page.

I've shown, for instance, St. John Street Trellis

and used that with Piccadilly Park and Craven Street,

or just pattern on pattern,

the same pattern being used together.

And then you know how color

makes such a difference to a pattern,

whether it's a bright cobalt blue,

or whether it's shades of gray, it all adds a difference.

Something like English Garden floral as well.

I just changed the scale for the wallpaper,

whereas the fabric is a little larger scale,

and then lots of different ways of using

all of these patterns together.

I think this bedroom had actually all the patterns in it.

Everybody that came [indistinct]

wanted to get in the bed and stay there.

You're asking me what is my favorite,

and that is the worst question. [chuckles]

But I think I would go with all these blues,

and I'd probably use Eagle House and St. John Street.

So I'd mix all of these blues together

and it might even be in a very small room.

So you walk open the door and it's like a treasure trove.

It would be wonderful, yeah.

That's my favorite.

[classy music]