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					Living the
      Dolce Vita
        Story: Beverley Brown Pictures: Douglas Gibb




10 Traditional Homes & Interiors   April 2007          www.thimagazine.com
                                                                                                                     HOMES IN VIEW



                      Born and brought up in a quiet suburb of Glasgow
                      in an area estate agents would likely term a ‘leafy
                      enclave’, Grant Armstrong always aspired to give
                      his own children the same kind of lifestyle. Which
                      is why he gets an added sense of satisfaction from
                      the five bedroom semi-detached sandstone villa he
                      shares with children Hannah, 12, and Fraser, 9.




                                            An entrepreneur who made his mark in             to strike a deal with the owners and bought it
                                            the fashion industry, and more recently as a     the same day.”
                                            property developer with a substantial letting       Built around the turn of the twentieth
                                            portfolio, he admits this is the home of his     century, the house is believed to have been the
                      LEFT AND ABOVE:
                                            dreams. “Growing up, all my friends lived        home of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s business
                      The drawing room
                                            round here and I remember often running          partner. “I don’t know if that’s true or not,
                      is simply furnished
                                            past this house when I was in my teens,” he      but it does have architectural merit, including
                      with well chosen
                                            says. “When I could afford to buy a property     an archway between the drawing room and
                      pieces, including
                      two antique leather   in this area, I viewed every one that came on    formal dining room and some very ornate
                      Ralph Lauren sofas,   the market for months, and in fact had just      plasterwork,” says Grant, who has spent the
                      which accentuate      lost out on one when I heard about this house.   last 15 years refurbishing the house one room
                      the sweeping bay      It felt right straight away and had a lovely     at a time.
                      window.               setting, overlooking a park. Luckily I managed                                 continued on page 13



www.thimagazine.com                                                                          April 2007 Traditional Homes & Interiors        11
                                                                         HOMES IN VIEW

continued from page 11

   Although it’s a large house the interior
feels compact and connected without the
maze of inner hallways and add-ons often
found in properties of this size and calibre.
It’s also very user-friendly, with clearly
defi ned formal and informal areas. The
drawing room and dining room are linked for
entertaining and adult use, while the living
room and dining kitchen are where the family
spend most of their time. There’s also a full
bathroom plus cloakroom on the ground floor,
and an upstairs shower room.
   The interior is traditional but in a classic
style, using a predominantly neutral palette
of creams and gold’s to complement the richer
tones of polished wood and original features
like gold-painted radiators and plasterwork
picked out in gold leaf. “I appreciate many
different interior styles, but you have to keep
within the parameters of what suits the house
and area,” Grant says. “More important to me
is the quality of workmanship and fi nish. The
best example I’ve seen to date was in a hotel in
Istanbul. While everyone was expectantly

                                                                          ABOVE:
                                                                          Natural colours
                                                                          have been used
                                                                          in the hallway to
                                                                          compliment the
                                                                          richer tones of the
                                                                          wood and original
                                                                          features like the
                                                                          gold-painted
                                                                          radiator.

                                                                          LEFT:
                                                                          The house is believed
                                                                          to have been the
                                                                          home of Charles
                                                                          Rennie Mackintosh’s
                                                                          business partner.




www.thimagazine.com                                April 2007 Traditional Homes & Interiors     13
“I appreciate many different interior styles, but you
 have to keep within the parameters of what suits
 the house and area.”




looking up waiting for the lift to arrive, I was         Refurbishing the house revealed a              ABOVE: The
looking down and marvelling at the marble             few previously hidden gems, including a           archway separates
skirtings. The fi nish and attention to detail         stunning herringbone-style wood floor in           the drawing room
                                                                                                        and formal dining
was quite breathtaking.”                              the drawing room that had been covered by
                                                                                                        room which are
   Much the same could be said for chez               carpet for decades. “I couldn’t believe anyone
                                                                                                        mainly used for
Armstrong, which manages to be almost                 preferred carpet to this,” says Grant, “but
                                                                                                        entertaining.
suspiciously immaculate, yet still feels like a       then hardwood floors were out of fashion for
real lived in home as opposed to a show house.        a long time. Better still, there was a matching
“I much prefer order to chaos,” he admits,            surround in the dining room.” Grant called in
“and one of the nice things about this house          a fi rm of flooring specialists who treated the
is there’s space and a place for everything,          floors until they gleamed, a fi nish comparable
which helps.”                                         to a yew dining table that has been in the


14 Traditional Homes & Interiors         April 2007                                                                         www.thimagazine.com
16 Traditional Homes & Interiors   April 2007   www.thimagazine.com
                                                          HOMES IN VIEW




                                  family for years. And while dining chair covers
                                  are nothing new, the ones round this table
ABOVE: The blue and yellow
                                  have been custom-made in real suede.
sitting room-cum TV room is
                                  Given a big space like the Armstrong drawing
used by Hannah and Fraser.
                                  room it can be tempting to overfill it with
RIGHT : The white Carrara         furniture and accessories. Instead, Grant has
marble fireplace and surround      furnished the room very simply with a few
house the very ornate Italian     well chosen pieces, including two antique
antique electric fire given to     leather Ralph Lauren sofas, to accentuate
Grant by his mother.              the sweeping bay window, ornate gold leaf
                                  plasterwork, and the overall proportions of the
LEFT: The Herringbone-style       room. “The fi replace surround is original, but
wood floor in the drawing
                                  the natural stone insert and Living Flame fi re
room was covered by carpet
                                  are newer additions,” he adds.
for decades, but is now
                                     Detail is Grant’s speciality and nothing in
beautifully polished. The chair
covers were custom made in        this house has been overlooked. “Luckily, the
                                                               continued on page 19
real suede.

www.thimagazine.com               April 2007 Traditional Homes & Interiors        17
                                                                       HOMES IN VIEW




                                                                        LEFT AND BELOW:
                                                                        Grant’s favourite
                                                                        place in the house
                                                                        is his newly fitted
                                                                        kitchen, where he
                                                                        enjoys cooking on
                                                                        the stainless steel
                                                                        Belling range cooker.
                                                                        The kitchen is a
                                                                        base for homework,
                                                                        eating and day to
                                                                        day living, and the
                                                                        children even have
                                                                        a wall mounted flat
                                                                        screen television
                                                                        each, either side of
                                                                        the window, to stop
                                                                        arguments!

continued from page 17

original sash and case windows were in good
condition, although cleaning all the brass
handles was fiddly and time-consuming,”
he says. The windows in both public rooms,
which look out across the garden to the park,
are framed with cream curtains and matching
pelmets. The only other decorative elements
are three panels on the fi replace wall, two
fi lled in with a distinctive gold-coloured
Osborne & Little wallpaper that stands out
strongly against the cream background,
while the centre panel frames an equally bold
painting by a well-known Scottish artist.
   “These rooms are great for entertaining,”
says Grant, who had the controls for the music
system concealed in a cupboard in the dining
room. Across the hall is a blue and yellow
sitting room cum TV room used by Hannah
and Fraser. “The previous owners had this as a
library but its wood-lined walls were way too
dark and sombre for us,” he explains. Making
the room far from ordinary is a white Carrara
marble fi replace and ornate surround, fronted


www.thimagazine.com                              April 2007 Traditional Homes & Interiors   19
by an even more ornate electric fire. “It’s an
Italian antique,” Grant explains. “My mum
gave it to me when I moved into my first flat.”
Other rooms reflect a similar pattern of
classic elegance mixed with statement pieces,
the freestanding slipper bath and gold-
coloured stand-alone waste and taps paired
with Porcelanosa Italian marble tiles and
butterscotch-coloured walls. And the sunny
yellow hall and staircase, where practical sisal
carpeting adds textural contrast to the polished
wooden balustrade, but it’s the unexpected
built-in window seat, where Hannah used to
curl up and sleep, that steals the limelight.
   Upstairs, overlooking the back garden and
summerhouse, the children’s bedrooms are
decorated in pink and blue versions of the
same wallpaper, but there the similarity ends.
While Fraser’s room displays Ralph Lauren
bedlinen (bought in the US) and football
posters, Hannah has a pretty custom-made
headboard, her own scaled-down two-seater
sofa, and the only rocking camel in existence.
She also has an adjoining bedroom that
she uses as a computer room. Surprisingly,
perhaps, the master bedroom isn’t an overtly
                              continued on page 22

                                                        ABOVE:
                                                        The master bedroom
                                                        with the beautiful
                                                        bay window is
                                                        flower strewn with
                                                        Sanderson curtain
                                                        fabric, also matching
                                                        wallpaper frieze.

                                                        LEFT:
                                                        Fraser’s blue
                                                        bedroom displays
                                                        Ralph Lauren
                                                        bedlinen and football
                                                        posters on the walls.




20 Traditional Homes & Interiors          April 2007   www.thimagazine.com
                                                continued from page 20

                                                masculine space, although the bay window’s
                                                flower-strewn Sanderson curtain fabric
                                                and matching wallpapered frieze suit the
                                                proportions of the room.
                                                   Years of travel and buying trips to fashion
                                                meccas around the world have fi ne-tuned
                                                this quietly spoken bon viveur’s innate sense
                                                of style, love of design, and enthusiasm for
                                                cooking. “I think fashion, architecture, food
                                                and wine are all liked together,” he reflects,
                                                surveying the newly refitted kitchen, his
                                                favourite place in the house. “The hand-
                                                painted farmhouse-style units that were here
                                                fi nally had to go, along with a table that had
                                                seen better days and still bore the marks
                                                of Hannah and Fraser’s scribbles. It’s a big
                                                space,” he adds, “but as a base for homework,
                                                eating and day-to-day living, it had to be
                                                practical and functional as well as stylish.”
                                                   The new look kitchen has a slate floor,
                                                maple units, mottled granite-effect worktops
                                                and a split-level island unit incorporating a




ABOVE AND
BELOW:
Hannah’s bedroom
beautifully decorated
in pink has her own
scaled-down sofa,
and even has an
unusual rocking
camel! The adjoining
bedroom Hannah
uses as a computer
room.


22 Traditional Homes & Interiors   April 2007                            www.thimagazine.com
                                                                             HOMES IN VIEW


table. There’s also a stainless steel Belling range
cooker with a gas hob and all the gizmos. “My
pride and joy,” he laughs. “I had an electric
cooker before and hated it. This is a joy to
cook on.” The two wall-mounted flat-screen
televisions, one on either side of the window,
he admits were an indulgence. “I got so fed up
with the kids arguing over what to watch in
the morning I decided to give them one each!”
   Buying and doing up a small hotel in the
west end of Glasgow is one of Grant’s short-
term goals and it’s easy to imagine him in the
role of mine host, combining fi ne dining and
immaculate surroundings to provide an all-
round sensory experience.
   “Much as I love this house there are other
projects and other houses. When the time is
right I’ll start again – maybe with Hannah’s
help. She’s already taking an interest and has
completed a design for a flat, co-ordinating all
the décor and furniture herself.” But for now
he’s happy to be where his roots are, living the
dolce vita.
                                                                              ABOVE AND LEFT:
                                                                              The freestanding
                                                                              slipper bath and gold
                                                                              coloured stand-alone
                                                                              waste and taps are
                                                                              off-set beautifully
                                                                              against the
                                                                              Porcelanosa Italian
                                                                              marble tiles.




www.thimagazine.com                                   April 2007 Traditional Homes & Interiors   23
Drummonds opened in 1988, in
picturesque listed farm buildings
at Birtley Farm, Bramley, near
Guildford, Surrey. The farm buildings
were renovated as showrooms by
company founder Drummond Shaw,
who, in the process of restoring
his own home, recognised the
opportunity for supplying authentic
antique architectural materials.
The showroom barns were filled
with a vast array of reclaimed
architectural features such as
staircases, fire surrounds, doors,
antique furniture, baths, basins and
water closets, garden furniture and
artefacts to help homeowners and
professionals source original features
for their period homes and gardens.




Trade Secrets
                                                     The inside story of traditional
                                                     skills and forgotten arts
                                                     around the British Isles




                                                 In 1999, Drummonds moved to new
                                                 premises in the renovated bus depot in
                                                 Hindhead, Surrey. The huge increase in
                                                 showroom space allowed for better organised
                                                 displays and for much needed workshops to
                                                 prepare reclaimed wood flooring, as well as
                                                 bathroom restoration and other specialist
                                                 repair projects.
                                                    The Company has established a reputation
                                                 as a leading supplier of architectural antiques
                                                 and neo-classic bathrooms. Its expertise in
                                                 restoration started with the re-enamelling of
                                                 cast iron baths and expanded into antique
                                                 taps and fittings. Initially, much restoration
                                                 was done by outside suppliers but quality and
                                                 supply issues created the need for its own
                                                 production facilities.
                                                    Drummonds developed expertise in
                                                 custom manufacture by investing in a
                                                 specialist brass casting workshop using the
                                                 lost wax process. The Company now produces
                                                 handmade exquisite collections of solid brass
                                                 door and window furniture in addition to


120 Traditional Homes & Interiors   April 2007                            www.thimagazine.com
                                                                                                                           TRADE SECRETS
bath and basin taps and specialist fittings
such as basin stands and plunger wastes
for baths. The focus remains on exclusive
materials hand crafted into timeless products.
   In 2002, due to the rapidly increasing
demand for classically styled bathrooms,
Drummonds built its own manufacturing
plant to make vitreous enamelled cast iron
baths of outstanding quality. Using traditional
methods coupled with modern expertise,
baths are individually made, with a numbered
record kept of all processes on the journey
from foundry to fi nal customer. Finishing
workshops ensure each bath exterior is
perfect. Whether fi nished in metallic paint,
polished copper, gold leaf, stainless steel,
leather, wood veneer or just simply polished,
Drummonds’ baths are distinctive not just in
their size and design but in the high quality of
their exterior fi nish, which complements the
unique interior enamelling.
    To complete the range, in 2004
Drummonds acquired a company which
specialised in producing handmade
chinaware to an exacting standard. The
objective was to create a range of basins and      those designers, architects and homeowners     service using the very best reclaimed timber,
water closets in timeless styles with generous     who are seeking something unique, exclusive    stone and tiles. Large, covered stores ensure
proportions, using the best materials to           and special.                                   supplies are available of different batches of
guarantee lasting character and grandeur.             Alongside bathrooms, Drummonds’             old oak, pine, parquet de Versailles and other
   The Drummonds bathroom experience is            reclaimed flooring service is playing an        woods, some dating back to the 18th century.
now showcased in two dedicated showrooms;          increasingly dominant role as the business        Antique handmade tiles, limestone flags,
Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea and Hindhead,         grows and goes forward.                        Yorkstone and limestone and cabouchon floors
Surrey. Drummonds has become renowned to              The company offers a complete flooring       are also available.
                                                                                                     Fully equipped workshops enable timber to
                                                                                                  be prepared to customers’ exact requirements,
                                                                                                  including tongue and groove, thicknessing
                                                                                                  and edging. All reclaimed boards are
                                                                                                  prepared and sanded by hand to maintain
                                                                                                  their original beauty and patina.
                                                                                                     Unlike the majority of flooring suppliers,
                                                                                                  Drummonds also offers a complete planning,
                                                                                                  supply and installation service for both private
                                                                                                  and corporate clients.
                                                                                                     Drummonds is still true to its original
                                                                                                  vision and is today one of the largest
                                                                                                  architectural antiques suppliers in the UK.
                                                                                                  Its 70,000 sq ft showroom in Hindhead
                                                                                                  showcases an excellent selection of treasures
                                                                                                  sourced from across the globe, as well as its
                                                                                                  new handmade products – offering the very
                                                                                                  best of old and new.
                                                                                                     The World of Drummonds is very special.


                                                                                                  Drummonds can be contacted on 01428
                                                                                                  609444 for their Surrey Head Office and
                                                                                                  showroom, or their London showroom
                                                                                                  on 020 7376 4499. Alternatively visit
                                                                                                  www.drummonds-arch.co.uk


www.thimagazine.com                                                                              April 2007 Traditional Homes & Interiors         121
                                                                                                               READER COMPETITION




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www.thimagazine.com                                                                          May 2007 Traditional Homes & Interiors               107
Drummonds opened in 1988, in
picturesque listed farm buildings
at Birtley Farm, Bramley, near
Guildford, Surrey. The farm buildings
were renovated as showrooms by
company founder Drummond Shaw,
who, in the process of restoring
his own home, recognised the
opportunity for supplying authentic
antique architectural materials.
The showroom barns were filled
with a vast array of reclaimed
architectural features such as
staircases, fire surrounds, doors,
antique furniture, baths, basins and
water closets, garden furniture and
artefacts to help homeowners and
professionals source original features
for their period homes and gardens.




Trade Secrets
                                                     The inside story of traditional
                                                     skills and forgotten arts
                                                     around the British Isles




                                                 In 1999, Drummonds moved to new
                                                 premises in the renovated bus depot in
                                                 Hindhead, Surrey. The huge increase in
                                                 showroom space allowed for better organised
                                                 displays and for much needed workshops to
                                                 prepare reclaimed wood flooring, as well as
                                                 bathroom restoration and other specialist
                                                 repair projects.
                                                    The Company has established a reputation
                                                 as a leading supplier of architectural antiques
                                                 and neo-classic bathrooms. Its expertise in
                                                 restoration started with the re-enamelling of
                                                 cast iron baths and expanded into antique
                                                 taps and fittings. Initially, much restoration
                                                 was done by outside suppliers but quality and
                                                 supply issues created the need for its own
                                                 production facilities.
                                                    Drummonds developed expertise in
                                                 custom manufacture by investing in a
                                                 specialist brass casting workshop using the
                                                 lost wax process. The Company now produces
                                                 handmade exquisite collections of solid brass
                                                 door and window furniture in addition to


120 Traditional Homes & Interiors   April 2007                            www.thimagazine.com
                                                                                                                           TRADE SECRETS
bath and basin taps and specialist fittings
such as basin stands and plunger wastes
for baths. The focus remains on exclusive
materials hand crafted into timeless products.
   In 2002, due to the rapidly increasing
demand for classically styled bathrooms,
Drummonds built its own manufacturing
plant to make vitreous enamelled cast iron
baths of outstanding quality. Using traditional
methods coupled with modern expertise,
baths are individually made, with a numbered
record kept of all processes on the journey
from foundry to fi nal customer. Finishing
workshops ensure each bath exterior is
perfect. Whether fi nished in metallic paint,
polished copper, gold leaf, stainless steel,
leather, wood veneer or just simply polished,
Drummonds’ baths are distinctive not just in
their size and design but in the high quality of
their exterior fi nish, which complements the
unique interior enamelling.
    To complete the range, in 2004
Drummonds acquired a company which
specialised in producing handmade
chinaware to an exacting standard. The
objective was to create a range of basins and      those designers, architects and homeowners     service using the very best reclaimed timber,
water closets in timeless styles with generous     who are seeking something unique, exclusive    stone and tiles. Large, covered stores ensure
proportions, using the best materials to           and special.                                   supplies are available of different batches of
guarantee lasting character and grandeur.             Alongside bathrooms, Drummonds’             old oak, pine, parquet de Versailles and other
   The Drummonds bathroom experience is            reclaimed flooring service is playing an        woods, some dating back to the 18th century.
now showcased in two dedicated showrooms;          increasingly dominant role as the business        Antique handmade tiles, limestone flags,
Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea and Hindhead,         grows and goes forward.                        Yorkstone and limestone and cabouchon floors
Surrey. Drummonds has become renowned to              The company offers a complete flooring       are also available.
                                                                                                     Fully equipped workshops enable timber to
                                                                                                  be prepared to customers’ exact requirements,
                                                                                                  including tongue and groove, thicknessing
                                                                                                  and edging. All reclaimed boards are
                                                                                                  prepared and sanded by hand to maintain
                                                                                                  their original beauty and patina.
                                                                                                     Unlike the majority of flooring suppliers,
                                                                                                  Drummonds also offers a complete planning,
                                                                                                  supply and installation service for both private
                                                                                                  and corporate clients.
                                                                                                     Drummonds is still true to its original
                                                                                                  vision and is today one of the largest
                                                                                                  architectural antiques suppliers in the UK.
                                                                                                  Its 70,000 sq ft showroom in Hindhead
                                                                                                  showcases an excellent selection of treasures
                                                                                                  sourced from across the globe, as well as its
                                                                                                  new handmade products – offering the very
                                                                                                  best of old and new.
                                                                                                     The World of Drummonds is very special.


                                                                                                  Drummonds can be contacted on 01428
                                                                                                  609444 for their Surrey Head Office and
                                                                                                  showroom, or their London showroom
                                                                                                  on 020 7376 4499. Alternatively visit
                                                                                                  www.drummonds-arch.co.uk


www.thimagazine.com                                                                              April 2007 Traditional Homes & Interiors         121
                                                                        IN NEXT MONTH



Don’t miss the May issue!
      Traditional Homes & Interiors
Inside Outside:                                      30 pages of
10 pages of Garden Buildings,                      Reader’s Homes
Summer Houses and Log Cabins




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     Food pages: Exciting new recipes to try
     Interior Design: Our Interior Designer,
     Mary Leslie answers your Questions on
     Window Treatments
     Let’s Go Shopping: Out and about to find
     this month’s best buys!                      Great ideas

                                           PLUS:
                                           Antiques & Collectibles
                                           Trade Secrets
                                           Salvage Yard of the Month
                                           Competition Prizes to be Won!
    Tasty bites

www.thimagazine.com                              April 2007 Traditional Homes & Interiors   135
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