A transformation that William Waldorf Astor would have approved of is currently underway at Cliveden House, which is emerging from its winter wrappings more beautiful and fascinating than ever before. East and West wings have been lovingly restored and the final restoration pieces in this remarkable design jigsaw are falling into position perfectly.
To the bystander the transformation of Cliveden House has taken on an almost magical quality, as room by room interiors specialist Mario Nicolaou and his colleague Sylvie le Maitre, unveil their stunning transformation, creating a masterpiece that is totally in keeping with the history and passion of this property. Following the successful completion of the East and West wings just before Christmas 2014, this season will see Mario’s sensitive treatment of the main mansion house, which will include 13 bedrooms and suites including the Lady Astor suite, the impressive Great Hall, Library, and Blue Boudoir. All will be revealed by the beginning of April. Colour schemes and designs are a closely guarded secret. Mario says: “It’s about introducing a focus to each room and being sympathetic to the historic design. It is of course a listed building and you have to respect that, but the restoration is going to be an exciting experience too. We will bring Cliveden House up to date and create a new atmosphere – a little bit of fabulousness.”
Love and passion have played a key role in the fascinating history of Cliveden House. Today these intense emotions are the driving force behind the remarkable restoration of this magnificent building, as the interior design specialists have turned the rebirth of Cliveden into a love story. But how do you refurbish a grand country house that is not only a listed property, but also an hotel and a National Trust treasure? The answer is of course carefully, very carefully.
Starting with an understanding of this iconic estate and its history, Mario and Sylvie agree that the refurbishment is not about making a design or fashion statement. They wanted to retain the historic feeling, the essence of Cliveden. The approach is also very much about the guest experience and creating the impression that guests are visiting a wealthy friend’s grand country home, rather than an hotel. That is the charm and spirit of Cliveden House. It is partly for this reason, and partly as a celebration of Cliveden’s uniqueness, that each suite is bespoke; no two rooms are the same. For inspiration Mario and Sylvie visited Paris researching archives of fabrics and designs from the period which gave them the courage to be bold with patterns and colours.
The power of love, the balance between European influences and English tradition also reflects Cliveden itself. Many of its features were introduced from Italy and France by Cliveden’s owner William Waldorf Astor, who purchased Madame de Pompadour’s gilded dining room from the Chateau d’Asinieres, reinstating it as the French Dining room, as well as buying many classical pieces of statuary, including the Fountain of Love. This is certainly not a typical refurbishment with Mario and Sylvie needing to accommodate specific elements, features and pieces of original furniture and artwork, according to the requirements of an iconic listed property and the expectations of the National trust. But they seem to relish the creative challenge.
Cliveden would like to thank you for your continued patience whilst we turn our attention to the restoration of the Mansion House, which will be completed by Easter 2015 and then Cliveden will once again be a breath-taking backdrop and a testament to the power of love!
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