Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Veere Grenney's Folly

Designer Veere Grenney's Palladian temple folly has garnered a great deal of print and online coverage, and with good reason. Simply put, it's splendid. Built in 1760 and once inhabited by David Hicks, the folly is modestly-sized: one room deep and made up of two floors. The bottom floor consists of a kitchen and bedroom, but head upstairs to the second floor and one will find a spacious drawing room that belies the folly's compact size. As Grenney once said, "I live in a cottage and a palace at the same time. Downstairs is like a cottage-my bedroom lies off the kitchen- and upstairs is like a palace."

The most recently published version of Grenney's folly shows a drawing room that is decorated in soft putty-tones and solid fabrics. But in the version that you see here, and which was published in the January 1998 issue of British House & Garden, the drawing room's walls were painted candy pink. The choice of wall color was a bold one, especially considering that candy pink can go all bubble-gum and sweet sixteen quickly. And yet, in Grenney's deft hands, this shade of pink flatters the room, making it a sophisticated yet colorful companion to the room's impressive (and somewhat mannish) interior architecture. Grenney also struck a balance between those pretty, ornate balloon shades (which are still present in the room today) and the furnishings, which were comprised of modern pieces and elegant antiques.

If you want to compare the two versions, click here to see the temple's current incarnation on Veere Grenney's website.

Image at top: The folly's setting is equally as captivating.  Flanked by two hedges (which were planted by Hicks upon the recommendation of John Fowler,) the temple looks out upon a canal and parkland.

The three images above show the stately drawing room and the view from within.

The kitchen table and chairs were covered in a check-print fabric by Colefax & Fowler.

The guest-house bedroom.

All photos from British House & Garden, January 1998, Jeremy Young photographer.


  1. Thank you for sharing this! I'd read about the folly, but had no clear idea why it would be so legendary. It seemed mysterious. But it lives up to the legend!

  2. Anonymous2:56 PM

    Jennifer, speaking of "follies," over the weekend I was on Coronado Island and found "One Man's Folly, the Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood." I have read about half of it already, and the photos are just incredible!! Evidently Mr. Gatewood owns all of the pictured homes in this book, on his property in GA, and they are packed with wonderful antiques. I too love blue and white Chinese porcelain, and his homes are FILLED with it. This is one of my all time favorite books, and I would give anything to meet him, as I think he would have fantastic stories to tell (he's 92 I believe)!!

  3. I love the pink check Colefax and Fowler print!

  4. Jennifer, thank you for this post. I was only looking at Veere Grenney's "folly" yesterday. I much prefer the more recent incarnation, which is much more subtle and better (i.e. more practically and invitingly) furnished. The new colour scheme is utterly perfect. The folly is also featured in Sally Griffiths' "The English House" (2004) in a slightly different incarnation. And Anonymous, yes, the Furlow Gatewood book is absolutely wonderful! I bought it a few weeks ago and am in love with the subtle grey and white palette - and the blue-and-white porcelain. It tempts me to stock up my collection, which I started disbanding a couple of years ago. But I'm going to resist :-)

  5. In addition to the two schemes mentioned here there was the Charles Beresford Clark version in which the walls of the saloon were yellow, the floor covered in Suffolk rush matting (unrelieved by patterned carpets over it), painted wood frame chairs covered in Old Rose Chintz, and a vast ottoman in ticking stripe at the centre of the room. Windows lavishly festooned in fringed muslin. So then the atmosphere was at once more severe and more opulent than what Vere Grenney has done. Yet even then, the overmantel was left mysteriously blank, without its insert of mirror glass.