Whether you’re after a similar look, feel or ethos, discover how to replicate the upmarket Soho Farmhouse look in your home.
When Soho House – the upmarket creatives-only members’ club – opened its farmhouse in the Oxfordshire countryside in the summer of 2015, it revolutionised the concept of a countryside escape.
Plopped unto 100 acres of prime Cotswold countryside and accessed through a gatehouse and down a long country drive, Soho Farmhouse combines the traditional American country club with the new trend for ‘Farmhouse chic’ – a trend that pairs elements of classic British country style with bold splashes of urban-industrial chic.
Soho House renovated the existing structures on the site – including a dilapidated water mill that now houses a country pub – and created a series of new buildings alongside. Soho Farmhouse now boasts a Farmhouse, a Farm Cottage, several barns and public spaces, cinema, lakeside cabins and garden rooms of varying sizes, and a health club with a gym, spa and indoor-outdoor pool swimming pool sunk into a lake.
Since the first club opened in 1995, the Soho House global empire has grown to 30 Houses. Design is at the heart of each space’s success, and a chunk of the Soho House design ethos is to deliver a familiar clubby ‘vibe’ wherever you are. Over the years, various designers have been called upon to add their touch to projects, and predictably, there have been requests to deliver the Soho Farmhouse look to private homes.
On the roll call is Alexander Waterworth Interiors – an internationally distinguished interior design studio. Situated in the thriving, creative heart of London, their notable, award-winning designs have continued to create and transform restaurants, bars, hotels, members clubs, theatres and private residentials.
The Shoreditch based design practice has helped transform multiple spaces, elevating this little Eden in Great Tew, near Chipping Norton, into what has become a paradise suited for pleasurable rest and relaxation.
Combining upstate New York cabin lifestyle with timeless English country home, they have given each space a warmth and cosy placement through open, rustic environments – their designs flow through the Farmhouse, Farm Cottage, Main Barn, Barwell Barn, and several of the varying sized, lakeside cabins.
Here, we pick out some of our favourite design elements to help you create the upmarket Soho Farmhouse look in your home (with varying degrees of effort and cost).
The original farmhouse, set in its own garden, sleeps 14 with bedrooms spread over the first floor and attic.
The living area on the ground floor is separated into multiple seating areas by sofas with large scroll arms and arching back, including a large, comfy and quintessentially English two and a half seat Chesterfield sofa – this one handmade by the skilled craftsmen at George Smith. These timeless favourites give this space a cosy county home feel. Unbuttoned sofas are more suited for patterned fabric, while buttoned sofas make an excellent choice for more formal sitting rooms.
A freestanding roll-top bath takes pride of place in this bedroom. While this trend can be traced back to the Middle Ages when wealthy lords would have one in their bedroom, this boutique hotel-inspired concept isn’t just about indulgence. It’s a highly effective use of space when en-suite bathrooms are not big enough for them.
This room also features a classic designed upright sofa at the end of the bed. This, or a set of high back chairs, can lend a more traditional air to a bedroom – if you’re lucky enough to be able to fit one in. This is not a sofa that you lounge and watch TV on. Instead, it’s an excellent option for sitting and talking to friends – like in a parlour or a drawing room.
The exposed bricks of the fireplace and chimney breast give the Farm Cottage a truly countryside feel. A pair of armchairs and a footstool in a mix and match of patterned fabrics that complement each other provide a cosy focal point for the fireplace.
For effortless rustic charm, the large rustic French oak farmhouse dining table with beautifully turned curvy legs is a timeless classic – functional, durable and of course, beautiful. The table works in traditional and contemporary space and combines beautifully with the classic Victorian Wheel back Windsor kitchen chairs. These chairs have great colour and patina, and the legs are well turned (often with slight variations) with H stretchers joining them.
For a hint of modern elegance, the Farm Cottage features a tongue-and-groove style kitchen in sage green. This smoky green colour was popular in Victorian interiors during the late 19th century. Its quiet tone has an irresistible familiarity about it that evokes a sense of calmness and serenity.
The pendant lights feature a black gold-tone brass frame that descends into a lightly fluted pendant that draws inspiration from vintage whisky glasses. The textured plaid roman blinds offer varying degrees of warmth and light control in farmhouses, countryside and even contemporary room schemes.
The cabins at Soho Farmhouse were built using reclaimed board cladding with some featuring outdoor copper bathtubs.
English country house style appears in spades. Clashing patterns, velvets, pompoms and fringing aplenty, not least on the cushions, help create a social space in this cabin-style accommodation. The Murcott square floor cushion is made from natural braided jute, and the traditional Belfast sink gives the room a sense of familiarity that delivers complete unity to the space.
The cabins distressed painted walls brings an enhanced element of traditional, rugged remoteness that allows you to blissfully remove yourself in the evening and cut off from the outside world. An oversized flat-woven rug with a timeless Aztec pattern brings warmth to the room and completes the look.
Bare wood flooring combined with white painted panelling gives the room texture as well as a rustic feel. The design is thoughtful rather than overt. The Reade wall light was designed for Soho House Chicago and is now used everywhere due to its versatility and classic design. With a nod to 1950s studio wall lights, it combines mid-century style with modern functionality and is ideal for a bedside or reading corner.
These distinctive angular geometric patterned tiles – inspired by Victorian townhouses – helps provides a feast for the eyes in this shower room. The fashion for this form of tiles grew immensely at the peak of the industrial age when factory production on a grand scale created an affordable supply of tiles for the middle classes to adorn the homes in good taste. A vintage art deco bevelled edge round mirror hangs over the sink to complete the look.
One of the new structures built on the Soho Farmhouse site is the Main Barn – an 805 square metres steel-frame building, which houses a restaurant and bar. The space unleashes a charismatic burst of life with materialled furniture in sumptuous blues, reds and greens, exposed steel frames, open fireplaces, exposed recycled timber walls and cobbled stone flooring.
The mezzanine dining level of the Main Barn combines the traditional American country club feel with the new trend for ‘Farmhouse chic’. Vintage and contemporary dark wood furniture and plump deep upholstered seating in modern fabrics along with raw finishes help make the space look beaten up, so it seems like it’s been around for a long time.
Soho Farmhouse is a masterclass in how using a harmonious mix of items – new and old, characterful and quirky – can combine to produce a calming and serene whole. Wooden shelves, nestled into the building’s steel frames, are filled with books, vases, bowls, framed art and other decor pieces to create a fascinating nook.
Mismatched furniture, including vintage leather armchairs and wrought iron chandeliers, exposed beams, wooden floors in a herringbone pattern, and dark wood walls, come together beautifully to create a modern take on a Victorian study or 19th-century reading room in the Bardwell Barn. Note the small glass windows panes – a nod to Victorian-era sash windows.