house tour: English shabby chic by Max Rollitt


Max Rollitt was trained as a cabinetmaker then went into selling antiques (in a shop he inherited from his mother and has apparently truly made his own). Now he decorates interiors as well. I don’t remember exactly when I came across Rollitt’s work; all I know is that I liked it a lot. For one thing—he puts a smile on your face. His Instagram is often funny and his rooms, for all their beauty, don’t take themselves too seriously.

In an ivy covered old Hampshire vicarage featured in House & Garden UK, we can see the hallmarks of his style that I find so interesting and fresh and full of charm.


Here’s what I think is worth noting about Max Rollitt’s approach to design:

Color: Color is used everywhere, rich and unexpected colors (that I myself would never think to incorporate) in drapes and on furniture and on walls. But the rooms are not saturated—the colors are given room to breathe and be noticed when placed against natural materials and the rougher edges of old houses.


Floors and walls: Here, floors are wide planked wood from Victorian potteries, left natural or painted a glossy white. There are sisal rugs and antique oriental rugs layered throughout. Walls are painted in lovely natural colors, like the dining room in Light Blue by Farrow and Ball or wallpapered in Lewis and Wood patterns that work so well to compliment the essence of the house and property.


Quirkiness: Why not dress a Romanesque bust with a black top hat? The British have this kind of humor that we just can’t pull off over here (when we try we just seem silly). There’s a lighthearted and joyful feeling that transcends the walls and fills the space that I love.


Lived in and loved not decorated: There is attention to details that “make the house not just decorated but lived in and loved.” Rollitt achieves this with layers and a blending of materials and periods and style, accessorizing with interesting collected items (he includes high-end antique pieces but is not opposed to reproductions if done right), and a respect for the past that embraces imperfection combined with modern day comfort.


Attitude: It seems to me that a Max Rollitt room is about confidence and fun and taking some risks to get the mix right. And when the mix is right, it’s elegant and very lovely.

Hope you are inspired on this rainy Monday…Cheers!

(All photographs by Mel Yates published in House & Garden UK).



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