Brad Stanwick is fond of all things English, from antique furnishings to specific spaniel breeds. (And yes, Downton Abbey ranks as a top TV series for the Pleasant Ridge resident.) Peek inside his home, and you’ll see this Anglophile’s British stamp throughout, especially in the hearth room.
What is a hearth room? Stanwick — who has an art history degree with a concentration in decorative arts from Oakland University and procures and sells English antiques for a living — shares that it’s a small space, typically located near the kitchen, with a fireplace as the focal point. Long ago, they were often called keeping rooms.
“We think this room was the servants’ cooking area, like a scullery,” Stanwick says. “You can tell there was originally a fireplace between that room and my kitchen.”
The hearth space and kitchen were renovated about five years ago. “There was a door to the outside where the fireplace is now,” says Stanwick, whose home was built in 1916. He worked with interior designer John Rattray of Craighall Interiors to overhaul and redesign his craftsman bungalow-style home.
Today, Stanwick’s renovated space has a new wood-burning fireplace. It’s here where the homeowner enjoys a “cuppa” and gazes into a roaring fire or looks out over his gardens.
“It’s my morning room, where I sit and drink my coffee and plan the day,” he says. “I love living with history.”
When Stanwick makes his semi-annual trips to England, he picks up pieces for both his online furniture business, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, and his own home.
“I’m amazed at how furniture can transport you back to another time,” he says.
Here, Stanwick presents his depiction of British life through his hearth room, replete with furniture and art acquired mostly from northern England.
Several 19th-century English equestrian oil paintings (which Stanwick collects) adorn the hearth room and other parts of the home. They feature original gold-gilt frames, Stanwick says.
Draped in elegance
The linen window treatments (by Lee Jofa, a fabric house under the home furnishings company Kravet at the Michigan Design Center in Troy) feature foxes and pastel roses mingling with various greenery.
House of blues
The flooring of heated blue flagstones, which extend into the kitchen, is inspired by “the grand houses of England, where there are huge flagstone kitchen floors,” Stanwick says.
A 19th-century pine table with a mahogany base expands to accommodate extra guests. It pairs well with several Windsor- style chairs and a small oak table (beneath the horse painting) from England’s Lake District, located in the northern county of Cumbria.
Stanwick loves the elevated fireplace, which features a newly built limestone surround designed by Rattray. “Wood-burning fireplaces are work, but you can’t beat the whole process of having a fire — bringing in wood, lighting it, hearing the crackle,” Stanwick says. The practical area beneath stores wood, but in the summer, it serves as a dog bed for Stanwick’s cheeky Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Clementine and Eleanor.
Let there be light
The antler chandelier hanging above the table was sourced from Scotland.
Woodn’t you like to know:
For the cieling and walls, Stanwick went with wood beams and quarter-sawn oak paneling, both fashioned by Rattray and stained dark.
Stanwick loves his antique, grasshopper-green Chinese ginger jars. “They look great against the wall color,” he says. Also adorning the mantel are 19th- century Meissen porcelain sheep and a green, 18th-century Chinese bowl.