RH England, The Gallery at the Historic Aynho Park, a Magnificent 17th-Century, 73-Acre Estate with Architecture and Interiors by Sir John Soane, Restored and Reimagined as First-of-Its-Kind Design and Hospitality Destination.
CORTE MADERA, CALIF. – June 2023 – RH (NYSE: RH) announced today the opening of RH England, The Gallery at the Historic Aynho Park – a 400-year-old landmark estate representing the most inspiring and immersive physical expression of the brand to date. RH England marks the beginning of the retailer’s global expansion and its continued foray into hospitality with three primary restaurants: The Orangery, a live-fire concept; The Loggia, an outdoor venue featuring wood-fired pizzas; and The Conservatory, an American bistro, opening later this fall. The Gallery also includes a Wine Lounge and Tea Salon – all with stunning views of the English countryside – as well as a Juicery, serving made-to-order fresh juices and grilled baguettes with cultured butter and homemade preserves.
Spanning 73 acres and over 60 rooms, this unrivaled experience seamlessly integrates luxury home furnishings collections from RH Interiors, Contemporary, Modern and Outdoor with rare art, antiques and artifacts from across the globe. Among England’s rare Grade 1 listed buildings – which include Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament – Aynho Park was expanded and refurbished by preeminent British architect Sir John Soane in the early-19th century, serving as an exceptional example of his commissioned work for elite clients.
First constructed in 1615, the pedigreed property in the Cotswolds remained in the ownership of the Cartwright family until the mid-20th century. Primarily Classical Revival in style with vestiges of Continental Baroque, Aynho has been meticulously restored and reimagined with great respect for its original vision. RH Chairman & CEO Gary Friedman has revitalized several landmark buildings in North America, including the former Museum of Natural History in Boston, The Historic Three Arts Club in Chicago, The Historic Post Office in Greenwich, Connecticut; the Bethlehem Steel Building in San Francisco, and the company’s Gallery in the historic Meatpacking District in New York.
“We are both proud and humbled to introduce RH to the U.K. in what we hope will be an inspiring and unforgettable fashion, and to fully open Aynho Park to the public for the first time in its history,” said Mr. Friedman. “We believe RH England represents our greatest work to date and will serve as a symbol of our values and beliefs as we embark on our expansion across Europe.”
Set on an elevated plateau at the southern edge of Aynho Village, the vast estate features historic gardens by iconic English landscape architect Capability Brown and mesmerizing views of Europe’s largest herd of White Hart deer.
Guests will first encounter the entrance hall with its Doric colonnades and chimneypiece of Mexican onyx. Designed by Lady Cartwright, the hand-carved fireplace surround was commissioned by Sir Fairfax Cartwright (1857-1928), then British Minister in Mexico. Here, visitors will be greeted by the Aynho Unicorn – a regal mascot symbolizing fantasy, rarity, purity and protection – and concierges dedicated to dining and design who can assist with RH England’s array of services and experiences.
Directly to the south of the entrance hall guests will find the Salon, a graceful sitting room. Spanning the southern side of the main house is The Grand Viewing Terrace, defined by a layered composition of parasol trees, sculptural evergreens and monolithic limestone fire tables. Set upon the edge of the great lawn, these intimate lounge spaces frame panoramic views of The Deer Park and bucolic landscape beyond.
Venturing west from the Salon, visitors will arrive to what was once the formal dining room – now The Tea Salon, offering afternoon tea service featuring classic specialty teas accompanied by freshly baked scones, clotted cream and house-made preserves – which leads to an antechamber that hosts The Sir John Soane Exhibition. Created in partnership with SirJohn Soane’s Museum in London, the exhibit highlights the architect’s life and works at Aynho and other English country houses with meticulous reproductions of original drawings, architectural models and artifacts.
The westward sequence of spaces comes to a dramatic end in The Architecture & Design Library. To create this spectacular destination, Soane transformed a previous single-story wing into an airy, arch swept center of knowledge. More than two centuries later, RH honors his legacy with a carefully compiled collection of vintage, contemporary and rare out-of-print books from some of the most influential creators of the last 2,000 years.
Commanding the center of the library is the first edition of De Architectura libri Dece (The Ten Books on Architecture), printed in a modern language, Italian, in 1521. Authored by master Roman architect Vitruvius during the 1st century BC, the treatise has served as the foundational textbook on classical architecture for centuries. It also serves as the pillar of the RH design ethos – a study of balance, symmetry and perfect proportions. Presiding over the room is an exacting replica of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man – based on Vitruvius’ description of human anatomy written 1,500 years prior – and rare books by the great Renaissance architects Alberti, Scamozzi and Palladio, who carried forth the Vitruvian principles.
Anchoring the opposing side of the main house from the library is The Orangery, a live-fire dining experience featuring a marble hearth flanked by custom Molteni rotisseries from France. Aglow in natural light from a wall of towering arched windows, this singular statement space, with its 22-foot ceilings, is punctuated by Calacatta gold marble tables, Italian merino wool velvet seating and a dramatic lighting installation by acclaimed Los Angeles-based master glass designer and artist, Alison Berger – an evocation of rain reflected in an elegant procession of mirrors.
The adjoining Wine Lounge, once the French drawing room, serves exceptional Champagnes and wines from around the world to be enjoyed by the warmth of a 19th-century rare Rouge Napoleon marble and gilt bronze Louis XV-style fireplace or while exploring the rest of the estate.
To access the beautifully appointed private rooms and suites on the upper levels, visitors will ascend one of two grand staircases, both of which pay tribute to James and Sophie Perkins, Aynho’s previous owners, with their collection of classical sculptures, architectural models and artifacts on display.
Once the stable block, brewhouse and workshop, the east wing will host The Conservatory – an American bistro offering an elevated interpretation of enduring classics – opening fall 2023. This skylit garden escape will be defined by a soaring glass roof supported by structural steelwork, century-old Spanish olive trees, and three monumental salvaged brick fireplaces.
The east wing also houses The RH Interior Design Studio. Providing an unprecedented level of professional design services, this interactive space features private client presentation rooms, state-of-the art technology and design libraries showcasing a vast assortment of textiles, furniture and lighting finishes.
Formerly the servants’ quarters, the west wing now presents artistic installations featuring luxury home furnishings collections from internationally renowned designers. Just off this wing, guests will find The Loggia – a restaurant and wine bar offering wood-fired pizzas, charcuterie boards and rustic shared plates in a relaxed outdoor setting with shade canopies, French limestone fountains and fire tables overlooking Capability Brown’s naturalistic landscapes. The adjacent Juicery – previously the site of Aynho’s centuries-old kitchen – serves made-to-order fresh juices, craft espresso and grilled baguettes with cultured butter and homemade preserves to be enjoyed in the organic vegetable garden or while touring the property.
At the estate’s westernmost edge, visitors will discover The Sunset Terrace & Fire Pit – an open-air lounge space, adjacent to an early 19th-century garden temple, designed as a destination to take in transcendent countryside views.
RH England is located at Aynho Park, Aynho, Banbury and offers valet parking. The phone number is +44 1295 585700. Hours of operation are 11am to 8pm Monday through Saturday, and 11am to 5pm on Sundays.
For more, visit RH.com